Motorbike sales leap by more than 13 per cent in 2021

Off-road motorcycles dominated sales in 2021

Craig Duff

Posted January 19, 2022

More than 123,000 motorbikes were sold last year, with the majority being off-road machines, as Australians made further investment into making their own fun.

It seems Australian motorcyclists headed off-road in 2021 as a way to cope with the pandemic and get outdoors, even if they couldn’t travel interstate. The 2021 VFACTS motorcycle sales released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), highlighted the growth of dirt bikes and off-highway vehicles.

The off-road bike brigade grew by almost 19 per cent to 53,118 sales, accounting for 43 per cent of the market - a huge jump fuelled by people trying to maintain fitness and experience the great outdoors.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber has urged authorities to take note of the off-road motorcycle sector.

“More and more Australians are using off road motorcycles to increase their physical fitness, as a form of mental wellbeing and as a way of experiencing the Australian bush,” Mr Weber says.

Off-highway vehicles (quad bikes and side-by-side vehicles) also jumped by almost 14 per cent with 28,321 vehicles sold. The leap has been attributed to farmers stocking up ahead of the mandate for quad bikes to be fitted with rollover protection.

The major quad bike sellers, including Honda, Yamaha, Polaris, Kawasaki and Suzuki, have since withdrawn their quad machines from the local market, citing concerns the regulations may detrimentally affect the performance of the vehicles.

Road machines on the rise

Road bikes accounted for 32,270 machines, representing a 6.8 per cent rise on 2020 figures, while scooters rose by 8.1 per cent with 4821 sales.

Mr Weber says governments should be actively looking at motorcycles as a way to mitigate congestion in metropolitan areas.

“Traffic is a major issue across Australia. Getting more commuters onto motorcycles and scooters will help to reduce congestion and increase traffic flow.”

“We are encouraging Governments to consider how they can motivate commuters to use motorcycles and scooters as safe, practical and efficient ways of getting around our cities and urban centres.” 

A Suzuki DR650 rides through the bush

Suzuki's DR650 is a perennial favourite with adventure-touring bike buyers.

Detailed data not available

The FCAI is no longer providing detailed breakdowns to the media of the various motorcycle categories.

Marketing logic suggests that is due to restricting analysis by two big importers not affiliated with the FCAI: Mojo Motorcyles, which brings in the CFMoto, Sherco, Kymco and Landboss brands, along with Urban Moto Imports, which is responsible for MV Agusta, Royal Enfield, Benelli and Segway.

Yet on the motor vehicle front, Tesla is also not a member of the FCAI but the association continues to provide a detailed analysis of vehicles in each segment.

Industry insiders suggest that Honda won the outright sales battle last year, ahead of Yamaha and Kawasaki.

The Honda CRF 110F was reported to be the top selling off-road bike in the country, ahead of the CRF 50F.

As is typical of the segment, both machines are aimed at younger riders and hugely popular with parents who want their kids to develop two-wheel skills.

Harley-Davidson continues to be a popular choice in the road segment and trailed only Honda in the class.

Ongoing Australia Post sales ensured the Honda NSC 110 “postie bike” was the best-selling scooter.

The European market was also buoyant, with Ducati, BMW and KTM all posting record sales.

Ducati had a blinder, with its Multistrada V4 S just edging the Harley-Davidson Pan America as Euro motorcycle of the year and the new Ducati Monster finishing in fourth place as judged by Europe’s top two-wheeled publications.

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