Bike Considerations

by Marci
(El Reno, OK)

I work in a bike shop, and I'm always amazed at what women shop for in a bike, versus men. Most women don't worry about a small bike looking too girly or sissy. Just like the 90/10 demographics of men/women riders, it seems like 90% of women ride low-cc bikes.

It seems that there is an assumption that, as a woman, we can't handle a heavy bike. I have men tell me every day what they are looking for in a bike for their wife or girlfriend-something smaller than what they ride. I have learned to always ask what a guy is riding before I suggest anything for his wife.

How often do we see a guy on an ultra classic, and his wife is on a sporty? ouch! I sometimes wonder if it's an ill-disguised effort to keep the little woman submissive. Are men's egos so fragile?

What I tell everyone, men and women alike, is that you need to buy a bike for the type riding you do. If you just want to buzz around town, a small, lightweight bike is great. If you intend to ride long distances, travel, vacation, sight-see, etc. then you need a touring bike.

The things to look at are leg length/seat height, riding style (town/touring), center of gravity (shorter people appreciate a bike with a low center of gravity) and price range.

Comments for Bike Considerations

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Jul 11, 2010
Atypical Husband
by: Aili

My husband, Bruce, has asked numerous times if I want to ride his Road King. I don't. I'm not "into" big bikes, although it is pretty comfy on long runs. He does not have ego issues. He'd love to see me on whatever bike I want. He's actually encouraged me to take a closer look at the Softail.

His brother, Joe, on the other hand, thinks that women should not have their own bikes, should not know how to drive or fix a bike, and should only sit on the back of a bike on a thin little seat - being totally uncomfortable and feeling insecure.

Mind you, their parents are bikers too - my m-i-l is the quintessential biker chick.

Bruce has tried to soften my harsh opinions of Joe by saying he really says those things for show. Yeah, BS!!

May 03, 2010
by: Lynn - SW FL

First off, I think the 90/10 ratio has changed a bit. There are a lot more women riding, especially the last several years.

I think women are pushed towards Sportsters (if considering HDs) because they are slender and don't feel like they are straddling a horse.

Apr 26, 2010
Another Consideration
by: cj

I have always found that wheel base is just as important as seat height. I am short in the arms, too, and look for a bike that is not too long for me to be able to reach the controls comfortably. I also make sure the weight is within my limits -- I don't want to have to ask for help to back up. Low center of gravity is an absolute must!

Apr 26, 2010
Good way to put it!
by: debbie

I have worked in bike shops off and on for years. I have always said the same thing.. Just because its a woman don;t automatically assume a sportster is the bike for her.. I am with you, try on the bike so to speak.. Seat height, weight and so on.. Personally though I found that the Sportys felt heavier.. than a Heritage for example.. the sporty has a higher center of gravity than the heritage.

Apr 26, 2010
Thumbs Up
by: Audrey

Good info. Thanks for that.

Apr 26, 2010
Ladys First Bike
by: Geno Geno Anonymous

If it is their first bike, start small with one easy to handle & get used to it. Then need one that can keep up with the old mans!

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