Are the Dealerships Dying?

I came across an interesting read on here the other day from Drew Faulkner at Moto Adventurer; What is the Future of Motorcycling?

He was specifically relating to the decline of motorcycle sales in dealerships and how a lot of them are slowly closing their doors. This got me thinking, are the dealerships dying?

Personally I have only once bought a brand new bike from a dealership and that was when I was young and 1st started riding. Since then motorbike dealerships have been more a place to mooch around with your mates, look at the bikes you’ll never be able to afford and get a feel of your dream bike and occasionally buy new gear if they have a good selection. Although gear is often found cheaper online and I personally as a women find there is more choice online. Maybe just my opinion but I’m curious to know, how many of you out there specifically go into a dealerships to just buy a brand new bike?

Again on the social aspect, we would often went to a dealership to have a bite to eat and catch up. Although since coming across the pond, I haven’t seen a cafe in a dealership here yet but maybe that is part of the problem? Similar to the decline of the pub trade in the UK, they just simple cannot survive unless they are offering something more. For pubs its usual food/accommodation to keep afloat. Maybe dealerships need to do more than just sell new bikes to entice bikers in. A social hub, somewhere to catch up with mates? D.I.Y workshops such as that of the infamous motorbike cafe Chequered Flag in Cornwall? More 2nd hand bike sales? Although that said I do often see dealerships organise group rides and quite a few have their own workshops and clothing lines. So why the decline?

There were a few reasons Drew threw out as to why there might be such a decline; The generation of millennials not into biking? The cost of motorcycling is too high? Manufacturers not selling what people want? Biking is seen by many as ‘too dangerous’?

In my personal opinion the cost of buying from a dealership is just too much and yes the era of penny pinching, upcycling and re-using is definitely upon us. Although the good thing about buying brand new I suppose is the care package and warranty that comes with. I would personally rather buy a 2nd hand bike and do it up, then again I was born at the very start of the millennial generation and I guess not bought up to always have ‘brand new’. It not just the cost of buying brand new either, but generally I find their services too expensive. A prime example being when I took Bobby in to get looked at and was quoted hundreds of dollars, yet when I went for a 2nd opinion at an independent garage, it turned out to be a quick fix costing a fifth of what I was quoted.

I think there is still a future for motorcycling and dealerships but I just think our ways have changed somewhat, from the way we live to the way we spend. Maybe dealerships need to look at these trends more closely.

What’s your opinion. Are dealerships dying? What do you think is the future of motorcycling?

9 thoughts on “Are the Dealerships Dying?

  1. Hi Donna, I’ve bought brand new twice so I’m very fortunate. The first time it was an SV650 K2 (the pointy frame). I tested a couple of other machines including the Hornet but preferred everything about the SV. For me, the riding position was better, it was fast through town and slim being a V twin and made plenty of noise. Had it for eight years. Two years before I got rid of it, I went and sat on a Triumph Speedmaster and couldn’t believe how comfortable it was. My bones had been getting older and the riding position on the SV was no longer being friendly to me. So, 2 years passed and I went into the Triumph dealer and asked if they had any 0% deals. The man told me to sit down and made a couple of phone calls. He said the closest he could get was 0.2%…I kid you not! I bit his hand off there and then. He took the SV plus 900 quid as deposit and financed the rest at 0.2%, obviously not Black Horse! I was so chuffed. Are dealerships losing their way? It is certainly challenging for them and it is inevitable that some will close. This will work to the benefit of those left behind though. So long as we have petrol people will always want new machines. Affordability is another issue though and I think dealers have to get incentive on this. Letting Black Horse charge 26% apr just isn’t on, especially when you can just go to your bank and get a better rate. I don’t have the answer, but when it comes to customer service they should let the customer buy what the customer wants to buy and can afford. I’ve walked into dealers telling them what I want and then the crafty salesman has tried to push something different on me which left me feeling frustrated and annoyed. Aside from Triumph, the best customer service I had was at HD in Plympton – the man there actually asked me “What do YOU want?” And for me that simple question made me realise what customer service should be. 👍


    1. Hi Nick. Thanks for your feedback. I too got a really good deal on my 1st bike at 0% apr on the entire length of my finance plan. But you’re right, if you don’t ask you don’t get but yes the incentive should also come from them. In hindsight had I been more fortunate them maybe I would buy more brand new. But I do get put off by the occasional pushy sales man and their sometimes outrages prices for services that can cost a lot cheaper. Although in my experience the customer service I have generally received has been very friendly. And yes it is a challenging time I think for retail in general so there will be winners and losers. I too don’t have an answer but it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years especially with the loom of Brexit and other challenges that might arise 😊


      1. We have a lot of these in the UK and it was always great to just meet up with your mates at one of the dealerships and have a catch up, something to eat and purchase bits you may want clothing/cleaning products etc. I ran a breakfast club last year visiting the best biker friendly places to have a decent breakie. Half of the places visited had a dealership onsite and I suppose it just entices more bikers in.


  2. “Dealerships have been more a place to mooch around with your mates”
    This is critical, and ultimately a large part of what I think will separate dealers that survive and the ones that close. Dealers that foster a community welcome new people and offer themselves the propensity to have “casual shoppers”; those that work strictly on a “transaction” based community will fall out of favor. I think there’s a lot more that has to happen with respect to dealers. Hopefully, that discussion will start soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. I think it all comes down to enhancing the community and the social aspect as well as the sales. Biking is such a huge community and is much more a social event opposed to just riding so this definitely needs to be taken into account 😊


  3. I used to work in the motorcycle industry in sales in a dealership, and can say there was definitely more of a camaraderie type of relationship between employees and clients. Certain people had certain loyalties to different dealers, but mainly it was with how they communicated and handled things. Definitely innovation is needed, and up in Calgary, Alberta – we have a fairly limited riding season, so having a cafe connected to a dealer isn’t such a bad idea. Just with our government’s ruling and a horrible economy right now is causing doors to close. I’m not so sure if it’s millennial’s as I also teach at a motorcycle school and have hundreds of new riders that pass through every year and there isn’t a specific age or gender – but rather a little of everything.


    1. Thanks for the feedback Jennifer. Camaraderie does make a huge difference and their definitely needs to be that rapor and trust between the two in order to work. I found in England just having a cafe builds on that relationship more and makes it more a hub. Unfortunately the economy is playing a huge part in terms of the closing of many retail outlets. I am not sure if it is directly millennials’, I just think their mindset is somewhat different however I too have noticed there is a wide variety of people taking up motorcycling and its not just one gender or age. Which is great to see.


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