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October 10, 2007

Femmoto Lifts Lid on Female Bike Naming

clubfemmoto_small.gifI was fascinated to read in the LA Times about the "Femmoto" motorcycling event in Las Vegas that was aimed at women, who now make up 10% of the motorcyclists in the U.S.

The name of the event itself is clearly meant to attract females, but it struck me that the brand names of certain bikes on display there also appeal to women. Names that caught my eye were Suzuiki Burgman, Kawasaki Versys, and Kymco Velox.

Aprilla USA has a confidently feminine sounding name, and their product names seem very female friendly: the Tuono, the Caponord, and the Mojito. Italians with their beautiful, sexy language, seem to have a real advantage over everyone else from a brand naming perspective, not least because women are buying more scooters. There is something alluring about a woman on a Vespa, for instance, or on a Ducati (a company that has a wonderful women's racing race team.

These names are so much more refined than those offered by one of the other big sponsors of the event: Harley-Davidson, is a revered name in the industry but is also trying to sell women the "Night Rod."

Fact is, those of us in the naming business had better start being aware that even traditionally masculine brand names like the Kawasaki Ninja appeal to women (it is in fact a favorite among women because it is so light).

A great article on Cycle Trader breaks down women's favorite bike brands, and the results are interesting: Harley's Sportser is the top bike for that company name, while the Honda Shadow is ridden by more women than the goddess Valkyrie (who would have thought?) by a factor of six.

Harley has a tremendous amount of women riders, but names like "Softail" and "Fat Boy" and "Shovelhead" must at least make some women buyers pause.

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Posted by Diane Prange at October 10, 2007 11:40 AM
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