There is a war heating up in Canada that has already been active in the US for a while and that is the war for your recreational dollars, especially if you are aged 25-39.

There are those in the motorsports industry that think that the market has shrunk because millennials aren't buying motorcycles, some who think this is just a Harley-Davidson problem and that other marks are doing well...

But what is really going on here?

We at Belt Drive Betty are on a mission to find out what Millennials are really thinking about motorcycles.

What are millennials riding and why?
If they aren't riding - why?

In doing the online research as to what the challenge seems to be for the manufacturers as to why young folk don't appear to be riding, I came across some interesting survey stats on millennial and the kinds and volume of vacations they take!

The American Society of Travel Agents recently did a survey of 1,500 travellers in the US between 25 and 39 years old. According to an article on the survey that appeared in the Boston Globe, they learned that 80 percent of those surveyed had taken a leisure trip in the past year.  In fact, millennial took more vacations in 2016 than any other generation! The numbers break down like this:
Gen x - those aged 40 to 51 took 1.8 vacations last year.  Baby boomers, ages 52-70 took 1.65 vacations per year and millennial?

2.38  vacations in 2016

Perhaps millennials have it right, the work life balance thing that is! Maybe from watching their parents and families stress and make themselves ill over things, they decided that vacations were vital, who knows, but it sure is interesting!

The millennial's reason for travel according to the article was to relax and connect.   "It matters who you go with, even more than where you are going."

At a recent Travel Alberta conference I attended, we learned that millennial want experiences.
They want different, off the beaten path, out of the norm kinds of experiences.

A very odd statistic that came out of the survey - millennial love cruising. ON CRUISE SHIPS.

Something else that is proving interesting, Millennials tend to use travel agents far more than their counterparts in other generations, and they are using them to enriched their experience, not just to handle the logistics.

Also in doing the research for future articles I learned that when things are measured through the eyes of insurance agents doing quotes, that millennials are in fact buying motorcycles but the kinds of motorcycles they are buying are 5-750 CC's because anything more in the power department ends up being a huge hike in insurance costs.

Yet another viewpoint of this discussion comes from Harley-Davidson themselves. In an interview with TheStreet newspaper, Harley-Davidson's CEO, Matt Levatich was quoted as saying:

Q. It's said that millennials aren't riding motorcycles, but I see them everywhere on bikes. Why are people wrong?
A. Number one, the ability to research this is difficult. There was an analyst report that referenced millennial ownership trends in new bike sales. You can't just look at new bikes. 
The used bike marketplace has 2 1/2 times the turnover of the new bike marketplace.
There are plenty of millennials riding motorcycles. It's up to us to inspire them to ride and engage with Harley-Davidson. As we look at an increased level of sophistication of our outreach, we look at psychological, life-stage and demographic trends to surgically grow riders, and Harley riders. We have to understand and meet customers where they are, whether they are millennials, Gen X, Gen Y, or baby boomers or generations yet to come. We have to shift from we build bikes to we build riders. End Quote
Revzilla had a very engaging article on attracting the millennial into the riding world, the big take away?

Millennials value experience over possession.

Yet another article, this one at claims it is because Millennials are broke, but if that's true, why are they taking so many vacations?

Armed with this information, I can't wait to start interviewing younger riders and find out what makes them tick...are we old codgers  in for any surprises or will they still love the wind? The experiences that your motorcycle takes you to and through? The community the motorcycle creates, will they still embrace it and what about the charitable aspect?  Are they still going to love rallies or will they be riding for purely transportation purposes?

I have a lot of burning questions as we look for the answers to burning questions like, what will motorcycling look like in 10 years? 20 years?

If you have a millennial in your life, please invite them to answer some questions for me....I will be holding TV Interviews at the Western Motorcycle Shows - times and information for each show below.

And that's what's on my mind this fine day.

If you are blessed enough to be riding today because you live somewhere warm, with no snow, please send me a plane ticket....

Belt Drive Betty,
Editor & Rider

To register to be interviewed at the Calgary Motorcycle Show:

To register to be interviewed at the Edmonton Motorcycle Show:

To register to be interviewed at the Vancouver Motorcycle Show:

Looking forward to what we learn!!!!!!

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