Mrs MotorbikeWriter returns to tell us what women really want in motorcycle gear.
I make no secret of the fact that I like to look presentable no matter what I am doing and that includes when I’m sitting on the back of MotorbikeWriter’s motorcycles.
I come from a long line of women who love to dress to impress, accessorise to match and theme their shoes.
However, my frustration with motorcycle gear is that the choices are often limited to black, black or black. My motto is that life to too short not to sparkle, so I find it difficult to find motorcycle gear that revs my throttle.
I recall my first trip to a motorcycle shop to buy a helmet, jacket and pants. The selection was very limited. The brightest apparel I could find had a splash of red on it.
Anyway, I tried on the gear and stepped out of the change room that was actually a storeroom doubling as a change room. I asked the salesman where the mirror was so I could see how I looked. Surprise, surprise, there was no mirror.
I wasn’t prepared to spend that amount of money without seeing what I looked like so the young shop assistant was duly dispatched to buy a mirror from Crazy Clarks.
I am pleased to say that things have come a long way since then.
According to Women Riders Now, almost 25% of the total riding population in America is comprised of women.
Australia is still a long way behind our American colleagues, though. In 2012, 27 million Americans had bike licences and 6.7 million of those were women. In Australia, women are fast approaching 10%, but that’s still small numbers.
Over the course of the last decade, the number of female motorcycle riders increased by 35% in the US, mostly during 2009 to 2012, when the female riding population jumped 20%. If the trend continues at that same rate, women will represent 50% of all riders in two decades.
These figures aren’t being ignored by bike gear manufacturers with more and more adding women’s gear to their range.
But the gear still suffers from male-dominated designers and manufacturers who don’t understand what we want. There are exceptions, of course.
One seems to be Roland Sands of LA. My favourite ensemble is one of their Maven “tobacco” coloured leather jackets with matching tobacco Dezel gloves. I bought them from Oliver’s Motorcycles, Moorooka, Brisbane, for not much more than you can get them online.
Far too often bike jackets are insanely stiff and almost impossible to move in, but this jacket is so comfortable I also wear it as casual gear.
I have also struggled to find motorcycle pants that I feel comfortable wearing. Leather pants are hot, difficult to put on and often squeaky. Textile pants make an awful swishing noise as you walk and I feel like a Sergeant-Major in them.
I have now settled for a pair of Draggin’ Twista jeans. They fit well and the inner lining keeps the scratchy Kevlar lining away from my skin in the heat.
I cannot find any motorcycle boots that I like. They all look like something from Terminator. Since I don’t have to operate the foot controls or put my foot on the ground, I have opted for leather cowboy boots I bought in the USA.
You also need some bling accessories to go with your outfit and as a result of my extensive hunting and gathering in America I have some fabulous bejewelled belts and sparkling bandanas.
But the missing link in the whole outfit is the helmet. Yes, they make some with pink and purple in an effort to appeal to women, but they just don’t do it for me.
There are also some trendy open-face helmets, but I just can’t bring myself to wear one. I feel too vulnerable.
I prefer the modular flip-up helmet so I can touch up my make-up or chat with a friend when temporarily stopped – say at a service station – without having to remove my helmet.
The problem with modular helmets is that they are so big.
So I am still waiting for a manufacturer to make a compact, sequinned, modular helmet or one that will match my Roland Sands gear.