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UK Bikers yet to be convinced by electric motorbikes though 60% say they may buy one in future

Minster Law

Electric motorbike sales are playing catch up with EV cars. Only 3% of UK bikers own an electric motorbike now, but over 60% say they are likely to own an electric bike in future.

A survey of over 850 motorbike owners conducted by Minster Law, which provides specialist legal support for injured bikers, and supported by bike broker Principal Insurance, also found that for the 35% who said they would never buy an electric motorbike, 60% said limited distance was a key factor, 50% said they were too expensive and 50% cited the impact on their biking experience.

Principal CEO Dave Bowcock said that changes in the law meant that electric motorbikes will become the norm. As part of the Government’s Road to Zero plans, from 2035 all new bikes will be E-powered. Electric motorbikes account for around 6% of all sales, but there is some way to go before they are accepted across the whole of the biking community.

43% of bikers agreed that E-bikes are good for the environment (40% were neutral), Dave said: “Motorcycling only contributes 0.4% to UK transport greenhouse gas emissions, so there’s a strong argument for exemptions that allow motorcyclists to continue their passions.”

If concerns over cost and distance were resolved, a further 17% would re-consider their previous decision not to buy electric, but no means no for a hardcore 30%. For some respondents, the noise and thrill of the engine trumps everything else, and there were concerns that soundless bikes are dangerous, and even soulless.

Shirley Woolham, Minster Law CEO, said her company would continue to monitor biker attitudes to electric motorbikes over time. “Two thirds of our respondents were bikers in their forties or older, but interestingly the bikers most open to owning an electric motorbike were between 31-40. The youngest mirror the views of their older counterparts, at least for now.”

She said that may change as the range of models available grows, and they become a more familiar sight on the roads.

She added: “It may be that we’ll see an increase in the number of electric motorbikes among certain categories of rider, for example among commuters, who made up nearly 15% of our respondents, because of new zero emissions regulation in urban areas.”

The survey found that 74.6% of commuters said they would like to own an electric motorbike in the future, whereas only 49% of hardcore bikers agreed.

“But electric motorbike manufacturers have plenty more work to do to convince bikers that electric motorbikes can replace ICE-bikes and deliver a similar thrill of the open road.”

About the survey: fieldwork took place during April 2022 and via online questionnaires. The full insight report is available via Minster Law’s website. In total there were 857 respondents.