Friday, 25 March 2011

What do woman want?

I started my new job this week, one of my roles is to find industry reviews on cycling products we sell and input them onto the website. I have spent my week looking through cycling magazines and online review sites.

It dawned on me that there are very few reviews for woman's kit, possibly as there is very few woman's kit on offer anywhere.

It is starting to improve though. At least there is more then one pair of shorts on offer on the various websites.

Last year I visited the cycle show in London and asked various suppliers about the amount/type of woman's specific items they were selling/creating. My responses were generally not to helpful and sometimes just plain rude.

So why is it that bike companies still aren't supplying a decent variety of kit?

I did ask at work what kind of issues they were having when it came to woman specific items, what are they stocking, what sells, and why. It was an interesting reply. They get woman's kit in, it doesn't sell. They put a forum up on the website asking woman what they are looking for and they got no response, their customer base is mostly male.

So where are the woman spending their money? What type of kit do they want? Do woman not shop online because they would rather go shopping in a store, make a day of it with their girlfriends? (I bloody wouldn't) Do they only want to buy cheap tack? Do they really like pink and flowery? What the hell do woman want?

Its an ongoing issue and one that baffles me. I spend money on good kit because its what works. I prefer woman's specific kit if possible because its made to fit over my chest and backside. I don't like pink, or flowers and I want to have the same amount of selection as men do. But am I the only one?

If woman aren't willing to spend the money on kit then why would a company waste money making or selling it.

What do woman really want?


  1. I would like to see some comfy cotton pullover collared shirts that flare a bit at the waist, long sleeved, and that are cut a tad on the ample side. We are all not svelte (!) but we enjoy cycling and want to look "sporty" and be comfortable while we are out there. 3/4 sleeve shirts are also great. I think these could be worn from your bike into a nice restaurant. ... I guess I'm almost seeing an upgraded sporty type sweatshirt in my minds eye, but nicer. I end up wearing my husbands shirts as I can't find what I'm looking for.

    Sportier helmets. Yakity is a good start, however a tad expensive.

    I don't want neon, and I don't want lycra. Classic, not flowery. But hey, this is just me!! :)

  2. PaddyAnne,
    What is Classic, not flowery. What would you like the sweatshirt to be made out of, maybe a worn in effect, or simple light blues, oatmeal color?
    Do you want simple designs one design on the back....I am currently working as a buyer for PedalChic and we are trying to find just what women want .
    I'm totally agreeing with your 3/4 sleeve but what about just before the elbow crease if it's wide enough and not too tight?
    Roadways are the New Runways...

  3. Interesting question--what DO I want?

    I do a lot of bike commuting in regular office wear, so on that front I want professional-looking clothes that are designed to be comfortable for riding.

    When I'm on longer recreational rides wearing bike-specific clothing, I'd like colors that look like I could buy them at a department store in a nice sweater or suit, not like a little kid's swim suit. I don't like major screamingly garish patterns; in my regular clothing I tend toward the monochrome.

    I'd really love to see some things that have reflective piping or small graphics without being all bright neon, so I have a safety feature without being a road sign.

    And if they could ever come up with bike shorts that grip without leaving welts, that would be great. I don't have particularly heavy legs and can't figure out why I have to wear tourniquets on my thighs; it must be that much worse for women with bigger legs.


  4. Wellllll....

    Maybe women want something other than "women's version of what guys want." I'm just guessing here, but I don't personally enjoy cycling clothing for the most part. I think it's pretty awful-looking, and maybe the reason that women aren't buying is because they don't want to look like those dorky-ass male roadies.

    I've really enjoyed the Rapha stuff that's come my way (more details on my blog if that's what you're after) but mostly I think that's because the Rapha stuff is cute as just a plain SHIRT, not a jersey. Jerseys are pretty much universally horrible, why would anyone spend money on that stuff? Nothing makes sense on a typical cycling jersey unless you subscribe to the list of arbitrary and meaningless rules that the cycling fanatics have created. I would guess that women want something else entirely.

    Why do we women have to tolerate being the second string in gear design? They make stuff for dudes, figure that THEY like it and we will too. To this I say BAH! There's a major market for someone willing to step outside the box and design for women FIRST.

    Jill Missal, Head Geargal
    twitter: @geargals

  5. As someone who
    a) has only fairly recently taken up cycling in anything like a "serious" way,
    b) doesn't have a lot of disposable income, &
    c) is rather short & pear-shaped
    I tend to choose cycling wear first on the basis of price - I've bought pretty much full sets of winter & summer kit from Aldi, Lidl & our local bike show, then as items get worn or damaged (or I just come across a great sale!) I replace individual items with better quality ones.

    Fit is my next concern. Most "proper" cycling brands run fairly small, & there's something very dispiriting about having to go up a size to be comfortable - I wear size 12 jeans yet have to buy "large" Endura knickers if I want to breathe & ride at the same time! My discount-supermarket bibs may not be glamourous but they're cut generously enough for women with hips - and I could check that they would fit before I took them home.

    Style-wise... I'm not militantly anti pink - most shades of pink suit me & I wear them off the bike, but I don't want, as Barb said above, stuff that looks like "a little kid's swim suit." I'm not a fan of pattern, but because I ride in traffic I want to be visible - I avoid plain black kit, & my preference is for bold, deep colours - red, yellow, and yup, even fuschia pink!

    Almost more important to me than colour though is feel - I want my kit to feel nice against my skin, which is the most important reason I buy so little online: I want to touch before I buy, know that a jersey is smooth, that a chamois pad is cushion-soft. I won't buy a brand online that I haven't seen & touched &, ideally, tried on first. (The same applies to off-the-bike clothing too, by the way)

    Hope that's of some help, Jen

  6. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    generic nolvadex