Millennials & Motorcycles

Millennials & Motorcycles

The word "millennial" has been thrown around for sometime now and appears to be sticking. You might have heard the term watching the news or reading your local paper.

I mean the word is catchy, right?

If you're trying to figure out what a millennial is chances are you are not a millennial and might be a baby boomer or somewhere near that category.

The problem with millennials today is that most are not riding motorcycles as a hobby or even as commuters as there interests lie elsewhere. This puts a strain on the already cripple motorcycle industries.

Despite millennials lack of interest in motorcycles I firmly believe (as a millennial myself) that its possible that millennials can save this industries from hitting rock bottom - let's explain how.

 

What is a millennial?

 

The definition of a millennial (also known as generation Y) according to Wikipedia; "There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years for millennials."

In other words millennials are the generation after the baby boomers. Baby boomers are also known as generation  X.

 

So what do millennials have to do with motorcycles?

 

As baby boomers start to age they will have to hand over the touch to younger riders such as millennials.

The only problem with that is many millennials are simply not riding as much as the older baby boomer and veterans, which puts a gap in the motorcycle industry.

 

Harley-Davidson Rider Profile Bar Graph

 Harley-Davidson rider age profile. Notice the average rider age increase?

 

For example, the average Harley-Davidson rider is approx 47-50 years old depending on demographics and location.

Obviously rider profiles will be different based off location, demographics and even motorcycle brand and model.

Harley-Davidson has always been known to attract older clientele but even Harley-Davidson is struggling to bring millennials to there brand.

Harley is tackling this problem by manufacturing and designing motorcycles to suite the millennial age group.

According to Cycle World Harley sales have plummeted for Q2 and Q3 - Harley has also stated that they intend to add 2 million riders across the U.S.

 

Why aren't millennials riding?

 

Chart Showing Millinaials And Baby Boomer Motorycle Riders 2017

 

 There are over 75.4 million millennials nationwide surpassing baby boomers at 74.9 million. 

If baby boomers are the minorities (in the USA) then why aren't millennials dominating the motorcycle industries? 

I will give you 6 simple reasons of why millennials do not ride. With myself falling in the millennial category I can go off of my own personal opinion and experience that most millennials would agree with.

 

  • Financial state
  • Not interested
  • Dangerous (safety hazard)
  • Wasn't introduced to motorcycles
  • Parents
  • Lazy
    1. Motorcycles for an average millennial can be expensive not to mention the labor and the maintenance that go a long with it. Tires, oil changes, tune ups, upgrades, it's endless. Most would rather spend there money on a new iPhone. 

    2.  Many millennials are simply not interested in motorcycles. There car or bicycle gets them to point A and to point B - that's all that maters 

    3. Everyone and there grandma always say motorcycles are dangerous. Many will always tell you the negative side of things and not tell our the positive side. 

    4. I ride motorcycles because my Father. If it wasn't for him I'm not  sure if I would be riding today. Many millennials weren't introduced to motorcycles thus not being interested.

    5. I'm sure you have heard that story  a person told you how he wanted a bike but his parents wouldn't let him growing up. Yep, thanks mom and dad for spoiling the fun.

    6. Twilight, Keeping Up With The Kardashians,  Xbox 1 - the reason why many millennials are lazy and fail to get into hubby's or tasks they can enjoy. 

       What millennials want 

       The millennials that do ride motorcycles tend to ride different brands or models of motorcycle as compared to baby boomers. 

       

      2017 Harley Road King Classic Motorcycle

      For example, you wouldn't see a 25 year old riding a Harley Road King classic on the street simply because it's not appealing to that age group - but what is?

       

      • Bobbers
      • Choppers
      • Cafe Racers
      • Bratt

      Getting the motorcycle industries back on track will require motorcycle company's to listen and understand what millennials are actually looking for.

      Maybe if companies made bikes that fall into the above categories perhaps there wouldn't be  such a halt or gap in the industries.

      Let's face it what millennial can afford to drop $10K on a motorcycle that they don't really want? 

      Not only do manufactures need to make motorcycles that go along with today's trend but they also need to make them affordable. 

      Here is yet another compiled list of how to attract millennials and get them riding. 

      • Affordable motorcycles
      • Motorcycles designed for beginners
      • Trendy designs 
      • Under 1,000CC

      If you haven't noticed, European motorcycle manufactures are the only brands successfully producing motorcycles suited for millennials.

      Royal Enfield, Triumph, Moto-Guzzi are just a few European brands that all free trendy and affordable motorcycles geared toward millennials and baby boomers afford like. 

      2017 Triumph Bobber

      Just this year Triumph launched there new Triumph Bobber clearly targeted for millennials and Bobber lovers. The new model received mixed reviews.

      Triumph had the right idea but the design wasn't thoroughly planned out. Despite negative feed back, the new Triumph Bobber is still selling very well.

       

      How to get millennials riding

       

      Saving the motorcycle industry will take both older generation and younger generation together to make a difference. As time goes on and new generations are introduced I personally feel that it's going to be more difficult with a motorcycle companies to target the young crowd.

      Sales Chart For Motorcycles - Nationwide

       The decline in motorcycle sales starting in 2008 - slow recovery

       

      I believe the motorcycle industry can learn a lot from the automobile industry. The auto industry was heavily hit back in 2008 along with the motorcycle industry but the car industry had a much stronger recovery.

      So before dismissing millennials think about the impact they could have on the motorcycle industries. They could either make or break it.

      In my eyes the future looks bright and I see notebooks millennials riding that ever before.

      I appreciate you reading today. Let us know what you think by commenting below. Know a millennial? Share this post with them. 

      Thanks for reading today - ride safe 

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      13 comments

      • Wayne

        I don’t think the generation is lazy, it’s just that they have other interests. I had a Troop of Boy Scouts that never held a hammer or saw, never fired a gun or went fishing. This startled me. Each of them thought they knew how to use these and were quite surprised to discover that they did not. As the use of these are acquired skills, these Scouts were never introduced to hunting, fishing, building things with hammers and nails or even how to read a tape measure and divide fractions. I attempted to teach my own son and my girlfriend how to ride a motorcycle but they couldn’t manage the clutch. After each crashed that was it; too dangerous. I haven’t a clue how to encourage more people to take up motorcycling other than to recommend to them to do so and take them for a ride in either my sidecar or on the back of my motorcycle. If the experience doesn’t speak to them then at least they had the opportunity to decide for themselves.

      • Mike T.

        I apologize again for the breaks here. The 305 Honda was bulilt in the ‘60s for TTscrambles. It has an S12 kit that makes it into 337 ccs, H&C cams, Amal carbs, Bates single seat. The thing I’m attempting to say is, somehow it was an interest to me and a desire to find these machines and then build them to be usable again. But not pristine show types. Just acceptable. My son just dosen’t like any of that. But, does like me to have this interest. He likes black powder guns and kits. I’ve an nephew that is more like an son in that he and I share the mechanical desire to ‘fix’. So, also, I think that there are so many restrictions to riding now, that with some exceptions the pure thrill of going on an ride is not even considered? I’ve enjoyed the posts here. My skill set? is good but not professional. I like fixing stuff, even broken hammer handles, etc. Today people just throw things away. Very sad for me to see this. Creativity in us humans is u

      • Mike T.

        Sorry about incomplete posts. Must be an limit maybe or, my error. Mostly, for me then and today, November, ‘17? I still have British interests. 3 twins, 500, 650 and 750, BSA B50’s, Bultacos, ’74 Husky, 450 Dacati, Sachs Hurcules 7spd and an 305 Honda flat

      • peter paylor

        put the sexy chicks ads,like the old days,have bright new colors,some new payment plan for kids.

      • Marcus Maximus

        Being a generation X person, I got my first bike (a basket-case Honda Trail 90) at the ripe age of fifteen, which I then had to rebuild on a budget of zero. Saying that Millennials can’t afford a ride is no different. There are plenty of small, cheap bikes to be had, but are they cool enough? A Honda 90 was not cool enough for me, ( a Triumph 650 sure was!) but I still rode that sucker till the wheels fell off. Could it be, that forty years ago the freedom one achieved by taking to the back roads and byways on ANY motorcycle was/is perhaps something belonging only to the past? It was marvelous, though, to “go for a putt” with your pals, on the cheap, remember? Riding today is no different, I think. As some have noted here, Millennials would rather veg-out on iPhones and electronic crap, which we did not have when we were kids, thank God. So, what to do to get them in the saddle? Tell ’em not to.

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