The results are in from the first survey of our Woman Rider Consumer Panel. (Not sure what that is? Check it out here.) The panel, which is made up of more than 1,100 women who ride, is our voice to the motorcycle industry, and we’re going to make sure we are heard.
We dove right into a hot-button topic on our first survey: women’s motorcycle apparel, and some of the answers might surprise you! (Or not.) We also touched on some dealership questions because we were curious about female representation and how well our dealers are doing at addressing the growing number of women riders.
So without further ado, here are some interesting excerpts from our survey:
We’ll start with a statistic that will get your attention. 62% of our panelists have walked out of a dealership because they were treated poorly. We’ll definitely be sharing that with our colleagues over at Powersports Business, a trade publication for powersports dealerships.
On a somewhat positive note, more panelists than not reported their local dealer has at least one female salesperson (44% said yes, 40% said no, with 16% saying they don’t know).
However, it’s a different story when it comes to the parts department, with only 34% reporting their dealership has a woman behind the counter.
Now, on to a topic that tends to generate some passionate opinions amongst women riders: apparel.
First things first: pink gear. Manufacturers seem to think we want it, but is that true? Survey says….
53% of our panelists say they don’t mind it but it’s not their style. 33% downright hate pink motorcycle gear, with young women being the most opinionated about this. Only 14% love it (and I personally know a few of you and I love your style!).
So apparel makers, by all means keep offering pink, but some other colors would be great too, thanks!
We also learned that an apparel’s brand name matters a lot less to our panelists than versatility, proper fit and protection. Bottom line: if you build it (properly), we will buy it!
Our next survey will deploy very soon and will address the topic of motorcycle design and what kind of bikes we, as female riders, want. Do you want in? You can join our panel anytime by clicking here and filling out the application.
I expected that some women would report they were treated poorly at dealerships. I expected a “significant number”. I never expected a figure as high as 62%. Absolutely incredible. What is wrong with dealerships today – isn’t this the year 2020? Any dealership that has customers walking out the door because of how they were treated absolutely deserves to go out of business.
Unfortunately that attitude is a predominate one in the motorcycle industry. Too many times I’ve been told “Oh. You don’t know anything. ” I had a problem with the valve guide seals in my 2005 Road Glide. Brand new bike but I was having to put a quart of oil every 300 miles. I was told I didn’t know how to check the oil properly!
It finally took me exploding on them to get it fixed. Unfortunately that problem caused me to go down. It absolutely stalled due to the oil problem. The dealership did a top end rebuild after Harley finally admitted the valve guide seals were the problem. However they installed the same size seals so same problem. It took another top end rebuild and new smaller seals.
I’m a motor head and a professional driver. Yet I was treated as a little girl who didn’t know anything! The service guys just wouldn’t listen to me. I had to finally leave my bike there a week while I was on the road. They put 400 miles on it and finally realized there was a problem.
I thought the percentage of women leaving a dealership would be high but not that high. It is shameful. I’ve been riding for 49 years and have about 700,000 miles. I’ve been in many dealerships and eventually owned one. (now sold). The ONLY dealership, one, where a salesperson ever came up to me while I was browsing and asked me which bike I liked or was interested in was an HD dealership and I’m not a Harley rider. Forty-nine years! Pretty incredible, huh? I’ve owned somewhere around 30 motorcycles, over half were BMW’s, supposedly whose dealers are very friendly to women riders, and those dealers are included. Once a dealer came to know me it was different, but as an initial contact in the showroom, we usually might as well be invisible as potential buyers. As to apparel, The pink stuff is usually substandard. It is not until one gets into the high end i.e. Held, Klim, Rukka, ReVit!, that one starts to get really well made and really functional and well fitted gear for women. It is so much better than many years ago, but could still use improvement. From a dealer perspective though, we tried and tried to keep a good stock of women’s gear and found that we ended up price-cutting and doing fire-sales on it because we just could not sell enough to justify full size runs in multiple models of product. And that was with women sales assistants. There just aren’t enough women to justify the inventory of large amounts for most dealerships. As to the service issues, I recommend staying far away from any dealer/shop that is condescending to women regarding their service issues. It’s just not worth the stress. If you can, that is.
I always get talked down to in motorcycle shops, even tho’ I’m the principle rider in our family. When you’re rural tho, you just have to put up with it in the shops closest to you. I get treated better when my husband is with me, even tho’ he has dementia! Deals get sweeter, more effort goes in to getting quotes, and helping with aftermarket purchases. Go figure!
I’m interested in more specific percentages associated with women’s gear. Was there more information uncovered through the survey? Is it possible to get an idea of what that was? I am asking because I work for a motorcycle shop and am making an argument to “why we should cater to women and how.” Having percentages would be incredibly helpful when speaking to people about what women are thinking when it comes to gear.
Riders talk to each other, not just about bikes, rides and gear. Respect is earned and can be lost quickly. I am not surprised that your survey showed that women walked out of dealerships. The fact that 62% of the panelists said they did, makes me smile. Women riders are a growing market, and no one should put up with being treated as “less than” or poorly at any business.