June 6 2009.

Consumer gloom and uncertainty over the new motorcycle test have contributed to a drop in powered two wheeler registrations in May, according to the MCI.

11,592 new motorcycles , mopeds and scooters were registered in May 2009, a fall of 16.6 per cent on May 2008. Moped registrations fell by 28.6 cent while motorcycles above 50cc fell by a smaller amount at 14.6 per cent.

The highest-registering manufacturers this month were Yamaha (1,973 registrations); Honda (1,746) and Suzuki (1,348).

Although the overall size of the market is smaller, there remain many reasons to be optimistic according to the MCIA:-

- One in four of all new registrations in May (24.7 per cent) was a motorcycle up to 125cc, an important class for novice and utility riders and an indicator of the long-term health of the market.

- Registrations of machines above 650cc remain strong, declining just 7 per cent.

- Registrations of practical dual-use machines in the Touring and Naked styles increased between May 2008 and May 2009, suggesting that motorcycling continues to stake its claim in the everyday transport mix as well as the leisure sector.

MCI's Sheila Rainger commented, "Whenever test arrangements change we see a temporary drop in the number of new riders joining the market. However, in the long term the industry remains optimistic about the future.

"Starting with the Met Office's confident forecast of a long hot summer, and ending with the return of the controversial fuel duty escalator in September, the coming months will prove once again that there's never been a better time to make the switch to two wheels."