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Can You See Motorcycle's Future?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Can You See Motorcycle's Future?

Arnold Hexden
February 15, 2008

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I am a big fan of Cyril Huze Blog, Why? Because he speaks a lot of sense. I recently moved from the UK to live here in Spain, I have always followed whats happening in The US with great interest. The economy there is in free fall, which means that the rest of the western world will follow in due course.

In his latest post Cyril poses the question " Can you see motorcycle's future?" well, I can't speak for the US, however I can express an opinion on what I feel will happen in the UK and Spain.

In the UK people are already reeling from the banks squeezing them for mortgage payments and accrued debt oncredit cards which, was given to them freely during the boom times. Over the last 5 years borrowing has been easy and people ran up cheap debt on credit cards and fixed payment mortgages. With the knowledge that House prices were soaring house owners felt comfortable that any debt would be easily repaid.

That made it very easy to afford the latest bike and or the best leathers etc. It is a lot different now, gasoline is at an all time high at around $8.75 a gallon, electricity and gas prices are rising fast and mortgage interest rates are at their highest level for 5 years, however I don't see British bikers holding back from purchasing motorcycles; the big ticket items will definitely slowdown and I think people will think twice about buying new, however this will lead to an increase in used motorcycles.

In Spain it is completely different as the financial system has always been more prudent, for example credit cards arenot as flexible here; the credit limits are smaller and the amount of collective debt is smaller. The fact that it has always been harder to get credit means they have less to lose. The motorcycle market is also very different here; there are two distinct groups of bikers. The first is the moped scooter rider, of which there are millions, almost every other teenage has a moped or scooter.

The other group is the serious biker mainly Harley Davidson's and other cruisers. These are owned by older riders; there are quite a few retired people who worship their bikes and keep them a long time; I don't see the problem being so acute here.

I suppose looking from the outside at whats happening across the pond; everyone in Europe is hoping that a new president will help turn the tide, so until that happens we just have to tighten our belts a bit more.

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