Emerging Trends in the Women's Market

Women's motorcycling apparel made a big splash in 2006 with lots of new styles and colors. Women riders were excited to start seeing some fashionable and functional gear for them. Now for 2007, we're seeing some key trends emerging from the women's market here at Dealer Expo.

The first trend: women want a jacket that works both on and off the bike. "We're offering colors that allow women to jump off their bike and go to a restaurant and not look like they're riding a motorcycle," says Mike Salvatore, apparel merchandising manager for Tucker Rocky's FirstGear brand. FirstGear (booth 101) has a new cropped leather jacket called the Betty that comes in soft pink, soft blue and ivory with orange piping. "The ideal jacket has all the function built into it, without being able to tell it does." See related article Super G Launches

Parts Unlimited's Icon (booth 1936) line is going after the same market with its flashy styles. "A lot of passengers are women with their husbands or boyfriends where it may be their first time on a motorcycle. They're wearing whatever leather fashion jacket they have," says Brenda Trumbo, sales and marketing manager for Icon V-twin. "We want those girls to have the designer look they're used to having from department stores, but with all the protection." Icon's introducing a new mesh jacket for 2007 in true Icon fashion decorated with glitter stars.

Versatility in apparel also means the garments can cross the lines of the different motorcycling genres. "With our denim products we've seen them cut across all different motorcycle segments," says Richard Kimes, national marketing manager with Helmet House (booth 3001). "Cruiser people really like them, and a lot of sportbike people are buying them as a secondary ride around town jacket because they're just plain comfortable off the bike." Kimes is hoping Helmet House's new women's Cortech DSX Denim jacket will be just as big a hit with women as the men's denim jacket was with male riders when it was introduced a year ago.

Another trend allows a woman to outfit herself in gear entirely from one manufacturer. In the past, the limited availability of riding apparel forced women to wear a jacket from one company, pants from another and gloves form yet another. "The future for women in motorcycling is giving them complete head to toe coverage so they have their helmet, the jacket, chaps or pants, boots and gloves. We're giving that to women with the Icon line.

The Dirt
Girlyz (booth 5615) is the only company making women's gear exclusively for motocross and ATV riding. The 5-year-old company continues to make improvements to its jerseys and pants and at Dealer Expo, the Vision race line was being modeled by Gloria Fontenot, a motocross rider and stuntwoman. The pants feature an improved knee area so it works with knee braces better. New leather on the inside of the knees grips the bike better. Refinements to the jersey include a slimmer fit and a lined V-neckline &#8212 all meant to improve fit and comfort for the active women motocross rider.

For women who watch on the sidelines but still want to feel like part of the "in" crowd, Dirty Girls launched their new Dirty Girl jacket, hat and boy beater tanks at Dealer Expo. Check them out at booth 5615.

&#8212 Genevieve Schmitt