Insider Insight: Millennials’ favorite motorcycle probably isn’t what you think

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Harley
Sandon Voelker

Riding a powerful and dangerous machine is, let’s face it, in many ways a young person’s game. That, along with the fact that bikes are generally more attainable than cars and are relatively easy to store, makes them very popular among millennials.

Yet misconceptions about young motorcycle collectors persist. As a millennial collector myself, I’ve heard them all: Younger buyers only want an easy electric-start bike. They only want Japanese bikes—the Honda RC30s, Suzuki RG500s and GSXR-750s, and Yamaha FZR750Rs of the world. Turns out, that’s all wrong.

More than one in three millennial motorcycle collectors calling Hagerty for an insurance quote (37 percent) are inquiring about a Harley-Davidson. That makes it the most popular marque for millennials, ahead of Honda. No other brand comes close. Not only that, millennials generally pay more for a given vintage than older collectors.

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Motorcycle quote data generally show a lower correlation between the age of the collector and the age of what they’re buying than we see in the car world. A millennial motorcycle collector, for instance, is nearly twice as likely to be interested in a 1940s motorcycle than a millennial car collector is in a 1940s car. The opposite is also true: Pre-boomers are far more interested in recent motorcycles than they are newer classic cars.

A big factor here is price. As I’ve noted previously over at Insider, the cost of entry is much lower for collectible motorcycles than for cars—the 15 most expensive motorcycles ever sold at auction are worth less, combined, than the single most expensive car. That means even a cash-strapped young enthusiast can afford to broaden their taste.

What we have then, is a relatively even playing field in which older and younger motorcycle collectors seem to be interested in largely the same eras. And everybody it seems, still loves Harleys.

Sandon Voelker

For a more detailed version of this story—and for more data and insights on the trends impacting collector cars and motorcycles—head over to Hagerty Insider.

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