Where Can I Find Motorcycle Riding Gear for Women?

WRN reader needs feedback on where she can go to try on women's riding apparel before buying.

Dear WRN,
I have been seriously researching womens riding gear for the past week, reading blogs, looking at company websites, visiting our local Yamaha and Harley-Davidson dealers. I even drove to Jamp;P Cycles looking for good, well fitting, safe womens gear. What a bust!
I live in Kansas City, Missouri, the heart of the Midwest. Like most women, I need to try something on before investing. Where on earth does a woman go to find a selection of gear? Very frustrating.
Jan Lea-Thompson
Kansas City, Missouri
Via Facebook

where can i find motorcycle riding gear for women scorpion
An early version of
womens gear from Scorpion.

Read our response from Genevieve Schmitt, editor, WomenRidersNow.com, and then weigh in with your comments below:

You are so right on with your question and your frustration. As the leading journalist who has covered the women and motorcycling “beat” for the last 20 years, the availability of gear for women in dealerships has been a consistent issue.
Before I put this question out to our readers for their insight, I want to add my two cents from my vantage point:
1. Weve come a long way my dear!Just 15 years ago, there was hardly any riding gear specifically made for women, so while its hard to actually find shops carrying a decent selection of womens gear, Im thankful that protective womens gear even exists.

“Great,” you say. “But I need to be able to find it, and try it on!” Yes, you do!

2. Dealerships and inventory issues.
Women still represent just one out of four motorcycle riders so when it comes to a motorcycle dealer deciding what gear to stock, relatively speaking, one out of every four jackets in stock will be for a woman.

Floor space in a dealership is very valuable; dealers must decide what kind of inventory to buy and what to put out on the showroom floor that will turn a profit. Dealers have told me that womens gear can sit unsold for months and even then its a guessing game on what sizes to stock. Women simply arent visiting their local dealers in droves and buying the latest gear. Its a bit of a chicken and egg situation. If they stock it, will women come? If women start coming in, will the dealer start stocking the gear? Im afraid by then, its too late. Shes gone online to buy it there out of frustration and a last ditch effort.

WRNs gear expert,GearChic Joanne Donn, adds, “Many brands would absolutely love it if a dealer would stock a large selection of womens motorcycle gear, but dealers must have an incentive to do so. Ive always said that dealers have the very difficult task of finding women riders in their area, convincing them to invest in motorcycle gear, and then making sure they have the right options based on their specific riding communitys needs.

Attracting these female customers is much harder than it sounds. Given the fact that many women riders simply dont wear protective gear, in effect the customer base then is much smaller than the 25 percent of U.S. riders who are female.”

3. The rise of the Internet and its place in womens lives.
Just as gear manufacturers started making more riding apparel specifically for women — with the rise of this happening from 2000 to 2010 mostly — the Internet was finding its place in our lives. Some manufacturers realized they could offer their entire product line to the public on their websites, thereby solving the issue of dealers not being able to stock all their product. Women make the majority of purchases on the Internet so it seemed a perfect time to offer motorcycling gear for women through the Internet.

“But I dont like buying things without trying them on,” youve said.

4. In a perfect world, Macys or Walmart would sell womens motorcycle riding gear.
Nearly every town has a Macys or a Walmart and wouldnt it be nice if we could walk in and browse the selection of womens motorcycle riding apparel like we do swimsuits? Yeah … in our dreams! For now, we must be satisfied with buying online, trying it on at home, and shipping back what doesnt work.

Some manufacturers offer free shipping for this reason, but many do not and this is something well have to work on with them. Because I live in a rural area, I have Zappos shoe-trying-on parties with just myself! Ill order up to 10 pairs of shoes from Zappos — thank you Zappos for the generous free shipping and returns policy! — and anticipate the arrival of the boxes in just a day or two. The evening they arrive, I put on some fun music, pour myself a glass of wine, and enjoy trying on the new shoes in the comfort of my own home. Sometimes I keep one or two pairs; sometimes I keep none. Zappos makes it so easy for me to do that, no questions asked.

Yes, in a perfect world that might happen someday too with womens apparel. But were not there yet.

There are several large online retailers of motorcycle clothing that stock a large selection of womens gear, but none that I know of that offer free shipping and returns. So, there again, were not solving the issue of making it easy to try on gear before buying.

GearChic Joanne Donn adds, “Every woman who walks down the street needs to wear clothes. A t-shirt, jeans, jackets, socks, sweaters, shoes, etc. are all necessary objects that immediately offer a huge customer base. Not the case with womens motorcycle gear, as its a technical product with very low margins compared to your average t-shirt. Think 30 percent versus 1,000-plus percent!

With the advent of Internet shopping, we are losing the options we had before to try on motorcycle gear, because now shopping online is instinctual among todays shoppers. Many find the ease of ordering online far more beneficial. However, I totally agree that gear needs to be tried on in order to understand what fits, and in some cases how it should fit.”

where can i find motorcycle riding gear for women bmw
BMW has been a leader in making womens protective motorcycling apparel and offering it exclusively through its dealerships.

5. One last option.
An ideal way to try on the gear before buying is to attend a rally or event where the apparel makers are attending with a booth. This way you can see what fits and talk to the company reps firsthand. Events like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Daytona Bike Week, Americade, and the BMW MOA rally just to name a few, and consumer trade shows like the International Motorcycle Shows and the American International Motorcycle Expo are great places for not only trying on the gear and in some cases even getting measured for the right fit, but meeting the clothing reps and giving them your feedback. The motorcycle industry is one of those industries thats all about meeting its customers in person and listening to what they have to say. Get in touch with gear companies through their websites or Facebook pages; find out what their show schedule is and then make a point to visit them.

I deal with most of the motorcycle clothing manufacturers testing gear and offering feedback to them and I can tell you that most are eager to hear from its customers and future customers. I like to think of myself and all of the women riders today as pioneers in a sense in that we are helping the gear makers get better at what theyre offering and how theyre making it available to riders.

This part of the industry is truly still in its infancy. Motorcycle gear manufacturers have really only been making womens specific gear since around the year 2000. I have been privy to many early versions of women’s gear and can tell you for certain we have indeed come a long way, but the industry, when it comes to women’s offerings and its availability, is certainly not where it needs to be. 

Joanne has put together a comprehensive list of companies on her website that manufacture protective gear for women. You can access it at this link: GearChic.com. Joanne adds, “I know it’s difficult to figure out what women need and where to start, but that’s why I started my website: to help women riders figure out what’s available on the market and most importantly how the gear should fit. I know I can’t provide details on every woman’s specific needs for motorcycle gear but I’m here to provide personalized recommendations based on a women’s size, measurements, riding needs and budget.”

Personalized Service
Email Joanne at info@womenridersnow.com and she will work with you to guide you to choosing the right sizes the first time to minimize shipping and returns. 

Now, I want to hear from you! I know you have an opinion on this. Please post it in the comments section below. 

14 thoughts on Where Can I Find Motorcycle Riding Gear for Women?

  1. Couldn’t agree more with the lack of gear available for women and the issues faced by retailers. Scuderia has a great selection of women’s gear if you are in the SF area. We’ve just selected them to carry our line of MotoChic bags as they a offer variety of jackets, pants, helmets for women and their staff is outstanding.

  2. First off, there is no such thing as a margin over 99.9%. You can have a 1000% mark-up, but not a margin. Second, margin on motorcycle clothing varies between 20 on the low side and 50 on the high side. The issue is that women’s gear just does not sell well, so dealers don’t tend to stock a lot of it. Second, and a big irritation to my wife is that manufacturers seem to insist on making women’s gear in pink, or at least with pink accents. She says “it’s incredibly patronizing of the manufacturers to push this stuff in pink. Just because we are female does not mean we are Barbie types. We want variety! We don’t want pink!” Are you listening manufacturers?

  3. As a female rider, I have gotten used to the fact that most gear is made for men. Although my local Harley-Davidson has some women’s selections, the majority is still for the male rider. To that end, I simply buy items made for men in the smallest sizes I can find to fit me. My biggest problem is finding boots that fit well, and when I do I buy as many pairs as I can afford. They usually do not last long on the shelves.

  4. I suddenly feel *very* lucky to live 20 minutes from Iron Pony. They have what I guess could be considered a huge women’s riding gear section. Seriously, I’ve seen dealers with less room for all their gear than what Pony has just for us girls. They also just got in a bunch more boots (though they’re pretty much from just two or three brands.) Tons of brands for jackets, fitting rooms, even plenty of helmets with more feminine designs! And an hour away the Ohio branch of Competition Accessories even has a small but decent selection. If you’re ever in Ohio stop on by! I’ll do my best not to take Pony’s selection for granted anymore.

  5. When I first started riding, I used Harley gear. I have a Harley synthetic jacket since that was the least expensive one in the store! I got that one when I rode on the back with my husband. When I got my own bike, I got a Joe Rocket jacket and modular helmet (better than the 3/4 one I had from Harley) from Romney Cycles in WV. They don’t have a huge selection of women’s stuff, but they can order it and ship it for free or very reduced shipping costs to your house. My Firstgear winter gloves also came from Romney. My latest fave shopping site/place is RevZilla.com. They have an excellent return policy and have been super helpful with sizing and any questions that I had. I bought the Joe Rocket Survivor suit in a Small in Hi Viz from them. It works well for me for commuting and winter riding, though it may not work as well for every woman (buying full suits is a pain). I also bought my Alpine Stars Stella SMX-5 boots from them and they are excellent boots. Very comfy, waterproof, and a ton of protection. RevZilla does free shipping, as well and no sales tax!

  6. If you want to try gear on before you buy (or be able to return it easily after you buy), check out Cycle Gear. The reader said she lived in Kansas City, and there is a CG about 12 miles from her in Lenexas, Kansas. CG has quite a bit of women’s gear, and a fitting room! Aside from the gear they stock in store, you can order a wider range of women’s gear through their website. Then you can return it to a physical store rather than ship it back. Just giving them a shout out because they’ve been so awesome about ordering things for me and accepting returns without any hassle. Of course, there are many websites online which offer an even wider range of products. My go-to sites are revzilla.com and motorcyclegear.com because of the selection, prices, and great customer service from both sites.Craigslist can also be a good place to find gently used gear inexpensively—especially women’s gear, as riders often buy gear for their girlfriends and then sell it when they break up.If you really want to go hunting, pawn shops and custom leather stores will sometimes have some women’s motorcycle gear.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations. I’d add eBay to your list of finding good used gear.OK Cycle Gear, are you listening? How about spending some money with us on advertising now. We’ve promoted your products on our website, promoted you through our newsletter and now I’m letting this reader promote you through her comments.Obviously if the reader who asked this question can’t find you 12 miles away, there must be a disconnect between women motorcyclists needing gear they want to try on and those same women finding you.Here is why you need to advertise with us Cycle Gear. Hundreds of thousands of women motorcyclists can learn about you by advertising on WRN. But that won’t happen when you spend your marketing and ad dollars elsewhere.

  7. This issue is one of my pet peeves, too. We have come a long way from when I first started riding in the mid-80s and got serious in the mid-90s. Women’s riding gear? What’s that?I live in southeast Wyoming, and within a two-hour drive of Denver, Col. You might think that you could find gear to try on in the Denver area at least. You would be wrong.Earlier this year, a couple of the ladies from a northern Colorado motorcycle club I belong to (Front Range Riders) ventured to a large accessories store in Denver to try on gear. The trip was a bust; no real selection of gear for women. The few items the store carried did not fit well at all. One of the ladies wanted to try on riding boots. The store had none. It is almost impossible to find a dealership or motorcycle accessory shop that stocks much, if any, riding gear for women. I’ve traveled across the country and haven’t found any region of the country that’s better than another. The best luck I’ve had has been at two dealerships in Fort Collins. Their selections aren’t large by any means but they’ve had enough of a selection that I can at least find a size in some well-known brands that fits me. Then I have more confidence in having the shop order in the style I’d prefer.That brings up another point. If you find a dealership that stocks women’s gear and try it on there and find something you like, please buy from the dealer, even though their price may not be as low as you could find online. If we don’t support the dealers who are trying to stock gear, they won’t continue to stock it. Sometimes they will give you a discount if you’re a member of a national motorcycle organization such as GWRRA, AMA, etc.I have attended GWRRA and other rallies, gone to AIMExpo in Orlando, and used to go to the International Motorcycle Show in Denver (which has been discontinued). These types of events usually have riding gear for women that you can try on. However, they’re not always convenient to attend.Sizing among brands differs greatly. You may be a large in one brand but an XL in another. It’s maddening. Ordering online in such circumstances is definitely a crap shoot. That’s one of the main reasons I want to try on a garment before purchasing.And while I’m wishing (or whining), it would be nice if you could find gear in colors other than black, pink, or silver (which is better than either of the first two but boring).

  8. I’ve done well with a few of my local motorcycle retailers. And what they don’t have, Revzilla.com has been able to find for me

  9. Great answers all. Thanks for posting this.

  10. I try very hard to shop local when I can and I’ve bought most of my gear that way. Mostly because I think it is very important that the gear fit properly and you just can’t do that online unless you’re willing to spend a lot of time returning. That said it’s taken me years to accumulate a couple of jackets and a pair of mesh pants. Usually they only stock one or two brands, most of them make you look like a boy racer and most of them are pink or light blue. So I’ve had to make multiple trips over multiple years just to find a couple that I like. Our local Harley dealer probably has the best selection but they tend to really like their name all over everything and that’s not really my style. I do buy all my gloves and boots there. My biggest gripe is that stores don’t have the women’s section identified and they keep moving it. Takes forever to find anything.

  11. As a brand new rider, I just finished up purchasing my first set of riding gear. I did the same online research Jan did and had the same issue with not wanting to make a large investment without first trying the gear on. I had decent luck with CycleGear locally. I am not sure what the general consensus is about them but my initial impression was good. They had a nice selection of women’s gear that I was able to try on for size. Initially I just wanted to make sure I had the right size so I could order online but I ended up buying a jacket and helmet from their “exclusive” brands. Their brands were not as expensive as the national brands and seemed to be well made so I gave them a shot. I did buy my boots online through Revzilla and using their size chart, I ordered the perfect size.A little off-topic: I also just bought my first motorcycle. I went with the Kawasaki Vulcan S which can be easily fitted for smaller riders (like me!). Since it is my first bike, I have nothing to compare it with but hubby likes the bike too; he says it is a lot of fun. He normally rides a Harley Road King but keeps looking for excuses to ride mine.

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