Of the 1.5 million motorcycles registered in the UK, just 72,000 are owned by women. Yet with 3,000 new female riders in the last year, female bikers are on the rise and we couldn’t be happier.
This article is a celebration of women who ride, a collection of tips from our own Infinity women and a guide to the best motorcycle models and clothing for women.
We also aim to ease common concerns new female riders may have including…
- Feeling like you constantly have to prove you belong on a motorcycle
- Limited motorcycle selection
- Worry of dropping a heavy bike
- Limited gear selection
- Intimidation on the road
Tips from the female bikers of Infinity
We spoke to three of our female motorcyclists at Infinity to find out how they got into riding, what gear they recommend and tips that they’d like to share with riders.
They’ve all been riding for years; their knowledge comes from their own experience on the road and their intensive Infinity training.
Lydia from Infinity Norwich
Rides a 2007 KTM 990 Superduke
How did you get into motorcycling?
When I was 16 I had friends that rode motocross and it was wonderful to watch. It was something I felt I needed in my life and it’s the best thing I've done!
Why do you ride?
It allows me to feel a sense of freedom and exhilaration. I can be me and not one of the other hats I wear: mum, wife, store manager.
For the past five years my riding has been 95% on track and I adore it! Each time out I want to improve myself. It's addictive and so much fun. I love to see the guys faces in the track-day briefing when I’m in my full race kit with my little boy sat on my knee, a nod to doing what makes you happy. For me it shows that women can do this as well and deserve the level playing field.
What are your top Infinity picks?
For winter riding, I have Rukka Gore-Tex Performance two-piece textiles and they are just superb and so comfortable. For summer, I have the very flattering Knox Levett jacket, Knox Action shirt and the Knox Scarlett skinny jeans or the Bull-it Ladies Jeans and Alpinestars T-Dyno jacket.
Any words of wisdom for new riders?
Take your time and don't rush getting your gear. Make sure you feel comfortable and that what you’re choosing is going to work for your requirements. Don't be put off by label sizes as each manufacturer’s products will fit differently. Please ask for help if you can't see what you’re looking for. We don't bite and love helping.
Always put a back protector in your motorcycle jacket. It's better to have it there and not need it, rather than not have it and need it.
And finally, enjoy yourself and do everything in your own time.
Emma from Infinity Great Portland Street
Rides a Kawasaki Z800
How did you get into motorcycling?
A friend of mine introduced me to it. I used to go round his house and he’d make me sit and watch MotoGP on the weekends. I admit I watched it begrudgingly at first, but eventually I found myself getting more and more into it and remembering riders’ names.
Eventually my friend passed his motorcycle test and was allowed to take pillions, so I bugged him for a while to take me out even though I was terrified. One pillion ride was all it took and that was that, I decided I needed wheels of my own!
Why do you ride?
Mostly I ride as a super easy way to commute to work. You get to leave home later, get to work quicker and beat traffic, train delays, strikes and all the rest. It’s definitely the best way to get around, especially in London.
What’s your favourite part about riding?
My favourite part of riding is the sense of freedom… you can go anywhere you like, any time you like. Riding a bike is cheaper and better than therapy. Getting out on two wheels for a few hours is a great way to clear your head and have some fun.
What are your top Infinity picks?
Definitely my top pick right now is MotoGirl’s Kevlar Leggings. I’ve genuinely never put something more comfortable on my legs. They’re super soft and super stretchy so it kinda feels like you’re wearing your PJs (and I am a person who would wear pyjamas everywhere if society would just accept it). The protection doesn’t really get any better since they’re lined from waist to ankle with Kevlar and they come with knee armour.
I’m also a massive fan of Alpinestars’ ladies gear. I just find that their stuff seems to fit me better than some other brands and comfort is key with your bike gear! Being Italian, Alpinestars always seems to be a great and flattering cut and always fits nicely. I have both a T-Jaws WP jacket for winter and a T-GP-R Leather Jacket for summer and they both look and feel excellent.
Any words of wisdom for female riders?
My best advice would just be to get out there and enjoy yourself! The motorcycle community is one of the friendliest and most inclusive places you’ll ever come across. Everyone is always happy to give help and advice when you need it so never be afraid to ask – there’s no such thing as a stupid question, we all started somewhere and nobody knows everything!
Ola from Infinity York
Rides a Kawasaki ZX6-R
How did you get into motorcycling? (Probably our favourite reason so far…)
When I was a teenager, I borrowed my cousin’s moped and crashed into my Aunt’s chicken shed. My cousin forgot to tell me the brakes didn’t work. After that, I decided that one day I was going to learn to ride properly. No animals were hurt by the way!
What’s your favourite part of riding?
It’s either the moment when you drop the gear and whizz past cars, the fact you don’t get stuck in traffic or having no parking problems.
What are your top Infinity picks?
Whatever fits me! Normally Bull-It jeans as they’re more comfortable than leather and I can wear them all day long. Sidi Vertigo boots are very durable and I’ve just bought my second pair of Alpinestars SP-8 gloves.
Any words of wisdom for riders?
I would like to shout to all pillions, male or female; do not let anybody tell you that you don’t need expensive gear because you’re ‘just a pillion’ or ‘you just go on the bike a couple of times a year’.
The pillion travels at the same speed as the rider, the pillion has limited vision and is not in control of the situation. If anything, the pillion actually needs more protective gear than the rider. It’s not about how many times you go on the bike, it’s about that one time you come off so you need to be protected the best you can. Nobody plans to crash, unfortunately it happens sometimes so you have to be prepared.
Female motorcycle clubs
These days, female riders are finding each other across the internet and social media, bonding over a shared love of the open road, adventure and all things on two wheels. The increase in female riders means that there are now a number of female-only motorcycle clubs in the UK. Here are a handful worth checking out…
The WIMA is the UK’s official association for female riders. They hold regional meets, annual rallies in the UK and Europe, as well as international rallies in Asia and Australasia. It’s the place to be for ride outs, communities and touring support.
Membership costs just £14 a year and gets you loads of benefits including participation in all events, membership of the BMF (British Motorcyclists Federation), monthly newsletters and discounts across a range of products and services.
The fastest growing female-only motorcycle club and forum in the UK. Starting out in 2006, the club now has several hundred members and regional clubs scattered throughout the UK and Isle of Man.
We spoke to some of the Curvy Riders members to find out some of the benefits of joining a female-only club and what tips they had for new riders:
It’s inclusive “It is very heartening to see female riders of all ages and riding levels receive the same warm welcome from everybody!” Jacki
Everyone’s supportive “I literally couldn't have done it without the friends made in the Curvies. Right from the start, everyone has been patient, supportive and made such an effort.” Hayley
It’s a place to learn “If there's a question I'd get slaughtered for on a mixed gender forum, my fellow riders will answer it without too much p*ss taking!” Susan
Builds confidence “I have been encouraged, inspired and instilled with the belief that I can do it! I am starting my DAS lessons in two weeks and it is through my Curvy family that I have had the courage to start this journey… long may it run!” Archie
There’s no competitive edge “Not one person is judged for what they ride or their ability. It's a journey and one I'm proud to be part of.”
With a number of novice riders, many of whom started in their fifties, Curvy Riders member Beccy had this advice for new riders: “Take your time and don't get pushed into a situation you don't want to be in - of course, we all get into those situations by accident sometimes, but don't beat yourself up about it. Don't dwell on what went wrong - celebrate the good bits and enjoy it!”
Each year Curvy members come together for the Curvy National ride. Membership is just £15 a year which gives you access to rides, socials, discounts, BMF membership and members-only privileges.
They also offer free membership that allows access to their forum.
Established by Pagan Witches, Hell’s Belles is the UK’s only independent Women’s Motorcycle Club. Based in The Cauldron clubhouse in Manchester, membership to the club is by invite only but with weekend ride outs, a great club house and overseas tours, it’s definitely worth making yourself known. Head over to their website to find out more.
More female-only motorcycle clubs:
Medusa WMC medusamotorcycleclub.co.uk
English Rose Sisterhood www.englishrosesisterhood.co.uk
VC London www.vclondon.co.uk
Image from VC London
Online communities for female riders
Find female-only motorcycle meetups near you, whether you’re home or abroad!
The online motorcycle magazine written specifically for women, by women. Read motorcycle clothing and accessories reviews, industry news and information guides.
A worldwide collective of 3,500+ women from over 150 cities and 19 countries around the globe. There’s even a dedicated UK branch to find local rides and communities.
There are loads of Facebook groups out there which are the perfect platform for like-minded women to discuss all things motorcycles. You’ll easily be able to find local, national and international female-only motorcycle groups. Just like this one called Motorbike Women.
Best motorcycles for women
When it comes to buying a motorcycle, you need to think about more than just the seat height. The weight, distance from the seat to the foot pegs and the width of the seat itself are also really key considerations.
We spoke to the motorcycle team over at our Yamaha Dealership in Infinity Clapham to get their recommendations.
The Yamaha MT07 makes the ideal motorcycle for female riders. It's slim, light at 179kg with a full tank and has a lower-than-usual seat.
If you prefer more of a sport track motorcycle, at 166kg the Yamaha R6 is one of the lighter models thanks to the magnesium alloy subframe.
If you have any questions about any of the Yamaha models or would like to chat to one of the Infinity team about what motorcycle would be best for your needs, pop into our Clapham store or give the team a call on 0207 720 6072.
Men and women want the same thing from motorcycle clothing: protection, functionality, comfort and style. We’ve heard time and time again that women are concerned about the lack of choice and difficulty with getting the right fit. We hear you! Our women’s clothing range is growing by the day and all our stores are trained up on helping you get the perfect gear every time.
The gear you pick is down to your unique style, but there are some things you should always bear in mind…
You need a near-perfect fit for your motorcycle helmet to provide the right protection. As women’s faces are generally narrower than men’s we always recommend trying a helmet before making a purchase.
Helmet padding will compress over time so if you’re looking at a helmet with this feature, expect it to be a snug fit when new. Having said that, be wary of red marks on your face after removing. These pressure points may not be uncomfortable initially, but that probably won’t be the case after a long ride.
Look for helmets with inflatable pads such as the Scorpion Exo 510 – they’re ideal for getting that perfect fit.
Infinity helmet recommendations for women:
Check out our full range of unisex motorcycle helmets.
Women’s motorcycle trousers & jeans
The most common injuries from motorcycle accidents are to your legs and feet, so always buy motorcycle trousers that offer you adequate protection and suit your needs. If you’re a sports or track rider then leather trousers will offer great protection, whereas commuters will benefit from textile trousers that are ideal for summer and winter.
If you prefer a more casual look than leather or heavy textile trousers, reinforced motorcycle jeans are golden. Finding the right fitting pair of jeans is always a chore and that is still the case with motorcycle jeans!
Made to look like fashion jeans but with high abrasion resistance and armoured inserts, denim jeans from brands such as Bull-It, MotoGirl and PMJ are taking the motorcycling world by storm – especially with women!
The important thing when buying any motorcycle trousers is that the fit should be snug but not cut in at the waist – that’s never comfortable! If they bunch at the hips or behind the knees, they’re probably too big. Always make sure they’re long enough to cover your ankles when you’re wearing boots.
Our top tip: motorcycle trousers should look too long when standing up, but the right length when you are on a motorcycle.
We spoke to Ellen Ogilvie from MotoGirl to find out more about our most popular motorcycle jean!
Why did you launch MotoGirl?
Ina and I started MotoGirl back in 2016 as we wanted to create a brand that made female riders feel confident and safe. Motorcylce clothing for women is generally either very safe yet unflattering, or very flattering yet lacking on the protection front. It's very rare that you find both.
What makes MotoGirl leggings so flattering as well as so protective?
What makes our leggings such a popular choice is that they really do cater for a large audience. They range from sizes UK 4 all the way to UK 28 and in three different leg lengths.
They are also high waisted so keep you warm from the wind on rides and also flatter your stomach. Unlike a lot of bike clothing out there, we find our products pretty true to size! No need to go three or more sizes bigger to find the right fit.
Aside from the aesthetics, our leggings are also extremely safe! They are 100% fully Kevlar-lined and include CE Approved level 2 knee protection. They have five layers of protective material which gives them a slide time of just under 4 seconds.
Since launching, we are constantly improving our Kevlar leggings and have recently added an extra layer of protection. The outer layer is a heavy-duty abrasion-resistant polyester cotton. This is what gives the leggings their great stretch and shape!
Since their launch, our Kevlar leggings have had such a positive response on social media. It's fantastic to see ladies posting pictures on female biker groups wearing their leggings and just oozing confidence!
Ellen and Ina of Motogirl
Do you have any advice for new riders?
For new riders and those looking to boost their confidence, my biggest recommendation would be to visit some local bike shops or cafes and enquire about bike nights. The biking community is a very social one! Whatever your level of ability or confidence, there is ALWAYS going to be someone out there in the same position!
Join MotoGirl’s Facebook community and find like-minded women with a passion for two wheels!
Infinity Motorcycles has been one of MotoGirl’s longest stockists and you can find their incredibly popular motorcycle Kevlar leggings here.
Women’s motorcycle jackets
Choosing a textile or leather motorcycle jacket is all about personal taste, but there are fitting tips that apply across the board. It’s a fine line between a jacket being too comfy (it’s probably too big) and being too constrictive (you guessed it, it’s probably too small).
Our top three tips are…
- Look for jackets with adjustable collars, wrists and belted waists so you can adjust the fit
- Make sure that the armour sits snuggly against your body – you don’t want it to move when you’re riding
- If you’re opting for a leather motorcycle jacket, the leather should be at least 1.2mm thick
Infinity ladies motorcycle jacket recommendations:
For more tips on what to look for when buying your motorcycle clothing, check out our Ladies Guide to Buying Motorcycle Gear.
If you’re buying gear for the first time or want to be 100% sure on the fit, head into one of our 14 stores across the country and our trained team will be more than happy to help. As well as offering advice with clothing, we also offer free helmet and armour fitting. Find your nearest Infinity store.
Take a look at our ladies motorcycle clothing range online or head into your local Infinity Store to chat to our experts. They’re always more than happy to share their wisdom and own experiences! Find your nearest store here.