Editors Note: This is the first in a series of questions that our new riding apparel contributor, Joanne Donn from GearChic.com, will answer. If you have a question send it to email@example.com. We will let you know if we use your question. To learn more about Joanne, read her bio at the end of this article and on the WRN Contributors page.
Why does 99 percent of womens motorcycle riding gear only come in pink?
A WRN Facebook fan
I have to agree that far too much women’s gear is marketed with pink in mind. However, I would argue that it’s far less than 99 percent in terms of actual options available for women. Personally, I have no problem with this color. I’m not a huge fan of certain hues of pink, but I do have a problem with it on my motorcycle gear. I’m much happier with black/reds/whites when it comes to my gear. But that’s me.
Unfortunately more often than not, many advertisements include pink gear of some kind as a way to try and get women to purchase their products. I never fall into this trap, and find it offensive. How about showing me what your product can do for me in terms of fit, features and protection?
The reality is that many women who ride need more than a pretty color to spend a few hundred dollars on a piece of gear. I want protection, abrasion resistant, visibility, technical fabrics, etc. and most importantly, a fantastic fit.
“…many shops don’t know how to sell women’s gear…”
If you look at several of the largest motorcycle retail websites, you’ll find approximately 10 to 25 percent of the gear options for women jackets have the color pink incorporated somehow. This is because the brands that these retailers choose to carry aren’t all using this color to sell you their gear. Protection, quality, functionality, fit, performance: these are the tools that many of them are using to provide options for women riders.
I’ve also discovered that many shops (and websites) don’t know how to sell women’s gear, so the fallback is always to display pink and/or girly versions of products in hopes of attracting the female buyer. I don’t think many of them understand how to truly relate to today’s female rider. Don’t they realize that women need almost the same things that their male counterparts do when it comes to gear; women just need it to fit them differently. (Easier said than done, however.)
And then there are simply women who like the color pink, on their gear and on their motorcycles, as seen in our story on Pink Motorcycles, and that’s OK too! It’s great to have multiple color options, even if pink is one of them.
Other marketing campaigns that use pink to try and convince women to purchase their gear—which is technical and protective in nature—may be missing the mark here because there are only so many of women who are solely looking for pink options over safer ones.
This is where I think many women are divided. I consider myself a technical, experienced rider with demanding riding needs. I need my gear to work better than look better. But that’s just me. And that’s just it. We all have different wants and needs, so the answer to this is not a simple one, unfortunately.
Aren’t choices a good thing to have, even if it’s not your number one choice?
About the Author
Now share your thoughts on pink motorcycle riding gear in the comments below.
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I actually wear the H-D Pink Collection jacket pictured in this article. No, pink is not my favorite color, nor does it make me feel “more feminine.” So why purchase and wear this jacket?First, 3% of the proceeds from this collection are donated to three breast cancer foundations—how cool is that?Second, it is well made and comfortable to wear.Third (and most important from a rider’s standpoint), I can been seen in this jacket by other motorists.
Thank you for this insightful article. I opened a motorcycle gear shop last year and one of the hardest things has been providing a good selection of women’s gear. Since women make up a small proportion if the overall business it’s not possible to keep as big a selection as I can for male riders. Most of the women’s gear I carry isn’t pink, but when I do offer pink more often than not the women riders are turned off by it. Of course there are the exceptions who love pink. Unfortunately most women riders choose basic black just like men do. I think they would be better off riding in a bright pink jacket than a flat black one.
I love pink. It’s my favorite color plus it stands out on our gear. We are more noticeable in my opinion. There are some things I do not like in pink but for the most part all my gear has pink in it, but I do feel there should be more colors.
Actually, I think that having pink on our clothing, riding jackets or helmets is a plus. Why? It lets other motorists realize that the motorcycle rider is a female.
It’s funny to find this article today. I was just in a gear shop the day after Christmas, and made the same comment to my husband. We were purchasing some items from Freezeout, and all of the women’s items are pink. Pink is not my signature color. I wound up buying the men’s items, not so much because of the color, but because they fit me better. But really, I find it pretty crass that some of these companies believe that women need pink to show their femininity.
I’m sorry but I’ve never really been “girly.” I was just always me. Rough and tumble, but very much a female. I don’t need pink to signal that I’m a female. The hips, the boobs, and my face should indicate that with no issue. Even if I’m covered head to toe, you’re not going to mistake my chest for a guy. And I can’t wear small men’s sizes; I wear bigger sizes than my husband. And men’s stuff just doesn’t fit well. I want a woman’s sizing in my safety gear, and I don’t want it to be pink.
I have built a nice collection over the years. Yes, I have a lovely pink leather jacket with coordinating gloves that I wear sometimes. Pretty much have worn out the blingy t-shirts of years past and am getting a little tired of them for sale now,Since probably 95 percent of my gear is from Harley, it fits nicely and has good function. I am a fair cool skin tone blond, no complaints on colors available for me. That may be more where the color problems are. Not a lot available for warmer skin tone ladies in performance wear, but I do see it in the fashion part. Hopefully that means that soon it will roll over into performance wear.Jeans is where I have my complaints. Jeans seem to be either cut from a juniors fit model or cut down mens. Hate, hate, hate the Lycra/spandex in my jeans as it lets the cool air through and seems to hold more heat in the fabric during sunny days. Even my Kevlar jeans are not a great fit, so I don’t wear them as much as I should.
I agree with Cheyrider, as a newbie to riding, by that I mean two months — I have a bright pink helmet, bright pink, green, and yellow shirts. I want to be seen. My BF laughs! Says I’m going to get beat up, well, better to be beat up off the bike, than ran over from not being seen! I love looking for girly bright colors, but have my black too!
This is a universal problem so a great article. I set up my lady bikers page on Facebook a couple of years ago with links to a website with a questionnaire referencing women’s sizes in riders gear. Unfortunately whilst women like my page, not many followed up by completing it. Shame, I was hoping to get the company I worked for to re-gage their female designs. I was working for the biggest designer and manufacturer in the UK who was just setting up new outlets in the US. All designing still done by men! Women need a new label of their own! I have the ideas and the contacts, just some finance would be great! Happy riding!
Why do I have to buy men’s leathers to fit? I wouldn’t mind something with a subtle feminine design but I ask for a chair, sit down, raise my arms in a riding position, and immediately the back comes up halfway above my ribcage and the sleeves are almost to my elbows, never mind the binding in the armpits.
I think one of the problems is that a lot of women’s moto gear has been designed to be sold to passengers, not drivers. The idea is that the lil’ lady needs to look cute on the back and maybe keep her a bit warm so she doesn’t have anything to complain about. Never mind that she might need to move around, or that she cares about what might happen if she meets the pavement.There are companies that are genuinely trying to meet women’s needs on a bike, but it still seems to me that a lot of gear for women is really being sold as a way to cash in on a market instead of meeting an actual need. It’s getting better over the years, and there’s a lot less “pink-only” out there than there used to be!I’ve never worn pink myself, but only because it would clash with all my red motorcycles.
I understand the concerns about using pink as the only option for women’s riding gear. I’ve been riding long enough to remember when there simply wasn’t any women’s gear; we were struggling to make men’s gear work or adapting the biker babe look to be somehow functional.That being said, I wear pink, especially bright pink, every chance I get. I very much believe that every time women get on our bikes, they are role models. By wearing pink we are letting women and girls everywhere know that if we can ride, so can they. The other reason is for safety. Anything I can do to get someone to really see me, I’ll do it. Drivers don’t associate motorcycles with pink. If it gets them to look twice, then it’s worth it!
Great article! Well said. To me, pink seems to say that you aren’t a serious rider but in it for the fashion. And, the skimpy clothes and cutesie stuff won’t be of too much help if you go down.
I liked wearing pink when I had it as I wanted everyone to know that it was a woman on the motorcycle! Now I wear silver and white but you wouldn’t believe the amount of waves I would get when I rode by others! As a woman and a mother of a girl, I like other girls out there knowing that there are women on motorcycles. If I can do it so can they! If you don’t like the pink, don’t buy it!
I got tired of the “fussy” women’s gloves, so I started looking at small-sized men’s gloves to get the protection I wanted. My favorite pair has knuckle protectors and no-nonsense closures that are easy to open/close with the other gloved hand. Now I am confident my 5-foot 2 inch self could deck that cage driver who argues with me over MY parking space!
I was just talking about this with my husband and a couple of female friends the other day. It drives me crazy. I don’t detest pink though I’m not overly fond of pastel pinks and prefer deeper shades like fuchsia, but prefer black and purple. It does seem like marketing execs, even though there are females out there in the field, can’t get around marketing to women through stereotypical styles and colors, like pink. I see it with firearms also. Pink camo (which is ludicrous unless you live in Whoville or some alternate universe), pink guns, everything bedazzled (again, I have nothing against this, but it seems they assume everyone wants these traditionally “girly” things and colors).
I also have a problem with pink. It’s fine for people who like the color, but I want clothes that will fit me properly. But just trying to achieve that sometime is a chore in itself. If they want to bring color, do so but bring colors that people want not what company think will sell. Make the outfits for ladies to be ladies not a hack job on men’s clothing.
Pink gear drives me nuts! I don’t like pink; never have. I have found that most women’s gear, at least in the area in which I live, is geared toward the passenger. It tends to be cute (a word which I do not comprehend at all), blingy, grossly over-logoed, and lacking in features.I have been riding for 48 years; not until recently have I seen women’s gear come even close to having the features that men’s stuff does. Sizing is not consistent, either. Trying to find anything over a size 10 is damn near impossible. Not all women riders are small, thank you very much! I am 5 feet 5 inches (on a good day), weigh somewhere around 170, have broad shoulders, a short inseam, am busty, have small hands, small but wide feet, and do not like my clothing to be skin tight or revealing. I would like to see the colors purple, blue, green, and red show up. Give me the armor, vents, zippers, and extra pockets that guys get (I don’t carry a purse, so I need the pockets). I want jackets that cover my back and fall below my waist (it gets cold back there). Give me the heat resistant inseams on rain gear and jeans; those pipes are hot!Since most selection is only online (why?), please make it easy for me to shop, and return. Don’t just give me sizes in XS,S,M,L (gawd forbid there should be an XL or maybe even a women’s size in there [guys don’t have men’s sizes differentiated by guys and mens; why should we?]); these are not standard sizes between manufacturers, as men’s gear is. Give me charts that tell me inseam, overall length, crotch depth, shoulder to wrist length, chest size, waist size, back length, collar height (for mandarin collars), what fits with what. For rain gear, please tell me what it will fit over. Give me plenty of reflective material, material that has vents and breathes. Don’t make my gear just a smaller version of men’s stuff. I am built differently, and like to wear what fits me. Make it all sturdy and comfortable.please, don’t charge me an arm and a leg just because it’s designed for a woman. i don’t plan on changing my gear on a yearly basis just because it is no longer fashionable. if i like what you make and sell, rest assured: i will come back again, and again, when i am ready to buy once more. i have more i could say, but will stop here. i hope this gets out to the manufacturers, because i am getting tired of wearing protective clothing that is too small in places and overly long/wide/full in others; in other words, men’s gear…
There ARE great choices for women’s gear, but as I said in my article, they’re very difficult to find in person!If you need personalized suggestions for gear, please visit me at GearChic.com so I can help.
I, too, detest pink. I want great fit with comfort (don’t like feeling like the Tin Man in gear that doesn’t flex or flexes in the wrong places), abrasion resistance, waterproof (hate carrying a rain suit) and affordable. I’d also like more color options than black or pink, like red, purple, brown/tan, yellow, bright blue. That being said, when I started riding in the mid-1980s I couldn’t find women’s riding gear at all and adapted men’s gear or other outdoor gear. Today’s selections are a lot better and varied, however, I wish there wasn’t such a discrepancy in sizing between manufacturers and that the fit was better.Recently, a handful of the ladies in a riding club I belong to ventured to a large motorcycle accessory shop in Denver, Colorado, hoping to find a decent selection of women’s riding gear. Most dealerships don’t carry much. And ordering something is a crap shoot. They fared no better at the large shop but had a lot of fun, and frustration, trying on gear that didn’t fit well. The shop had no women’s riding boots in stock at all. Maybe if these shops see more women riders come in and leave without purchasing anything because they can’t find what they want, they and the manufacturers they represent will get it.
I didn’t like pink until my 50s, but I love purple! I’d love to see more color in our gear though.
I like blue (not gay baby blue, but a nice cobalt blue color)! But I’m also known to love a deep pink, almost fuchsia-like color. I also prefer fit and functionality over color but color will attract my eye first, then I look at the functionality/material, then try it on for fit. My first jacket was an Alpinestars one with a nice blue mesh across the chest, and good weight textile throughout, with plenty of reflective qualities on the back, sleeves, front, sides and all the protection one could ask for (armor on shoulders, elbow, back, and front). Best purchase ever at $200. But unfortunately, I’ve gained some weight and it’s too snug right now (can’t get the zipper all the way up and exhale). So I’ve been shopping a lot for other options but nothing has compared to that first jacket. And so far haven’t found any other blue jackets. I have a light pink/gray/black one, as it had the protection I needed, enough breathability and airflow for summer riding and had enough give that I could gain weight and still fit it. Plus I have a newer fuchsia one (Scorpion, I think) which I happen to love and get lots of compliments on and everyone can see me coming a mile away – that’s a good thing right? I also have a black winter weather textile with a heavy quilted liner, and armor where needed. Plus a nice soft leather with armor in all the right places, and a heavy quilted liner. All my jackets have armor in the shoulders, elbows, back, but not all have padding on the front like the blue jacket, but that’s okay with me. I’m being protected at all the critical points. And I recently lucked out and found a white mesh/textile jacket that’s good for three seasons (spring, summer, fall), with all the armor I want including in the front – it’s a Cortech brand that was on the sale/clearance rack. I know white will get pretty dirty pretty quick, but it was that or a black one… and I don’t need another black jacket. I do hope that more manufacturers will design gear, including gloves, for women with more variety in colors, like blue, and better fit as well as we’re not all a size 2!
Racer Gloves makes several nice high quality styles of women’s’ riding gloves. Check out our review by clicking on the linked text.
Most motorcycle shops, if they even have any women’s gear, only carry black or pink. I am not a pink loving girl. I have a red bike and I like red and white and neon. Nice graphics are a plus but not necessary. I wished that more places actually carried true women’s sizes and fits. Gloves seem to be a very problematic item as are chaps and I hear ya on the boots. Bottom line to me is that it is harder from women to get good service from gear manufacturers. Women are a smaller market and a more unpredictable market with wide variables.
I love my light pink leathers! I say you can be a girly girl and still ride motorcycles. They fit great, they are much cooler temp-wise than my black leathers and I wear them more because of that. I agree shops and manufacturers don’t know how to sell to women riders; if they have anything, the only thing you could ride wearing it is a stripper pole! Women have the money and we want to spend it. Stop asking the parts guy what to sell!
I hate pink. I don’t understand why they think that every women must love pink and all this crystals and other Barbie style. I find it pretty offensive.
I like pink, but I find I don’t wear it anymore. In the 80s & 90′ it seems I wore it often. Perhaps it is a young woman’s color. Certainly we won’t all love the same colors, nor should we, not anymore than we should all like the same style of motorcycle. But if I were to boldly say, “I hate Harleys!” I would get an earful from someone. .I’m so pleased to learn about Joanne and I’m going to read her blog now. I had not heard of her before this article. Thanks for bringing her to us!
I have to say, after years of only having a choice to buy men’s gear, I don’t mind the ladies gear colours. I have an apple body shape, and it is horrible to buy ladies jackets. Now that I have lost some weight I am happy to be able to shop in the womens department. I own a lot of jackets now, in a large assortment of colours. No more just black for me! I also enjoy the fact that if a lady rides with feminine colours on I can spot her coming towards me and give a huge smile and wave.
Great to see Joanne in WRN! She is so knowledgeable on riding gear and equipment. As to the pink issue, having worked for many years raising money for breast cancer research and being a breast cancer survivor myself, I am really tired of pink. I prefer reflective colors for my riding apparel and black, white and red. Functionality comes first for me. Of course, I never want to clash with my motorcycle’s paint scheme either!
I buy for function over fashion too. But if it happens to come in pink as well, I might buy it! I like the color. I like that people know it’s a woman riding that bike, not a man. I’m a femme, what can I say! Plus a cager will see me on the road before they’ll see someone in black jacket. I started riding 10 years ago, and there wasn’t much gear for women (even less for “women of substance” e.g. larger women, even now). The manufacturers are getting better, but still have a long way to go.
Personally, I abhor the “pink it and shrink it” approach to women’s gear. It goes back to the stereotype started in the delivery room of hospitals of girls wear pink and boys wear blue. I understand economies of scale in manufacturing limit choices in all colors, but it’s naive to assume that all women are going to gravitate towards pink. In a survey of women riders I conducted, more women still went for black.
I agree with the above posters. Woman riders need good gear, made for woman, not small men’s sizes. take my riding very seriously and want the best safety equipment I can get. But with that said, I’m not opposed to pink gear. Pink is not my favorite color, I only have one pink item and that is summer gloves. I really enjoy wearing those. I want people to know that I am a woman who rides her own and is proud of it. So manufacture pink gear. Just don’t leave out the quality and function.
I am just grateful there are now women’s sizes. I started riding in 1979 and the choice was black. I could only buy men’s boots, jackets, chaps and pants. I haven’t mixed it us much since my black days, but now I have red, blue, white, pink in addition to black and I have a better fit because the manufacturers are making women’s sizes. I still have trouble with boots, since this 6-foot frame wears a 12 narrow boot and there are no women’s sizes that fit me. There will come a day that we will have more choices but probably not in my lifetime. If it is pink and safe it is OK by me.
Once again it’s the mainstream male agenda in the motorcycle world trying to hook the ladies for their buy. If we make it pink, blingie and girlie, maybe the girls will buy it. The heck with whether it will function or provide lasting protection. Unfortunately for them, as more and more women take the handlebars, more and more women are demanding good, durable, functional gear as their experience increases. ou go girls It’s awesome seeing more and more of us out in the wind. Thanks to some of the woman owned motorcycle gear companies, we can find the gear we require with choices and a woman’s fit. If I want someone to know I’m a woman rider, maybe because I am participating in a women’s event, I’ll tie on a pastel color bandana, scarf or neck gaiter. Guess what – they fit any of us – no sizing required! But let’s not forget that there is a market out there for the pink gear, otherwise, it would not be selling. One of the joys of motorcycling is our freedom. Freedom in the wind. Freedom of expression – with our bike customizations – with our riding gear. Let’s just remember those companies that support us, and support them.
I am thrilled to see GearChic on WRN! I have already learned a lot about motorcycle gear from Joanne and am glad to have more opportunities to hear from her. I also dislike how motorcycle gear is often marketed to women based on its design (including pinkness) rather than its technical specs and protective qualities. I want to know as much as possible about a piece before I buy it and I need sufficient information to compare different brands. I wish that more manufacturers and retailers of motorcycle gear would clue in that many women want this more than pretty and/or pink gear!
I also wish there were more colour choices for women, (like turquoise), but I agree safety and fit are most important. I’m not a pink fan for my gear either, and I know several other women riders who detest it as well. Gear companies need to realize we’re not all the same and offer more bright colours. After all, we all want to be seen when we’re riding!
I guess I don’t wear pink motorcycle gear for the same reason that I don’t golf with a pink ball in league. It’s hard for some men to take us seriously when we’re all decked out in pink flowers. I’m all for choice though. If you like pink… go for it. I have found that motorists give me a little more space when they figure out I’m a woman so I usually wear a feminine looking bandana or something. I do wish there were more choices in lighter colored gear for summer use that didn’t include pink or light blue.
When shopping, I too look for the same functionality in motorcycle gear as does my husband. Ever since childhood I’ve detested the color pink. When I’m riding, I’m not trying to look baby girl pink, but like a mature, knowledge rider who just happens to be a lady.
Congrats to WRN for bringing the foremost expert on women’s motorcycle gear on board! I won’t buy any gear without running it by Joanne first. I mean that.To your question: I always put fit and function first. If the gear meets my fit and function needs I can always find it in a color that suits me. Fortunately the manufacturers I buy from are wise enough to give us choices. With Joanne’s help, WRN readers will be able to choose gear with discernment and learn to look beyond manufacturers that attempt to sell gear to women based on fashion and bling factor alone. When women demand (through buying) the best gear available, more of it will come to market—in a range of fashion choices. Yeah!
I’m a new rider. I don’t like pink. The mindset that if you are female you must want pink drives me crazy. Further, I’m not a fashionista at all. I want protective gear that will help keep me safe(r). My riding pants and jacket don’t match (gasp) but they fit me and are comfortable. My rain gear does match, but that’s because I bought it as a set. Unfortunately, my only choice in the size I needed was a darker color with reflective lines. I wanted burn-your-eyeballs-out neon so others could see me in the rain and times of diminished visibility, but that wasn’t an option.