The Common discussion about the decline of the popularity of motocross
Updated: Nov 9, 2023
(This was written before the Corona virus.)
There seems to be a nonstop public discussion over the decline in MX popularity and participation, and another on how to regain the popularity it has had in the past.
The most common talking points have been the cost/complexity of new bikes, 2T vs 4T, fewer riding venues, higher risk tracks, etc. What I don't see in the discussion is what was "right" about the sport in the 60s-80s that is no longer "right" today. Having seen the entire evolution from the early 1990's to now myself, I tend to boil it all down to a single word "extreme". The moto industry and media have been on a 40 year binge to promote "extreme" as the only thing that is cool, and anything else is not cool. But the truth is that "fun" is always cool, and "extreme" often is not. In the heyday of the sport, families did not buy "MX" bikes . they bought "dirt bikes" that were not particularly ideal for racing, but they were universal enough to be used for a wide range or recreational type riding . and it was all called "dirt bike riding". There were dozens of different types of dirt bike riding (and amateur competition) that attracted families.
The air cooled low-tech machines of that era (both 2T & 4T) were very affordable, very basic, and very reliable designs that were easy for the average Dad and son to teardown and repair when necessary..... they were not extreme. Families went "dirt bike riding" on weekends to share a type of riding that had a low risk level (approved of by Mom and Dad), yet still fun for the kids. MX racing was simply one of the most popular motorcycle sports that was fun and affordable for middle class families of the day. The entire family recreational outing described above was the basic foundation of the dirt bike sport for decades, and the reason for it's lengthy expanding popularity. Sadly, these types family outings have virtually disappeared because the industry and moto-media only recognizes and promotes things that are extreme. The expensive complex bikes and the dangerous SX type riding spots are very extreme. but not very attractive to middle class Moms and Dads
it's as simple as that. What is not simple is reversing the course of an industry and media that is obsessed with promoting "extreme" over promoting affordable family fun. "Extreme" sells Supercross tickets, but it does not sell Mom and Dad on the idea of two wheeled family recreation. Sadly, no part of the industry, nor media, appears to have any interest in ending their obsession with "extreme", and even less interest in promoting simple machinery for affordable family fun. Without that basic change, 2 wheeled off road sports (and motocross) will continue its current path.
I have a strategic plan to get the sport of motocross growing again, and introduce it to thousands of new people. I have the solutions. I need help implementing them Please join