It’s been a tough year for riders and non-riders alike, but according to the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM), things are looking up for Q1 of 2021. The five largest European motorcycle markets—France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K.—showed a 10.3 percent increase in the number of bikes sold over the same period in 2020.  

Now, more than ever, people want to get outside their homes and go do something fun. Riding anything on two wheels is a pretty good recipe for fun, as all who are reading this know very well. As different places both had and continue to have viral surges and ensuing lockdowns, coming up with fair sales comparisons is probably next to impossible. The normal year-on-year stacking may look good on paper, but it’s difficult to sell bikes when the shop is closed, for any reason.  

That’s something ACEM also mentions, and says that although 2021 numbers look better than 2020’s for the same time period, they’re still down by 4.14 percent when compared with 2019. The phrase ACEM uses to describe 2019 is “arguably a more normal year,” which seems objectively true—but is 2021, so far, a normal-enough year for a straight comparison? That’s a separate question.  

In any case, breaking apart those top five European motorcycle markets, it seems that Italy and France did the whole group project by themselves for 2021 Q1. Italy registered a 47.3-percent increase over 2020 Q1, while France registered a more modest 15.1-percent increase for the same time period. The U.K., Germany, and Spain are all still behind where their sales were for this time in 2020. Part of that is to do with differently-timed lockdowns across Europe, of course—so again, it’s difficult to do a completely fair comparison.  

It’s also worth noting that moped sales increased by 21.6 percent for 2021 Q1 over the same period in 2020. ACEM adds that 2021 Q1 moped registrations also show a 19 percent increase over the same period in 2019, as well.  

When it comes to simple, efficient, relatively inexpensive, and relatively easy to store transportation, mopeds and smaller two-wheelers make a lot of sense. That’s especially true when a global pandemic comes to town, and you’re trying your best to stay in touch with your loved ones but also keep a safe physical distance. Public transit is great, but riding your own vehicle to get anywhere suddenly seems like a much better idea. 

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