Cycle World Reader Survey on Tires, Helmets

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Retailers are hungry for statistics about the recessional consumer. Last year, Cycle World conducted shopping surveys on tires and helmets. The magazine compared results with 2005 findings. Below is just a sample. For full reports, visit www.cycleworld.com and type “Cycle World Studies the Market” into the search box. Other studies date back to 2005, including a 2008 one on dealers.

Who are Cycle World’s readers? Their average age is 48, their average household income $121,500. Ninety-seven percent are male, 70 percent are married, 48 percent graduated college, 31 percent have kids living at home. Forty-eight percent own a sportbike or naked bike, 32 percent a cruiser, 30 percent a touring bike, and 25 percent a dirtbike or dual-sport.

Now for the helmet study results. On average, readers own four helmets, up from three in 2005. Within the past 12 months, 39 percent of households had bought a helmet. A rundown of what people own and plan to buy (with the change since 2005):

  • Full-face street: 87 percent own (1 point down); 59 percent plan to buy (4 points down)
  • Open-face street: 44 percent (8 up); 14 percent (no change)
  • Street with flip-up chin bar: 26 percent (8 up); 34 percent (10 up)
  • Half-helmet or beanie: 29 percent (5 up); 10 percent (2 up)
  • Full-face off-road: 23 percent (2 up); 7 percent (1 down)
  • Open-face off-road: 4 percent (no change); 2 percent (no change)

Considering only the primary helmet of each reader, 50 percent of the helmets are one to three years old; 24 percent are four to five years old; 18 percent are less than a year old; and 8 percent are more than six years old.

Cost of the most recently bought helmet: 30 percent: $100-199; 24 percent: $200-299; 18 percent: $300-449; 13 percent: below $100; 10 percent: $450-549; 5 percent: $550-plus.

Place of purchase for most recent helmet: 42 percent: dealer; 30 percent: online; 9 percent: mail order/phone; 7 percent: show/race/rally; 12 percent: other. Since 2005, buying at a dealer dropped by 11 points, while buying online increased 7 points.

Forty-eight percent of readers planned to buy a helmet in the next 12 months. Thirty-five percent planned to buy at a dealer, 44 percent online, 10 percent by mail order/phone, 5 percent at a show/race/rally, and 6 percent some other way. Dealers and shows/race/rally dropped 6 and 2 points, respectively, since 2005. Online and mail order/by phone saw increases of 5 and 3 points.

Ninety-three percent of readers would recommend their brand of helmet. Top 10 brands people own and plan to buy (with the change since 2005):

  • HJC: 52 percent own (5 points up); 43 percent plan to buy (8 points up)
  • Shoei: 44 percent (1 down); 51 percent (7 down)
  • Arai: 32 percent (3 up); 46 percent (8 down)
  • Bell: 20 percent (2 up); 26 percent (4 up)
  • AGV: 14 percent (1 up); 15 percent (6 down)
  • KBC: 12 percent (2 up); 14 percent (3 down)
  • Nolan: 12 percent (no change); 21 percent (no change)
  • Scorpion: 8 percent (6 up); 16 percent (6 up)
  • Fulmer: 7 percent (1 up); 9 percent (3 up)
  • Icon: 6 percent (3 up); 11 percent (4 down)

Helmet accessories people own and plan to buy (with the change since 2005):

  • Sunglasses: 58 percent own (1 point up); 20 percent plan to buy (1 point up)
  • Helmet storage: 24 percent (2 up); 8 percent (no change)
  • Two-way communication: 24 percent (7 up); 19 percent (no change)
  • Music-listening device: 26 percent (6 up); 13 percent (2 up)

Now for the tire study. Seventy-six percent (237,120) of Cycle World households bought one or more tires over the past 24 months. On average, these households bought 3.3 tires each. The average cost per tire was $125.50, an increase of 3 percent since 2005.

Eight-nine percent (277,680) of readers claim a preferred brand of tires, a 10-point increase since 2005. Top six preferred tire brands (with the change since 2005): Dunlop: 33 percent (3 down); Metzeler: 24 percent (1 up); Michelin: 19 percent (4 up); Bridgestone: 16 percent (3 up); Pirelli: 10 percent (3 up); Avon: 10 percent (2 down).

Ninety-four percent of readers who claim to have a preferred brand of tires would consider changing brands for the following reasons: 51 percent: improved durability/wear; 33 percent: improved performance; 10 percent: lower price; 6 percent would not consider changing.

Place of tire purchase: 44 percent: dealer; 31 percent: Internet; 20 percent: parts/accessory store; 3 percent: mail order/phone; 1 percent: other. Internet purchases grew by 10 points since 2005. This increase seems to have come at the expense of dealers (down 5 points) and mail order/phone (down 4 points).

This story originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Dealernews.