Motorcycle Editorial

Paul McDonald

23 Aug 2018, Editorial

Following new market growth in June, July results were a little disappointing, whilst used remains buoyant.

According to the Motorcycle Industry association (MCIA), total two wheel registrations experienced a decrease of 2.2% compared to July 2017.  Following growth of 8% in June, there was hope that the market was settling down, so this reduction is disappointing. Although, year to date totals at the end of July are still 1.5% ahead of last year. Recent feedback from dealers for sales and demand is largely mixed, but overall views are that it has been broadly level or behind last year. Despite this, a reasonable percentage held the belief that sales had improved. However, there is a consensus that the market has been erratic this year. 

Similar to June, the weather in July was superb, providing days of uninterrupted warm and dry weather. Following a reasonable month for sales in June, why did they suffer in July? People may have chosen to make the most of the summer weather, preferring to ride or take holiday breaks, rather than spending time shopping. The World Cup may have had an effect too. In view of these factors added to the current ongoing issues, namely economic uncertainty, rising insurance premiums and increased prices is likely to have contributed towards the slowdown.

Motorcycle Chart August 2018

July 2018 vs July 2017

●             Sport/tourer experienced the largest growth at 37.1%, albeit these are sold in relatively small numbers.

●             Trail/enduro recorded an upturn of 5.1%, although these are also sold in few numbers.

●             Naked machines remain healthy, recording a 3.1% growth over last year.

●             Mopeds were the biggest casualty in July with registrations experiencing a significant 28.6% decline compared to 2017.

●             Particularly disappointing was that following a period of success throughout the difficult times, Adventure sports recorded a downturn of 5.4%.

●             Following growth in June, scooters experienced a slight downturn of 0.9% in July.

To conclude, these comparisons highlight that any significant growth has been largely restricted to small volume sellers, which are more sensitive to changes.


Top 10 Selling Models YTD July 2017


YTD Registrations


Honda PCX 125



Yamaha NMAX 125



Honda CB 125 F






BMW R 1200 GS



Honda NSC 110 WH



Honda CRF 1000



Kawasaki Z1000 SX



Honda MSX 125



Kawasaki Z900 RS



Results are very similar to those in June with the Honda PCX125 retaining its top spot. The BMW R1200 GS Adventure remains high up, despite adventure sport registrations being down recently. Seeing the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin retain its seventh sport comes as no surprise as this is widely reported to be a very strong seller. Meanwhile, the exceptionally popular Kawasaki Z900 RS has now made an appearance in the top 10.

What to expect now

After some cautious hope that the market was settling down in June, July has proved that it remains turbulent and it will be interesting to see how September performs with the introduction of the 1868 plates. However, thereafter, it will be increasingly weather dependent as the season ends.  Current year to date registrations are only marginally ahead of last year, so whether 2018 will finish higher than 2017 now firmly hangs in the balance.

Used Market

Last month, there was discussion that despite the last 18 months being tough for the new market, the used market by comparison has remained generally buoyant. Recent feedback from dealer visits, whilst rather mixed continues to suggest that this is still the case, with an overall majority of respondents confirming growth in demand, compared to the same period last year. Some dealers stated that sales are 25% ahead with targets exceeded. However, whilst this is great news, some respondents explained that it continues to be tough with stock availability remaining an issue and the market being very price sensitive.

A broad range of machines continue their sales success, with a number of Triumph’s said to be impressive sellers, namely the Street Triple, Bonneville and Trophy. Low mileage 125cc machines are in healthy demand and motorcycles in the sub £5,000 category are generating high levels of interest currently. Meanwhile, the 600-1000cc sports category retains its strength.

To summarise, the used market continues with its buoyancy, with little sign of this changing anytime soon.

About the author

Paul McDonald

Paul McDonaldLeisure Editor

Paul has worked for Glass's since 2001 in various customer and vehicle valuation orientated roles, before becoming Leisure Editor just over a year ago. In his current role, he's responsible for keeping up to date with conditions and trends in the Motorcycle and Touring Caravan markets so we can provide accurate and reliable values to our subscribers. This means he's out and about a lot visiting dealers, manufacturers and auctions as well as analysing observation data.