By Thomas Kostigen
More than half of all motorcycle sales are to people over the age of 50. Such an aging demographic doesn’t bode well for motorcycle sales here in the United States. But a new breed of bike — electric powered — may change things. And the desire to hit the open road after COVID-19 lockdowns may add some traction to demand.
Investors may want to take note of the rise in interest in motorcycles and look at different ways of investing. Famed investor Jim Rogers published in 1994 his book, Investment Biker, in which he chronicled a motorcycle trip around the world eying investment opportunities. He may have been sitting the whole time on an unexplored opportunity.
Some of the more famous motorcycle companies include Harley Davidson, Polaris (which owns Indian motorcycles), and BMW. Of course, there are others, such as Honda and Triumph, or the race bike Ducati (which at day’s end is owned by Volkswagen).
Certainly, a financial professional can guide you through the different holding companies that have motorcycle subsidiaries — and through which you can invest and gain exposure to the motorcycle market. But there are also small brands being crowdfunded, too. For example, Norton, the legendary British motorcycle company that has been around for more than a century, turned to crowdfunding, as have the likes of new brands (many of them electric or that run on biomass fuels.)
The motorcycle industry is transforming. And it’s betting on younger, greener riders.
According to the website, Financhill, which provides investment briefings, “The motorcycle market in the United States has been on the decline, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some upside opportunities for investors. You just need to be careful. Before you invest, make sure that you understand some of the pros and cons of investing in this industry.”
Harley Davidson’s new 2020 LiveWire electric bike certainly is a radical departure from its Easy Rider “hog” legacy. The LiveWire is super cool looking and promises advanced technology. It’s meant for a new riding experience and/or new riders. A new television series starring Ewan McGregor riding the LiveWire from Argentina to Los Angeles may also bring a splash of marketing and interest.
Meanwhile, Zero motorcycles has been rolling out some truly terrific all-electric models, and Honda has even jumped into the mix —albeit with what looks like a souped up scooter (and on that note, Vespa now has an all-electric model, too.)To be sure, there is still an appetite for gas-powered engines. Indian, America’s first motorcycle company, is still featuring big cruisers.
Polaris’ stock has risen 2.5 times its value since April. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson, who’s stock symbol is HOG, has nearly doubled in that time. And Honda’s stock is up more than 25 percent.
There is clearly a yearning for domestic travel and fresh air. Motorcycles create that sense of freedom. The question is whether younger people, more accustomed to shared ride services than two-wheeled rides, will bite. There’s hope. Urban bicycling has caught on, and many are adding electric engines to their bicycles as ride assists. It’s not a far jump from that to something with more power and, let’s face it, sense of cool.
Thomas Kostigen is a contributing writer to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. Thomas is a best-selling author and longtime journalist who writes about environmental, social, and governance issues.