Is Ladies of Harley Outdated?

The motorcycle industry has embraced the female market segment. Women riders although still a minority are not uncommon. Women riders are empowered! So why do we have an exclusive segment of HOG special for women? My wife prefers to be treated as equal, not special. So as you guess, my opinion is that LOH should be replaced with something more up to date. 

Harley-Davidson, HOG and each local chapter of HOG are challenged with attracting the under thirty market segment. HOG Chapters are filled with middle aged members, but where are the twenty somethings? Perhaps HOG should consider a special young adult group. Call it LT30 for “Less Than 30”.

The only problem I see with going this route is: where do you draw the line? If you have a special group for women and a special group for young adults then you need to treat all minority groups special. Where would it end?!

So I ask you:

What do you think of LOH and the idea of a new youth oriented group? Can you think of any new sub groups? Did I drink too much beer tonight and I am off my rocker?

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30 Responses to “Is Ladies of Harley Outdated?”

  1. “Wannabes of Harley” is the next group.

    H-D created the Ladies of Harley because they realized it’s women who buy all the branded clothing. And money is what Harley is all about.

    But I agree that female-empowerment motorcycle groups are unnecessary. To think that women-bikers need empowering?

  2. No, you didn’t drink to much before posting this. Maybe not enough! LOL!

    I think they should take it a step further and make segregated things in life, such as BET, like Black Entertainment Television, or maybe Latino music awards, and great things like that! Wouldn’t it be great if there was equally Segregated things like WET for White Entertainment Television? Oh, Wait, Can’t do that, That would be racist.

    Sorry, Maybe I need a drink.

  3. Jay,
    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Let the ladies have it if they want. It isn’t hurting anything and i think you will find most guys don’t even give it a second thought. I am for anything that promotes the sport.


  4. It’s interesting to see how the motorcycle community’s demographics have changed over time. Women still only make up 12% of the market on new motorcycle sales, so unless us girls are simply being thrifty by buying all used bikes, there’s still a wide disparity. I like Motorcycle Philosopher’s point about LOH being a marketing ploy; perhaps women-only motorcycle groups are unnecessary, although I tend to think they still serve a purpose in the riding community. Regardless, I personally would like to see some stronger marketing efforts aimed towards women.

    Thanks for the mention, Jay – we’re happy to be part of your site!

  5. how about a group for over 55, extremely conservative, natural born born u.s. citizens who can trace their heritage back to the 1700’s, and riding ultra classics.
    must drink LAPHROAIG scotch as well.

  6. If HD had two separate clubs, LOH for women and HOG for men, I would see it as a negative. Women are not required to join LOH, so if they just wanna join HOG and not LOH, that’s great. However, if simply having the option of LOH makes the purchase of a new Harley more palatable for even just a few ladies who may desire such a club (and thus generate a few more sales for HD), why not do it? The only folks adversely affected would appear to be those who get their nose outta joint when the can’t tell somebody else what to do. There are female only biker clubs set up by women for women only. Is there anything wrong with them? If not, what’s wrong with HD doing the same thing for female HOG members? I, for one, hope this practice is NEVER outdated – if a group of women (even if it’s only two) would like to maintain a group called LOH, who are any of us to say that they shouldn’t want to or be allowed to? Keep up the good drinking…er… posting.

  7. To Trigger: At the local chapter level LOH is a sub division within a chapter and is “exclusive” in an organization that prides itself on being “inclusive”.

    To Everyone: what about my bright idea for promoting participation from our younger members by making a special group for them?

  8. If I may be so bold as to say…I don’t beleive that most women-bikers need empowering, it’s the women who think they’d like to become bikers but are afraid to try or think they can’t or won’t fit in that need the encouragement to try. Perhaps LOH was created as an auxilliary group for the fender princesses of the day, but I see the purpose of LOH today as something much different. It is not outdated, it is changing with the times.
    Harley does have other subgroups such as Harlistas (check out the whole section dedicated to latino riders on the H-D website). I believe that a youth group might be just the right thing as H-D targets the under-30 population. If it takes a little extra advertising and a special pin/patch for someone to feel welcome to HOG and to the motorcycling community, then so be it. It’s not hurting anyone by existing, and it just might be helping some.
    BTW, joining LOH is optional…you must check the box when you renew. Its purpose & activities (just like everything else in HOG) are determined by the local dealer. So in a community where there are a lot of non-riding significant others who like to do charity work, the LOH group can hold lots of fundraisers…and in a community where there are a lot of independent women riders, the LOH group can have ladies getaway weekend rides. It’s all good, and it’s all in what you make it. 🙂

  9. Sorry, Jay, you are incorrect.. LOH is not a SUB of HOG. It is a part of it, and it is not exclusive to women. You may not exclude any memer from any part of a HOG chapter. This is an organization – not a club. With the purpose to get women involved, not for women to plan and participate in women only events.

    When promoted right, LOH can get women passengers and non-riders invovled in the world of HD. Some very strong members are non-riders and passengers and it helps those that are not on a bike feel like a part of the group. It is what got me going before I had a bike – I consider it a success.

  10. Francine, in my book you are the bomb! If you say I am incorrect then I stand corrected. I agree that when promoted right LOH can work. I think the challenge we face now is how to make HOG relevant to young adults. Women like you have smashed down the barrier that was once there. Lets keep moving forward. Now we have a new fresh challenge to face. How do we make our HOG Chapters fun for younger members?

  11. Have to agree with Francine-I think you should be careful what you say-words can damage a chapter easily and turn away your female riders. Our chapter is very fortunate to have a great LOH Officer-we have become the community arm of our chapter and include both men and women. It is made very clear that we want all members to feel welcome and to participate in LOH. Our LOH has been recognized on the Senate Floor in Maryland, written about in numerous newspapers in several states and talked about on radio. This is not a good ole boys club and not a ladies only. If you feel it is out dated in your chapter, I suggest you sit down and discuss this with your female members and make an informed decision. Out dated no, up dated yes!!

  12. Thank you Teresa! I asked a tough question and I got a good answer. Since LOH is a huge success in encouraging women riders and non riders than it could be possible to encourage more young people to get involved if they had their own special group. What do you think about that?

  13. Ditto Francine & Teresa. I have been a LOH since starting to ride. When done right this organization is a great added addition to the HOG Chapters, however the Chapters, themselves, have to make it a success. I think any group is good if it endorses safety and confidence to the younger generation. As far as being “special”… every group is special if done right and promotes riding in a healthy way. Groups galore… bring it on.

  14. Jay, as a primary officer of a local HOG chapter I would suggest you either endorse the thoughts and philosophy behind the national HOG corporation or keep your opinions to yourself. You are in a leadership position in which you should be encouraging all genders to get more involved in the sport of motorcycling. National HOG has years of experience and wisdow when it comes to running their corporation. As I’m sure you are aware, they (Natl. HOG) are spending a lot of money on their adv media to target a specific demographics and yes, unfortunately most (not all) of this demographic requires a little extra encouragement to participate. I agree that there are local HOG chapters, where LOH is not productive, it’s not because that segment of HOG is outdated, it’s because the majority of female members are riders and not interested in “ladies only” events but also because most HOG chapter members “in whole” are not interested in doing charitable or community services; which typically falls into the LOH department. Unless LOH is fully backed and supported by all the primary & discretionary officers within a chapter it will not succeed. HOG also recognizes this as well, hence the reason “discretionary”. They allow the individual chapters/dealerships to build a base that best fits the needs of their members.

  15. Teri, you are right. I should have kept my oppinion to myself. I should also stay away from Ed’s stash of Coors Light. I asked the question if anyone felt LOH was outdated and obviously it is not. Through the passionate feedback I received, it is obvious that “if done correctly” LOH is an extremely meaningful experience for many women and a valuable part of most HOG Chapters. I did not intend for my article to be hurtful and I apologize to anyone who was offended. I was wondering out loud on why LOH does not seem to take off at the chapter I belong to and the feedback was great. If LOH has had this much of an impact on so many women that I hold in high regard, then more special groups may be beneficial. I applaud everyone who participated in the conversation. Thank you.

  16. I have an article on my blog that some of you might find it enlightening. There shouldn’t be any differences between male and female riders.

    I woman knows her place in society, at home and within the motorcycle community. We don’t have to be separate to exist.

  17. Excellent article Goldie… I didn’t read the whole thing but I’m glad to see someone taking a strong stance and writing something that actually stands for something. I’m sure you put yourself inthe line of fire for writing this.

  18. I wish you would have read the entire article. I said that I only fear God not man.

    I have a blessing and curse and this is courage. I just live by the stance that if you don’t stand for something then you ain’t about nothing.

    I do believe the article has made some changes because I have received emails ask for my help to approach things differently when it comes to female riders.

    We have to stand up! No longer should we feel that it’s a privilege to ride along our men; we earned the right to ride.

    Thanks for stopping by to read the article.

  19. Harley probably still needs to have the LOH for the ladies who are still afraid to get off the back seat and even attempt to learn how to ride, and there is a small amount of women who either cannot physically or financially afford a motorcycle. So, LOH probably should continue.

    Also, someone posted that women are 12% of NEW bike sales. I know lots of ladies that started on used bikes and continue to buy used bikes because they save a lot of $. That 12% number is extremely misleading. For all those going to Bike Week, take a look around you and you will see that the women riders (regardless of what type of bike they are on) are more around 30-40% or perhaps higher this year!

  20. Okay, enough is enough! This is not about women who have limitations on riding. This is about empowering a group, giving them the ability to grow and become a part of your chapter. Our LOH is not about “women”, instead it is about community. We do many things to support our community and LOH gives us the ability to do so. Our group consists of men and women, most of us ride our own bikes, are not afraid, and have the money to do so. 12% of Harley owners are women. Instead of guessing and insulting-look it up! I would like to see some of you men commenting become an active part of your LOH-be supportive, not negative-you would be amazed. They are many wonderful, intelligent women riding and leading.

  21. Jay, as much as I disagreed with your original pontification regarding LOH, I support your right to have and express publicly your valuable opinion on the subject. Your thoughts obviously had no ill intent and you should not feel obligated to apologize to anyone for expressing them. In fact, they generated a thoughtful discussion on the subject, which should always be considered a desirable effect.
    Teri, though we agree on many of the same points, be careful not to encourage lock-step thinking and actions. Even as a representative of HOG, I’d rather Jay be an independent thinking individual than some blind follower. Better to not have a “Yes” man at any level of Harley – from top to bottom. I certainly hope the H-D engineers and manufacturing line guys are free to say something isn’t right if they feel a process may be improved upon.

  22. I agree, being free to say what you want, and not have to apologize for it, is the “biker” spirit.

  23. No one seems interested at all in my idea to create a new special group for younger members. Everyone wants to protect the status quo.

  24. I’ve no problem with the Harleys for Tots idea. The only problem with an LT30 Club is that there may only be one or two “Tots” per chapter who qualify. I believe you also may have forgotten to take into account the “Harley Years” effect. Similar to “Dog Years” you must multiple every regular year by 1.5 to get the accurate Harley Years – so you’re really talking about an LT45 Club 😉 – and by allowing Buell to go under, HD didn’t improve upon their already slim chances of recruiting a younger fan base.
    Want to change the status quo? Ask HD to build some water cooled i-4s and, even if not a racing bike, at least compete in the sport touring (e.g. Honda ST1300, Kawasaki Concours). If you really want some LT30s in HD showrooms, you’re going to have to build quality HD competitor for the Gixxers, CBRs, or ZXs.
    If folks are too worried about the HD image, they need to get over themselves.

  25. Thank you for being the first to comment on this segment of the conversation. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

  26. LOL…. Easy now… after all.. we’re just BIKERS. Don’t go confusing us by providing two different topics to consider concurrently 🙂

  27. Is that the issue? Thank you for clarifying that for me. That would have saved me a heap of grief if I knew it before.

  28. 3 months and nothing more? Our chapter director just threw the idea out about a sub-group for the up & coming HOG enthusiasts. Maybe have a first time buyers incentive. Maybe earn bucks off with good grades. I’m truley suprised that this was all I found while googeling.

  29. Yes, it is a canundrum. I’m not sure how the incentives you mention help get young riders more involved once they buy a bike and join a HOG chapter. I would love to hear from a HOG chapter that has the guts to start something like this. I’m starting to think young people are just too busy being young. Their parties and social lives are probably more exciting than our frequent rides to the ice cream shop where we may not get our bikes out of third gear because we are observing all the safety guidelines that keep us alive. Meanwhile the young are throwing caution to the wind and having a good ole time getting their groove on.

  30. If you build it (a true i-4 CBR beater from H-D), they will come.

    Give the kids what they want – and are currently buying – or give them the keys to a competitor’s bike and stop whining. I’m just not understanding how anyone thinks it’s a good idea to buy or sell a bike (or convince someone else to do so) for the happy hour or socializing that might be involved.

    I thought we already discussed our general disapproval of the wanna-be culture.?.? And this suggestion does nothing but encourage more of it.

    And good points, Jay. The target group probably already has a pretty full social calendar 🙂

    Ride Safely All

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