Ladies, Start Your Engines
There’s no reason not to be outside, behind the handlebars if you’re a female motorcycle enthusiast. It’s estimated that more than 12 percent of motorcycle riders are female – and this number is going up. For some, riding a bike is a high-adrenaline alternative that saves on gas, but for others, it’s a way of life and a passion that brings them inner peace, freedom and empowerment.
Membership in women’s motorcycle clubs is increasing, female readership of motorcycle magazines is rising, and with events like International Female Ride Day, there’s reason to believe that the sport is slowly becoming less of a boy’s club. Following the lead of millions of inspirational women riders on the roads, many new riders are finding the confidence of owning and riding a bike extends to other aspects of their daily lives. According to a survey commissioned by Harley-Davidson earlier this year, women who conquer the road on a motorcycle find themselves feeling better at work, at home, in their relationships and in spirit than non-riders. Not to mention, more than twice as many riders as non-riders agree that they feel beautiful on a daily basis.
Women riders know that life is better on two wheels. They also know how to be safe and smart while on the road – studies have shown that women riders are involved in fewer accidents than their male counterparts. Unfortunately, despite the rise in female ridership, many still find the options overwhelming, and it can be difficult to find a motorcycle that rides like a dream but doesn’t break the bank. There are many small-engine bikes on the market today, so you can usually buy a new one for only slightly more than a used motorcycle. Here are just a few recent favorites of female riders:
1) Suzuki TU250X – The ideal bike for entry-level riders that don’t want to sacrifice style for utility and safety. The TU250X has a slightly higher upright seat but the narrow profile helps shorter riders reach the ground. The retro-cruiser design blends classic features with modern performance capabilities. First launched by Suzuki in 1994, the 2015 TU250X features a 249cc air-cooled Single-cylinder engine outfitted with Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve fuel-injection and digital ignition. A stellar bike for any woman looking to start her love affair with motorcycles.
2) Honda CBR250R – A great all-around bike, the CBR250R is a no-frills sportbike that suits the needs of commuters and sportbike enthusiasts alike. Perfect for long highway trips and hardcore track runs, this machine is entirely capable of full-time duty. The smooth 249cc Single-cylinder moves the lightweight 359-pound CBR easily off idle and into traffic. With a lower seat and a smaller frame, it also gets excellent fuel efficiency, something we can all appreciate with today’s gas prices.
3) Triumph Bonneville – A classic among confident women riders, it’s perfect for someone looking for something a little different, who can handle the increased weight of a bike with larger displacement. While the engine is nearly 900cc, the Triumph’s narrow profile and comfortable riding position lets you travel anywhere effortlessly. Today’s version is dialed in with a fuel injected 865cc parallel-Twin engine and electronic fuel injection hidden within a pair of old-school looking carburetors. The ergonomics of this bike fit women well, and it’s stylish design and confidence-inspiring ride make it a perennial favorite.
4) Ducati Monster 696, 796, 821, 1200 – Introduced in 1993, this sporty Italian bike fits female motorcyclists. Some women find it easier to ride Ducatis (and other sporty-type bikes as well) because of their foot positioning. Having your ankles and heels aligned below your hip joints makes it easier to maneuver the bike from the hips, thigh and core muscles, rather than from the arms and shoulders. Quicker and more powerful than the other bikes mentioned here, the Monster is also known as one of the safer bikes, thanks to its advanced electronics, light weight and versatility.
As a female rider passionate about motorcycles, if you find a bike that you love but has an inappropriately-sized seat, you can always consult a motorcycle mechanic to see if there is a way to lower the seat, or modify the suspension. Or, if you’re willing to spend the money, you can even have a custom motorcycle built the way you want it. Regardless of the bike you own or your motorcycle interests, get out there this summer and “just ride”, and you’re sure to inspire other women who have yet to take the step to enjoy motorcycling.
Other bikes worth considering:
Kawasaki: Ninja 300
Honda: Rebel, CB500F, CBR500R, CB500X
Suzuki: GW250, SFV650
Yamaha: V Star 250
More by Beth Kelly