Let’s get ahead of the curve!
Question to dealers and manufacturers: What is the fasting growing group of potential riders and buyers of our products? In other words, where is our future?
Did you answer: women?
If not, it is time for you to do some research.
My business, ATV Wholesale Outlet Inc sells more Chinese scooters, ATVs, and motorcycles than any other dealer on the entire West Coast of the United States. I am “in the trenches,” seeing every day what people are buying and what they ask for.
It used to be that women came in with their boyfriends, husbands, or fathers, but more and more women walk into my dealership all on their own, knowing exactly what they want.
Across America, between 2003 and 2009 the estimated number of women motorcyclists increased 67 percent, and the estimated number of women motorcycle owners increased 37 percent. By 2013 CBS News reported roughly 1 in every 10 motorcycle owners is a woman.
I can tell you that this is not just the trend in on road motorcycles, but Off Road Dirt Bikes, and ATVs as well. I just began receiving pink full-size ladies ranch ATVs 3 months ago and sometimes I sell 2 in 1 day. I can’t order and receive enough of little girls ATVs, which are always sold out. Pink helmets, Goggles, Gloves and more are super hot sellers!
What is behind this trend? I hear from women they love the freedom that motorcycle riding gives them. They like the social aspects of being part of motorcycle groups, riding with other women and going out for adventures. They watch celebrities like Cher, Joan Jett, Angelina Jolie, Pink, and Victoria Beckham enjoying themselves and looking cool.
Women like the practicality of affordable transportation that is cheaper than cars to fill with gas, to maintain, and to insure.
The insurance industry is busy writing policies for the overall increasing numbers of riders using motorcycles for every-day transportation, not just as spare time leisure riding. And the industry is well aware that they are selling more policies to women every year.
With every vehicle we sell to a woman, they go out the door with proper protective gear that includes a full face helmet and eye protection, and often jacket, gloves and other items.
A bit of history: Americans in the late 1800s and early 1900s bought motorcycles for transportation, not recreation. People could afford a motorcycle when the cost of a car was growing to prices often out of reach. When Henry Ford in 1927 sold automobiles for just $380, motorcycle sales dropped. As the cost of a new car came up, so did motorcycle sales.
Motorcycles, whether for transport or recreation were mainly vehicles for men.
Women riders had to do something outstanding to be recognized. Here are a few who have contributed to the history and progress of motorcycling.
The first female riders to cross America were mother and daughter Avis and Effie Hotchkiss, in 1915. They rode a three speed V-twin Harley Davidson equipped with a sidecar for Avis from New York to California to attend the San Francisco World’s Fair.
Women were the first ever to climb up and down Pike’s Peak. In 1916 sisters Adeline and Augusta Van Buren took two months to cross the states, on a pair of Indian Powerplus Bikes, traveling 3,300 miles over often unpaved roads, and were once arrested for publicly wearing trousers (long pants).
Bessie Stringfield, who started riding when she was 16, was the first African-American woman to travel cross-country solo, in 1929 at age 19. On her 1928 Indian Scout, she traveled through all of the lower 48 states during the 1930s and 1940s when prejudice was strong and ugly. She served in World War II as one of the few motorcycle dispatch riders for the United States military.
In 1929 Vivian Bales appeared on the cover of The Harley-Davidson Enthusiast magazine spreading goodwill for the company as she rode cross-country.
Linda Dugeau began riding and touring in 1932. In 1938, she established a national network of female motorcyclists called the Motor Maids. The organization was chartered with the AMA in 1941, making it the oldest motorcycle organization for women in North America.
Louise Scherbyn founded the Women’s International Motorcycle Association (WIMA), which still exists today.