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FADING REGISTRATIONS GROWTH WARNING

September’s plate-change delivered a satisfactorily bumper volume as usual, to conclude the strangest summer sales season in living memory. But as useful as an overall 11.8% increase to 14,513 units might be to the trade in these stressful times, it also flagged up cautionary messages for the immediate future. BDN financial editor Roger Willis reports. 

The 0-125cc market, which has boomed on its Covid-dodging budget commuter isolation advantage, continued to expand at pace, rising by 24.6% to 6107. But that growth rate had shrunk substantially from 41.8% in August. And September’s tally of 8406 machines in the 126cc-plus sector represented an advance of just 4.1%, against the 31.2% improvement recorded a month earlier. Recovery has slowed sharply.

Within these numbers, motorcycles were 8.3% up to 10,622, scooters added 18.9% at 2762 and mopeds stacked on 32.4% to 1014. In the niches, electric bikes rose by 90.3% to 314 and trikes were 38.6% higher at 115.

Among manufacturers, Honda inevitably held onto chart-topping status, although its registrations slid by 6.5%. This retreat came despite the CB125F taking both naked motorcycle and 51-125cc engine band plaudits. The PCX125 continued scooter domination too.

Runner-up spot was snatched by BMW Motorrad, thanks to a 9.2% hike. No doubt the R1250GS Adventure claiming style category and over-1000cc accolades helped. Relegated to third, Yamaha lost 6.1%. The Ténéré 700’s 651-1000c leadership would have been some consolation.

Only 66 bikes behind Yamaha, premier Chinese brand Lexmoto soared by 53.9% in fourth place. Lexmoto’s rip-snorting LXR125SY remained the perennial steed of choice for supersport enthusiasts, just as its Echo Plus 50 owns the moped podium.

Completing the top five, Triumph managed only a 3.7% increase. Reliable informants point to an unfortunate paucity of desirable adventure bike stock coinciding with the new-plate month.

Kawasaki was best of the rest, adding 7% in sixth, with its trusty Ninja 1000SX maintaining residence at the front of sport/tour products. KTM, Austrian king of “name your own price” marketing, stacked on 40.7% to grasp seventh on the greasy pole.

Suzuki figured in eight place and posted a 3.4% increase, even though word on the street is that it has completely run out of popular 125cc motorcycle inventory. Piaggio made another guest appearance in ninth — without performance comparison availability because the brand was invisible during September last year.

Last and most definitely least came Harley-Davidson, suffering the ignominy of a 27.7% plunge while its UK dealer roadshow promotion of the Livewire electric Hog was in full swing. Clearly a success. Or not.

Royal Enfield deserves an honourable mention, having fallen off the chart’s bottom rung for a third month on the trot. The vanishing act of out-of-production 500cc Bullet models may be a factor. Nevertheless, its Interceptor 650 twin still took the 126-650cc engine band prize for a fifth consecutive month and actually increased September registrations by 17.5%.    

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