top of page

What are the causes for the decline of Motocross at the local level?

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

I Love the sport of motocross and everything dirt bike related and these days I have a strong desire to advocate for the sport.

As we all know the sport has been in decline in participation at the grassroots level for a long time.


I started going online more and more surfing the internet to read about motocross starting in the early 2000's it was my escape in life, but somewhere in the past ten years I switched from reading for enjoyment to really researching and analyzing the sport finding the things that changed over the years.

I studied moto like it was my job, I have thoroughly researched everything about motocross and its history, and now I feel like I truly do have some answers.

It Seems the MIC is looking for some answers as well, they hired the centouric group LLC to do research.

I would love to have a conversation with the MIC and the group that they hired, does anybody have any updated info on how the research is going? are they still working on it?


I have done a massive amount of research on this subject and There are several reasons for the decline in participation, its a rather complex issue but the Same things come up over and over when talking about it, So what went wrong?

Well it was almost a perfect storm of challenges.

These are the most commonly talked about reasons why the sport of MX is Declining in no particular order.

1. The rule change allowing double displacement 4 strokes, that lead to the masses primarily racing four strokes instead of two strokes.

The four Strokes pretty much took over.

The previous 250 class became the 250/450 class, and the 125 class became the 125/250 class.

This rule change and the evolving technology changed the face of the sport.

The four strokes are faster have more torque get better traction and are easier to ride fast on. What's not to like right?

Well there are a few things.

1.They are heavier

2. They are more expensive to buy but they are more reliable as well, but when they do need maintenance or break they are much more expensive to fix.

3. being easier to ride fast is a double edge sword because at higher speed the crashes are more dangerous. and the severity of the injuries has definitely gone up over the years!

Personally I really wish they hadn't mixed the two and that they had left a 125 class that didn't allow 250f's, and a 250 class that didn't allow 450f's, and instead had given the four strokes their own separate classes in addition to the classes that there already were.

I think that is pretty universally agreed-upon now 125's are very fun to ride and a perfect stepping stone for kids coming up from 85cc bikes. But with the rules allowing 250f's to be able to race against 125's it makes it so if you want to be competitive in racing other people of your same skill level you have to have a 250f to be competitive which discourages people that want to race from buying 125's.


I believe even now that every motocross race all across the country should have separate 125 classes AB and C that don't allow four strokes, give the four strokes their own classes. If you aren't doing this now Start immediately, everyone knows that combining the two was a mistake so let's fix the mistake. It gives kids moving up from 85's more options as well as guys that want to race 125's but want to do so against other 125's and not against 250f's, I have done a lot of research and surveys and there are a lot of people that want this. If your club doesn't have a 125 only A,B, and C class you are missing out on a lot of potential growth.

2.The economy/Rising Costs:

with costs rising faster than people's earnings, a large sector of lower middle class and under have been priced out of the sport in its current form.

This one has affected me personally the most. I have had the desire but not the budget for years, with a family and kids I literally couldn't afford to race.

And it's not only the cost of the bike it's also gear, gas for the bike and truck, fee's to ride and race. for me personally even at time's I have had a bike in recent years, for example I bought a cheap 2003 CR125 last summer on craigslist and still couldn't afford to race because all my money that was coming in was going to other bills family needs housing costs etc.

So I do agree that rising costs is why the sport lost a whole bracket of people in the middle class and under with the change from 2t to 4t. and with the changing economy.


Also in my opinion even guys that maybe still had an older bike in the garage and thought about racing but feel a little bit embarrassed with having to race against brand new 250f's or 450f's would it still be fun sure, but people do care about their image. It doesn't seem like it was the same feeling in the past, if a guy had a 20 or 30 year old 125 and came to race against newer 125's it wasn't as drastic, but now they would be lapped very quickly and probably be embarrassed so they just don't do it. perhaps adding a couple vintage classes to local races could help increase participation also. I think it would.

Also some cheaper, simpler bikes, They exist they just aren't being focused on, but we can change that some times its more fun to race slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.

3. Legal issues: Land owners being sued had a nationwide effect and led to many places being off limits, Dirt bikers started getting chased off land, both public and private. Lawyers licked their chops and lawsuits start to proliferate.

The motorcycle industry had made no provisions whatsoever to handle the glut. No land was purchased and set aside. No informational booklets were given to purchasers of new dirt bikes to tell them how to handle themselves. Bikes were loud and noisy in fact, the industry was literally first forced into using mufflers by magazine tests.

(I have a plan to create more riding areas on public, City and County owned property like Fairgrounds and industrial areas)