Dust bikes: Off-road bike gross sales manner up as folks search outside recreation

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With people getting away with the restrictions being lifted this summer, many of them are moving to off-road motorcycles – to the point where dirt bikes are cleaning up the sales charts!

“It’s like a tsunami. It hit us and is about to crash,” said Kevin Wray, general manager of Bert’s Mega Mall in Covina

It’s hard to find a bigger motorcycle dealer than Bert’s. They carry all major brands. But their off-road motorbike retail space is a bit bare these days.

“Bert’s Mega Mall has been around for 60 years. And in those 60 years we’ve never sold out, and we’re going through that process right now,” noted Wray.

While they recently had a small number of motorcycles on display in their off-highway section, they are waiting for more motorcycles. These will then help fill the empty footprint that used to stretch from handlebar to handlebar, many rows deep.

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It’s not just a local thing. Americans buy off-highway motorcycles across the country. In the first quarter of 2021, sales increased by over 45% compared to the previous year. Oh, and if you think that’s because 2020 was a bad year due to COVID-19? The opposite is true. For the full year, 2020 sales increased more than 46% compared to 2019, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council.

And this month marks the 50th anniversary since the 1971 Bruce Brown documentary “On Any Sunday” hit the big screen with rave reviews. It helped put motorcycling into the public spotlight like never before. Having Hollywood superstar Steve McQueen on board probably didn’t hurt.

Now, all these years later, new generations are discovering off the beaten path for some family fun.
“I’ve been riding for probably almost 50 years and it’s just a great, fantastic lifestyle. People have to do it,” said riding enthusiast Dave Evans of Granada Hills, who also owns a house in the desert that he and his family often visit horse riding.

When it comes to safety, there is definitely a way to be as safe as possible off-road.

The Honda Rider Education Center in Colton offers constant classes for almost all ages. The center provides pragmatic instruction to teach the correct technique in a structured environment. A few years ago I attended the course myself and learned the rules of driving in dirt, sometimes very differently than on the sidewalk.

When people go outside and get back in the sun this summer, many will find this sport a great way for the family to connect with each other and part from staring at a screen.

“They’re coming back with their families, they’re going out again,” Wray said.

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