By Liane Yvkoff
With shorter inseams and smaller frames, many women have a harder time than men finding a motorcycle that fits their body. That’s one of the reasons that there aren’t as many women in the sport. Another is that a 800cc bike can seem dangerous and intimidating. Could a smaller motorcycle with less power that’s more comfortable to ride tempt more women out of vehicles with four wheels and onto two?
Ducati recently released the Scrambler Sixty2, a more affordable younger sibling to the Scrambler and new entry point into the Ducati brand. Powered by a 400cc engine, the manufacture is marketing it as a way to ease new riders into motorcycling without sacrificing looks, brand, or quality. At the same time, the Sixty2 is being promoted as an around-town bike; something of an all-purpose, “everyday” Scrambler in addition to that sport or cruiser in the garage. In some regions, it will be positioned as a tax-friendly mode of transport. That’s a lot of hats for a new motorcycle to wear, but here’s another one that the Sixty2 may try on: the female-friendly bike.
Its small engine, light frame, low seat, and comfortable ride position makes the Sixty2 well-positioned for a first time female motorcyclist–or any motorcyclist–who might be more interested in safety than speed. The seat height is 31.1 inches (30.3 inches with low seat), which makes it easier for riders to achieve feet-flat position at a stand-still, and with output of only 40-horsepower, novices aren’t given more power than they can easily handle.
That could be an attractive offering to female motorcyclists, who the Motorcycle Industry Council reports being more safety-conscious than men. Brands are courting the fairer sex into the sport by offering bikes more accommodating to female builds. Harley Davidson offers “Ultra Low” cruisers with shorter reach handlebars and smaller grips, and Honda has a range of lighter bikes with smaller displacement. This could be the reason that the MIC reports that cruisers are the bike of choice for 34% of women, followed by scooters (33 percent). Only 10 percent of women ride sport bikes. But their numbers are growing each year, and in 2014 made up 14% of the motorcycling community. That’s a good sign for Ducati, whose sport bike heritage may not resonate with the majority of women. But the Scrambler Sixty2 could change that.
“I’ve identified that women are concerned with looks and a motorcycle that performs well,” says CEO Jason Chinook about factors that compel female buyers, “not something that is an opportunity to brag about specs.”
Continue reading: Could Ducati's Scrambler Sixty2 Bring More Women Into Motorcycling?