If you’re at all an industry aficionado who revels at watching what niches are suddenly becoming hot, than you had to appreciate Honda’s recent move.
Just days ago Honda announced it’s bringing a 250cc sport bike to the U.S. market, something that years ago when 600ccs were flying out of dealerships would’ve elicited some mighty big yawns.
But that, of course, is no longer the case, and the once ho-hum, entry-level 250cc has become a very important category.
Think that’s hard to fathom? Guess what was the No. 1 selling on-road motorcycle from June 2009-May of this year that did not have a Harley-Davidson brand on it? That’s right, the Kawasaki Ninja 250.
That information, courtesy of R.L. Polk, should be looked upon with some favor. It proves the entry-level rider is still coming into the market, despite the current economic challenges.
And now the competition to lure that customer has only become that much more heated with Honda’s recent move. It should be interesting to see where Honda positions its new entry-level offering in terms of a price point versus the Kawasaki Ninja. That news is expected in another week or two.
I am an experienced powersport toy user, and I have seriously considered owning a 250cc Ninja. Their inexpensive, sporty, fun, and great on gas mileage. Consumers still want to have fun, but they need to do it on a budget. Small displacement, low cost machines may be considered 'entry-level' but due to the recession, they should be considered economy brands. I think we see a move more toward a purchasing trend rather than new entry-level riders increasing; however, the reality is the smaller-bike owner today will upgrade to a bigger bike tomorrow.