Why Are Motorcycles So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Bruce Coleman

Bruce Coleman is a diesel mechanic and car tester with 20 years of experience. He's a member of various vintage car clubs, and he loves restoring old motorbikes.

Motorcycles are a common mode of transportation in several countries, including the US. Given the conveniences motorcycles offer, it’s not surprising if you want one.

However, a quick check at current motorcycle prices might dismay you. Why are motorcycles so expensive? I looked into it, and here are 11 reasons you can refer to!

Why Are Motorcycles So Expensive?

Motorcycles are expensive because manufacturing motorcycles cost a lot of money. It’s so costly that many manufacturers cannot sell in the US, and the reduced competition allows bigger brands to price their motorcycles higher. Motorcycles are considered luxury items, and in the COVID-19 era, motorcycles are in high demand for their recreational value.

If you want to learn more about the factors that make motorcycles expensive, like operations costs, brand name, shipping, and consumer demand, keep reading!

1. Manufacturing Motorcycles Is Costly

Manufacturing motorcycles has become more expensive over the years for several reasons. One of them is due to US laws that make acquiring Chinese parts difficult.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, importing and exporting supplies from other countries have become challenging.

These acquisition troubles compound the fact motorcycles today are mostly made of titanium and copper fiber, which are lighter than other metals but significantly stronger.

So, with expensive materials becoming more costly to procure, companies have to recoup their investments by selling their motorcycles at higher prices.

2. Not All Manufacturers Can Sell In The US

A lot of small to medium-sized motorcycle manufacturing companies cannot afford to sell their motorcycles in the US. Generally, this is because there is little guarantee of profit.

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Currently, only big brands like Ducati, Harley, BMW, and a few others have the capacity to cater to the American market.

With less competition, more prominent brands have more freedom to place a higher price tag on their motorcycles.

3. Manufacturers Have To Set Up Services Stations & Stores

There is more to selling motorcycles than getting them into a specific country or market. Like cars, motorcycles need to be serviced regularly to function well.

For motorcycle companies, this means setting up showrooms and service stations, which are expensive to build, maintain, and operate.

Naturally, these acquired costs will be passed over to consumers by driving up motorcycle prices.

4. Motorcycles Are Considered A Luxury

While motorcycles are pretty common today, they are still viewed as luxury items, especially in developed countries.

Generally, this is because motorcycles are often used for recreation, not for work, and certain models are designed to cater to the needs of avid motorcyclists.

With the status symbol and lifestyle that motorcycles promote, motorcycle companies can justify the lavish prices of their motorcycles.

5. Motorcycles Come With High-Performance Engines

When you buy a motorcycle, you want to ensure that it can support extended mileage, provide good speed, and make your overall driving experience seamless.

For that to be possible, your motorcycle of choice needs to have a high-performance engine. However, high-performance engines are expensive because of their special components.

In fact, high-performance engines make up more than half the total cost of a motorcycle, which explains the expensiveness of most motorcycle models today.

6. Branding Impacts Motorcycle Prices

6. Branding Impacts Motorcycle Prices

A motorcycle’s brand has a significant impact on its selling price.

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Technically, the more popular the brand and the more positive its reputation, the more expensive their motorcycles are.

Additionally, the brand is the first thing consumers look at when choosing a motorcycle because it gives them a general idea of its reliability and value.

As a result, established brands like Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, and BMW can sell their motorcycles for a sizable sum.

7. Motorcycles Undergo Stringent Tests

Manufacturers are accountable for the safety of every person who rides their motorcycles; any miscalculation and malfunction can easily cost people their lives.

Therefore, to prevent accidents caused by poor manufacturing and defects, each motorcycle must be tested repeatedly until it passes quality control.

Nevertheless, tests cost a lot of money to perform, which is passed on to consumers by increasing the price of motorcycles.

8. Motorcycle Supplies Are Low

There are far fewer motorcycles than cars, mainly because most people prefer cars for personal and business use.

So, when there are fewer motorcycles manufactured per batch, the price of each unit increases. As such, motorcycles have become more expensive to produce.

9. Consumers Are Willing To Splurge On Motorcycles

Most consumers believe that you get what you pay for, and when it comes to motorcycles, consumers are ready to spend great sums.

That said, since consumers have already accepted that motorcycles are pricey, they enter the market ready to splurge on the model that catches their eye.

Given the current attitude of consumers towards motorcycle prices, companies are comfortable making their motorcycles expensive.

10. Shipping Motorcycles Is Costly In The COVID-19 Era

COVID-19 has made shipments more complicated due to global lockdowns, trade restrictions, and other factors that impact shipping routes.

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Of course, these existing shipping problems can drive up the cost of importing and exporting motorcycles. Additionally, motorcycles incur tariffs and other dues.

So, once motorcycles reach their destination country, you can expect that the complicated shipping and costly tariffs will make them more expensive.

11. Motorcycles Are In High Demand Due To The Pandemic

COVID-19 has renewed people’s enthusiasm for motorcycles. Generally, this is because people have missed out on outdoor recreational activities for several months.

Also, motorcycles offer a unique opportunity for safer traveling, especially for people who do not mind going on long road trips alone.

However, the supply of motorcycles remains low despite the increased demands. Naturally, the gap between supply and demand makes motorcycles expensive.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why used motorcycles are so expensive, why used Teslas are so expensive, and why vans are so expensive.


Motorcycles are expensive because manufacturing them is costly, particularly when they come with high-performance engines.

Furthermore, limited brands can enter the US market, and most of those brands are well-known, meaning their motorcycles are already quite pricey.

Paired with the large gap between the demand and supply of motorcycles, you have higher motorcycle prices than before.


  • Bruce Coleman

    Bruce Coleman is a diesel mechanic and car tester with 20 years of experience. He's a member of various vintage car clubs, and he loves restoring old motorbikes.

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