Baby Boomers Aggravate The Motorcycle Industry Crisis

Did you know that in occidental countries, the peak spending age is around 47 years old and that the baby boomers median age (50% below, 50% above) is now 51 years old? Practically, the number of baby boomers going down and the median age going up, it means that baby boomers are less and less the biggest contributors to the economy.  In western countries, by the age of about 47, most people have bought the biggest house they are likely to own, they are earning the most they are likely to earn. Add to this the panic of knowing that your retirement account has lost 40 to 50% during these last months and you turn pre-retirees into savers more inclined to pay credit card debts and pay-off their mortgages than spending on “dream-fulfilling” motorcycles. The days of  “buy now pay later” are gone. So, what conclusion can we make if baby boomers are no longer the engine-room of consumption?  Because of age and lack of financing the peak of the baggers trend is now probably imminent (instead of 3 to 5 years away that I used to predict). We are going to see a slow deterioration of the numbers of units sold proportional to the decline of the number of baby boomers. At the same time trikes/sidecars sold are going to reach their highest volume, but of course in a very “confidential” number because few baggers are going to be replaced by this type of machines. The 2 following generations, named X & Y are going to peak in numbers respectively in 10/12 years and 20/25 years. For motorcycle manufacturers they represent the largest potential and the biggest challenge. Difficult to attract for the 1st time generation X (in their 30’s) if they didn’t start riding in their 20’s. And when they ride, Japanese/Italian manufacturers have acquired most of them. Will they mature on a foreign or American made cruiser? Are the actual brands and model options attractive for them? How will look the motorcycles of generations X & Y when they reach mid age, their peak spending years? What effect will have the legislator on the machines proposed? Etc. I don’t know the definitive answers, but the same way the economic landscape has forever drastically changed, I am convinced that the next factory motorcycle models are going to be radically different in terms of design & technology. A complete rupture with what we see and ride today. For custom motorcycles I have no worry. Personalization being in the blood of each individual, completely new factory motorcycles to re-design and improve are going to force and be the catalyst for re-energized creativity. I am impatient to see and experience…because I am a baby boomer.

8 Responses to “Baby Boomers Aggravate The Motorcycle Industry Crisis”

  1. 1 harry Jan 8th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I am a Gen X’er and I can’t really sit here and blame your generation or the ones below me (Gen Y) on anything, we all hold some responibility in this damn mess. I am no expert on any of these matters but with the artifical bolstering of the economy in years past due to easy financing, spending instead of saving/investing, this is what it became. We spent too much, have nothing left and couldn’t borrow from anyone if we tried. Yes it affects the economy, people aren’t buying what they used to, whether it is TV’s, motorcycles, boat’s, etc…I think the bike riders will come full circle, and will buy the US-based V-Twins (H-D & Victory) and customize them to their abilites and personal tastes. Notice I didn’t mention Indian…Not a bad bike but came into the market a few years too late and too expensive for most people’s budgets. It is a shame cause it does look like a pretty nice bike, but too little, too late. I will admit. I still like Ducati’s cause not only are they easy on the eyes but a well built bike also, one day I will have a Ducati (preferably a Monster of some sort)next to my Sportster (along w/ a few other bikes of my choice). Despite the bleak economic outlook,
    Motorcycle riders will survive, regroup and succeed. People will always buy motorcycles, parts and accessories. Trends will come and go, things will adjust themselves back to normal. Probably in 10-15 years we (Gen X) will start bitching about H-D not selling enough baggers cause we will want to ride them/lol. Things will be difficult for awhile but I can bet they will get better. A positive mindset will lead to positive results.

  2. 2 hot rod Jan 8th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    If we look at the bike industry like a pie Harley has there slice, victory has a slice, and so does all the others. The trick is how do the US bike builders get a bigger slice. At some point they will have to attract the younger riders. I think as of now Victory is doing a good job at this they are designing there bikes geared towards the younger rider as well as the older rider by using looks as well as performance. And to some extent Harley is doing that as well but to a lessor degree the advantage Victory will have and does have is price. Harley is wanting more money for there bikes therefore there is a smaller group that can afford them. I only ride American bikes mainly Harley but I can afford them. If the time ever came that I could no longer afford to ride a Harley I would ride a Victory or Yamaha or Honda not because I don’t prefer a Harley but for cost and cost alone. I must admit I have been debaiting on buying a Victory they are a great looking bike and they are fast , lots of power without having to do big bore kits and head work and all the stuff I have done to my harley. And again the cost is low makes them very appealing. Just look at the sells numbers harley sells have gone down some 40% while Victory has gone up pretty much tells the story right there. If Harley does not adjust there thinking they will soon be number two and Victory will be the number one American made bike.

  3. 3 Dave Mann Jan 8th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Remember when we were cheering for the Harley VR 1000?

    Now there’s another American motorcycle company you may not be familiar with: Motoczysz.

  4. 4 harry Jan 8th, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Mr. Mann, the Motoczysz, well…that is a pretty exotic bike. Didn’t want to look for a price, probably give me a heart attack/lol. Cool looking bike though, as of right now I will stick to my sportster.

  5. 5 Stefy Jan 9th, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Motoczysz is owned by the italian designer Federico Cioni (father of the Testastretta and DesmosediciRR), so it’s basically an american based italian company

  6. 6 Nicker Jan 14th, 2009 at 12:16 am

    “… Will they mature on a foreign or American made cruiser?….”

    Or will they even want a “cruiser” at all….?

    They may want smaller, more agile bikes.
    Let’s face it, if the tree-huggers get the political power they want, large displacement stuff will be taxed off the road.


  7. 7 Mickey Carroll Feb 11th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Hello Baby Boomers, . It was my 70th birthday and I decided to record this song entitled Old Dogs and share this with friends. So far the response is to cool. It is scheduled for PBS /TV /Radio.
    ( Growing Bolder )

    All the best with your creative adventures in life,

    Mickey Carroll
    Grammy Nominee
    Gold Record Recipient

  1. 1 John Travolta - Honda Motorcycle Commercial Pingback on Jan 9th, 2009 at 8:00 am
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