Canadian sales drop


Please, drop into your local dealer and buy a bike – they could use the help!

Statistics from the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council confirm the suspicion of everyone on the street: Motorcycles just aren’t selling as well as they used to in Canada. In fact, Canadian motorcycle sales numbers are in for 2010, and retail sales are down 11 per cent.

Diving further into those numbers, there are some surprises; mini bike sales are down a whopping 33 per cent, dual sport bikes are down 13 per cent, street bikes are down 11 per cent, competition bike sales dropped eight per cent, but scooters? Well, they only dropped 0.8 per cent, though maybe they have already hit the bottom after a few years of very steep declines.

Those numbers may sound unpleasant, but things could be worse. Just this week, the US motorcycle industry reported a 15 per cent decline in 2010 with sales of about 440,000, down over 80,000 bikes from 2009.

In total, Canadian dealers pushed 56,975 bikes on to consumers this year, down from 64,087 the year before. Of that number, 34,342 were street bikes, 3,240 were dual sports, 7,602 were competition bikes (we assume this includes motocross), 4,733 were dirt bikes, and 6,112 were scooters. Only 946 were mini bikes, so it looks like kids are getting the short end of the stick from their parents when it comes to bike buying.

Surprisingly Quebec led the country in two-wheeled sales (after their draconian insurance rate hikes to boot) at 15,371, followed closely by Ontario at 13,855. Alberta and BC came third and fourth in sales, respectively.


  1. Have to agree with the consensus on insurance costs. It’s just one of the many, many ways Canadian consumers get gouged. As one the younger riders people keep talking about, I know I’ll never have the money to buy and insure a new bike. It’s just not going to happen. The price of new bikes is too high and every year they stuff more complicated electronics into them, forcing you to get expensive dealer servicing. Add the high insurance rates into the equation and it equals no new bikes. So I stick to old bikes, that are easily maintained and have plenty of parts available.
    I hit 30 last year and I own my own home now and all that so my insurance has dropped a bit, but I still pay way too much for Liability only and can’t afford to get any other coverage for my investment. I spend alot of time and put alot of love building a bike, I’d rather know that I’m going to get something out of it if anything happens ie: Theft, vandalism, whatever.
    I also want to know why they use the C.C size as their way of deciding rates. I have a 400cc with more power than my 750cc and so on.

  2. My two cents worth: Insurance rates in Canada are absurd and are perhaps the biggest reason why people can’t afford motorcycling. Also, with the Canadian dollar being at or near par with the US dollar, it really highlights how much more we pay for motorcycles here. It would be interesting to see how many of the US bike sales make their way to Canada!

  3. It seems like thatthe insurance industry has their heads in the sand going around saying …. “You bought 125 or 250cc bike as your first bike? Well we will you charge you a lot, because the young guys starting with 600cc and up sportbikes are crashing a lot …”

    Are there any numbers to see a connection between lower cc and accidents vs higher cc? I realize there’s a difference in rates, but obviously it is not enough, if the first bike might cost as much as half of bike price a year to insure ….

  4. Absurdly high insurance rates have to be the primary barrier to anyone joining the motorcycling fraternity. You can tailor new models and prices to suit newer buyers all you like, but when it costs a new rider 40% of the cost of a new Honda 250 for (yearly) insurance, it’s no wonder sales are down.

  5. You can buy only so many toys, and you can renew only so often …. especially considering how short the season is here.

    Now attracting new, young people …. well, start bringing the right bikes and maybe they will come. There are still hurdles like always rising insurance etc. so I wouldn’t hold my breath ….

  6. I’m surprised the American numbers aren’t higher…they have 10x the population and a more rider friendly climate (on average). And I will bet TK’s statement about bikes lasting longer plays more into this than the stats show…more decent used bikes on the market, so maybe guys are buying more used in the current economic state than new…?? I’m sure these stats are on new purchases only.

    I know I am going used for my upgrade…taking Bondo’s advice and getting a Bandit, but an ’02 model instead of the “New” ’09 from the shop…


  7. Maybe if the manufacturers worked a little harder on figuring out the market (i.e. smaller displacement machines for new buyers), the numbers wouldn’t look so bad ? Quit trying to sell expensive stuff to old farts like me and look to new opportunities.
    It probably hurts numbers too, that the current generation product is stone reliable and lasts at least twice what is used to before requiring major maintenance …?

  8. I must hand it to Quebecers. Despite increasing and unfair licensing costs and a government that has continuously proven its anti-motorcycling sentiments, they still love their motorcycles.

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