Manufacturer riding clubs: An incentive or quiet discrimination?

With Europe still in various stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and many riding clubs are wisely already rescheduling this years touring & adventure offerings in favour of the generally much safer 2022 in the hope the pandemic will be contained to a level this can resume with some additional restrictions. However with the long term economic shocks expected for many years to come can manufacturers continue to have the same approach?

Who? What?

Many manufacturers have their own riding clubs, either a special access meetup and ride system or some offering a full touring package. The most well known which spring to most peoples minds would be the ‘Honda Adventure Roads’ and the ‘Royal Enfield Riders Club’. The latter being responsible for the famous ‘Moto Himalaya’ tours in Northern India.

Royal Enfield Riders Club (launching April 2021)

However as these services are only open to those with said make of motorcycle are you in fact causing people to miss out on ultimately enriching experiences? Picking the Honda for example (as we don’t have RE’s costs yet) with a hefty £5000, needing 5 years experience using an Africa twin with the relevant licence. Whatever happened to a few mates jumping on the their bikes with a tent and being able to have an adventure?

Locked out.

If YouTube has taught us anything it’s that you don’t need massive, highly expensive motorcycles over 1000cc just to visit a few countries and eat new and exciting food. We all have different financial situations and within our own groups of friends this is greatly increased. Do you, as the good friends not go on an experience of a lifetime because one of the group can’t afford it? Or do you miss out on the experience to do it as a group? Throwing another spanner in the works it is of course well worth remembering that most of us ride the bike which feels right for us………

Surely for the sake of broadening the appeal of Motorcycling as a hobby and not just a route to commute some form of cross collaboration should be a necessary evil the manufacturers should be willing to consider? Does everyone who wants this kind of experience go out and buy a large touring bike just for this purpose? I can’t see any of these companies purely doing it as a customer service kind of thing and for the kind of prices involved (maybe not the Nepal one, that seems realistic considering) it’s obviously not just to keep people interested.

The Devil’s advocate.

One thing these clubs do very well however is to bring people from different areas and backgrounds together in a way they might not have done so without something like this. If you are the new rider it must be very intimidating to try and rock up to a pre-existing group of bikers who may well have known each other for a long time and we already mentioned how the average age was creeping up. I don’t know about you folks but I would probably trying to arrange a random group on twitter rather than joining a local group, but I guess that also partially makes me the problem too.

Perspective and maybe even some sense.

Personally I think it’s time to end the manufacturer only “elite” clubs slowly dooming the industry to it’s twilight year when we should be having fun. Give us a group of dudes on 250’s going from North to South Korea, why can’t some nutter on a C90 go around Africa and while we are at it has anyone tried Monkey Bikes in Mongolia?

Silliness aside for one second a return boat ticket from Denmark to Iceland inc the motorcycle is 520 Euros, it has a pretty good road network and tons of room for adventure. Why be constrained by just one route, isn’t that why a lot of us got into motorcycling in the first place?

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