Picture a sexy babe in a womens leather motorcycle jacket with armor on a dirt bike. No, she’s not Carrie-Ann Moss from the scene of Matrix Reloaded or Halle Berry as Patience Phillips in Catwoman. She’s just a regular office girl riding on her mean bike to work. The majority of people still believe the stereotype that only men ride motorcycles. This is a common misconception due to years of pop culture changing our attitudes and beliefs surrounding who we think “should” ride motorcycles. Now more than any other time in history, women are taking up motorcycle riding in record numbers.
In a 2018 survey by The Motorcycle Industry Council about women motorcycle owners, it was found that among all age groups, 19 percent of motorcycle owners are women – nearly doubling since 2009. This equates to one in every five motorcycle owners being female, up from one in every 10 back in 2009. The number of women motorcycle riders is on the incline, mostly because of Millennials. The survey found even greater ownership among younger generations. Among Millennials, 26 percent of motorcycle owners were women. Among Gen X, 22 percent were women.
Manufacturers of motorcycles are producing more motorcycles that are low to the ground so that women can plant their feet firmly at rest, with narrower seats and softer clutches, and adjusting handlebars and windshields to make bikes more comfortable for smaller riders. Makers of motorcycle gear are also producing more XXS motorcycle helmets and gloves to cater to the growing number of female riders.
Harley-Davidson has begun a website targeted at women (harley-davidson.com/womenriders) and is advertising in women’s magazines with a striking black-and-white image of a rider using the chrome plating on a bike as a makeup mirror. Women are earning bigger paychecks and more women are remaining single – so they have the liberty to decide where their leisure dollars go to.
Makers of motorcycle apparels are selling more clothes in bright colors and with rhinestones, rather than alpinestars motorcycle jacket in the standard black or grey colors. Even the skull motif that appears on some clothing sold at Harley outlets has undergone a friendly makeover to include wings and flowers. Suzuki last year introduced a new line of clothes called Suzuki Girl with tight-fitting riding jackets in pink and baby blue to garner more sales from female bikers.