Local dealers see scooter, motorcycle sales soaring
By Paris Goodnight
As prices climbed toward the $4 mark at gasoline pumps, interest in motorcycles and scooters peaked ó and not just from big boys looking for new toys.
“Sales are booming,” Darian Wagoner of Motts Powersports said.
“No question about it,” Dirk Newsome of Extreme Motorsports added.Even though prices have eased slightly, Newsome said a guy driving a truck getting 15 miles per gallon could save so much money with a motorcycle getting 50 mpg that it would make economic sense to buy one, especially if the truck runs on diesel.
That’s why instead of wives stomping in when their husband wants to buy a new bike, Newsome now sees a different scene. “Now guys show up with their wife being part of the buying decision. They’re looking at it from an economic perspective,” he said.
Wagoner, who has been in business for two years at 1303 S. Salisbury Ave. in Spencer, said business really picked up for him when gas prices approached the $4-a-gallon mark. Even as prices have dropped a bit lately, he said a lot of people are still buying, or they’re coming to him to get service on scooters they’ve already been using.
He said he does a lot of service work on the Chinese-made models sold elsewhere because he has the parts and technicians to make necessary repairs.
Motts sells three ranges of scooters:
– The 50 cc, which can go about 30 mph and is considered a mo-ped by the state (no license required).
– The 150 cc, which can go about 50-55 mph and is considered a motorcycle by the state.
– The 250 cc, which can go about 70-75 mph and is also considered a motorcycle.
At Extreme Motorcycles, Newsome said they have motorcycles starting at about $3,200 and going up to more than $60,000. His showrooms have more than 300 to choose from, which may be tops in the state after major manufacturers like Honda and Suzuki trimmed production levels and left some retailers unable to get all they’d like to have on hand for customers.
The typical customer, which used to be men in their 20s or 30s, is now in his 40s or 50s and may have a commute to Charlotte or Statesville that is burning through the cash earned outside the county. That’s why a 250 cc motorcycle that gets 80 mpg can trim the commute cost significantly.
Commuters in other countries already know this.
“People in Europe have been paying higher prices for a long time,” Newsome said. “Motorcycles were seen as a luxury item or toy here.”
But no longer.