Pink, flowers & girl bikes

Dear designers of motorcycles and bike wear,

What women want? The same as men. Some like fast bikes, other tour bikes or choppers. The only thing that differs is that women have different anatomy, are smaller on average and less strong. Searching for a bike lots of bikes were striped of my list. Not because I didn’t like them, but because they were too heavy to handle and too tall. While riding these two things are no issue. But when you want to park or unpark your bike or wait for a traffic light you want to be able to move your bike around without help or the risk of tipping over. This limits the choice of bikes and that is a shame. 

Because we chose a bike just like men by the looks but also power and other technical specs. Looks are definitely not pink bikes! Apparently the stereotype of women liking girly colours is very persistent. Most women I know prefer aggressive sharp looks, a mysterious black bike or other colour that is not fast out of fashion. The same accounts to helmets, clothing and shoe wear. Motor equipment is not cheap and since you want to be well protected you rather buy the more expensive equipment. Disadvantage is that this is a big investment. That is why women choose more neutral colors so it doesn’t go out of fashion. It is also practical to choose neutral colours if you switch bikes. Which always happens at some point. So altogether not that different from men.

What do we like? Most manufacturers are men and seem to think that if you add pink accents and flower motives you end up with what women want. Sure there is always a small group amongst women who do like pink and flower motives but that will not bring in the big money. 

What does bring in the big money? Clothing, shoe wear and gloves that have a good fit and follow the curves and anatomy of women. Ideally it would be great to be able to customize it as a customer but that is too expensive unfortunately. Women come in a lot of shapes and sizes but there are some personas to distinguish. It would be great if biker wear would be more adjustable to breasts, waist, hips, leg length, width of fingers, feet, calves etc. It is all in the details like asymmetrical zippers in a jacket for example. What do we like for a bike apart from weight and height? Easy handling. So light clutch and throttle to avoid muscle pain on longer rides. Kawasaki introduced clutch assist which is great and this technique would be great to have on all bikes just like adjustable levers. Now it is all expensive after market products you need to make the bike accessible. 

My advice? In this world of design thinking, user journeys, prototyping and developing products with the target audience it is time to develop TOGETHER with women and not FOR women trying to think like them. Just like men women are unique but in the end want safe good looking affordable well fitted bike wear and a fitted east handling good looking bike. 

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