Fifty-five-year-old Jo-Ellen Douglas had ridden a motorcycle with her husband for years. “I was just happy to be on the back,” she said. “Now I’ve decided it’s my turn.” Harley-Davidson recognized that many women are intrigued by riding a motorcycle. Perhaps they are drawn to the sense of adventure and freedom or want an adrenaline rush. They may love the outdoors and the thrill of the open road. It doesn’t matter what their reasons are; there is a sizable group of women interested in learning how to ride (and maybe even purchase) a motorcycle.
But the motorcycle world has traditionally been a man’s one. And some women are intimidated by riding: they know that the bikes themselves can be heavy, and they are uncertain if they can handle one safely.
Harley-Davidson doesn’t just want to sell motorcycles to women. They want women to become strong advocates of the brand and the rider experience. So they used the fears that women have about riding to create a customer experience that puts them at ease and makes them more comfortable with motorcycles in general.
The first thing they did was create the SuperLow, a bike designed to appeal to women and first-time riders. It’s 150 pounds lighter than a typical Harley and has the lowest seat in Harley’s 32-bike lineup, making it the easier to ride.
The second thing that Harley-Davidson did was work with its dealers to help women overcome some of their apprehension about safety. A few ...