Like the auto business, the two-wheeled category, in recent years, has been putting an emphasis on less expensive machines with smaller-engine displacement, but that share some features with their bigger, more powerful brethren.
And like autos, the point is to give non-riders a less expensive gateway to the brand, and create life-long loyal customers in the process. Ideally they will be loyal and move up the ladder to more advanced bikes. Just like cars. That was certainly evident at this year’s New York International Motorcycle show this month.
Ty van Hooydonk, director of communications for the Motorcycle Industry Council, says the demand is there. "It does present a value: you can save thousands [of dollars] going from four wheels to two by lowering maintenance and insurance costs while boosting mileage – up to 75 mpg in some cases. So we are seeing a lot of two-car families going to one, plus a motorcycle or scooter."