Complaining about the lack of good quality, protective women’s riding gear used to be one of my favourite pastimes. When I first started riding some eight years ago, there wasn’t much going on in terms of women’s motorcycle gear; Touratech may have been doing something, and a few other companies made a few uninspired attempts to shrink and pink existing men’s gear to adapt it for female riders, but that was slim pickings. For years, I rode in men’s gear and fantasized about the day gear manufacturers would actually design something for women. Or even – gasp – hire female designers to design women’s gear.
Well, that day is here – and I’m excited. Right now, Rev’It! offers over nineteen – nineteen – different motorcycle jackets for women (yes, that’s including sports and urban jackets, but their ADV and off-road-oriented gear is seriously diverse, too).
Klim’s got Artemis, a riding suit so well designed and so high-tech it rivals the Badlands, plus their Altitude and Latitude lines and two new urban-style jackets. Rukka offers nine different jackets for women; I’ve never tried their gear, but their Rimorina model looks like some serious ADV kit. Touratech offers less choices, but then, their men’s gear line isn’t that diverse, either.
The idea of hiring female gear designers has become reality, too: Klim’s head gear designer is a woman, and Rev’It has several female designers working on their apparel. Things are certainly looking up.
In the off-road section, there’s still more to be done. Mosko Moto has come out with some seriously good-looking off-road-oriented gear you can layer; alas, it’s all unisex, and that usually means it’s geared toward men. Adventure Spec is doing the same; I’m curious what Rev’It! is going to do with their off-road line once it’s released – it would be awesome to see more dirt bike gear designed for women.
When it comes to off-road armour options, we still have less choices than men. Granted, things like knee braces, shoulder and elbow pads, boots, neck braces, and the like probably do not need different designs for men and women (perhaps just more small sizes), but it would be great to see more body protectors designed for the female shape. I hear Leatt is going to reveal one in their 2022 line – and I can’t wait. While their Body Protector 5.5 works perfectly for me, I’d be curious to try out one that’s actually designed for women. Fox, it seems, is already doing something about it…sort of.
So while there’s still a lot to be done in the off-road gear sector for women, we’ve pretty much got the ADV stuff covered. And sure, there could always be more: more designs, more diverse sizing, more shapes, but comparing to eight – or even just five – years ago, the gear manufacturers have come a long way. Perhaps the way forward now is to support your favourite gear manufacturer, and they’ll likely be creating more and more diverse women’s gear in the years to come.
I often hear women complaining the specific piece of gear would fit them perfectly…if only they offered shorter pant leg. Or a differently shaped jacket. Or a combo of shorter pant leg and a larger jacket. Granted, female bodies’ shapes differ more than men’s; but then, I’ve met lots of male riders with the same complaints – they want gear designer for tall skinny dudes, or short, generously shaped dudes, or big and tall guys, or guys with short legs and ample torsos. When it comes down to it, just about everyone would like their gear pretty much tailor-made for them. Who wouldn’t? Maybe one day, full customization of your riding pants and jacket will become an option, but it probably won’t be a cheap one. In the meantime, we’ve got to work with what we have.
And we have a lot: in addition to so much new ADV gear being designed for women year after year, there are countless possibilities to mix and match. MX armor and light ADV gear, full-on ADV jackets combined with Kevlar or Dyneema jeans, or just a riding suit pieced together from different brands to see what fits and works together best – it’s all possible.
Maybe it’s time to ease off with endless complaining of how gear manufacturers are failing us and time to look at how they’re serving us – and in my view, they’re doing an increasingly better job every year. Across brands, there are more and more options for female riders, and if women continue to kick ass at the Dakar, at motocross races, and just hit the dirt more often, I suspect the off-road gear manufacturers will start paying closer attention soon, too.
And in the meantime, it’s time to get on that bike and ride.
Featured image: Rev’It!