2% club!

A couple of my Sport-Touring.net buddies have a podcast called Motocast, in which they chat about bike-related goodness.

In their most recent episode, they interviewed Andy Goldfine, president of Aerostich, which makes the extremely-popular-amongst-sport-tourers Roadcrafter suit.

As part of the interview, the guys asked Andy my submitted question, which was “I talked to Mr Goldfine on the phone about 2 years ago, and at that time, he told me that Aerostich had no plans to ever consider a women’s version of the Roadcrafter. With the percentage of women riders increasing every year, I would love to know whether Aerostich is reconsidering this statement.”

It surprised me to listen to the interview and hear how flustered Andy sounded by the question. He has to hear this all the time — you’d think they’d have a company line by now.

At any rate, he gave the usual line of “we don’t have the resources; it’s not a large enough market” — all the stuff I’m used to hearing. Which would have been OK, and I woudn’t be writing this blog entry, but he had to go on to say that he estimates that 75%-80% of women can wear existing Roadcrafter suits off the rack. OFF THE RACK. Andy must only socialize with the amazing clan of breastless, hipless women, because I know ONE woman who has ever been able to wear an off the rack Roadcrafter. One. And I know more than 7.5 women who’ve tried to buy ‘Stiches.

Oh, but it gets better. Says Andy:

“Let’s presume that 10% of all people on motorcycles are women, or 15%. Of that 15%, half of those are in passenger roles. And of the 15%, 2/3 of those may use their motorcycles in a ‘let’s go for a ride and get some ice cream’ kind of context. So how many women are in the market for expensive, technical rider suits? Probably a slightly smaller percentage, or lower percentage, of the entire population of women who are on motorcycles are in the market for high-end leather or textile riding suits.”

Interesting, since it’s widely accepted that 10% of riders are women pilots, not passengers. But perhaps Andy knows something I don’t.

By the way, Mr Goldfine, when I want ice cream, I suit up. But not in a Roadcrafter because, apparently, I’m one of the crazy mutant 2% of all motorcyclists that has the unfortunate combination of (a) being a woman, (b) riding my own bike, (c) wanting gear that fits me, and (d) not fitting into an off the rack Roadcrafter.

Wow, 2%. You’d think it’d be a very lonely club I’m in. It’s an amazing coincidence, therefore, that I’ve met/talked to/bitched with so many other women in exactly the same situation! In 2003, there were an estimated 1 million motorcyclists in America, so our 2% club has 20,000 members. Who’s in for a club T-shirt?


I should clarfiy that I’m not necessarily angry at Aerostich in particular — I just think that they should have a company line about this issue by now, and it frustrates me that Andy still flounders around the question. I’ve been able to find good quality gear that fits me elsewhere, so sure, I’d love a Roadcrafter, but really, it’s no skin off my back — um, no pun intended — if Aerostich never wants to admit that their suits don’t fit women.

It has also since been pointed out on STN that “[Andy] may have a point in that Harleys make up a large percentage of bikes bought in the U.S. and those types of women riders won’t be shopping for ‘stiches.” As I posted there, I also need to keep in mind that Northern California (well, the west in general) has a much higher percentage of sport-touring/sport-biking women than the rest of the country, so it’s not entirely fair to judge a nationwide business on what I see on my daily commute.

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