How many dual sport / adventure bikes are sold each year in the USA? What is the break-down by model?
According to Web Bike World, these are the approximate sales numbers for dual sport bike in the USA (and presumably includes adventure bikes).
Year – Total dual sport bikes sold in USA
- 2007 – 39,000
- 2008 – 47,000
- 2009 – 28,000
- 2010 – 25,000
- 2011 – 28,000
- 2012 – 30,000
- 2013 – 33,297
- 2014 – 34,497
Not surprising, sales fell off a cliff in 2009 due to the start of an extended recession the USA. Total motorcycle sales in the USA topped 1,000,000 units in 2007. That number fell to a bit less than 400,000 by 2009 and has only recovered to almost 500,000 in 2014. Total motorcycle sales in the USA today are half of what they were in 2007, which translates into fewer new models for you to chose from and more time between existing model upgrades.
Data published by Powersports Business from data compiled by R. L. Polk on new bike registrations in all 50 states from June 2010 – May 2011 reveals some interesting information about model sales figures.
Model – Units Sold
1. Kawasaki KL650-E 4,006
2. BMW R1200GS 1,142
3. Kawasaki KLX250SF 1,011
4. BMW R1200GS ADV 1,009
5. Yamaha XT250 988
6. Suzuki DR650SE 928
7. BMW F800GS 923
8. Kawasaki KLX250S 918
9. Yamaha TW200E 785
10. Suzuki DRZ-400S 727
(not a complete list of every model sold)
Let’s break it down down by different categories.
Dual sport sales
- Kawasaki KLR – 4,006 units
- Suzuki DR650SE – 928 units
- Suzuki DR-Z400S – 727 units
(not a comprehensive list of all dual sport sales)
Adventure Bike sales
- BMW R1200GS – 1,142 units
- BMW R1200GS ADV – 1,009 units
- BMW F800GS – 923 units
(not a complete list of all adventure bike sales)
Small dual sport bikes (200 – 250cc)
- Kawasaki KLX250SF – 1,011 units
- Yamaha XT250 – 988 units
- Kawasaki KLX250S – 918 units
- Yamaha TW200E – 785 units
(not a complete list of all small dual spirt bike sales)
Assuming all the above sales figures are reasonably accurate, let’s see what we can glean from the data.
First, the KLR650 continues to be the King of Dual Sports. It sells more than twice as many as #2 and #3 dual sport bikes combined and it also outsells the total of the DR650 + DRZ400 + BMW R1200GS + BMW R1200GS ADV.
With such (relatively) high sales figures why aren’t the other manufacturers going head-to-head against the KLR650? I suggest it is due to cost. The KLR has been in production so long that its tooling has long since been paid for, so the cost per unit for Kawasaki to produce the KLR gives Kawasaki a competitive advantage. If one of the other manufacturers decided to build a bike to compete against the KLR, the tooling cost alone would require the bike to be sold to the public at a significantly higher price than the KLR. Would you would pay $8000 for a bike equal to the KLR when you can buy a KLR for $7000? No, you wouldn’t.
Second, note that Yamaha WR250R and KTM 690 are conspicuously absent – neither model even cracks the top 10 list.
I constantly hear riders claiming to want a modern thumper from a Japanese manufacturer. The lack of sales for the WR250R proves otherwise. If you took all the riders who claimed to want a modern Japanese dual sport thumper, you would find a subsection that want a modern small bore thumper. Accordingly, those riders would then buy the WR250 as the best and most modern Japanese thumper in the 250cc class. But we can see that is clearly not the case. Even the lowly Yamaha TW200 outsells the WR250R.
I submit it is a fair to conclude that while many riders claim to want modern dual sport thumpers, the absence of the KTM 690 and the WR250R from the list means most riders aren’t willing to pay the price for a modern dual sport thumper if a less expensive alternative exits.