The AMA is committed to giving women a platform to voice their preferences as motorcyclists. We recently launched an online survey specifically for women called “How Many? How Strong?” and I encourage all women who ride to participate and make their preferences known. (The survey is available at this link.)
To me, real progress will be measured when it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman who rides, but when your ideas, opinions, individual needs and accomplishments are considered on a level playing field.
What types of vehicles are attracting women riders, from the new riders to the veteran enthusiasts?
Women, like all riders, are on all types of motorcycles — from small dirtbikes to the biggest cruisers. It’s not the kind of motorcycle that differentiates women and men who ride; it is the approach and exposure to riding. Today women are seeing other women race in all disciplines, they are introduced to riding both on- and off-road, and are learning how to make adjustments on their motorcycles — whether dirtbikes, sportbikes or cruisers. We are learning how to make our bikes fit us better, and how to become more skillful riders.
That said, new female riders are more apt to take training, and look for a bike that is a comfortable fit and provides handling confidence. The veteran women riders are not only progressing to larger bikes with customized fit; many are learning other forms of riding altogether.
We all went through the “pink” phase ... If you could build a dealership today, how would you design and merchandise it to attract women riders?
If I were designing a dealership, it would have an area dedicated to women’s riding apparel that is clean, organized by the type of gear, and with enough space between the racks and displays to walk around comfortably. I want to be able to try things on, so I would incorporate mirrors and larger fitting rooms (It is so hard to try on armored gear in a small stall or bathroom!) into the plan as well.
I’d also have different type of bikes — like a cruiser, sportbike and dirtbike — in the display area so that, once a customer has her gear on, she could sit on a bike and make sure that the fit and comfort is right. Having knowledgeable and helpful staff is an extremely important part of design and any merchandising plan. I would have a component of the plan to teach dealer staff not only how to maintain the area, but how to work specifically with women.
So is the women’s market still considered a “niche” market — and if so, when do women become part of the core market?
Women are a core part of the market now as riders, passengers and supporters of riders and the motorcycling community. As a market segment, the needs of women are specialized and specific in terms of riding gear, product features and benefits, and how we are engaged as customers and riders. How can the industry apply what it’s learning from — and doing for — female riders to other market segments?
Because women are passionate and engaged riders, their opinions and their requirements for customer service, product information and the need for identity recognition can be applied to every segment, as well as to the core market.
This story originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of Dealernews.