The latest Devitt Insurance survey found that female riders make up approximately 9% of riders, and it’s increasing all the time. Clearly all women can ride all bikes, as they’re not gender specific but if you’re new to biking and are looking for a few motorcycle recommendations, we’ve put together a few suggestions below with help from female members of Keep Britain Biking.
This increase in women riders is clearly shown by motorbike gear now being designed particularly for women riders and more and more women now attend regular meets, bike shows and club and track days.
And what do we think about this? We think it’s great news.
With the variation of style of motorcycles available on the market these days, there’s plenty of choice but sometimes you need a helping hand on where to start. There are no motorbikes specifically designed for women per se, however there are some motorbikes that are more suitable for female bikers from a height and weight perspective, which you might be looking for if you’re new to motorcycling.
Everyone is different when it comes to motorcycling, and your riding technique is going to be important when considering what bike to pick, regardless of gender. Our best piece of advice is try before you buy, as you need to choose a motorcycle that suits you and your riding style. All dealerships will be more than happy to let you have a sit on all different styles of bikes until you get a feel for what bike really compliments you.
A few things to consider:
- Opting for a scooped out styled seat allowing a little more give on the height of your motorcycle and also an extra comfy option too!
- Found the perfect motorcycle? You could always purchase a lowering kit to get the right height for you. Lowering kits can be bought from most major motorcycle retailers.
- Consider the turning circle of your future motorcycle. Not feeling confident about leaning? Check out this handy article.
- The dry weight vs. wet weight of your bike is another thing to remember especially if you’re opting for a heavier model. You won’t often find the weight published by the manufacturer due to inconsistency on how it’s measured. For example, the average difference in a sports bike from dry to wet is around 32kg. Remember to take into consideration petrol, engine oil and coolant among other things.
- It’s good to try lots of different styles of bike with different horsepower and engine sizes to make sure you know how confident you feel on all types.
Like we’ve previously stated, each and every bike is individual and unique to its owner so you should try as many as you can before you buy one. Here are a few suggestions to get you started in your search for a new motorcycle:
Honda Shadow Spirit 750 C2
The Honda Shadow is a fantastic motorcycle for all, regardless of how much experience you’ve got riding. The comfortable cruiser style with a low seat height of 25.8 inches means its a very popular with lots of bikers because of its accessibility.
Often recommended for new riders because of its lighter weight allowing you to negotiate with the road. A great bike to work on building your confidence from everything to the daily commute to a weekend ride.
“I ride an ER6 and a Honda Shadow 750. The shadow is a lovely low bike for a wee short person like me, but it’s quite hard to handle… especially bends and tight corners… whereas the ER is higher in the seat but brilliant at swinging into the good old Scottish roads. Depends if you’re after comfort (shadow) or fun (ER). Safe riding folks.” Maxine Reid
However, as mentioned before, everyone is different. What suits one person may not suit another. As Wendy Windle explains…
“By cruiser standards (Honda Shadow) a fairly small bike. Although yes, it is low, it is also wiiide, and I cannot put my right foot down without burning my leg on the exhaust.”
Kawasaki Ninja 250/300
Both these models are a popular choice for biker chicks looking for a sports styled bike, although some have found the 250cc and the 300cc versions harder to ride than other choices as they have a higher seat height of 30.9 inches. The smaller engine is great for beginners as these bikes have all the looks, but not so much power.
“Yamaha, Kawasaki and current Ducati 748, recommend whatever you feel happy on, try lots, be demanding not a doormat.” Rebecca Silver
Harley-Davidson Street Glide
Most female bikers are riding middleweight motorbikes and the Street Glide is a popular choice with its low slung, sleek styling. The standard seat height of 26.1 inches can easily be lowered through seat and suspension modifications and this motorbike provides a great deal of comfort while riding too.
“I’ve still got my 09 YBR 125 bought new & kept in reserve but my main ride is my 2005 Suzuki GSXR 600 K4 (yes it’s a K4) which I absolutely love.
It’s a perfect fit for me. I would recommend a new lady rider to try every bike possible before she bought. There’s nothing worse than riding a bike & you can’t touch the floor when you stop as you concentrate more on cambers etc & dreading stopping at traffic light than enjoying your ride.” Su Nolan
You might instantly think that the Yamaha R6 is just suitable for the track, but it’s actually pretty nippy on roads too. The 599cc, 133 bhp machine is effortless when it comes to gear changes, steering and stability, it’s no wonder that it’s so easy to fall in love with.
Yamaha are known for their impressive technology and the R6 has got the full package, with a lot of features from Yamaha’s MotoGP bikes including the chassis and suspension. It may not be the most powerful bike on the market, but Yamaha are starting to prove that 600cc motorcycles are the way forward.
“Mine is a Yamaha R6 and I love her but you really need to think about what bike YOU would like to ride and go and sit on as many as you can.
The one you feel most comfortable on will be yours!” Lisa Ruprecht
Triumph Street Triple 675
A classic British brand highly recommended by female bikers for female bikers. Comfortable for both commuting and long-haul rides, whilst looking stylish and sleek.The Street Triple is light and fast so it’s the perfect bike for any biker chick.
With the naked style bike becoming increasing popular again, it’s no wonder that the classic Triumph is such a hit. Fitted with a 675cc engine at 97.6bhp, you’ve got everything you need in a motorcycle.
Triumph’s Street Triple is cheap to run, easy to maintain and looks great making it adaptable for whatever purpose you need, especially for a good run on the UK’s roads.
“I ride a Triumph Street Triple… Love It! I took me a while to get used to it after a Daytona 955i as it’s a totally different ride but now, I wouldn’t change it.
For shorter legged ladies I would suggest an SV 650 for a sports bike or a Triumph Sprint for a sports tourer… depends what you’re looking for.” Julie Flint
Recommended as one of the best first bikes for new riders as it’s light and easy to ride, the ER6N is not too high therefore allowing new riders to put their feet solidly on the floor whilst building up their road skills and confidence.
With a 649cc engine and 72bhp, the ER6N is classed as one of the best middleweight bikes on the market. The medium seat height of 800mm approx. aids to its desirability on the market.
There’s always a range of ER6N on the market available to buy second hand so it’s always worth giving one a test ride.
“My first bike was an Kawasaki ER6N, I bought it second hand from a guy (it was his first bike too). It taught me a lot over the two years I had it, built my confidence up no end.” Lynn Perry.
If you’re looking to try something different and trade in your first bike then why not give a Kawasaki Z800 a test ride. 806cc with 111bhp, the Z800 will certainly give you all the fun you need with an easy-to-ride approach.
The Z800 is a lot heavier and higher, with the centre of gravity being much higher too than some of the other motorcycles we’ve recommend but the Z800 will certainly give you new challenges and obstacles to tackle, if that’s what you’re after.
Kawasaki’s Z800 is often compared to the Suzuki GSR750, so that’s always an option to take into consideration.
“I love the Z800, although it’s heavier and higher and I do struggle a little with the weight, but I am learning to manage the weight, with every mile I do. I learnt to ride as I really enjoy the freedom, I bought both my bikes as they give me the all important ‘grin’ factor.” Lynn Perry
Triumph Daytona 955i
If you’re shopping the market for a superbike or sports bike then the Triumph Daytona 955i is the full package. Fitted with a 955cc engine at 147bph, it’s hard to find fault with the Daytona 955i; the comfort factor, room to ride one-up and plenty of stability its got everything you need.
If cared for properly the Daytona is a worthy investment, especially for the quality of the brakes that if kept in good condition you could get a lot of riding time with.
If you’re looking to use your Triumph Daytona for touring then you can also purchase lots of official extras like a luggage rack and grab rail, not forgetting extra security too.
The Victory Gunner takes all the stylings for a cruiser/chopper but it also gives you a sportier edge too. Fitted with a 1731cc engine at 93 bhp, you’re promised power and performance with the Gunner. Victory only announced the arrival of the Gunner back in 2015 so it’s still regarded as one of the new kids on the block.
If you’re looking for a bike that’s all about the engine then check out the Gunner. The stripped back style of the machine means your first glance will take you to the suede titanium metallic and black two-tone paint scheme featuring a blacked-out dual exhaust.
Due to the style of the bike, the seat height being at 635mm and weighs in at 296kg so it’s an ideal bike for those shopping around to move up from their current model.
Honda 600 Hornet
The Hornet is both practical and fun meaning it’s a great versatile machine that can easily adapt to what you need it for. Looking at going touring? Hornet can do that. Looking to take a pillion? There’s room on the Hornet. Looking to commute? Check out the Hornet.
The 599cc engine with 97bhp means it’s got great handling which is ideal for new riders. The bike is light and agile meaning there’s plenty of power if you need it. The new designed Hornet’s really stand out from the crowd with their colourful designs too.
Honda’s Hornet is well-worth considering if you’re new to the biking market.
670cc engine with 67 bhp, you’ve got stability, comfort and style from the NC700S. The machine is relatively light with a low centre of gravity meaning it’s a great bike for around town; however it is equally reliable and enjoyable for longer trips and tours.
It’s not one of the most expensive motorcycles on the market but it certainly looks the part as Honda have built a very impressive machine with thick paintwork and panels fitting together seamlessly; it also comes with combined ABS and a large bag storage space as standard.
“I settled on a Honda NC700S. The reviews said great reliability, fantastic fuel consumption. It’s sit up and beg, can be lowered, great turning circle and reasonably priced and it turns out I quite like Honda. I like a twin engine sound and feel too.” Jacqui Rogers
We’ve compiled some top tips to remember when riding…
Ride Comfortably – having a comfortably fitted bike will give you the confidence you need to ride anywhere. If you are uncomfortable or feel awkward you are more likely to make bad judgement calls. If your motorbike is too tall, consider getting a lowering kit or small heeled riding boots so you can sit on your bike flat footed on the ground.
Dress Comfortably – make sure all your gear feels great both on and off the bike. An ill-fitting outfit will have an effect on how you manoeuvre your motorbike.
Pack light when touring – when travelling, take one change of clothes, minimal toiletries and camping gear. That is all you really need to pack and the less you carry on your motorbike the more agile you will be.
Make sure you are legal – ensuring you have all required motorbike licences, insurance and paperwork for you motorbike will prevent any problems if you are ever involved in an accident or a crash. Protecting yourself and your motorbike will ensure peace of mind.
Improve your skills – take regular riding courses to better yourself and gain more experience with riding your motorbike.
Take a break – listen to your body and rest when you need to.
Enjoy! – Love your bike and the rides you complete. It’s truly exhilarating and fun being a biker, so love every minute of it!
We have a whole guide dedicated to ‘best bikes for…’ so why not take a look!