Where are the kids?

Where’s the new blood in motorcycling?  Where are the “kids”?

According to J.D. Powers and several insurance companies the average age of those who purchase and license motorcycles is getting older.  In the J.D. Powers report the average went from 40 years old in 2001 to 47 in 2008.  Guess what? Motorcycling is middle aged!

I’m not knocking the middle aged, hell I’m middle aged, it’s just that motorcycling needs to attract more young riders in order to thrive.  So where are the younger riders?  They’re watching TV, texting their friends and on the computer.  Sometimes all at the same time.  The freedom of movement in the form of driving or riding isn’t high on their priority list.  Hell, I had to almost bribe my kids to practice driving so they would pass their drivers road test.  When I was their age, all I wanted was to get my drivers license.  It was my way to freedom.

We live in a different time and with the many different ways to keep in contact with friends and discover the wonders of the world in the comfort of your room, the younger generation isn’t as motivated to “get out”.  Motorcycling has always been about adventure, freedom and thrills but Generation Y on average gets their kicks digitally. 

Every generation, including Generation Y, will have those who have a sense of adventure and want the freedom and thrill that can be found on a motorcycles.  Unfortunately the numbers seem to be in a state of decline and unless this trend changes, motorcycling will suffer.  Sales will continue to shrink which will trickle down to innovation, after market products and riding gear.   Basically anything related to motorcycling.   So what can be done to begin reversing this trend and get the younger generation on a motorcycle?

While there are many ways this could be accomplished, there are a couple of ways that come to mind.  First, those of us who ride need to at least introduce riding to our kids at a young age.  They may not catch the riding bug, but at least they’ve been exposed.  Earning a license to ride a motorcycle on the road is becoming more challenging (my kids would say it’s hard) and while there are many different organizations that are there to train riders, there aren’t enough.  Manufacturers need to up their support of rider training and perhaps should include training as part of a motorcycle package put together for new riders.  Continue focusing on getting more women involved.  Women are an under served market and if moms are riding the will be more accepting of having their kids ride.

 While it’s nice to know that there is an activity where the over 40 crowd really does rule, we need to see more 20 and 30 something crowd riding.  It’s the only way to survive.

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