Motorbike statistics

How has motorbike popularity amongst Brits changed?

Last updated:

Picture not described
There are a number of reasons to choose a motorbike: As well as potentially making your commute easier and more thrilling, they tend to be cheaper than owning a car. They also give you the freedom to cover new ground while also welcoming you into a community of friendly bikers.
However, motorbikes can be very dangerous if you are involved in a serious accident, and just like a car, owning a motorbike means that you must have third party cover in case anything goes wrong.

Did you know?

  • In 2017, the region with the highest number of licensed motorcycles was the South East, with 216,000 vehicles.
  • This is over 5 times the number registered vehicles in the North East (39,200).
  • The number of motorcycles registered in 2018 was 1,243,000 – almost a thousand times the number of licensed ultra-low-emission motorcycles registered in 2018 (1,279).
  • The number of motorcycle riders involved in road accidents decreased from 29,523 in 2003 to 19,204 in 2017 – a decrease of 34%.
  • In 2018, the average expenditure on motorcycles per quarter in the UK was £225 million.
  • The consumer price index (CPI) of motorcycles was highest in 2018 at 104 – a 28% increase on 2007’s CPI value of 81.

The most popular motorbike brands

The number of motorbikes per brand owned in the UK from 2016 to 2018 is presented below. In 2018, the most popular brand was Honda. There were 302,000 Honda motorbikes in 2018, which is almost double the number of the next biggest motorbike brand, Suzuki.

Motorbike brand 2018 2017 2016
Honda 302,000 237,000 270,000
Suzuki 154,000 162,000 163,000
Yamaha 148,000 138,000 144,000
Kawasaki 143,000 105,000 141,000
BMW 131,000 142,000 118,000
Triumph 92,000 96,000 100,000
Aprilia 86,000 23,000 45,000
Ducati 77,000 124,000 75,000
Harley Davidson 73,000 64,000 56,000
Piaggio 50,000 39,000 65,000
Vespa 41,000 65,000 47,000
Peugeot 25,000 28,000 46,000

The number of motorcycles sold in the UK in 2018 by type

At 33,570 sold, naked bikes are the most popular type of motorcycle sold in 2018, making up over a third of all motorcycle sales. A fifth of all motorcycle sales are scooters, followed closely by adventure sport bikes at 18% of all motorcycle sales.

Type of motorcycle Number sold
Naked 33,570
Scooter 19,770
Adventure sport 17,860
Custom 8,280
Supersport 8,260
Trail/Enduro 6,130
Sports/Tour 3,240
Touring 2,470
Unspecified 190

The number of motorcycles sold in 2018 by engine size

Motorbikes with 51-125cc engines were most commonly sold in 2018, making up 22% of all motorcycles sold. In second place, and making up close to a fifth of all motorcycles sold, were motorbikes with engines over 1,000cc.

Engine size Number of motorcycles
1-50cc 70,000
51-125cc 278,000
126-150cc 12,000
151-400cc 146,000
401-500cc 63,000
501-600cc 96,000
601-650cc 68,000
651-800cc 128,000
801-1,000cc 175,000
More than 1,000c 228,000

Reasons for motorcycle failing their MOT in 2017/2018

In the 2017/2018 year, 25.6% of motorcycles initially failed their MOTs. Of these failed motorcycles, 37% failed due to lighting and signalling issues, making it the most likely reason to fail. Brakes were the second biggest reason for these motorcycles failing their MOTs, with almost a fifth of all failed motorcycles failing for this reason. Steering and suspension and tyres and wheels closely followed as the next most common causes for failing an MOT, with a 15% and 12% occurrence, respectively.

Reason Reasons for failure
Lighting and signalling 37%
Brakes 18%
Steering and suspension 15%
Tyres and wheels 12%
Drive system 5%
Registration plates 4%
Fuel and exhaust 4%
Body and structure 3%
Driving controls 2%

Which age group is best at passing the practical motorcycle road test?

The pass rate for the practical motorcycle road test is shown for three years, from 2015 to 2018. With an average of a 73% pass rate over the three years, the 21-30-year-old age bracket has the highest pass rate. Despite the jump in 2017/2018, the 61+ age group has the lowest average motorcycle pass rate, at 64%.

2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
17-20 67% 66% 67%
21-30 73% 73% 74%
31-40 72% 71% 70%
41-50 70% 70% 70%
51-60 66% 65% 66%
61+ 61% 59% 73%


Office for National Statistics
Kantar Media
The Motorcycle Industry Association

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

Related articles

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site