With their coarsely sounding engines, glowing chrome and endorsements from some of Hollywood’s coolest action heroes, Harley-Davidson have long been the motorcycle of choice for men – especially those in the grip of a mid-life crisis.
But the popular firm from the USA is hoping that is all about to change – with the launch of two new bikes particularly designed for women.
- The Street 500 and Street 750 are the firm’s first new bikes in 13 years.
- Designers have done away with bulbous petrol tanks and chrome.
- Bikes also feature smaller handle grips and chrome.
Designers have got rid of the large, bulbous petrol tanks and shiny chrome which are synonymous with Harley’s masculine style. Instead the bikes have been given a sleek, black makeover and include smaller handle grips, lower seats and different foot peg positions to appeal to female riders.
Every year in May Harley holds Women Riders Month and the firm has also been holding ‘garage parties’ to teach motorcycle basics to women – such as how to pick up a bike safely – for the past eight years.
International Female Ride Day – originally set up to celebrate women riders in Canada in 2006 – which is now celebrated in the US and UK, as well as countries further afield such as India, Russia and Brazil, is also proof of the rising popularity of motorcycling among the fairer sex, experts say.
They enumerate that focusing on the female market will help Harley challenge its Japanese competitors, especially Kawasaki and Suzuki.
– By Anand Thakkar
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