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Motorbike ownership by UK region

Moneybarn reveals the popularity of motorbike ownership by region

The South East has the most motorbike owners, while the North East has the fewest

March 2019 – Recent analysis of government data* by vehicle finance provider Moneybarn, reveals the South East is the biker capital of Great Britain, with the area currently home to 17% of the UK’s licensed motorbikes.

The South East provides plenty of excellent opportunities for motorbike enthusiasts, with one of the highest  numbers of motorbike clubs (28) and test centres across the UK, which could be contributing factors to the high numbers in the area.

Bikers should be cautious when travelling in certain parts of the South East though, as it is also home to four of the most dangerous motorbike routes. One of these routes – from Bexhill to Ore – has the third highest UK injury rate.

Popularity of motorbike ownership by region:

Ranking by popularityUK regionPercentage of total UK ownership
1South East17
2South West12
5North West9
6East Midlands8.4
7West Midlands8.3
8Yorkshire & Humber8
11North East3

Other popular areas for motorbike ownership were the South West, which followed in second place (12%) and East Anglia which completed the top three (11%).

The UK’s interest in learning to ride and own a motorbike is also still on the rise, illustrated by a 29 percent increase in MOD 2 riding tests conducted since 2013. Interestingly, six of the top ten cities with the highest pass rates for the MOD 2 licence** are also in the South and East of England, which further supports Moneybarn’s findings.

London continues to make up a large proportion of total motorbike ownership (10%), although the tougher laws coming into effect in April as part of the Mayor’s plans to cut air pollution in the Capital, could be a reason it falls outside the top three.

When it comes to biker road trips, South-central England proves to have the highest number of most popular routes. It boasts Fosse Way, Fish Hill, Southam to Banbury and Stratford-upon-Avon to Brackley within its remit.

Motorists living in the North East of England are the least likely to own a motorbike, making up just 3% of the Britain’s total ownership, closely followed by Wales and Scotland at 5% and 6% respectively.

Again, this could, in part, be due to the low number of test centres in these areas – particularly in Wales and Scotland – which makes it harder for motorbike amateurs to take their riding skills to the next level. It could even be down to the weather in those regions with Scotland and Wales having 176 and 161 days of rainfall per year compared to a total of 125 days across England***.

Moneybarn’s research also reveals the popularity of smaller engine sizes, with over a quarter (28.8%) of bikes registered for the first in Britain having 51-125cc engines. This growing trend could, in part, be down to CBT licences, which allow riders as young as 16 to own a learner legal motorcycle up to 125cc.

Engine sizes of 1000cc+ are the second most popular for British riders, after seeing the biggest increase in numbers since 2013.

Tim Schwarz, Head of Marketing at Moneybarn, commented on the findings:

“The latest government data has revealed some interesting and unexpected results about modern motorbike ownership across the UK.

“Although sales have dwindled in previous years, we’re pleased to see MOD 2 tests have increased by nearly a third, which suggests motorbikes are still seen as a cost-effective, reliable form of everyday transport.”

Moneybarn has created a useful new Motorbike Map for riders to use, which can be accessed here.


*Information on motorcycle statistics provided by the Department for Transport

  • Licensed motorcycles per region: Table VEH0304
  • Licensed motorcycles per engine capacity: VEH0305
  • Registered motorcycles per region: VEH0354
  • Registered motorcycles for the first time per region: VEH0355

**2017/18 data analysed from motorcycle module 2 test centre average pass rates. Only test centres which completed over 100 tests in a quarter have been included in the analysis.

***Weather data provided by the Met Office analysing UK and regional year ordered statistics for ‘Rain days’.


Screaming Frog – 01491 415070

Mairead Folan –

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About Moneybarn:

Moneybarn is the UK’s leading lender of vehicle finance for the non-standard market. Moneybarn’s firm focus is on responsible lending, helping people to access finance even if their credit rating is less than perfect.

The company has won awards for its service and approach, most recently the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award 2018 and the Best Specialist Car Finance Provider at the 2017 Car Finance Awards.



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