Great deals on wheels: UK motorbike dealers report booming sales as lockdown lifts

Ducati Multistrada 1260
Ducati Multistrada 1260

A wave of new manufacturer incentives, including up to £2400 off flagship KTMs, is helping fuel a boom in bike sales following the easing of lockdown, say dealers.

At the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, with biking banned and dealers closed, sales plummeted. April saw an 83.5% drop in sales compared to the same month in 2019 and while May bounced back a little, new bike sales were still 50.4% behind the previous year.

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But now, with bikes allowed out again in England, dealers back open (albeit with certain restrictions), buyers turning to new two-wheelers either in place of cancelled holidays or for commuting, and a raft of new incentives such as KTM’s new ‘Summer Power Deals’, businesses say sales are bouncing back.

"We’ve been very busy," James Metcalfe from KTM dealer AMS Motorcycles of Tewkesbury told MCN. "Our sales recently have been as good if not better than we’d expect in the peak of summer."

The ‘Summer Power Deals’ scheme was introduced in early June and saw £2400 slashed off KTM’s 1290 Adventure S and R along with £1600 off the 790 Adventure R, £1500 off the 790 Duke and 790 Adventure and £500 off the 125 Duke and 390 Duke.

KTM 125 Duke wheelie

"The reaction has been positive," added Metcalfe. "We’ve sold singles or multiples on all those models since it’s come out. It’s definitely given us a kick start."

And KTM aren’t the only ones: Harley-Davidson have announced a £1500 deposit contribution to PCP sales of some of their top-of-the-range bikes while American rivals Indian have 0% on their FTR1200 and £1700 top-up on trade-ins against their big twins.

Elsewhere, Suzuki have just announced a full £1000 off the RM-Z250 and 450 MXers while Honda’s ‘Back to Work’ campaign, as introduced in early May, sees £1000 off the new Africa Twin, £500 off the CB500 family and NC750X and £200 off some 125s.

Yamaha, meanwhile, have extended their low-rate finance scheme and added the Ténéré 700; Kawasaki have a range of offers including 0% finance; Ducati are offering the Scrambler 62 and 800s on 0% and a £1000 accessories voucher with the Multistrada 1260 and Panigale V4, while Triumph also offer accessory vouchers, deposit contributions and cheap finance on some models. Plus, the likes of BMW and Suzuki say more offers are on the horizon.

Honda Africa Twin

Surrey Honda dealer Doble told MCN the combination of buyers with spare cash and sunny weather has resulted in better sales figures than last year and that commuters and scooters have done well.

"I think we bucked the trend because we carried on operating on a remote basis scooping up where other dealers weren’t answering their calls," said director Paul Styles. "The commuter element has been really strong and the Honda campaign helps with that. We’ve seen a huge rise in scooter sales. Having said that, I sold six Gold Wings through lockdown, too.

"I’m really looking forward to the future – as long as there aren’t any stocking problems!"

Used motorbike sales increase

Used motorcycle sales are booming as bikers emerge from the lockdown, eager to make the most of the great weather or simply to get from A to B without using public transport.

Paul Coulter, Marketing Director at SuperBike Factory, the UK’s largest used retailer, said: "Trade has more than bounced back in the last few weeks. We’re doing extremely well, it’s very, very strong.

"Since showrooms have been allowed to open we’ve had a release of pent-up demand coupled with good weather and I also think there’s a demand for bikes which is new this year purely because of the coronavirus – people not wanting to commute on trains or buses or the underground...

"I think the main thing is the good weather, the clear roads and people wanting to enjoy the experience. Motorcycle riding is the perfect social distancing way to experience travel.

"We’re significantly up on last year but we’re also a different animal to last year so it’s very difficult to compare. Our showroom could hold 700 bikes last year, now it’s 1000, so it’s a very, very different environment, plus there’s a different website, there’s a different way of transacting and so on.

"The future’s looking really good. We’re really optimistic. We’re only a couple of weeks in, but the trajectory we’re on is following where we were pre- lockdown."

MCN has seen a huge rise in traffic to the Bikes For Sale section of, too. Visits were up 44.8% in April, compared to April 2019, 21.3% in May and a healthy 31% up in the first half of June, compared to the same period last year.

Good news! New bike registrations grow by 1.5% in 2019

First published on 8 January 2020 by Dan Sutherland

Bike registrations increased by 1.5%

Figures released this morning by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) have shown a 1.5% increase in bike sales across 2019.

A total of 107,408 motorcycles, scooters and Powered Light Vehicles (lightweight scooters, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles, usually with zero or low-emission power) were registered in 2019, which is up from 105,816 in the previous year.

Although this overall increase has been a continual trend since the financial crisis, the areas of growth in these latest stats can only be seen amongst low-capacity machines.

In the 0-50cc category, sales increased from 5640 to 6764, representing largest boost at 19.9%. The second biggest change came amongst 126-650cc bikes, which jumped up by 12.2% from 20,016 to 22,451.

The only other category of growth was 51-125cc machines, which are up by 0.2%, going from 33,790 sales to 33,874. Bikes from 651-1000cc are down by 7.9%, with machines over 1000cc also losing 0.3%.

Speaking about the findings, MCIA Communications Manager, Nick Broomhall said: "With many retail markets reporting a downturn for 2019, it’s great to see that the stats for the Powered Two Wheeler world show a growth of 1.5% against 2018, with 107,408 new bikes and scooters registered last year.

"21,068 bikes over 1000cc found new homes with bike fans, while an increase in the number of smaller capacity machines registered, shows that more and more people are getting the message that PTWs are an important solution to traffic congestion and air quality problems."

Despite registrations being down on larger capacity machines, a number of bigger bikes actually appear as top 10 UK best sellers for last year, with BMW’s R1250GS and R1250GS Adventure taking third and fourth spot respectively with a total sales figure of 3600 units combined.

The overall best-seller was Honda’s PCX125, which amassed 2840 sales. Finishing behind that was the Yamaha NMAX 125, with 1924 bikes leaving showrooms last year. The full list can be found below.

  Model Registrations Market share
1 Honda PCX 125  2840  2.6%
2 Yamaha NMAX 125  1924  1.8%
3 BMW R1250GS  1827  1.7%
4 BMW R1250GS Adventure  1773  1.7%
5 Honda CB125F  1572  1.5%
6 Honda Vision 110  1546  1.4%
7 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650  1472  1.4%
8 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin  1276  1.2%
9 Honda CB125R  1106  1%
10 Yamaha MT-07  1037  1%

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Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.