Motorcycle Market Update

Paul McDonald

27 Sep 2018, Editorial

New motorcycle registrations grow in August whilst the used market remains steady.

Of note this year, is the erratic nature of new registrations compared to 2017. Some months producing growth, while others have shown deterioration. Registrations in June comfortably beat those during the same period last year, creating hope that the market was settling. However, registrations in July finished slightly behind last year with August recording growth. According to the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), total two wheel registrations experienced an uplift of 9.3% in August. This increased year to date totals 2.2% above last year’s level. The latest feedback from dealer visits and respondents to Glass’s quarterly motorcycle trade survey suggests a small majority hold the view that demand is broadly in line with last year.

The UK experienced fantastic summer weather, particularly in June and July and while August was less impressive, riding conditions were often fair. The inconsistencies in registrations this year are likely a result of economic uncertainty affecting consumer confidence, rising insurance premiums whilst impressive deals on cars are tempting some away from the motorcycle industry.

Motorcycle Registrations August 2017/2018

August 2018 vs 2017

  • Following a small decline in July, Scooters experienced the largest growth in August at 28.4%
  • Sport/Tourer recorded an upturn of 27%, albeit selling in relatively low numbers
  • Naked machines maintain their success with an uplift of 19.3%
  • Following growth in July, the low volume Trail/Enduro sector recorded a downturn of 11%
  • Mopeds once again experienced significant decline at 14.7%, albeit less severe than in July
  • Following a period of success, Adventure Sports, drop for the second month, this time at 4.3%

Growth in July was mainly restricted to low volume sellers, more sensitive to changes. However, while it has been a similar story in August, some of the larger volume sellers in the Scooter and Naked segments have also experienced strong increases.

Top Selling Models YTD August 2018


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



Honda CB 125 R


The top 10 results are almost a carbon copy of the July table with the only difference being 10th place where the Honda CB 125 R replaced the Kawasaki Z900 RS. Despite Adventure Sport registrations falling behind last year, key models namely the BMW R1200 GS Adventure and Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin maintain their high positions.

What next?

It has been a turbulent year; September launches the 1868 plates with heightened interest in new registrations. Moving into the final quarter of 2018, registration success will largely depend on the weather and the possibility of an Indian summer in October and November. However, the current view is that 2018 will probably finish slightly ahead of 2017.

Used Market

Recent feedback from dealer visits and subscribers, who participated in the new Glass’s quarterly trade survey, indicated that the used market continues to be buoyant. The majority held the view that demand was broadly in line or stronger than the same period last year. However, despite the good news, it remains tough for dealers to find the correct stock at the right price.

Vast ranges of machines continue to be popular, though condition and mileage remain key. Some models stand out, like the BMW R1200 GS Adventure, Yamaha MT ranges, naked bikes and quality 125cc scooters. Scooters with engines between 50cc and 125cc have increased in demand as they represent value for money, particularly following the price increases applied with the introduction of Euro 4 models last year.

In terms of stock availability in the market, dealer opinions remain mixed, the majority holding the view that the situation is broadly similar to last year. In the market, it continues to be difficult locating quality stock; with popular machines in short supply.  Few dealers are currently overstocked, however, a growing number of respondents see an increasing amount of machines return to the market as PCP contracts reach the end of their terms. This comes as no surprise considering PCP growth over the last few years.

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.