The Rise & Fall of Motocross in America
In the early 1990's several kids in my neighborhood and myself had small dirt bikes, back then we could ride right from our houses to each other’s houses as well as on some trails near the neighborhood where we lived, we would also make small tracks in nearby fields. This was the normal way of life at that time in most cities and states all across America and I lived in a suburb of a large metro area not way out in the country.
We started out on small mellow bikes like Honda XR80’s and Kawasaki KD80’s, then my friends and I moved up to racing versions such as Honda CR80’s And Kawasaki KX80’s, and we all started racing. And then moved on up to 125’s
Then things started to change in our area it was somewhere in the mid 1990’s, the fields that we used to ride in turned into neighborhoods, businesses... schools... golf courses...
(Urban Sprawl) … Also corporate farms bought up a lot of land in some parts of the country. Now days in some states there is almost no land that isn’t privately owned or being farmed … It also became more & more taboo to ride even a short ways down the street to get to riding spots like we had been able to do previously and somewhere along the way it dried up completely.
Now days unless you live in a very rural area out in the country, you have to have a truck or trailer to get your bikes to the tracks to be able to ride them, and Tracks are far and few between, in some cases hours away from populated areas.
My belief is that unless you grew up riding dirt bikes and remained Or have a very persuasive friend or family member that is into it that the chances of people choosing to get into motocross racing in its current form and going to buy a bike that is $5000 dollars or more and $1000 worth of safety equipment, Helmet, Gear etc.
I really think The chances are very slim.
These are just some of the reasons why dirt bike sales in the USA have declined so dramatically from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, to now,
some people also blame the change from 2 stroke to 4 stroke.... And I do believe it played a part however I don't personally think that it is the sole reason for the decline. I believe It is a combination of things. Another big change from the 1970’s when they were selling the most dirt bikes is that they were much mellower and had less horsepower, they were easy to ride easy to learn on types of bikes and the size of the jumps were smaller and speeds were a lot less. As well as people's perception of the danger. Now it is considered an extreme sport.
knowing all of that, I think we need to change with the times. I think there are things we can do to help turn this ship around.
I believe that by looking back throughout the history of the sport and recognizing what the changes were and fully understanding the effects that each of the changes had on the overall direction of the sport that we can address them one by one and fix a lot of the issues.
So now that I have pointed out a lot of the problems here are some viable solutions.
WE CAN START A MOVEMENT
Using Marketing & Advertising:
We can show relatable sides of the sport to America. These days all people see is stuff they couldn't do, only extreme stuff.
Motocross is a lifestyle,
its a group, it's fun, and there are easy to ride more mellow versions that people don't know about because they aren't being focused on, and it creates friendships and encourages a healthy lifestyle with exercise and healthy nutrition. But does the average joe know that?
The decline has gone on for so long now that the younger generations know very little about motocross. I believe that the sport needs to be reintroduced to America and that people need to be formally invited to participate.
Technology: We now have the internet and social media.
We can't make it so people can ride everywhere like they did in the past but we now have a lot of technology that can be used to educate and to rally people together and teach people how to get a track started in their area.
We can share stories of how it has been done in other places.
I believe we can help our sport grow with participation from the industry by having planned events all around the country to formally introduce people both kids and adults to mellow easy to ride bikes, these bikes are our BUNNY HILL I believe there should be classes equivalent to a PW50 for older kids and adults beginners. Not everyone is lucky enough to get started riding dirt bikes at a young age. And I absolutely believe that we can grow the sport by filling in missing areas such as that. Fill a void. Smaller mellower easy to ride safer bikes are still being produced. They are also much cheaper and a heck of a lot of fun to ride and race against others that are on the same type of bike. Give most 10 year old's a couple XR75s and a corner track in a field and they will run the tanks dry.
These bikes still exist, And mini motocross is actually on the rise organically, there are some parts of the country where it is growing big time. I have seen kids having back yard races with with more bikes on the gate than a lot of classes at the local Mx tracks these days and that is without their being any big national campaigns or any type of governing body putting a national focus on mini moto.
I am working on a passion project that is about ways to help grow the sport that we love! Please join me at
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