Ladies Bike Gear

The new biking season is just around the corner and I am currently in the process of making sure that my bike gear for the coming season is in good condition and will provide me with adequate protection in the event of an accident. I am pretty much sorted, except for bike boots. I have very specific requirements when it comes to boots, they must provide good protection and be waterproof. This on its own is a big enough problem! But that’s another story. So at the weekend, I was in a bike shop at the weekend looking at bike boots. As I expected, there was nothing suitable that fitted so I started having a look at the ladies bike gear.

What girlie bike gear is on offer?

I am pleased to say that there is now plenty of ladies bike gear available. Virtually every time I look at “brand name” bike gear, there is a ladies option. Great! They are finally acknowledging that girls need bike gear too. There’s a choice of leathers, synthetic water proof gear, gloves and boots. Fantastic!

So if there’s this wide a choice, what’s the problem?

There is quite a large selection of bike gear available for girlie bikers (or should that be pillions?); the problem is the demographic that the bike gear is aimed at. From the stuff I have seen on offer, it seems to me like the target audience is fashion conscious pillions who are more concerned with how good the gear looks than how protective it is.

I currently ride a GSX-R600. I take my bike to Germany and ride the gorgeous Nurburgring. Nothing wrong with that! The bike I ride and where I ride it affect the type of bike gear that I want (and need) to wear. I want gear that provides good protection, fits well and is stylish. That’s not too much to ask is it?
Judging by the bike gear that is on offer, girls aren’t allowed to ride sports bikes. There is a distinct lack of good quality, protective, stylish and most of all suitable bike gear in ladies sizes.

Leathers: you would not believe how difficult it is to find a set of stylish, good fitting, good quality leathers with Velcro patches for your knee sliders. I found several sets of bike gear that were both stylish and protective, but they didn’t have the Velcro patches on the knees for my sliders.
I realise that leathers aren’t the most flattering item of clothing that you will ever buy. But it seems like some of the gear that is available is sacrificing functionality for “style”. I use the word style in the loosest possible way because I think the gear is hideous. It looks more like it belongs on a catwalk than on a bike!

Boots: I am yet to see for sale a pair of ladies boots, that are available in “normal sizes” (ie above a size 6 (39) – not much good for my size 8 (42)s!), and provide good protection. The majority of ladies boots that I have seen look more like something you wear on a normal day (maybe that’s the idea) and as a result provide no protection. I’ve even seen some ladies boots with 2” heals! How are you meant to get your knee down in heels?

Gloves: generally speaking ladies gloves are designed to be just that, ladylike. I really struggled to get good protective gloves in a ladies cut.

Synthetic waterproof bike gear: there is a lot of ladies gear available that is stylish, protective and practical. I have absolutely no complaints here!

If it’s all so bad, how have I managed?

With difficulty! I have lost track of the amount of time I have spent looking for good ladies bike gear that fulfils my requirements.

Leathers: I have had 2 sets of very good and reasonably priced ladies leathers (both with Velcro knee slider patches). My first set was from Hein Gericke and cost me £220 for a black two piece). They were really comfy and unfortunately I am able to say that they crash well. No rips in the leathers and the double stitching in the seams held together perfectly! Thanks Hein Gericke! Quality gear at a good price. My second set is a ladies Arlen Ness 2 piece. They cost me £250 from Cissbury Leathers at the NEC bike show (originally £550) – bargain! They are a more expensive set of leathers and it shows, more pockets, better lining etc. again they are a really good fit and really comfy. And I am reliably informed that Arlen Ness leathers crash well.

Gloves I’ve got very small hands and I have spent ages searching for summer gloves that fit and provide adequate protection. Last weekend I finally found an affordable pair that provides good protection that fit well. I got a set of Frank Thomas ladies gloves for £50 (usually £100). There is absolutely no difference from the blokes gloves in terms of style, they are just designed for a ladies hand. Thank you Frank Thomas. That’s exactly what I want!

Boots I’m struggling with boots. I’ve given up hope of finding any ladies boots! But I can’t get any blokes boots either that fit me properly, provide good protection and are waterproof. Watch this space...

Synthetic Waterproof Gear: I’ve got Belstaff ladies jacket – its fantastic. For weeks after I bought it, I was finding more pockets in it. I’ve even found a little pocket for a lipstick. The trousers are Frank Thomas – no complaints there either.

To Conclude:

There is ladies bike gear out there, but whether or not you find something suitable depends on your requirements and how much you have to spend. I’ve contemplated biting the bullet and getting a set of made to measure leathers, but I simply cannot justify the cost at the moment. If you want reasonable quality gear for a good price, go to Hein Gericke. If you have a bit more money to spend, I can’t rate my Arlen Ness leathers highly enough. Shop around and take your time, there is good stuff out there for a reasonable price – you just need to find it and not get irritated by all the “fashion” gear. I have obviously failed :-D