Motorcycles & Misogyny

While perusing the Triumph forum (now that I’m a Triumph owner!) I encountered an opinion of my Bonneville that deeply offended me. I blasted back right away, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, there is a deeper issue.

“Bonnevilles are girl bikes. Notice she stole it and not a Speed Triple? Just saying.”

My knee-jerk response was along the lines of “I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, you don’t have enough stamps on your man card to insult a bike Steve Mcqueen made famous. Booya!”
But I was still bothered. The person stuck to their guns that it was a girl bike but it was ok for men to ride them. I expect this kind of elitism and divisiveness from the indoctrinated Harley/BMW/Ducati guys, but it surprised me coming from Triumph. It probably shouldn’t have. Its natural to embrace brand loyalty -er model loyalty -er penis loyalty … whatever.

What really got under my skin is that opinions like this are actually saying, “Women are beneath men and that choice of motorcycle emasculates you.” This macho bravado is so damn silly. I’d venture a safe guess that most of the males who share this opinion are riding big “manly” bikes with 1k cc or above engines, they are straight line heroes who have never done a track day and are compensating for something.

I own a “manly” bike but found myself never riding it once I bought a smaller, slower bike. The reasons? It is easier to ride around town and commute which is about 90% of what we do as riders. Its also so much more fun to ride a slow bike fast than vise versa. This means that the remaining 10% of canyons or trackdays done are even more exciting and enjoyable. But macho guys might not ever know. Maybe self esteem, maybe peer pressure or social stigma due to region or even baby dicks, but subtlety, precision, control and skill are sadly not necessary on “man bikes.”

What’s worse, why is riding/owning a bike that has design elements allowing short riders or female riders or short female riders even a thing? Motorcycling by its very nature is dangerous and aggressive. Can’t it be enough that we are all throwing a leg over, taking the same inherent risks and sharing the love of riding? Dividing ourselves into microcosms of enthusiasts of pretty much the SAME DAMN THING is utterly asinine and wasteful.

I thought about it and approached him in a personal message from a different angle. I explained that his opinion bummed me out because it was negative, divisive and misogynistic. I explained that by simply calling it a “girl bike” he is devaluing not only only the bike and its rider, but more importantly discounting women as a whole. I encouraged him to take a test ride on a Bonneville or Ducati Monster some time and to find out how much fun it is to ride a sub liter bike. And if none of that gets any traction with him, I offered to show him some perspective of what a “girl bike” can do against his Speed Triple at SOW. Beauty is I don’t even need to beat him, just keep pace to prove my point. but I have a feeling putting down a faster lap won’t be the proof this kind of brain needs. I’d love to find that 13 year old girl on her two stroke 125 that was destroying everyone at my last trackday.

Oh well, you can’t fix stupid. Especially if the stupid aren’t willing. Which they usually aren’t.

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