With a diverse lineup and strong brand that resonates worldwide, it is no surprise that a growing number of female motorcycle riders have made Honda their brand of choice.
Aside from six different models of scooters, there are a dozen additional street-legal Honda motorcycles checking in at, under or well under 750cc's and these models are very appealing to women.
Honda enjoys a robust share of the U.S. motorcycle market and offers a capable mix of mid- to smaller-displacement models. These two facts of life give the American Honda Powersports Division legitimate bragging rights when the conversation turns to popular bikes for female motorcycle riders.
I've ridden a number of Honda two-wheel products including the 2012 Honda Shadow Spirit and the well-mannered, yet very responsive electric-start four-stroke Honda CRF230F trail bike. Both of these motorcycles clearly lived up to the brand's reputation for dependable, rider friendly, well designed, good looking and smile-generating machines.
Honda Cruiser Sales Strong Among Female Motorcycle Riders
Honda currently enjoys double-digit female buyer representation for more models than you might think. Smaller-displacement machines in particular have earned a reputation as proven favorites for first-time purchases among women entering the sport.
It's a simple formula. When you offer well-built and confidence-inspiring motorcycles with low seat heights at a moderate weight and in a manageable size, you can't help but strike a chord with entry-level riders and smaller-framed individuals.
With attention to detail and fit and finish, Honda engineers do a terrific job creating comfortable ergonomics. Female motorcycle riders tend to pay special attention to how they feel and look on the bike and whether or not they can comfortably reach all of the hand and foot controls. Honda engineers seem to pay special attention to these details and it shows.
Honda's line of 750cc cruisers—the Shadow RS, Shadow Phantom, Shadow Aero and Shadow Spirit 750C2—has proven popular with female motorcyclists, who account for more than 20 percent of the purchasers. Hats off to Honda for bringing in their share of first-time female cruiser motorcyclists as well. In the 750cc cruiser category, owner statistics show that 40 percent of these female motorcycle riders are first-time buyers.
Rebel with a Reason
Serving as a well-known entry-level favorite, 45 percent of Honda Rebel buyers are women and a whopping 65 percent of these females are brand new to the sport.
It is my experience that most women prefer to learn new skills at their own speed. It's no fun to be pushed or pressured into something, which can often translate to being pushed out of your happy place or comfort zone. This is especially true when the new activity may cause bodily harm if not done properly and with care. That is why I believe the Honda Rebel, with it's super low sub-27" seat height has been such a winner for beginner for female motorcycle riders who want to enroll in the lifestyle, but at their own personal pace.
The Rebel weighs in at just 331 pounds with a full tank of gas, gets over 80 mpg, enjoys a 218-mile range (per fill-up) and offers a 5-speed transmission all in a $4,190 package that is sure to boost rider confidence without delay.
Twenty-two Percent of CBR250R Sportbike Owners are Female
Successfully capturing beginner-bike segment market share, the Honda CBR250R was introduced last year and has done quite well head-to-head against its competitors. Powered by a 249cc single-cylinder engine, the mini CBR is manufactured in Honda's Thailand factory and sold worldwide. It is offered with or without an ABS brakes.
Following its introduction, the Honda CBR250R quickly became a strong seller among female motorcycle riders. Honda literature affirms that "women represent about 22 percent of CBR250R purchasers and 68 percent of these women are first-time buyers."
Big Red Off-Road Bikes Bridge the Gap for Women
Honda's broad-ranging lineup of small displacement off-road motorcycles has been a fact of life that, as the PR manager for a competing Japanese motorcycle maker, was envied on a regular basis. I think more women could grow into a full-size motocross-style bike if they just had more options to "bridge the gap" between the mini or smaller trail bikes and the much taller, higher performing and fantastically fun four-stroke motocross bikes today.
Honda's CRF230F bridges that gap.
With an assortment of smaller off-road choices available, a significant number of buyers in this category are female. The smaller CRF motorcycles starting with the little 50cc youth model (and adult play bike) to the smooth and predictable CRF230 four-stroke are ideal for younger females and female motorcycle riders who enjoy riding off-road or at the local motocross track.
Within this off-road realm, approximately 20 percent of CRF230 purchasers are females, with around 50 percent of these riders being first-time buyers.
Honda Scooters and Women
Honda's diverse lineup of scooters is a proven two-wheel "point of entry" for women riders, who make up 27 percent of all Honda scooter purchases. The current scooter offerings include the 49cc Metropolitan and Ruckus, the 108cc Elite, the PCX150 and SH150i and the 600cc Silver Wing ABS.
According to Honda, "the Metropolitan scooter has a sky-high purchase rate of 51 percent among females and an even higher rate—75 percent—of first-time buyers."
"The PCX 125 is another favorite among women, who purchase 33 percent of this midsized model, with 74 percent as first-time buyers. Even the 582cc Silver Wing, with its genuine cross-country credentials, has a strong following among women: 15 percent of this model, of which 48 percent are entering the sport."
New Entry for 2013 Likely a Female Favorite
For 2013, Honda will be offering a brand-new model, the CRF110F, to round out the off-road lineup, and this model features an easy-to-operate automatic clutch and electric starting.
It looks like American Honda is planning to introduce even more models in the future that target the growing female motorcycle rider segment. Time will tell, but if my crystal ball is accurate, I think we can rest assured that Honda products will continue to be a champion brand among female motorcyclists everywhere.