UK registration numbers offer a window into what is actually being ridden.
The first takeaway from the government-issued data is that 2015 had been the biggest year for new bike registrations since 2008; hardly surprising considering the economic climate of the period, but significant enough to celebrate none-the-less.
But we were much more interested in the rest of those bikers who couldn’t necessarily afford a brand-spanking-new machine. What about the actual landscape of riders in the UK? What are the bikes that we’re actually riding?
Delving deeper into the spreadsheets reveals some fascinating insight into the state of UK motorcycling.
Total number of registered bikes, scooters or mopeds by Marque on UK roads by the end of 2015*:
- Honda: 251,687
- Yamaha: 165,899
- Suzuki: 132,907
- Triumph: 93,344
- Kawasaki: 85,148
- BMW: 66,734
- Harley-Davidson: 46,445
- KTM: 22,505
- Ducati: 22,469
Unsurprisingly the big registration winners are the Japanese giants of Honda and Yamaha, and despite sales slightly decreasing of late, there are still enough old Suzuki’s still on UK roads for them to come in third when totalling up the number of bikes ridden.
Honda‘s most popular machine remains the CBF1225 with over 10,000 currently tearing around the towns and cities of the UK (although there are over 46,000 that are listed as ‘model unknown or missing’).
Yamaha have 14,225 of their YBR125s on the road. However, their new MT range has proved a hit with over 9,000 ‘MT’ designated bikes ranging from the 125 through to the 09. There are even 304 MT-01’s on the roads!
And guess what is the most popular Suzuki? Did you say the GSXR600? Well, you’re wrong. That has 9,092 registered whilst the SV650 only just came behind it with 9,029. But neither of these are the Suzuki winner… Yep, it’s obvious really; the GSF600 ‘Bandit’ has over 9,500 running on UK roads and is still their most popular model.
And look at Triumph! With over 93,ooo bikes running on UK roads the growth of the Leicestershire firm continues at quite a pace and whilst 13,583 Bonnevilles have helped them get there it’s the Tiger with 15,599 that has shown that 2015 continued to be the era of the Adventure bike.
Skipping right past Kawasaki whose ZX600 is predictably their most popular model with 8,565 of them registered, the Adventure bike segment is bolstered again by the mighty force that is the ever dominant BMW GS. A massive 24,444 GS and GS Adventures are cruising the motorways and slightly-gravelly A and B roads of the British landscape.
We have to be honest and say that we would have expected more of a showing from Harley-Davidson, but out of those bikes that we do have numbers for, the 883 would have been our pick for the top spot. But it isn’t… It’s close with 5,495 but the FLS ‘Slimtail’ pips it with 6,349.
You’d expect the KTM Duke 125 to be the winner of their registration battle, especially when you look at the Honda CBF and Yamaha YBR figures above, but despite a relatively strong showing of 1,695 it’s actually the KTM 250 EXC with 1,873 that takes the honours.
And as for Ducati, well… Whilst 3105 registrations are listed as ‘model missing’ which may skew the results slightly, the most registered model from the Bologna brand isn’t perhaps one that you’d suspect… 1199 Panigale? No (821). 848? No (916). 899 Panigale then? Nope (920). It’s actually the Multistrada 1200 actually tops the charts with 2,813 of the wonderfully comfortable all-rounders registered for the UK roads.
But perhaps a bigger surprise is that the Diavel is the second most popular model for the Italian firm – and this is data gathered before the XDiavel redesign hit the showroom floors – with 1,450 of the meaty ‘sports cruiser’ in circulation.
There are some other interesting tidbits too…
Did you know that there is only ONE Moto Guzzi Daytona registered for riding within the UK currently?
Or that there are only 38 Ducati 916s (either pure, Biposta, SP or SPS versions) around and being ridden?
Or maybe you’re that one die-hard rider who’s clinging on tightly the the last Honda CB400AT that’s licensed for riding on UK streets?
But what is the actual, most-popular two-wheeled machine within the UK?
It’s none of the above!
Pipping the BMW R1200 with 24,444 into second place is the wonderfully ‘catch-all’ title of the Piaggio Vespa with 24,845 of the little wasps buzzing around the streets. Because they’re only listed as ‘Vespa’, these could be any of the 50cc to 300cc models in the entire, historic range of course.
But data is built to be [mis]interpreted, so we’re going with this for the sake of a good headline!
We could get lost in this data for DAYS!
*A couple of caveats with this data need to be offered however; there are a lot of ‘missing’ models – or just mis-registered data registrations – and also this data set doesn’t account for any bikes that have been purchased for anything other than ‘on road’ use. So there’s no pure track or off-road bikes listed here for example.