Does the motorcycle industry know the female rider?

This is a question that I have asked myself since I began riding years ago. I’ve questioned this based on my personal observations and countless discussions with other female riders.

There have been numerous positive changes in the industry since I got involved in motorcycles nearly 20 years ago. The best part is the increase in women riders. I’m a big fan of “the more the merrier” and strength in numbers. Inevitably, it gains the attention of manufacturers.

I think we could probably all agree that as far as we have come, there are still many changes that we women desire to see in the industry. It mostly starts with a frustration based on an experience with a motorcycle, gear or moto event. Such as:

“I can’t find a bike that’s low enough.” … “I can’t find gear that fits my curves or riding style.” … “I can’t find moto events that suit my interests.”

I’ve been in Sales/Marketing and Design for most of my professional career. The easiest death to a company is one that misunderstands their client. However, the company rarely realizes the real reason sales are down because they function on assumptions about their clients, such as – “IF I think like this, my client must too.” (Hey Company, are you sure about that?!) The company may not adapt quick enough to a changing market or misses an opportunity to expand by ignoring a growing sub-market.

women who rideHow does that impact the female rider?

If companies don’t understand who the female rider is, they won’t design and produce products that sell. They will blame lack of sales on lack of interest, which is actually NOT the case. The problem is that the wrong market is being targeted and all of us women lose out on getting what we want and need.

Whenever I hear some company or person say – “This is the female rider,” I question, Are you sure?

I’ll bring up an example. Motorcyclists…we know we are a sub-culture. Within the sub-culture, there are even smaller groups of various riders. There are female riders that are heavy on the MC scene, urban sport bike riders, ADV, dirt only, racers, etc. No single company could possibly encompass the range of styles or types. Got it. BUT, what if the industry makes the assumption that the typical female rider is –

45 to 55 years old, white, married, mother with 2.5 children, lives in the suburbs?

Who has the statistics to back that up? If you do, let me know. Is this profile you? It might be. It might be the majority of women riders. I can certainly tell you that this profile does not capture who I am or most of the women I personally know who ride.

women who ride
Image courtesy of Carolyn Fox.

I NEED YOUR HELP!

I want to know who the current female rider is without any assumptions and I want to share this information so everyone can benefit from it.

As a result, I put together this Women in Moto Survey to find out:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/women_moto

I need your help to fill this survey out and share it with as many women riders and aspiring riders as possible. I want to hear about your experience and who you are. It will take less than five minutes to fill out.

A great outcome of opening up this discussion is that I have partnered with Give a Shift to put together a panel of women to address this topic live this April in New York City.

Give a Shift is a free initiative that started with the simple desire to have a public discussion about the state of motorcycling and how we can lean in to help create a better future for riders. The mission for GAS is to elevate motorcycling through constructive criticism via a series of panels based on informed anonymity. Participants in the panels are selected for having a diverse and informed perspective, and are not compensated. There is no fee or trade of information for anybody to download the reports, transcripts and associated materials with the GAS panels.

You can download a copy of the industry white paper here.

If you would like to be part of the panel, which will be made up of industry women, enthusiasts and aspiring riders, please fill out the Women Moto Survey and let me know within the survey that you are interested in participating. There are limited seats available, as the panel will be capped at 20 women.

It takes a unified effort to create change. With positive feedback, we can influence the motorcycle industry to manufacture products that we want and need. It might not happen overnight, but it will happen and is happening, so let’s keep the forward momentum.

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For more information check out: Woman Moto Survey and Give a Shift

Does the motorcycle industry know the female rider? Please share below.

I would love to get to know you and meet you on the road!

Annick Magac

Social media: @annickmagac

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I would love to be on the NYC panel in April. I think I can add much knowledge to any discussions concerning woman and motorcycling.

  2. I took this survey but I think that a number of pertinent and helpful questions were not asked. Getting women interested in riding and actually on a bike and riding is complex. As is getting motorcycle companies to truly realize that women riders is an untapped market. I mean, we’re 50% of the population!! Yes, there are numerous sub-cultures of women riders just as there are men. I’d be pleased to see a survey that was equally complex and would have happily taken more time out of my day to complete it.

  3. Annick – I would offer that there should be consideration of another facet, the horrible rear accommodations on most bikes today. Many women are happy to ride as a passenger, others like my co-rider cannot ride for medical reasons and have to be content to be a passenger. Regardless, seating is obviously not even a second thought by manufacturers today, what with tiny, barely-passed seats, high pegs that bend knees and hips at bad angles, and luggage that a passengers legs don’t fit around. Other than the huge touring bikes it seems most seats are designed for a 90-pound size zero passenger with very short legs. It took effort and money to make my previous ride work mostly pain-free for my co-rider and now I am starting from scratch making a new bike fit her. Please don’t let the passengers be forgotten in these efforts. They are riders too!

  4. I agree with you Jim. I am a passenger rider. My husband and I take our motorcycle on long trips. My husband has spent alot of time and money to find that “perfect seat”. Although we found something that will do for now, we are looking at getting a new bike that is comfortable for two on long distance rides.

  5. Hi! Just saw the use of our photo from the Beautiful Bikers Conference in this post header! Thanks for sharing! Would it be possible to get a photo credit and a link or mention of our event? We would love to invite all of you to attend!

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