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Women care more about the paint job than the number of gears, says Sustrans

Women buy bikes based on colour and men let technology influence their wallets was one conclusion of a gathering of London’s cycling community this week.

Her Gear, the UK’s first cycle boutique for women hosted an evening to mark sustainable transport charity Sustrans’ campaign to get more women cycling. The new female-friendly website www.bikebelles.org.uk is a crucial part of that campaign.

Her Gear owner Steven Peters stocks everything the serious female cyclist could want, from top-of-the range bikes with a £2k price tag to gloves and accessories. The shocking pink shop façade stands out amongst the boutiques and high end restaurants of its leafy Kensington location and it seems women cyclists want to stand out too, when they're riding around town on their bikes.

Looking good was as important as feeling safe on the roads to the many women Sustrans spoke to at a recent women's health and beauty exhibition. The colour of their bikes was also very important, and didn't stray far from sterotype. As we know, journalist Dawn Porter rides a bright pink Brompton and the charity's competition prize of a Dutch bike (complete with flower-decorated lilac frame) was also a conversation starter at the event with the focus of attention much more to do with the size of the basket and colour than the number of gears it had.

As we reported earlier this week Topshop is about to start stocking a funky line of cycling accessories for women, called Cyclodelic, but is all this enough to persuade the 79% of women currently not cycling to get on their bikes?

Sustrans has brought together a group of Bike Belles pannelists on the new website to give their opinions. It all points clearly towards the theory that anyone working in cycle retail should think much more seriously about style, image and appearance if they want to lure in those female customers.

For more information on the Sustrans campaign visit www.bikebelles.org.uk

8 comments

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thebikeboy [131 posts] 8 years ago
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Not so sure about that. I reckon quite a lot of men if they'r honest buy bikes on colour too.

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Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 8 years ago
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you've probably got a point. I remember one very big bike brand attributing a poor year to getting their colours wrong and they weren't talking about their women's range. In fact the next year pretty much all that changed on the bikes was the paint jobs and they flew out of the shops.

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leguape [43 posts] 8 years ago
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Specialized have picked a dog of a colour this year by changing one of the mid-market Dolce women's models from white with pink and silver detailing to an ugly burgundy. I can see what they were doing: attempting to do a nice nail varnish colour but it's all wrong.

IIRC Bianchi don't do their celeste green as default in Germany because it's considered a colour only suitable for kids bike.

You're probably thinking of Giant who admitted that having their bikes in the T-Mobile pink and black had hampered sales in around 2005-2006 season, hence the team bikes going to white on black in the last couple of years (last year as T-Mob and as High Road) as the main colours.

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wild man [297 posts] 8 years ago
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Women care more about paint job than number of gears? That will explain why Simona Krupeckaite rode a candy- pink Dolan with just the one speed to a 500 WR. Now if only she'd gone for something more sensible equipped with full dura ace groupset...

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Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 8 years ago
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Heh…I know exactly who I was thinking about, and it wasn't one bike's colour they were talking about it was pretty much their entire range. There problem was that they got too far in front of mainstream fashion and came out with a set of colours that would have been find a couple of year's later when eveybody was using them. Of course, having been burnt once - they didn't.

Pink and black may have hampered Giant in this country, but it did them no harm at all in Germany where they sell a LOT of bikes.

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Ruthe [50 posts] 8 years ago
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Pink rocks. But if colour was all that influenced us we'd be riding round on something with tassles and a basket costing £99 from the cheap car parts shop. I'm sure we are not much different from the blokes in wanting something that looks good but performs well because of its spec?
But heck what do I know? I'm just a girl!  3

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Tony Farrelly [2893 posts] 8 years ago
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Yeah, I think pink rocks too… it was a toss up whether the first batch of road.cc jerseys would be powder pink and black or powder blue and black. We probably will do a future batch of pink ones.

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Alankk [152 posts] 8 years ago
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I prefer if all my bikes weren't black but it was the best fit and value. Ofc I care how I look, commute to have a casual dinner with mates, including some pretty girls, I want to look good while not being cumbersome on the bike.

Yes Spesh has some of the worst colour scheme for 08, wats up with brown, purple with ugly curtain detailing on their P series, yikes. white tyres on their road bikes, white grip and tape in sum places, bluergh.