– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Drawing from the Dirt

As land available for off-road riding continually disappears, why are traditional street bike manufacturers developing dirt bikes? News that BMW, Buell, Aprilia and other manufacturers intend to bring new off-road models to market in the near future has to be a bit puzzling.

The off-road market is already incredibly competitive with all the Japanese manufacturers and the powerful European off-road specialist KTM filling virtually every niche.

As I see it, these other manufacturers must be interested in developing a dirt bike market in order to feed young customers into their street bike business down the road. It is no secret that young riders frequently develop strong, lifetime brand loyalty. If you grew up riding Brand X dirt bikes, you are more likely to buy Brand X street bikes as you get older. The problem with my own analysis is that BMW, for example, does not normally compete on price with the established dirt bike manufacturers. It is hard to see how a more expensive machine will develop significant volume for a European manufacturer when the competing bikes are already so good.

If, on the other hand, these manufacturers are looking for a slightly older, more affluent dirt bike customer, while the opportunities to ride off-road are declining, I don’t see the point. It may be that I am just missing the point, and I invite readers to email us with their thoughts. This is a definite trend, and more than one manufacturer has found a logical basis for pursuing this market.

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