Did Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman save the Motorbike industry?

Triumph model

Everyone remembers the Long way Round motorbike trip Ewan McGregor participated in with his friend Charlie Boorman. It is actually rather safe to say that after this programme was aired in 2004, the Adventure Motorcycle market boomed and has continued to flourish ever since. It appears that the motorbiking duo’s influence is even greater than ever these days. BMW have apparently made rather significant profits off the back of the Long way Round series, whilst KTM are probably completely regretful that they turned down the request of the duo to loan a 950 adventure over eight years ago.

What has happened to Motorbike sales?

Last year, Adventure Motorcycle sales were up by over 15% in the market that was actually down by 0.2% altogether. The touring category was down almost 30% whilst customs and Sport touring categories were also down around 12% each. Just a small number of segments happened to be up and of many of them showed only a rise of a single digit, however the adventure sector is at a 15.2% rise and is still booming.

Based on figures from 2009 Supersport motorbike sales had taken a rather harsh battering and the numbers were 18,961 motbikes sold, though in 2012 that figure was even further down to just 12,851. Naturally, these kind of figures were not welcomed by people who’s entire business is based around the success of the sportsbike. In 2012 11,759 Adventure motorbikes were sold and although that means they are still coming up behind the supersport category, with supersport motorbikes said to show another drop by around 4%, the evidence shows that people are still shifting away from the category of supersport and are showing more interest in the adventure motorbike category.

Long way round inspired people to acquire a motorbike

The Long way Round series has allegedly inspired viewers all over the world to look into acquiring a motorbike license. Some people are even said to have quit their jobs as something rather ordinary and aspire to be a rather interesting somebody, even writing a book based on the epic adventures they have experienced on their new found best friend. It could be said that The Long Way Round has actually changed people’s opinions of motorbikes and motorcycling. It has become clear that people on bike’s are not just interested in going as fast as they can on the motorway, many are passionate and would like to be involved in adventures. People who decided to ride off somewhere on their motorcycle, wherever it may be, are thought of as heroes.

So this begs the question, if Ewan and Charlie had not documented their journey in such a way and had not drawn up such attention to motorbikes, would these hundreds maybe even thousands of new bikers still wanted to embark on a motorbike relationship. Without the inspiration of the programme, would people who are acquiring new bikes have gone straight into the adventure motorbike category? Many people truly believe that without the success of the Long Way Round, there would be no-where near as much interest into the motorbike sector, especially not of the adventure motorbike category and maybe without this inspiration, there wouldn’t be as many passionate bikers and adventurers across the world.

Because after all if Ewan and Charlie weren’t anything to do with it, then what was?

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