The motorcycle market has had an interesting year in 2005 starting with Roads Minister David Jamieson launching the Government's Motorcycle Strategy, announcing the mainstreaming of motorcycling as a form of transport and ending with new motorcycle registrations showing little movement on 2004.
After four consecutive years of decline, 2005 saw the market levelling-off. Registrations totalled 132,803 new mopeds, scooters and motorcycles - less than one percent down on the 2004 total and somewhat better than the five percent fall in new car registrations.
Overall, the motorcycle market gained in two key areas throughout 2005; Learner legal bikes (up to 125cc) were up 4.2% on 2004 at 33,825, reflecting the continued growth in new riders and commuter riders, whilst large capacity bikes (over 1,000cc) popular among long-distance riders were up 17.2% to reach 18,960 new registrations in 2005.
At 40,092 new registrations, Scooters remain the single largest segment (30.2% of all new registrations) with Piaggio's NRG and Peugot's Ludix and Speedfight models topping the Moped Scooter popularity stakes.
Sports motorcycles (Supersport and Sport/Tourers) accounted for 35,498 registrations (26.7% of all new registrations). Kawasaki's ZX6R and Suzuki's GSXR1000 are at the top of the Supersport 600cc and 1000cc classes. Suzuki's SV650S and Triumph's Sprint ST1050 are the most popular Sports-Tourers.
Honda's CBR125R, CG125, SCV100 Lead and XR125L models topped the Naked, Sports, Scooter and Trail/Enduro sectors respectively and dominated the list of best-selling Learner-legal motorcycles.
BMW's R1200GS and R1200RT showed the popularity of Adventure Sport and Touring styles among the large capacity machines. Harley-Davidson models were again the most popular in the Custom sector top-ten listing.
Craig Carey-Clinch, MCI's Director of Public Affairs said, "The MCIA is optimistic about the future of motorcycling in Britain. Motorcycle technology is constantly evolving and the 2006 models are cleaner and more user-friendly than ever. There is more choice for the consumer and more opportunities for people to do more with their bike and reap the many benefits from reduced-stress commuting, over-land travel adventures or attending motorcycle sports events -- plus other activities, rallies and meets.
"It cannot be ignored that some aspects of the motorcycle market are under-pressure. The challenge of meeting new competition from China and other developing producers will become stronger in the next few years. However, the increased diversity in motorcycling may well bring interesting new opportunities, and could even attract people to motorcycling that might not have previously thought it was right for them.