Who ruled the roads in the American motorcycle market last year

Still in the thick of the Covid pandemic last year, the motorcycle industry nonetheless had another banner year, posting positive sales numbers by 2021 year-end. In the US of A alone, motorcycle sales across all categories were up by 21.8% since 2019, with even scooter sales up by 19.6%. Dual-sport and ADV sales skyrocketed, up 18.6% over 2020, which itself was up a whopping 46.2% over 2019, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. People followed the “social distancing” mandates by hopping on motorcycles and rolling out into the wide world of fresh air and open spaces.

King of the American Roads- Harley-Davidson

Of the brands that knocked it out last year, Honda clearly was king around the world, but was dethroned Stateside by none other than the homegrown favorite, Harley-Davidson. Under the leadership of CEO Jochen Zeitz, the Motor Company has surged ahead of long-time dominator Honda on the strength of their beautiful and powerful cruiser and tourer lines, and the class-leading sales of their Pan America in the ADV niche over the past year.

Rounding Out The Top Five- The Japanese Heavyweights

Honda still leads the world in overall motorcycle sales on every (inhabited) continent, followed by Yamaha with their 20+ worldwide subsidiaries, but here in the States, Harley led all challengers with a 22.1% growth in sales. They currently hold over 31% of the American motorcycle market share. Honda took second place in US sales, followed by Yamaha in third. The top five in American sales was rounded out by Kawasaki then Suzuki, all of whom posted great sales in 2021.

Here Come The Europeans

Outside the top five, BMW took sixth place, on the strength of their ADV and sport touring machines. KTM made the top ten in seventh in the US with their long-running range of successful dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and in recent decades, their killer street bikes. Ducati, Triumph, then Indian rounded out the top ten in America, all posting healthy sales growth figures in the US and Canada during these pandemic times.

Old Iconic Brand Reaching Deeper Into The States

It’s worth noting the inroads Royal Enfield is making in the North American market, since they are such a large manufacturer outside this continent. With their classic Brit-style cruisers and expanding ADV line (Himalayan and Scram), their “Build. Train. Race.” initiatives, and their great affordability, RE is finding a widening market here in the States, and going head-to-head with rival Triumph in the “modern retro” segment that’s so popular among the young and old(er). Could they break into the US top ten in coming years?

Long Live Motorcycling

Motorcycle sales in the United States isn’t yet what it was back in the 1990s to mid-2000s, but interestingly, the pandemic has created a surge in sales again, even as manufacturers still struggle with global supply chain issues. Motorcycling is alive and well, thank you very much, and we tip our helmets to the top ten brands leading the charge here in the States. May a rising tide raise all ships. Or in this case, motorcycles.


*info sourced from Motorcycle Industry Council, Motorcycles Data, and Statista. All photos used with permission.


  1. Steve

    Well written, informative remarks Rob. Stay cool.

    • Rob Brooks

      Thanks Steve, keep on riding and rocking!

      • Fred

        Your fred
        The way they say Harley is biggest seller in America is not fair


    I think that more and more, a comfortable “every day Ride” Market will grow and grow, in the future. Not so much the “urban commuter” as just a “general purpose” bike that still performs moderately well, but is comfortable for longer rides, and less of a “Race Bike” with turn signals. Lower seat heights and softer seats, and maybe even some lockable storage… Not designed for “Street Racing” but still handles well enough to enjoy twisty mountain roads, but comfortable for Hours of open country roads, or even the Interstates. And I want to see bikes that appeal more to Lady Riders..! Again, seat height is important…

  3. Marco

    Another good article, thanks. But HD as “beautiful and powerful?” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in today’s market, 83 HP pushing 900 lbs is nobody’s powerhouse.

    • Sasha Banks

      BMW Is on the top on our list always.


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