Women Don't Want To Ride Harley-Davidsons

Turns out marketing mostly to biker gangs doesn't work so well.

By Eric Shorey

Just last month, we pondered on the increasing amount of lady ridership amongst motorcyclists, which (apparently) is at an all time high. Seemingly contradictorily, an article in The Wall Street Journal details the woes and worries of the iconic Harley-Davidson company, whose new marketing strategies hope to include women.

There's a few problems here, as pointed out by Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan: "If this company wants to grow it needs to find some buyers who are young, and it needs to find some buyers who are of the female gender but who are not being paid to splay across a Harley in a skimpy bikini for a calendar shoot. That’s Economics 101, right there."

Certainly, the lack of imagination on the part of Harley-Davidson comes across in the original WSJ article: "Some dealers don’t see a burning need for change. Bob Parsons, the 65-year-old founder of GoDaddy.com and owner of the Scottsdale Harley dealership, said: 'Everybody likes to look a little bit badass, and nothing says that better than a Harley shirt with a skull on it.'"

Or, elsewhere in the article: "Harley dealers hire women in skimpy swimwear to sponge down motorcycles. That sounds like something 'for old dirty pervs,' said [Kawasaki Ninja owner Nicole] Villagran."


Look, HamNo is right: if companies want women as customers they'll have to do a better job of not treating them like ornamentation. Until then, women have plenty of other options for looking badass.

Sorry 'bout it. Wait, actually, no. I'm not sorry 'bout it.


(Image by Lanakila Macnaughton of the Women's Moto Exhibit.)


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