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Women and motorcycles

Motorcycles have been pretty much a male dominated consumer demographic. If you are a woman and thinking about buying a bike, there are some factors to keep in mind.

Although I am sure women and men are equal in most areas, physically women tend to be smaller in mass, height, weight and leg length. If you are a small man or average sized woman, keep in mind four measurements as you assess the right bike for you.

The height of the seat is important. You must be able to have your feet touch the pavement when the bike is at rest or there will be a lot of laying down of the bike, embarrassing and costly.

Upper body strength also comes into play. Too much or too little front wheel angularity or "wheel caster" requires that upper body strength to come into play. Women should be aware of this and if necessary look for a bike with a moderate amount of angularity.

And how long are your arms? You will need to be able to easily adjust the controls on the bike, not a problem for a normal sized man. However with shorter arms this becomes an important measurement. As well, some of the hand controls require a great deal of hand strength. If you are braking a lot on a Harley, you might experience hand fatigue, a potentially dangerous situation.

It is also important to assess your muscle mass. In trying out the bike, notice if you are having difficulty controlling the bike. If so, look for something with a lower center of gravity for easier handling. This is not a standard specification, so ask a dealer or experienced women bikers about makes and models that meet your needs in this area.

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