The REV-olution of the Canadian Motorcyclist

“The times they are a changin’ “sings Bob Dylan. There was a time when a motorcycle was a cheap mode of transportation or a statement of rebellion, a way to get back at your parents, ridden by devil may care hooligans. The Canadian motorcycle rider is a much different animal today.

According tot the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council, motorcycle sales have more than doubled from about 24,000 in 1996 to about 60,000 in 2001. The litre size motorcycles making up the majority of street bike sales, from almost 19 000 in 2000 to over 24 000 in 2002

Recent studies show that the majority of Canadian motorcyclists are an average age of 46, a college graduate and an established family man. The Canada Safety Council says, “The average age of riders in their motorcycle training programs are now in their late 30’s; about 10 years older than a decade ago.”

 Although these studies show the average motorcyclist is usually male, there is a growing trend in women taking to two wheels. In 1990 in the United States, 6.4 percent of riders were women, in 1998 that number rose to 8.2 percent. Interestingly this study also found that women out spend men in the motorcycle apparel and accessory markets.

 In 2002, Ontario had almost 120 000 registered motorcycles, with 91 percent of those belonging to men and the other 9 percent being made up by women. Of the 120 00 registered, 58 percent are between the ages of 30 to 49 years of age.

 The Baby Boomers are a big part of the increase in motorcycle sales, the re-entry buyer; the person who wanted a motorcycle when they were younger is now purchasing the bike they never had. “The Boomers are reaching retirement age and have money to spend,”  motorcycle salesman Jim Homes says,  “It may even be a mid life crisis thing.”

 Dubbed “Rubies,” (short for Rich Urban Bikers) many are buying the top of the line bikes at the top of the horsepower class. “When it comes to street bikes,” Jim says, “The large cruisers are the purchases the rubies seem to be most interested in making.”  Not only are the Rubies buying “top of the line” bikes, they are also spending the extra money for accessories and aftermarket products to make their bike unique and reflect their own individuality.  “Once the bike purchase has been made, within a few weeks the accessory purchases start,” says Jim

 The MMIC’s statistics also show that off road bikes up to 125 cc have consistently been a big seller making up the majority of bikes sold. Off road riding is an easy and inexpensive way for children to become involved with motorcycling. Programs like Honda Canada’s Junior Red Rider’s Club, allow parents to find the answers to questions and concerns about motorcycling and kids are able to get the proper training necessary to keep the sport safe and fun. “We will get a parent buying a bike and then returning to buy a dirtbike for their kids.” Jim says, “It has really become a family activity.”

 D’Arcy Bailey, an avid motorcyclist and parent who shares off road riding with his wife and two boys couldn’t agree mere, “There’s nothing like the feeling of riding with you kids,  I’d rather go riding with my kids then be a hockey dad.”

Motorcycling it seems may be slowly shedding the bad boy image of the outlaw biker. The person riding the big Harley may be an accountant, lawyer, rich or poor, it no longer matters. The times they definitely are a changing.’

Hang on and enjoy the ride. 


~ by cdnrider on February 25, 2007.

2 Responses to “The REV-olution of the Canadian Motorcyclist”

  1. It’s very interesting to me to see the changes in today’s motorcyclist and to see the stereotypical “biker” image is if not fading, then at the very least changing a little. I for one am really looking forward to introducing my son to the wonderful world of motorcycles, and once we are certified and have taken the safety course, getting out on the street’s to ride together. As the article state’s “I’d rather go riding with my kids than be a hockey dad.” I can definitely see the appeal.

  2. There is a similar trend here in the UK more middle aged bikers than youngsters. Partly because of the insurance costs for young riders.

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