My company does cinematography work around the world. We’re tech and cinema nerds on two wheels!
Because we film primarily locations and nature, motorcycles play a big part in what we do as they allow us to access places other vehicles simply cannot faster, more affordably and, believe it or not, much more safely. A few months ago, one of my photogs asked if everyone waves to other riders they encounter. All 22 photogs said they did. I personally think of it as courtesy. I do too, despite missing the chance to return the occasional wave during maneuvers.
We decided to capture initiated and returned waves for 30 days, noting bike manufacturers when possible, or type of bike when manufacturer was unknown. While a quite unscientific sample audience, we encountered 3243 riders, with 51% of the overall group being Harleys. (Any sample over 384 is statistically significant to +/-3%.) While not statistically analyzed, these numbers are certainly interpretable and actionable. We allocated 5% for bikers who could not safely initiate or respond to a wave. Here are our rounded results.
Harley - 12% returned or initiated a wave.
Kawasaki - 94% returned or initiated a wave.
Yamaha - 92% returned or initiated a wave.
Indian - 26% returned or initiated a wave.
Honda - 74% returned or initiated a wave.
Ducati - 96% returned or initiated a wave.
Triumph - 54% returned or initiated a wave.
Suzuki - 71% returned or initiated a wave.
BMW - 91% returned or initiated a wave.
KTM - 97% returned or initiated a wave.
Other Cruiser - 61% returned or initiated a wave.
Other ADV - 92% returned or initiated a wave.
Other Sport - 99% returned or initiated a wave.
Other Touring - 97% returned or initiated a wave.
An interesting aside, we are seeing more ADV riders than ever before. Perhaps the greatest increase we’ve noticed is that of women bikers. While many are on cruisers, presumably because of shorter inseam requirements, we have noticed many more women (of ALL ages) entering the ADV segment thanks in part to bikes like Versys 300’s and BMW 310’s. According to most women my teams spoke with, ADV biking simply interests them and fits their lives more than cruising. Women are no longer happy sitting behind a male driver and are increasingly stepping out on their own. As with most things, cycling demographics are becoming increasingly blurred. Could it be women who finally turn the US markets if given the opportunity?
Another caveat is that some manufacturers build almost every bike type, like Honda. Harley builds predominately cruisers. However Kawasaki and Yamaha cruisers were negligible - under 16 in this sample, but represented more than 38% of all manufacturers represented in our sample. Because of this, not all manufacturers can be segmented accurately.
My question is, do you wave and return? What do you see in these numbers? Is there a cultural difference among biker types? Manufacturers?