Earlier we took a look at the complete 2017 Australian Motorcycle Sales Figures in regards to total sales sold across all sectors, and individual brand rankings across the road, off-road, scooter and ATV sectors of the Australian Motorcycle Market.

In this piece we focus on the breakdown of road motorcycle sales across individual sub-categories such as Sports, LAMS, Adventure-Touring and so on.

2017 Australian Motorcycle Sales Figures

While down 15.9 per cent overall at the end of calendar year 2017, road motorcycles remain the biggest component of the Australian market with 40,196 sales comprising 38.6 per cent of the total market.

Road Bikes Top Ten Overall

Top 10 by Category – Road Bikes by Model
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
Harley DavidsonXG50011821664-29.0%
Harley DavidsonFXSB11501509-23.8%
KawasakiNinja 30010171375-26.0%


The biggest selling road model outright was Honda’s NBC110, the machine supplied exclusively to Australia Post.

Harley’s Street 500 and Breakout models both took hefty hits to their volume but still bested all of the mainstream road motorcycles.

Street 500 sales were down 29 per cent, while Breakout declined by 23.8 per cent. Still, if just the sales of those two Harley models alone were combined, not even taking in to account the rest of their wide inventory, Harley sold more of those two models than Ducati sold motorcycles in 2017. Clearly, despite Harley taking an uncharacteristic and quite major hit, the brand remains incredibly strong.

Honda’s Grom continued to be a great success with only a marginal dip.

Yamaha’s brilliant learner legal MT-07 took out fifth place overall ahead of Kawasaki’s Ninja 300. Both of the models did, however, see their sales drop by just over 25 per cent compared to 2016.

Honda’s ripper CBR500R was down 21.9 per cent but was still Australia’s seventh biggest selling roadbike ahead of Yamaha’s YZF-R3A, which was down 37.9 per cent.

Yamaha's MT-09 was a top performer for the brand
Yamaha’s MT-09 was a top performer for the brand

Finally on to some good news…  Yamaha’s barking mad MT-09 actually upped its game in 2017, sales up by 15.5 per cent for the charismatic triple to come in ninth overall.

Honda’s biggest success story in recent years, the CRF1000L Africa Twin continued to kick goals and rounded out the overall top ten, 1.8 per cent up on 2016 figures.

Learner Approved Motorcycles

Top 10 by Category – LAMS Approved by Model
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
Harley DavidsonXG50011821664-29.0%
KawasakiNinja 30010171375-26.0%


The top ten for the Learner Approved Motorcycles Category is a bit of a strange one as it also includes a few off-road bikes, while here we were trying to talk road bikes only, but we only can work with the data we have… 

However, it can be somewhat of an interesting comparison between the numbers recorded by the most popular road and off-road motorcycles that are eligible for full road registration.


Top 10 by Category – Adventure Touring by Model
ManufacturerModel Total 
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
BMWR 1200 GS47238323.2%
BMWR 1200 GS Adventure307370-17.0%
KTM1090 ADV R1900100%
BMWF 700 GS188211-10.9%
DucatiMultistrada 1200176255-31.0%


The Africa Twin continues to be an incredibly strong arrow in Honda Australia’s quiver, topping the adventure-touring category.

Suzuki’s venerable DR650 just keeps on keeping on with 488 of the machines heading out of showrooms in 2017 despite the model being largely unchanged for two decades. During that 20 years around 10,000 of the machines have hit Australian roads, and it remains the weapon of choice for adventure-touring on a budget.

Suzuki DR650SE
Suzuki DR650SE – A long-time and very successful stalwart for Suzuki for 20 years

BMW pulled out all the stops late in 2017 to get people on to new R 1200 GS machines and it worked. Sales were poor early in the year but ramped up late in the year to see numbers up by an impressive 23.2 per cent on 2016. Big Brother GS Adventure though was down 17 per cent. Still, if you combined the sales of the two they would have bested the Africa Twin for top spot.

In fifth place I could almost use the same words as I already have for the DR650, but in this case the topic would be Kawasaki’s staunch KLR650. Sales of Kawasaki’s comfortable budget single were down 21.9 per cent.

Honda’s ripper CB500XA is certainly more touring than adventure, but as the cheapest machine in the top ten it offers absolutely incredible bang for the buck for $7699 (+ORC). It may be learner legal but that parallel twin is a little gem and powers the Honda to a top whack approaching 180km/h, it’s smooth and comfortable too.

Honda CB500X - Image by Colin Rosewarne
Honda CB500X – Image by Colin Rosewarne

Next up in the charts is KTM’s new king of serious off-road adventure, the 1090 Adventure R. It was obviously a model that punters were waiting for, as despite only hitting showoom floors around the middle of year, 190 of them were registered on Australian roads by year end. A fairly aggressive $19,990 (+ORC) helped them fly out dealer doors.

Eighth was Suzuki’s evergreen DL650. The model listed in the top ten is, despite the XA nomenclature used in the FCAI tabled data shown here,  is actually the more adventure oriented XT model, of which 189 were sold by Suzuki in Australia throughout 2017. This was actually up 14.5 per cent on 2016 thanks to a revamp for the model halfway through 2017.

Suzuki DL650 sales were up in 2017
Suzuki DL650 sales were up in 2017

Suzuki sold 71 of the more touring oriented DL650 with cast alloy rims. The learner approved version of the DL650 on alloys found 46 customers, while the spoked rim LAMS machine attracted 33 customers. While only the XT model made the adventure-touring top ten, if sales of the four DL650 models are combined the continuing popularity of the platform can’t be denied. 

BMW’s F 700 GS was the German brand’s third entry in the adventure-touring top ten. Numbers for the model were down 10.9 per cent in 2017 but a thorough revamp is due this year, whereby the F 700 GS will become the F 750 GS and its 800 sibling will grow into an F 850 GS, numbers for BMW’s parallel twins should improve this year due to that new model appeal.

2018 BMW F 750 GS and F 850 GS
2018 BMW F 750 GS and F 850 GS

Ducati’s Multistrada rounded out the adventure top ten but was down a marked 31 per cent on 2016 results


Top 10 by Category – Cruiser by Model
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
Harley DavidsonXG50011821664-29.0%
Harley DavidsonFXSB11501509-23.8%
Harley DavidsonFXDLS66549933.3%
KawasakiVulcan S5905713.3%
Harley DavidsonFXDB511654-21.9%
Indian MotorcycleScout38331820.4%
Harley DavidsonVRSCDX310902-65.6%
Harley DavidsonFLSTFBS292480-39.2%

Predictably, Harley-Davidson own the cruiser market.

Honda’s surprisingly amenable CMX500 did not hit dealer floors until almost the middle of this year but had quickly proved an instant hit. 595 of the machines rolled on to Australian roads last year, just managing to pip Kawasaki’s Vulcan S out of fourth place on the sales charts.

Yamaha’s XVS650 took a bit of a hit in 2017 but Indian’s Scout picked up momentum to finish eighth.

Indian Scout picked up some admirers willing enough to put their money down in 2017
Indian Scout picked up some admirers willing enough to put their money down in 2017

Harley’s Night Rod is no longer being made but 310 of the machines still found new homes in 2017, down from a heady 902 sales in 2016. The loss of the V-Rod line-up of machines in worldwide terms will be a blip in Harley’s vast ocean, but in Australia they found a receptive audience. Australian Harley dealers will be lamenting the loss of the V-Rod model range from their inventory.


Top 10 by Category – Naked By Model
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
DucatiScrambler 800273284-3.9%
TriumphBonneville T120264289-8.7%


Honda’s Grom is perhaps a strange inclusion in this category, but this is how the FCAI divide up the numbers in consultation with the brand distributors.

We already mentioned the performance of Yamaha’s MT-07L and MT-09 earlier when we discussed the overall top ten, thus predictably, this capable pair feature near the top of the nakedbike charts.

Honda’s CB125E certainly seems to be somewhat of a quiet achiever in the market, notching up 701 sales to take fourth place ahead of Yamaha’s MT03LA.

Honda's CB125E is a strong seller
Honda’s CB125E is a strong seller

KTM’s 390 Duke was next best with 361 of them hitting Australian roads in 2017.

At the upper end of the nakedbike market Yamaha held sway with the deeply impressive MT-10 which bested Ducati’s Scrambler and Triumph’s T120 while Kawasaki’s Z300 rounded out the Nakedbike top ten. 


Top 10 by Category – Sport Touring By Model
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
KawasakiNinja 30010171375-26.0%
KawasakiNinja 650L45136124.9%
KawasakiNinja 100020716525.5%
KawasakiVERSYS-X 3001350100%
BMWR 1200 RS123140-12.1%
BMWS 1000 XR118158-25.3%


Again, we are at the mercy of the supplied data in relation to category make-up, thus the Ninja 300 and YZF-R3A are put in the sport-touring data along with other unlikely models such as KTM’s RC390, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650L and Versys-X 300.

Of what most people would consider proper sport-touring motorcycles, it was Kawasaki’s Ninja 1000 holding sway in sixth place that realistically ruled the sport-touring roost.

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer
Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

Yamaha’s MT-09 Tracer managed to take eighth place ahead of BMW’s R 1200 RS and S 1000 XR. Considering the lofty capabilities of that aforementioned trio, it is amazing how few of them were sold. I would happily have any of them in my shed…


Top 10 by Category – Super Sport By Model
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
BMWS 1000 RR295345-14.5%
Ducati959 Panigale264350-24.6%
Ducati1299 Panigale2101929.4%
KawasakiNinja ZX-10R166240-30.8%


Starting to sound like a broken record here, but, again the data for this category puts a few machines in here that most would not consider Supersport motorcycles, and both of them come from the Honda stable.

The bargain priced, eminently fun and surprisingly capable CBR500R led the way in the data but it is BMW’s S 1000 RR that can realistically lay claim to being Australia’s #1 selling sportsbike.

2017 BMW S 1000 RR
2017 BMW S 1000 RR

Suzuki’s new generation GSX-R1000 was the next proper sportsbike on the charts ahead of Ducati’s 959 Panigale. The Ducati topped the proper sportbike list in 2016 but a 24.6 per cent decline in 2017 for the 959 Panigale saw it slip down the order.

Honda’s new CBR1000RR Fireblade came in next ahead of the 1299 Panigale.

Two brilliantly capable bikes in the ZX-10R Kawasaki and Yamaha’s evocative YZF-R1 took massive hits. The Kawasaki down 30.8 per cent and the Yamaha slumping by 40.1 per cent. The sportsbike market is a strange one to figure out….

Yamaha's YZF-R1 is gorgeous and sings an incredibly evocative tune while being an absolute joy to ride, yet only 160 Australians stumped up the cash for one in 2017
Yamaha’s YZF-R1 is gorgeous and sings an incredibly evocative tune while being an absolute joy to ride, yet only 160 Australians stumped up the cash for one in 2017


Top 10 by Category – Touring By Model
YTD 2017YTD 2016% CHAN
Harley DavidsonFLHXS352441-20.2%
Harley DavidsonFLHTK221250-11.6%
Harley DavidsonFLHR141202-30.2%
Harley DavidsonFLTRXS130141-7.8%
Harley DavidsonFLHXSE2122138-11.6%
BMWR 1200 RT119171-30.4%
Harley DavidsonFLHRXS1140100%
Indian MotorcycleRoadmaster825549.1%
Harley DavidsonFLHTKSE816328.6%

Harley’s Touring line-up dominates the data across this sector, despite their top five models all taking significant hits to their numbers.

Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special topped the touring category in 2017
Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special topped the touring category in 2017

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