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Bike Sales Still Held Back

UK sales of powered two-wheelers were up just 1.1% in April, flat lining after a disappointing Q1 (January-March), with signs that bad weather, the living standards squeeze (and now pre-election uncertainty) were holding back the usual Spring sales boost for bikes, though May saw a slightly healthier increase of 3.6%.

In fact, motorcycle sales in April fell by 0.4%, but scooters (up by 4.4%) and mopeds (up 24.9%) gave the overall market just enough boost to prevent an overall fall. The only motorcycle sector which looked healthier was the 126-500cc segment, where continued popularity of the Triumph Speed 400 and Royal Enfield’s Meteor 350 helped deliver an increase of 18.8%. Electric two-wheeler sales were up too, by 23.4% (though still only to 414 for the month of April).

Sales of bigger bikes faltered, down 10.1% in the 501-750 and 1000cc-plus categories, and 8.9% in the 751-1000s. Best sellers in each sector were the Honda NC750X, BMW R1250GS Adventure and Triumph 900GT Pro, respectively.

Jim Freeman Chair of the BMF said: “I don’t know about the election, the impact of that will feed through in the next quarter, when we find out what the next government’s taxation and economic plans are. The takeaway here is obvious, the only sectors holding up are the ‘value’ and ‘urban’ , focused on practical transport rather than leisure. The bigger the bike, the less essential the spend, when times are financially tight. I wonder how many of those Electrics are in the moped/125cc bracket?”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Triumph