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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15 Responses to 2% club!

  1. eric says:

    Lots of companies have seen fit to make women’s leather road race suits. Presumeably the market for any given brand of women’s road racing suit isn’t significantly larger than the market for the top-of-the-line sport touring/commute suit. So Andy’s response is baffling.
    BTW I don’t fit an off-the-rack Aerostich either, but they are pretty good at taking measurement over the phone and making something that fits.

  2. Stephanie says:

    OMFG! I think I’m mostly just offended at the math skills. Bad Statistics hurt everyone.
    I swear it’s manufacturers like these that make me think the real reason the Amazons shaved off a breast was so they could get armor to fit over a female body. But having once lusted after a ‘stitch myself, I have to say I’m glad that when I got frustrated enough with the “our products fit fine, it’s just you” mentality I went with Helimot. They seem to prefer the $ to the % sign.
    Soooo, when are you cafe pressing those 2 percent shirts?

  3. Linda says:

    I thought there were six million motorcyclists in the USA?
    Either way, his comments are outright ridiculous…besides, the only time I had ice cream on Raven’s Roads I didn’t *have* my bike along with me. 😉

  4. Kim says:

    What I really want to know is the percentage of Aerostich customers who need the (existing) “santa claus” beer-belly modification vs. the percentage of Aerostich customers who are female or otherwise interested in a (non-existent) “not so damn straight through the hips and thighs, thanks” modification.
    I’m also interested in what percentage of Aerostich customers have zippers in non-stressed locations unsew themselves, but that’s a different issue.

  5. carolyn says:

    I think I’m most annoyed that everytime I think about this issue now, I want ice cream.
    Mmmm, ice cream.
    Pralines and cream ice cream.

  6. Linda says:

    Why Carolyn! It’s time for a ride!
    (I have a coupon for cold stone…)

  7. Rachel says:

    Playing devil’s advocate…I am a female who owns an off the rack Aerostich 1 piece Roadcrafter. However, I was able to go to the factory and try on all of the off the rack sizes. The size that fit was drastically different than what I would have ordered from the catalog. Here in Minnesota (where Aerostich is located) I see lots of women riders in Stich suits. Do I think they could use a women’s line? Heck yes! For one thing, I would love a pair of combat touring boots. The lack of riding gear for women (fringed bustiers do not count) is indeed a sore point for me, but I don’t think Aerostich should take all the flak.
    PS: To be fair, I don’t have much of a chest, but hips to spare.

  8. Big Daddy Omar says:

    Who’s gettin’ hitched????
    I thought he’d never do it.
    All the best from me, Carla and Kathy!

  9. Big Daddy Omar says:

    Posted in the wrong area…

  10. carolyn says:

    >However, I was able to go to the factory and try on all of the off
    > the rack sizes. The size that fit was drastically different than what
    > I would have ordered from the catalog.
    That’s a very good point. *thumbs up*

  11. Geoff says:

    Hey, do you want to really rock Mr. Goldfine’s world? Tell him that, not only do a lot of women ride their own motorcycles now-a-days, a lot of them even vote and (gasp) have careers outside of the house! Zoiks!

  12. CrispieGee says:

    Not only do many women ride, but some of us guys care about our girlfriends! It was very frustrating finding good gear for my girlfriend that didn’t make her feel boxy and manly. It would be nice to see more stuff designed with women in mind.

  13. Alex says:

    Well only recently did some manufacturers start producing suits cut for women. They ought to get more with the times. What is the big deal carrying a different cut? The question now is, how should they cut the jacket; for a B or D cup?

  14. Lisa Glover says:

    I used to buy a lot of things from Andy. I have AD1 pants (that don’t fit well) and Combat Touring Lites and a bunch of sundry items. I’m not buying anything more from him. He doesn’t pretend to offer women sizes so I will be damned if I will spend a nickel with him.

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