Motorcycling a $42-billion annual business, report says
How big is the motorcycle business?
Big. Multibillion-dollar big.
Motorcycling accounted for more than $10 billion in total sales of gear, accessories and vehicles in the United States in 2012, according a report released by the Outdoor Assn., which tracks the economy of outdoor leisure activities. Sales of “trip-related” products and services -- food, lodging, transportation and such -- totaled another $32.5 billion.
The “ripple effect” of dollars generated by motorcycle enthusiasts -- including wages paid in the manufacturing and service industries related to two-wheel sports -- accounted for more than $102 billion.
Those numbers, according the Outdoor Assn., are only for recreational uses, and don’t even include expenditures for motorcycles used in industry (fleet sales of Harley-Davidsons to the local police) or non-leisure activities (sales of Vespas to the individual scooter-commuter).
These numbers may not be surprising to anyone who’s actually participating in motorcycle riding or racing. The cost of a new dirt bike can approach $10,000, while the cost of a competitive street bike can be double or even triple that. Throw in the cost of the safety gear -- helmet, boots, gloves, goggles, chest protectors, racing leathers and more, requiring two full sets for the rider who enjoys on-road and off-road action -- and pretty soon you’re talking about serious money.
It’s not just the motorized two-wheelers that are spending big, either. According to the same report, the motorcycle numbers are edged out slightly by the bicycle numbers. Cyclists spent $10.5 billion on gear, accessories and vehicles in 2012, and $70 billion on “trip-related” products and services.
They just didn’t make as much noise doing it.
The view from Sacramento
Sign up for the California Politics newsletter to get exclusive analysis from our reporters.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.