US Biker Trends

Every 5 years the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) tracks biker trends, and this year for the first time did the survey online. Below some numbers to crunch.

1- the primary reason for riding is pleasure, followed by commuting and errands. In 2003, commuting and errand riding was in third place. 2- The average age for motorcycles in the U.S. was 13.2 years old in 1998, 11.7 years in 2003, and 10.8 years so far in 2008. 3- Riders are getting older, although the increase in rider age over the years may be flattening. The average rider was 32 years old in 1990. By MIC’s 1998 survey, the average rider was 38, then 41 in 2003. This year it appears the average rider is 42. 4- Women now account for 12.6% of motorcycle riders, a 29% increase since 2003 and up from 4% in 1990. The Council says that in 2003, about 23.5 million people in the U.S. operated a motorcycle. Women account for 4.3 million of them.


19 Responses to “US Biker Trends”

  1. 1 Mike Greenwald Dec 27th, 2008 at 9:15 am

    I think that these figures are skewed to extrapolate results that they (MIC) wanted to present.

    I would like to see the test procedures or data gathering methods.

    Is there a link available for this document or is this part of the $200.00 report?

  2. 2 Scott Dec 27th, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Not only do I believe these trends to be accurate I think it also explains why the custom motorcycle business is leaning more towards ride-able bikes like bobbers and or custom touring bikes. Pretty much everyone I ride with is over 40. I live in a town where it seems that almost everyone over 35 owns a bike and they’re usually only a few years old. But I think from experience the increase in women riders is coming more from the younger crowd riding sport bikes.

  3. 3 Nitrous Phil Dec 27th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    I completely agree with Scott & Mike – I do not believe those figures are accurate.
    I tried to get simply easy infomation from the MIC in the past and not only way the info incorrect – trying to get a straight answer as to how they arrive at there statistic was completely a waste of time.
    Frankly I find the MIC useless.

  4. 4 Ian Solley Dec 28th, 2008 at 9:38 am

    As its Christmas and you may have some time to kill – here in the UK we get quite good stats from the government which definitely show its a growth industry – although our figures include all two wheelers and due to high petrol prices and congestion, there is a massive growth in scooters and commuting bikes here.
    Have a look

  5. 5 Mike Greenwald Dec 28th, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Ian Solley,

    I am not certain that the “quite good stats” that you speak of are either good or useful. As I recall, these “quite good stats” have been fertile ground for schemes such as ‘Vision Zero’, a campaign with the goal of eradicating road deaths completely, and, another scheme by Stephen Plowden, advisor to influential road safety group the Slower Speeds Initiative, has written to the governmental committee stating bikes over 600cc should be banned.

    Please take a moment and show me how these “quite good stats” are “good”, “quite good” or even “stats”. A compilation of a first graders ability to count may get you a government job, however, when they have more than one meaning, they are either incomplete or “pink tea”.

    I am not criticizing your country because of a nationalistic fervor that I want to arouse. Nor am I criticizing all English speaking countries around the world for that matter. I am criticizing all governments that present incomplete stats as the basis of laws that are oft times aimed at further restricting the use of motorcycles or burdening motorcyclists with tax and fee to satiate some perverse desire for control.

    I would recommend that you do not piss on my boots and call it rain.

    Mike Greenwald

  6. 6 rodent Dec 28th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Figures don’t lie, but liers can create figures

  7. 7 Asa Dec 28th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Cyril, I so much appericate your blog and all the Imformation you gather for all us readers good or bad we enjoy knowing whats up in our industry.I hope you plan to continue this ,I get my coffee and head straight to it every Morning. Thank You for a Job well done. By the way are you building any new bikes as of late ? I would Love to see pictures if you are .

  8. 8 Ian Solley Dec 28th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    compared to the 4 pieces of info provided, they are more informative.
    Dont worry i wouldnt piss on your boots – even if they were on fire.
    Happy Christmas.

  9. 9 MJ, editor Dec 28th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I am laughing so lound… and I can’t stop! You are both adding so much to my holiday entertainment… Now, I have to crunch these numbers and see what I think. Happy Holidays and I hope everyone will have (somehome) a Happy New Year… MJ

  10. 10 MJ, editor Dec 28th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    ooops… misspelled “loud” ..

  11. 11 Mike Greenwald Dec 28th, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Ian Solley,

    Since you are a true believer of the prophylaxis and protective cover of the internet whilst defending drivel compared to drivel, kindly stetch a condom over your head and save the world.

    Thanks for the fire prevention tip and warm wishes.

    I remain your bastard brother.

    My bastardism is a title of birth, yours is freedom of choice.

  12. 12 Ian Solley Dec 28th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    MIke the Statistics Monster obviously scared you very much when you were a child- but dont worry he is not real – i think you need to go out and ride your bike for a bit.

  13. 13 Nicker Dec 28th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “…some perverse desire for control…”

    Ya, i’m incline to see it that way too.

    Look at the statistical BS the Kyoto & UN clowns have pumped out just to rationalize CO2 driven global warming (when CO2 is actually a trailing indicator, not a leading indicator).


  14. 14 Boss Hawg Dec 29th, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Mike Greenwald…I have to side with you brother!

    Ian, no pun intended, but there are many quality reports available such as J.D. Powers & Assoc. that Cyril posted last week. Most of these can be filtered somewhat to ones needs, too. However, having worked overseas for a major UK General Contractor for many years, shall we say the “Brits” sure know how to “churn the accounts” in favor of the “wall of wankers” that reap the rewards! No further comment offered…All the best and if you don’t like Cyril’s hard work and offerings here…I suggest that you “bugger off for a little bike ride in the country side.”

    Boss Hawg

  15. 15 Mike Greenwald Dec 29th, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Ian Solley,

    You say that, “the Statistics Monster obviously scared you very much when you were a child- but dont worry he is not real”.


    Unless, of course, you are a manipulator of statistics working for or in conjunction with a marketing agency, the government or a LEA that conjures fantasy into real dollars for the government with a surprise attack on a minority of road users because you have your own set of dragons to slay.

    The monster of “statistics” is the presentation of of an incomplete gathering of numbers presented in a way that will influence tolerant and compliant masses to form a majority opinion that something must be done to all in order to control a few.

    Many of the components of the “monster” are borne of the insurance industry, others are enjoined because of lesser criteria such as prejudice against, or fear motorcyclists or motorcycles.

    Motorcycles and motorcyclists are the perennial whipping boy of myriads of morons that believe incomplete numbers and draw final conclusions using these incomplete assessments and compilations. Slick thieves of pleasure have formed varying marketing or educational groups under the guise of safety, or imposing as informational stalwarts using perversions of truth and masquerading these collections of incomplete numbers to their own purposes of control of your thoughts and actions.

    Please tell me the difference between stats, “quite good stats”, really good stats and any other stats that are incomplete that are used to draw nefarious and ill-advised conclusions about motorcycles and motorcyclists.

    My whole purpose for this diatribe is to steer you and others away from the belief that any government statistics or statistics formed and postulated by a marketing group are slanted to relieve you of money while at the same time intended to control you and your motorcycle for a noble cause. To that end, you are welcome to believe some of them or none of them without scrutiny.

  16. 16 mike Dec 29th, 2008 at 11:23 am

    sounds like harley better introduce a hd style disability scooter to stay in business soon. beep-beep. i can see it now! ape hangers , flames and side bags for diapers.

  17. 17 exhausted Dec 30th, 2008 at 12:00 am

    The MIC scews numbers to support their cause, usually the main funding member. You know the old saying… don’t shit where you eat.

    Mark Twain said it best… There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics

  18. 18 IntelWeenie Dec 30th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Damn it Mike, who told you about my new scooter???

  19. 19 Nicker Jan 2nd, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Just got through with the latest health insurance announcement from the retirement system.

    Their HMO scheme just doubled my rate. And announced a plan to further increas that rate over the next three years.

    Don’t be suprised if the “23.5 million ” riders find out that because they are participating in a “Statistially high risk” activity they can expect their health insurance rates to go up significantly.

    Statistics are a wondeful tool…… 🙁


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