Sales of new motorbikes increased to 25,249 in the first quarter of 2015, compared with 22,606 in the same period last year, according to the latest statistics released by the Motor Cycle Industry Association.

Stephen Latham, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA), which represents motorcycle retailers across the UK, commented: “It is encouraging to see that the motorcycle market has got off to a positive start, with dealers reporting an 11.7% increase in registrations in the first quarter of 2015.”

He said this suggested that increasing consumer confidence, low interest rates and falling unemployment were all having a positive effect on the market. Last month’s 15-plate change also contributed to the increase.

Entry level sub 50cc machines continued their downward trend with a -7.3% decline in March, and the 51–125cc market saw an 11.6% growth – and an 11.4% year-to-date growth.

The 126-650cc and 651-1000cc sectors recorded a significant growth in registrations with figures of 23.5% and 22.8% in the month, while the high powered over 1,000cc machines remained stable in March.

Honda and Yamaha were the two leading brands in March and collectively sold over 5,000 units between them.

Latham continued, “It came as a surprise to see BMW in third position with 1,630 sales, followed by Triumph with 1,496 registrations. Such high sales within these prestige brands suggest that many customers were waiting for the new 15-plate to become available as this could have an effect on future second-hand values.

“In the last few months Chinese value brands such as Lexmoto have entered the top ten best sellers, however this month this is not the case as sales of budget commuter bikes are less affected by holding back for the new number plate. We are eager to see if they re-enter the top ten next month.

“The overall outlook for bike registrations looks positive and is steadily improving compared to previous years. The NMDA are hopeful that the summer months will bring more good news for motorcycle market.”