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Business Management

What Riders Want

MIC Survey Tunes Dealers In To Rider Preferences.


According to the recently released 2008 MIC Motorcycle/ATV Owner Survey, the face of motorcycling is changing. The survey provides comprehensive information on U.S. motorcycle/ATV ownership, usage, demographics and trends.

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While we invite you to get your hands on the full survey here are the highlights:

Motorcycles are more mainstream. Since 2003, the number of motorcycles owned and used in America grew 19 percent to approximately 10.4 million. Compare that to the 25 million people who swung a leg over a bike and rode last year. Looks like a lot of enthusiasts could still use a new or used unit!

Female ridership has finally crossed the 10 percent mark, increasing from 9.6 percent in 2003 to 12.3 percent in 2008.

What’s more, younger women are embracing riding even faster than the demo as a whole, and that takes us to the fact that Gen Y motorcycle ownership on the whole has grown a whopping 62 percent since 2003.


MPN hopes to continue to appeal to youth as we’ve recruited 20-something Doug Dalsing as the newest addition to our editorial team. Doug first swung his leg over his dad’s H-D Fat Boy, and he’s still shopping for the right ride.

Test rides are sure to sway Doug as they have other riders. Test rides have moved to the top spot as the most important factor in deciding whether to buy a particular motorcycle. Experiencing the ride is now more important than traditional marketing tools. Still not offering test rides? Clear up those insurance issues pronto and get prospective riders in the saddle!


The salaries of motorcyclists are also climbing. The median household income of motorcycle owners exceeds that of the average American. Two-wheel households average $59,290 while the U.S. average is $50,233.

Interest in new motorcycles has increased since 2003. Of all motorcycles in use in 2008, 46 percent were purchased new, up 7 percent since 2003. The average age of motorcycles is dropping from 11.7 in 2003 to 10.8 in 2008 as new styles and designs attract younger customers. Each year for the past six years, sales of new motorcycles and scooters topped one million units. That’s a record run for seven-figure sales numbers.

While in the past motorcycling has been seen as a purely recreational pursuit, today more motorcyclists than ever are listing transportation as their primary reason for riding. Check out Lee Klancher’s feature on commuting on page 26 to see how you can tap into the commuter mind set.


Compared to other motorcyclists last year, touring owners spent significantly more on aftermarket purchases at an average of $620 per year, while sport bike riders spent more on apparel than any other segment at an average of $578 per year.

Now is the time to take advantage of these findings. As the challenges of 2009 limit your business, use any edge you can to appeal to a widening audience of riders.

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