Women riders make up the fastest-growing market segment in the motorcycle industry. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council data, 19% of motorcycle owners are now women, and that number continues to grow. “As the number of Boomer and mature motorcyclists shrink and are replaced by newer riders, we could soon be looking at a solid 25 percent of motorcycle owners being female,” said Andria Yu, MIC director of communications.
While this is undoubtedly fantastic news, finding women’s protective motorcycle clothing that fits can still be a struggle sometimes. Plenty of gear companies still apply the “shrink it and pink it” principle when it comes to female bikers’ clothing, and that simply doesn’t work. Women riders want gear that is just as safe, reliable, and comfortable as men’s motorcycle apparel.
We get it. Here at PANDO MOTO, we’re dedicated to designing awesome protective apparel aimed at male and female riders alike. Still, navigating the women’s biker clothing market can be a little tricky sometimes, especially if you’re just starting out. To help you make the best choices, we’ve put this gear guide together.
What to Look for in Women’s Biker Clothing?
When it comes to women’s motorcycle clothing, the first thing you should be looking at is quality. Regardless of whether you’re into adventure, urban, dirt, sports, or touring type of riding, you want gear that has been designed with you, the rider, in mind.
This means that the gear should be well-built from high-quality protective materials, meet the current motorcycle safety standards, and fit you well. If you’re shopping for women’s motorcycle gear for the first time, this could be a little overwhelming: there’s no shortage of gear manufacturers competing for your attention, and often, apparel from different brands appears to be very similar.
So let’s begin with the very basics.
What Kind of Women’s Motorcycle Gear Do You Need?
As a new rider, you are probably going to stick to paved roads, at least for now, and we’re guessing you’ll mostly do shorter rides. We’re certain you’ll gain the confidence to ride your motorcycle in all kinds of different scenarios very soon, but for now, you just need gear that will protect you, feel comfortable, and look great.
You’ll need a pair of motorcycle jeans or pants, some sturdy boots, a motorcycle jacket, a good-quality helmet, and some gloves. This is your basic starter kit but be sure to shop for gear made by reputable companies: after all, it’s your safety we’re talking about, so don’t skimp on motorcycle apparel. It can literally save your skin – and your life.
For a more in-depth gear guide, check out this post. And in the meantime, let’s take a closer look at two gear items that tend to confuse newly minted riders the most: women’s motorcycle jackets and jeans.
Your Best Jacket Choices
Just like with men’s riding gear, the best women’s motorcycle jackets combine two essential things: a high level of protection and a great fit. Whether you choose leather or textile, always make sure to look for the CE label, which indicates that the jacket meets current motorcycle apparel safety standards regulated by the EU.
The jacket should also have protective armor pads at the back, shoulders, and elbows, and the outer shell should be made from abrasion and tear-resistant fabric such as Cordura, Kevlar, Dyneema, or a blend of them. If you’re looking for a women’s motorcycle jacket and you’re going with leather, make sure the leather is at least 1.2mm thick. If it’s textile, take your time to check the labels and see what it’s made of: keep in mind that a typical retail store jacket will not protect you in case of an accident, whereas a specialized women’s motorcycle jacket made from abrasion-resistant fabric will.
Finally, make sure that the jacket fits you well. If it’s too loose, the armor pads may not sit correctly and will not be as effective in case of an accident. If the jacket is too tight, it may restrict your movements while you’re riding, and it won’t be comfortable.
Women’s Motorcycle Jeans
Another important piece of gear you’ll need is motorcycle jeans or pants. If you’re going for leather, again, make sure it’s the right thickness, and don’t compromise quality for style. If you’re looking for textile pants or jeans, see that the high-impact areas such as your hips and knees are especially protected your motorcycle jeans or pants should have armored pads at the hips and knees for extra protection. Some gear manufacturers also insert a small protective pad over the coccyx area.
Style and Safety: Important Things to Know
You want to feel comfortable and safe while you’re riding your motorcycle, but you also want to look great. So do we! However, you don’t have to sacrifice style for safety any longer. Gear manufacturers are finally catching up to the fact that women love riding as much as men do, and some brands are coming out with new women’s motorcycle apparel every year.
Let’s take a closer look at the three key elements you need to be paying attention to when buying motorcycle gear:
- Fabrics and Materials
What is your motorcycle jacket and jeans made of? We already talked a little about leather versus textile, and Kevlar or Dyneema versus regular denim. But which one should you go for, and why?
Women’s Kevlar motorcycle jeans are usually a great option as they maintain a casual style but offer a high level of protection: Kevlar is light and durable, but the material is five times stronger than steel. If you want something even lighter and more breathable, opt for Dyneema: this fabric is also highly protective but feels softer and lighter against your skin. Finally, there’s Cordura, a fabric used in most textile jeans and pants; it’s abrasion-resistant, but it is often layered with Dyneema, Kevlar, or other materials to make it even tougher.
- Safety Tests
When you’re buying your motorcycle gear, always make sure it meets the existing motorcycle safety standards. One way to do it is simply to check the labels: if the gear is “CE-approved” or “CE-certified”, you’re good to go. Additionally, you can always ask the store attendant or online customer support for more information on the specifics of your chosen gear.
Last but not least, there’s the design of women’s motorcycle clothing. And we’re not just talking about style here: poorly designed gear will not be as safe eas gear that has been well-built. As an example, something as simple as seams can make a huge difference during a crash. Here at PANDO MOTO, we’re not skimping on any details whatsoever and love adding some Kevlar to the seams of our apparel so that if you find yourself rubber side up, your gear will hold – and keep you safe.