Johannesburg – With our sunny weather, variety of riding conditions and relatively good road infrastructure, it is not surprising that bikes are extremely popular in this country.
However, what may well be surprising to some is the fact that bigger machines do not dominate the rankings. This was what we found out when we took a look at eNatis registration figures for the past 12 months.
We then asked an expert in the person of Lachlan Harris, National Director of the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (AMID), to crunch the numbers and help us come up with a definitive list.
Almost predictably BMW’s R 1200 GS tops the list, but that’s where predictability ends: the next four placed are taken up by sub-200 cm³ machines. The Big Beemer boasts a whopping 891 units registered, more than double those of the second-place holder, Honda’s Elite 125 with 368 units. Two more Hondas take third and fourth places, with Big Boy in fifth.
The next big bike, the KTM 1290 Adventure, appears in the sixth position. The top end of market seems to be split 60/40 between commuter/commercial bikes (1 667 units) and adventure bikes (1 047 units), with sport bikes, cruisers, tourers and other sub-categories not making it into the Top 10.
Says Harris about the trend in the registration figures: “Essentially we are still a market made up of commercial bikes and leisure units. And of the leisure bikes, the dual sport or adventure bikes are well in the majority.”
Arguably, in a country where bikes are relatively expensive and many riders own a single bike, this is a pointer to the versatility of adventure bikes – they tend to serve as commuters, tourers and go-play-on-Sunday bikes all rolled into one.
The Top 10 list by brands look a little different: BMW no longer tops the list – with 1 623 units, the honour goes to Honda. But for BMW, KTM and Harley-Davidson to make it onto the list is an impressive feat because they don’t have the benefit of commercial models to boost their sales volumes.
If you’re interested in the details, here are our two bike Top 10 lists:
Top 10 by model