I recently overheard MotoVida’s CEO, Brian Milligen, telling a customer “Women are the fastest growing market in motorcycling.”
He was responding to a query as to why there were over 50 motorcycling women buzzing around MotoVida during the morning of Saturday, May 5, 2018. What that customer didn’t know, was that day was special for the ladies. It has been proclaimed International Female Ride Day and since its inception back in 2007, the numbers of ladies showing up to get together and ride, is growing exponentially.
Vicki Gray of Motoress.com, was ahead of her time when she founded IFRD and has become one of the world’s most respected voices for women on two wheels. Her roots with motorcycles span several decades, multiple race tracks and eventually led to her own riding school.
From Gray’s own experiences, being singled out as a woman in motorcycling, she developed IFRD to show the world the actual numbers of women on two wheels. She has opened the eyes of manufacturers and with the introduction of lower cc entry-level motorcycles, yes, Brian is correct – women are the fastest growing demographic and women like to be considered and included.
You will see many women on cruisers. Why? Harley-Davidson recognized that the female passengers had a desire to take the bars for themselves. HD included women in motorcycle life as soon as they walked in their showroom whereas other manufacturers were late getting on board due to a misconception that a passenger was not a buyer.
MotoVida is not one of those dealerships. In fact, it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you ride, their doors are open. They are the Okanagan dealer for MotoGuzzi and Aprilia but you will find every make and model, as well as riding men and women with bikes out front, hanging out on any particular day, like those that supported the IFRD event.
For me, that day was particularly exciting. As a moto journalist, I was handed the keys to the all-new Aprilia 900 Shiver. I teased Milligen with a text message, “I’m getting sexy back, YA!” referring to last year’s event when I rode the Aprilia RSV4 – which I coined the “sexiest ride I have ever ridden.”
The Shiver is an entirely different ride style from the RSV4 but the Italian sexy is the same. For specific classification, it is a naked sport bike but with the upright riding position, the dirt bike style bars and the short, under the seat, 2-in-1 exhaust that sounds like ping pong balls in a dryer, backfiring with attitude every gear shift, I would call it a streetfighter, even though it has but one singular head light.
This is my favourite style ride because it is so versatile and well suited to the longer-legged rider. In the saddle, my 34” inseam fits perfectly against the carved 15l tank and my feet plant firmly directly beneath me. You can ride relaxed, aggressive, and everything in between with this style and not sacrifice comfort.
I have a habit of initially touring as I get to know a bike. It is a methodical ride, listening and experiencing not only the sounds of the bike but the sights of the road. It is the same thing as taking a navigational lap on a track day. Go on tour, relax your ride, become acquainted with your route and take in the world. Then, switch it up. The Shiver offers three levels of traction control. Tour – stating the obvious. Rain – preventing you from sliding all over the place and Sport – for when you want to have some fun in the corners and take advantage of the bike’s agility. Each mode is a whole new experience thereby offering a rider longevity in the 10K purchase.
Open the throttle in Sport mode and power is delivered instantly. Talk about torque (or as Aprilia refers to it – Fun!). Climb the RPM and the bike’s performance improves. There are actually shift indicators on the digital dash that resemble a pinball game. Approach 6500 rpm, your first white lights come on, keep pushing and you will get two additional white lights, then a green and then the forbidden red in your face telling you to change gears already. I must admit, I had some fun with that through the six-speed transmission although I never got out third gear during my ride around the lake. 95.2 HP at 8,750 rpm is hard to resist.
Aprilia is boasting an all-new V90 Longitudinal 90 degree liquid cooled, 4-stroke, 896.1cc, v-twin to “guarantee more torque and more fun.” One of the other ladies even commented, “It’s all ride-by-wire, there’s no cables anywhere.” That’s true.
When I read the online hype of the bike after riding it, I can’t really disagree with anything that has been written. Not by Aprilia or any other journalist review. Of note though is after a few hours in the saddle, the exhaust warms your backside which may not be welcomed in the summer months but will be a bonus in the cooler Spring and Fall.