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7,020 new powered two wheelers (PTWs) were registered in August 2009, bringing the total for the first eight months of the year to 79,897. This is an 18.2 per cent fall on 2008 according to the latest figures from the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI), and a fall of 30.5 per cent on August 2008.

The Touring, Sport Tour and Naked styles recorded the strongest performances this month, suggesting continued demand for everyday, practical bikes.

August Supersports registrations fell 37.8 per cent, to 990 registrations. However, the stronger year-to-date performance of a 14.3 per cent fall suggests that this month's change may be attributable to buyers waiting until 1 September for the most up-to-date registration plates.

Larger capacity bikes are continuing to show more resilience than smaller machines. Registrations of mopeds fell by 39.8 per cent in August 2009 compared to August 2008, while registrations of bikes with engine sizes greater than 1000cc fell by only 13 per cent.

The performance of learner-friendly machines remains strong. In five of the eight style categories - custom, naked, scooter, supersport and trail/enduro - the best-selling bike was a 125cc model. The best selling bike in August out of all styles was Yamaha's YZF R125.

This evidence for the continued importance of practical motorcycling is also supported by the latest figures from the Department for Transport's National Travel Survey, which show that over half (52%) of all motorcycle trips in 2008 were made for the purpose of commuting, compared to just one-third (34%) of bicycle journeys and one-fifth (22 %) of car journeys. The National Travel Survey also found that the average motorcyclist uses their bike as their main mode of transport for over one-third of all trips, making 8 motorcycle trips a week, and travelling 80 miles.

"While it's clear that people are being very cautious about their spending, interest in riding remains strong," commented MCIA's Sheila Rainger. "Demand for motorcycle tests is quietly rising, while five per cent of all visitors to the Get On website have booked themselves onto a taster session."

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