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What kind of motorcycle should I buy for my wife?

I get this question all the time.

"What kind of motorcycle should I buy for my wife?"

I always answer, "Have you asked HER?"

I donít know what kind of motorcycle your wife wants but SHE probably does. There is no such thing as a "girl's motorcycle", there are just motorcycles. While 100% of the motorcycles out there were made for men, there are certain features that women will appreciate. Whether she has been riding for years or is brand new to motorcycling, the same rules still apply to women. Get her a bike that she will feel comfortable on and you will have an instant riding buddy, one who is a whole lot better looking than your other riding buddies.

Seat Height
Seat height is the biggest problem facing women riders. While a lot of women are the same height as a lot of men, there are many who simply have short legs. Without a good flatfooted stance on a motorcycle it is difficult to maneuver when pushing it or backing up. This is something that you need to do more than you realize, and getting stuck in a parking lot will happen sooner or later if you cannot handle your bike by yourself.

Cruisers have lower seat heights than sport bikes but they tend to be heavier.

Here is a tip:
Japanese motorcycles are built for a slightly smaller demographic so the seat heights tend to be lower, the reach to the handlebars tend to be shorter, and the weight of the bike tends to be more manageable.

Seat Width
Seat width can diminish your ability to stand on your bike with feet flat. It is a simple geometric fact, if your legs have to spread out sooner, your feet wonít touch the ground. Sport bikes have narrower seats but higher seat heights. You will want a seat that is narrow enough to touch the ground, but comfortable enough to ride all day. Yes! You can have both.

Weight is a touchy subject for women but when it comes to motorcycles, less is better. Backing up on an incline WILL happen and if you canít do it by yourself you will be stuck.

Matching Motorcycles
While the guys may feel like they donít want to ride the same motorcycle as their wife, there are a lot of reasons this makes sense. First are the parts. Being able to stock one kind of oil, filter, bolts and tires make things easier and cheaper when bought in bulk. Knowing the way the bike works is easier than remembering the exceptions. When riding you should have the same range so you will have to stop for gas at the same time, and you should both feel comfortable at the same speed. If you canít ride the same bike as your wife, at least stay with the same brand. This should cut down on the differences and number of tools you need to service them. You might still be able to exchange accessories.

One more (self-centered) reason:
I am honest enough to say that I have cannibalized my wifeís bike when a part broke on mine so I could still go riding. You are going to need to make a judgment call whether that is OK with your wife. Do not treat your wifeís bike like a parts bike very often or you will be sleeping with the dog.

Motorcycle Gear
OK here you are on your own. If you find something that fits your wife, BUY IT ON THE SPOT. We have had the hardest time finding motorcycle gear made for women. The sleeve lengths and shoulders are never right on jackets, the hips are always too tight on pants and gloves that are waterproof and in her size are non-existant. While the web has helped to locate this stuff we are apprehensive to buy without trying.

I hope I have helped you figure out what kind of motorcycle to get your wife. Of course, you could always get her the bike YOU want, and when she never rides it, claim it as yours.


I often direct women to the Harley Davidson Dyna. Specifically, the Low Rider (FXDL) and the cool new Street Bob (FXDB) have a seat height of 25.8 inches. The Dyna's a nice all-around bike, too, as it has a rubber-mounted engine (makes for a smooth ride) and has the same motor and tranny as the bigger bikes - Softails and Touring models - but weigh as much as 90 pounds less. Great for around town and great on the highway.

We sell a lot of Low Riders and Bobs to women here in Oakland.
- Jaene Leonard/Sales at Bob Dron HD

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