Making Riding Gear for Women & Other Great Leaps of Faith

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Kickstands & Kevlar is a blog hosted by Overland Expo’s own Motorcycle Community Ambassador, Eva Rupert. Follow Eva @augusteva.

Every time a piece of riding gear wears out, I sigh… here goes another epic search for something that works. An awkwardly fitting men’s suit won’t cut it, pink is out of the question, and well-placed pads are mandatory. As a woman who has been riding for the last decade and a half, my kit has included everything from work pants to gardening gloves and I’d be lying to say that I’ve always been well outfitted. Finally, I have a few trusted brands to choose from, but women riders are still a long way from the selection that our market share warrants.

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In a time of lagging motorcycle industry growth, here come the women to save the day. We’ve increased in number by 50% in the last decade. We hold the keys to one in five of all motorbikes owned in America. Despite the rise in female ridership over the course of the last decade, the choices in high-performance gender-specific gear remain eerily static.

Women are breaking speed records and winning races, lifetime pillions are taking to the throttle, and urban millennials are attending all-girl rallies in droves. Then there’s us adventure bike gals… we’re still a tiny sliver of the market but we’re on the rise. Perhaps more than any other riding segment, we knobby-tire sisters can’t rely on street gear to keep us safe in gnarly terrain. But we’re here… we’re riding… we’re ready to buy some quality stuff. 

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The companies that are doubling down on making women’s riding gear are a driving force in moving the industry forward. We’re finally seeing more gear designed by women and for women, but we need more well-crafted options with quality that warrants the price point and the integrity to truly protect us both on- and off-road.

It’s understandable why the big manufacturers would be hesitant to jump into the unproven ladies’ market. There’s no denying that women have a unique relationship with clothing and how we spend our money. We statistically pick clothing based on how it makes us feel. According to a study in the UK, women want to feel confident (58%), happy (40%), and empowered (16%). When it comes to gear, we want protection, fit, quality, and well-placed pockets.

Across the board, we’re a spending force to be reckoned with. Women drive 70% of all consumer spending through a combination of buying power and influence. In the motorcycle realm, we are 57% more likely to buy a new bike over a used one. We spend $574 a year on tires, routine repairs, maintenance, replacement parts, and accessories and modifying equipment; that’s almost a hundred dollars more per year than our male counterparts. 

We could just be the hottest thing since heated hand grips. Now that we’re riding 20% of the bikes, we could certainly benefit from a higher percentage of the gear options. Make us some good gear; we’re ready to buy!

I look forward to the day when I have countless great riding suit options to choose from. So this one’s for the gear companies, it’s time to tune in to the women’s market as we make our needs known. We’ve got the money, we are relentless in the pursuit of quality, and we vote with our dollar. The demand for women’s motorcycle gear is out there and I’m thrilled for the supply to follow.

What do we want? Motorcycles!

When do we want them? Now!

Plus… some good gear to ride in…

Follow Eva @augusteva

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