Motorcycle sales among major brands rose 7.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011, compared to the same period last year, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s (MIC) Retail Sales Report. The report tracks sales among 18 leading brands being sold in the U.S.
The popular scooter segment saw the biggest gain, up nearly 50 percent. Sales of dual-purpose bikes, built for on- and off-highway use and generally among the most fuel-efficient motorcycles, increased by almost 25 percent. Tire sales, a strong indicator of motorcycle use, were up as well during the first three months.
"Nothing compares to a motorcycle for combining fun with saving money," said Tim Buche, MIC president and chief executive officer. "There’s no more enjoyable way to get to work and get around, and rising fuel prices have given our customers yet another great reason to ride."
Motorcycle and scooter tire sales increased 29.4 percent in the first quarter, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Quarterly U.S. Motorcycle Tire Sales Report, which tracks nine major tire brands. Total on-highway tire sales rose 27.5 percent, while scooter tires jumped 48.6 percent.
"Tire sales add to new-bike sales figures as a measure of motorcycle interest since there are still a lot of great used bikes putting on the miles, and older bikes that owners are reviving and enjoying once again," Buche said. "We see Americans leaving their cars at home more, enjoying the convenience and exhilaration of motorcycling, and getting into a different way of being green."
The MIC Owner Survey estimates that 11 million motorcycles were in use in 2009, a 5 percent increase over the 2008 motorcycle population of 10.4 million. Motorcycle miles traveled also increased 5 percent from 2008 to 2009 with a total of 27.6 billion miles. The percentage of U.S. households with at least one bike rose from 5.4 percent in 2003 to 6.8 percent in 2009.
For more information about the Motorcycle Industry Council, visit www.mic.org.