5 Things Women Want in a Bike

What features are most important for females when shopping for a bike

By Genevieve Schmitt
Our last reader survey asked this question of the female visitors to our website: What are the most important factors to you when choosing a motorcycle? We listed 10 options and asked respondents to rank them from 1 to 10, with 1 being the most important. Here are the top five factors women chose, in order of importance.
1. Comfort
It is no surprise to us, and those familiar with female motorcycle buying habits, that “seat height / riding position / ergonomic fit” of a motorcycle (as it was listed in our survey) is the most important consideration for a woman when she shops for a motorcycle. Seat height is critical because this translates to being able to handle a motorcycle comfortably when seated in the saddle—which basically means women are most comfortable—and confident —when they can put both feet flat on the ground.
5 things women want in a motorcycle seat height
Riding position and ergonomic fit go hand in hand with overall comfort. Women simply will not sacrifice comfort when handling a motorcycle, because with comfort comes confidence. Our riding model, Mary O’Hare, shows how her 5-feet 6-inch frame fits the Indian Springfield’s 26-inch seat height.

5 things women want in a motorcycle seat height bmw
WRN Editor Tricia Szulewski sits on the BMW S 1000 XR, a bike with a relatively high seat height of 31.1 inches. She gives five tips in this story to help riders handle big and tall motorcycles like this one.

2. Performance

I’ve always said that unlike men who rank performance as a top consideration when buying a motorcycle, for women it rates second to favorable ergonomics. And, in fact, performance as the number 2 consideration ranks very closely to our number 3 consideration of “styling / appearance / color.” This means that women view the styling, color, and appearance of a motorcycle almost equally as important as its performance.

5 things women want in a motorcycle seat height street glide
Performance being the second most important feature women want is evidenced by the motorcycle that made the number one spot in in our list of top touring motorcycles for women. The Harley-Davidson Street Glide is the top touring model among women because it has the power female riders want with the biggest Harley-Davidson engine, combined with comfortable ergonomics matched to a low 26.1-inch seat height.

3. Aesthetics

Women put high value on the overall look of a motorcycle and this is evident by “styling / appearance / color” coming in as the third most important factor when choosing a motorcycle.

5 things women want in a motorcycle color super low
The color, styling, and overall appearance of a motorcycle runs the gamut for women, from those who consider their bike a fashion accessory to those who want a motorcycle that is visually pleasing every time they look at it and ride it. This rider loves her Harley-Davidson Super Low in the 2017 eye-catching color Superior Blue.

5 things women want in a motorcycle low rider purple
Harley-Davidson knows how important color is to women riders so over the last two decades the Motor Company has introduced bold color combinations like Purple Fire / Blackberry Smoke on this 2016 Dyna Low Rider.

4. Reliability

The quality and workmanship of a motorcycle insofar as it transports a woman safely from point A to point B is among the top five factors a woman considers when choosing a motorcycle. Bikes with a bad reputation have no place in a woman’s garage.

Generally speaking, women are wise shoppers when it comes to high dollar items. A woman will spend time looking at reviews and other information to find a motorcycle that has a reputation for being reliable mechanically.
5 things women want in a motorcycle honda ctx700n
Honda is one brand with a reputation for reliability that’s why you’ll see few changes to the model line-up year after year as compared to other manufacturers. Honda makes a great product the first time. This rider is confident riding in the rain on her Honda CTX700N, a hybrid style cruiser / sport tourer.

5. Bang for the Buck

The price of a motorcycle is a woman’s fifth consideration after the other four factors above are met to her satisfaction, according to our survey. Generally speaking, women are shrewd shoppers and will spend their money wisely on big-ticket items. Coming in at number five indicates that purchase price is important, but it is not the sole deciding factor for a woman when choosing a motorcycle.
Women look for the “best” and “most perfect” item in whatever category she’s shopping. When looking for a motorcycle, she’ll ask herself, “How can this motorcycle satisfy all my needs?” Those answers are weighed against the price tag and how much she can afford.

5 things women want in a motorcycle kawasaki ninja 650
The sport touring Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS is an example of a motorcycle that offers a lot of bang for the buck at $7,799. The midsize engine along with the bikes physical size are manageable for novices on up to expert riders while offering a ride that’s comfortable on short and long trips.

The last five factors women consider when choosing a motorcycle are, in order:
6. Storage capacity
7. Availability of options and accessories
8. Fuel efficiency
9. Prestige and image of the manufacturer
10. Prior experience with the manufacturer

These results came from a survey we conducted within the last 24 months of visitors to our website. We collected more than 1,500 responses to questions about woman motorcycle rider buying habits and demographics.
Now tell us in the comments below what is important to you when shopping for a motorcycle.

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9 thoughts on 5 Things Women Want in a Bike

  1. For me: 1. The look/feel of the bike—test ride before buying.2. Power. Can you pass a semi truck on the freeway with ease?3. Distance: How far can the bike take you and cost of gas put into it? Can I ride 100-200 miles or more in one day?4. Comfort. Riding 100+ miles a day you need comfort, that’s the seat/handlebars—reach to them, overall comfort and handling of the bike. I don’t like lightweight bikes because when wind comes up with a possible rainstorm you don’t want to be blown off the road. You want to be more stable.5. Being seen by other vehicles on the road. My Harley Sportster 1200 and I were run over by a vehicle in 2003 who didn’t see us. $5,000 damage to the new bike and 6 months of physical therapy. When I could, I got back on and rode another 10 years before trading it in for a 2013 Harley-Davidson Triglide 3-wheeler. This bike is super comfortable. I can ride all day and never get tired. I have GPS, radio, AM-FM, CD player, CB, Bluetooth, and more. It’s the size of a Volkswagen Bug—it can be seen well in day or night. I changed the lighting to LED (brighter and more lights all around). The trunk holds 5 grocery bags plus the tour pack on top holds more. I don’t need any saddlebags, which I found didn’t hold much. The Triglide is made at the factory. I would never go back to a 2-wheeled motorcycle, but I did love riding my Sportster 1200 all those years, long distance or not.

  2. I look for size, how it handles, and how it fits me. I’ve ridden a 550cc, 250cc, and a 750cc. The 550cc was old and a bit clunky, the 250cc was light, fun, and easy but getting to run at high speeds was difficult. The 750cc had the smoothest engine and was a sweet ride but heavy. My current bike is a newer 500cc but I am missing the 250cc ease.

  3. This article covets a lot of items that affect how women choose bikes, it did not go in to handling in much detail, which surprised me. I ride a Royal Enfield Continental GT550 (2014) and the thing that attracted me to it was it’s handling. It is a lightweight bike and handles corners really well. I don’t feel confident on top-heavy bikes that fall into corners. I have zero storage, but I am prepared to sacrifice storage for the handling and weight of the bike.

  4. I think this was perfect.

  5. This is a great article, but motorcycle manufacturers are still lagging in most of these categories. Women want more choices in the selection of bikes; we also want to be treated better when we go to select and make informed choices on the bikes. Hopefully the information here is sent out to the manufacturers and dealers.

  6. I was very interested in storage (#6) when I was looking, particularly under-seat storage for a helmet. I only found about four models that offered this, most of them now out of production. Although there still seemed to be loads of scooters with it.

    1. Most motorcycles are designed in such a way that there’s barely space under the seat for a small item, let alone a helmet. You’re best bet is to add a locking top case or saddlebags large enough to hold a helmet.

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