Motorbike statistics

How has motorbike popularity among Brits changed?

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 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.

Quick overview

  • 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 of registered vehicles in the North East (39,200).
  • The number of motorcycles registered in 2019 was 1,250,000 – 131% more than the number of motorcycles registered in 2000.
  • 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 2019, the total expenditure on motorcycles in the UK was £599 million.
  • The consumer price index (CPI) of motorcycles was highest in 2019 at 105 – a 30% increase on 2007’s CPI value of 81.

The number of motorbikes per brand owned in the UK from 2016 to 2019 is presented below. In 2019, the most popular brand was Honda, with 453,000 motorbikes in 2019.

Some brands have seen considerable increases in number of owners. BMW ownership has increased by 164%, from 118,000 owners in 2016 to 311,000 owners in 2019. This now makes BMW the second most popular motorbike in the UK. Aprilia has also seen a huge jump in popularity, with ownership increasing 178% since 2016.

Motorbike brand 2019 2018 2017
Honda 453,000 302,000 237,000
Suzuki 184,000 154,000 162,000
Yamaha 196,000 148,000 138,000
Kawasaki 138,000 143,000 105,000
BMW 311,000 131,000 142,000
Triumph 98,900 92,000 96,000
Aprilia 125,000 86,000 23,000
Ducati 80,200 77,000 124,000
Harley Davidson 88,700 73,000 64,000
Piaggio 102,000 50,000 39,000
Vespa 69,500 41,000 65,000
Peugeot 66,200 25,000 28,000
Other 236,000 204,000 201,000

The number of motorcycles sold in the UK by type

At 34,320 sold, naked bikes were the most popular type of motorcycle sold in the UK in 2019, making up over a third of all motorcycle sales. A fifth of all motorcycle sales are scooters, followed closely by adventure sport bikes at 19% of all motorcycle sales.

Type of motorcycle Number sold
Naked 34,320
Scooter 20,177
Adventure sport 18,918
Supersport 8,099
Custom 7,700
Trail/enduro 6,480
Sports/tour 2,560
Touring 2,151
Unspecified 67

The number of motorcycles sold by engine size

Motorbikes with 51–125cc engines were most commonly sold in 2019, making up 32% of all motorcycles sold. In second place, making up 22% of all motorcycles sold, were motorbikes with engines 651–1,000cc. This was closely followed by 126–650cc (21%) and then over 1,000cc (20%), while 0–50cc had the lowest proportion of sales at just 6%.

Engine size Number of motorcycles
0–50cc 6,764
51–125cc 33,874
126–650cc 22,451
651–1,000cc 23,251
Over 1,000c 21,068

The top reasons motorbikes fail their MOT

In the 2018/2019 year, 23% of motorcycles initially failed their MOTs. Of these failed motorcycles, 38% 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 14% and 12% occurrence, respectively.

Reason Percentage
Lighting and signaling 38%
Brakes 18%
Steering and suspension 14%
Tyres and wheels 12%
Drive system 5%
Reg plates and vin 5%
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 3 years, from 2015 to 2018. With an average of a 73% pass rate over the 3 years, the 21- to 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

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