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We need to get youth into powersports

By Liz Keener

Liz KeenerDave and I were recently having lunch at the local PSB hot spot Buffalo Wild Wings, and the subject of youth in our industry came up. What is being done to bring young people into powersports, we asked? Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with a very long list of initiatives we’ve heard of.

We all know the average demographic in this industry is aging, and we need to replace the older crowd with some fresh blood, if we want this industry to thrive in the future.

Some dealers and industry organizations are rocking it. In 2013, I wrote an article about Fay Myers Motorcycle World in Colorado, which hosts Fay Myers Kid’s Day each year. The dealership builds a mini dirt track in its parking lot and puts kids on 50 and 70cc dirt bikes, earning their excitement from a young age. You can read that story here.

Another example is Strider, which produces balance bikes to teach kids about life on two wheels, when they’re as young as 18 months. Strider has partnered with powersports OEMs to brand its pedal-less balance bikes with motorcycle brands, so kids and parents can associate with those brands early. Strider also hosts Strider Cup races and creates Strider Adventure Zones nationwide to get kids’ behind the handlebars.

My nephew, who seems destined to be a motorcycle enthusiast, took a spin on my Strider last fall. Now he has his own.

My nephew, who seems destined to be a motorcycle enthusiast, took a spin on my Strider last fall. Now he has his own.

I recently received an e-newsletter from Wild West Motorsports, also in Colorado, promoting its Kids Day, which included dirt bike test rides for kids 8 and under, a Strider bike giveaway and other children’s activities.

Of course, there’s also the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge, a hit at any Supercross race. For 16 seasons, the KJSC has given kids 7 or 8 years of age the chance to race on the same track as the pros.

The KTM Junior Supercross Challenge always brings a smile to those watching Monster Energy Supercross races, like the February race in Atlanta.

The KTM Junior Supercross Challenge always brings a smile to those watching Monster Energy Supercross races, like the February race in Atlanta.

There are a ton of other events that I haven’t listed, but the point is we all need to be encouraging events like this. We need to find ways to get kids’ butts on seats of Striders or small cc machines. We need their parents to see the light in their eyes when they hit the throttle or take a checkered flag.

The earlier we get kids on powersports vehicles, the more likely we’re going to develop lifelong customers — a kid who starts at age 5 could become a customer for several decades! We need to bring kids into the sport, if we want this industry to survive.

Liz Keener is the managing editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine and online. She produces the magazine’s annual Market Data Book and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine and its ancillary products. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis, Power 50 dealership honors program and dealer education.

Contact: lkeener@powersportsbusiness.com
Website: www.powersportsbusiness.com

One comment

  1. Loved your article! Good tie and quote in this recent article, http://www.bmxnews.com/2016/07/next-week-strider-worlds-come-san-francisco/:

    "Hardboiled BMXers may look at the phrase “Strider World Championships” and dismiss it with a cynical scoff. That’s a mistake. Strider rider participation is massively-important for bringing new generations of BMX racers into the sport. Afterall, there are 61% more “balance bike” racers in USA BMX than there are pros! Strider racing is a “gateway” to BMX Racing, and we need to encourage it however we can."

    I wonder how many powersports dealers have partnerships with BMX tracks (and are really maximizing those)?

    I just spent the weekend in San Francisco at the big event and saw a TON of parents with moto and powersport-themed shirts with their kids with custom branded Striders (Honda, Yamaha, KTM, Harley, etc).

    Several of the kids make motorcycle noises while riding their Strider Bikes!

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