Women and Their Motorcycles
Whether it is for the thrill of living on the edge, the pleasure of racing, or just for pure fun, women motorcycle riders are growing in record numbers. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, female motorcycle ownership is up to nearly 10% of the total motorcycle owner population. Women are playing an increasing part of the motorcycle market. The typical woman who rides is likely to be in her mid-30's, married, educated, and upwardly mobile. Harley-Davidson Motor Company has seen U.S. sales of its motorcycles to women grow from two percent of their total in 1985 to 10 percent, or 23,000 bikes, in 2003.
There are wide varieties of motorcycles that women ride. There are those who ride sport, racing, heavyweight, cross-country, sport-tourer, commuter, muscle, custom, chopper, and off-road bikes. Women however, preferred cruisers, which make up 80% of the preferred bikes that are purchased. Sports bikes are the second most preferred bikes by women.
Motorcycle manufactures are becoming aware of the growing market and the buying power that women have and are now designing bikes to accommodate a woman rider. Motorcycle brands favored by women are Harley-Davidson, Suzuki®, Ducati, Honda, BMW, Kawasaki and Yamaha. Harley-Davidson has come out with many bikes that are suitable for women's physique like the Sportster, the DynaGlide Low-rider, and the XL 1200 Custom. A few of the Kawasaki line of motorbikes include the Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 Drifter, a cruiser mode and Kawasaki Ninja® 250R and Kawasaki Ninja® 500R which are both more of a sport motorcycle bike, and the Kawasaki ZZR600. Getting into the game is Honda with the Honda Nighthawk 250cc or the Honda Rebel 250cc. Other bikes preferred by women are Suzuki's® 650 Savage, Suzuki® Marauder 800cc, and the Suzuki® 800 Intruder.
Because the rising number of women motorcyclists women are forming their own motorcycle clubs and are even printing their own motorcycle magazines that empower and educate women. The women who join these clubs or organizations are mothers, grandmothers, doctors, artists, and everything in-between. They ride together to prove that they exist and are not the stereotypical "biker chick" who is either butch or a biker model. Women motorcyclists get together to form rallies or for charity events, to meet one another, talk about their riding experiences, show of their bikes, their stunts, and buy motorcycle gear for women. The American Motorcyclist Association sponsors one of the biggest conferences to unite all women in bikers, they state that women represent about 24,000 of 265,000 of registered riders.
Safety is a major concern for women motorcyclists. Most clubs or organizations require their members to take safety courses from Motorcycle Safety Foundation sponsored schools. Women also prefer riding safely by wearing clothing that provides protection rather than style.
The advanced rider may already have owned two or more bikes, but for the first time rider, choosing a bike can be confusing. What do women need to look for in a motorcycle? It depends on what the woman's interests are. She can be into speed racing or just into cruising, but whatever the case, the best thing to do is to ask experienced motorcycle riders for advice, which can include friends or families who have the knowledge of the market.
Motorcycles come in different sizes, models, and specifications. It is important to understand how motorcycles differ from one another. It is best to research a variety of bikes before purchasing the one preferred. Check out motorcycle brands to make sure the motorcycle can accommodate a woman. Do not jump the gun on getting a bike. Although a bike may be made for a woman, its performance and features can be for the advanced rider. The motorcycle should be affordable, and must first be tested to make sure feet can touch the ground. The bike should be easy to handle, pick up, and carry. For the smaller woman the motorcycle should have a low and narrow seat, low cycle weight, low center of gravity, and longer handlebars. Women who start out with small motorcycles will always go bigger after a year or two.
More women are taking charge when it comes to motorcycling, because the road is a lot more enjoyable from the front seat. They are overcoming the setbacks and discouragement they face as a minority of the motorcycle population as a sisterhood. The passion to ride creates a bond among all women motorcyclists, opening new opportunities for adventures out on the open road.