Lots of entrepreneurs have been attracted to the motorcycle industry over the past century (yes, motorcycles have been around that long!). Unlike some industries, which are now dominated by huge multinational businesses, the motorcycle industry still has plenty of room for a smaller business that wants to gain a foothold. Same goes for the more recent entries for speed junkies, like ATVs, snowmobiles and jet skis.
The global motorcycle industry grew 7.1% during 2002, and is expected to grow over 40% by 2007. That's according to statistics published by Automotive Business Review (report fee required). This market will continue to present a promising environment for smaller enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Sure you have the jumbo OEMs who manufacture bikes, such as Honda, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki. But aside from the major bike manufacturers, the market supports a bevy of small and midsize players. They include motorcycle dealers, manufacturers/retailers of aftermarket add-ons, custom builders who create small numbers of highly individualized bikes, apparel manufacturers/retailers — the list goes on.
In the Western countries, especially the United States, motorcycles are primarily leisure items. Toys. Nobody buys a Harley because they need transportation — it's all about lifestyle in the United States. And keep in mind this one nugget: "leisure and lifestyle" offers BIG money-making potential in the United States.
The most successful motorcycle and powersports dealerships in the United States create an "experience" for consumers. They know they are selling dreams, not transportation. And, of course, there is a booming market for aftermarket add-ons to customize motorcycles so the owners can make personalized statements about who they are, riding their cool bikes.
A prime example of an entrepreneur in this industry is my friend and colleague Lee Parks, a champion motorcycle racer. He has written a book on motorcycle racing, Total Control. His book gets a 5-star rating on Amazon.com. He has also designed his own line of great racing gloves.