Motorcycle women are the latest add-on to the motorcycle seen. The motorcycles women ride have for the most part been designed with men in mind, until today.
How a small city Alaskan motorcycle woman is making her mark in the world of customized motorcycles.
At age 10 Christine Vaughan started to be engrossed in motorcycling and became a certified motorcycle woman. Her first motorcycle was a Suzuki RM100 and within a few of hours, she tried standing up on the seat. Believing that her lack of concern would serve her better in an organized environment, her Father signed her up for Racing.
This woman rider, Christine Vaughan of Wicked Women Choppers eventually moved up to quad racing, and then she became interested with street bikes.
Christine's derives inspiration comes from the women riders in her family. Christine tells it like this.
"Gender blurring is a essential in the Alaska bush - to stay alive everyone has to be competent to do the chore at hand. A stereotypical family unit could not function in the secluded areas of Alaska and it is more the women doing what would be perceived as men's work than it is the other way around. If you are female and your folks fishes, you catch fish. The same is exact for canneries, logging and even the oil fields. I take pride in the fact that I can track my maternal roots back all the way through seven generations. My Great-Great Grandmother operated a, lets say, "boarding house" so the entrepreneurial spirit is in my genes".
It was out of necessity that Christine learned to go to work on motorcycles.
The first thing Christine did with her first bike was to take it apart. After she inquired if her Father and brothers could help her put the motorcycle back together, they told her, "you tore it apart you can put it back together". It has been a educational experience for her ever since and is what projected her to the ranks of women biker.
A high school graduate and just about two years in the halls knowledge but with no degree behind her, Christine has never been good at learning by watching or listening. You can take that as a good or a bad thing, but the way that Christine learns best is by leaping in, getting her hands dirty and doing…
Having no formal mechanical or fabrication training this biker chick has sharpened her bike building skills by trial and error. Bring able to learn by doing; normally she does not repeat her mistakes.
Starting out with nothing but the idea, in 2004, Christine decided to create Wicked Women Choppers with women motorcycle riders in mind.
Christine knew that with out access to parts, her wicked women choppers would go nowhere. Therefore, she formulated a plan to start with the largest parts suppliers first. Christine recollects, all of her original letters to the suppliers where answered and all were encouraging.
Many business Owners and Presidents called to pledge their collaboration. That was quite an accomplishment, considering at that time, Wicked Women Choppers a woman biker owned shop met none of the normal requirements.
"Brett Smith of S&S phoned me personally and invited me to Daytona to attend an event they were sponsoring so he could meet me and introduce me to his staff. We have had the same type of response, on a smaller scale, from all of the vendors. If you can get support from the big guys, the others will follow their lead."
Now with four full time employees, several part time employees and a painter who paints exclusively for her, Christine plans to staff up and start a small line of signature parts once production gets going and she get comfortable with the production motorcycles.
There are not a lot of motorcycle women building custom motorcycles and being one of the only biker woman in a male controlled industry, Christine has received absolutely no opposition from her male equivalents. She has continually been made to feel more then welcome and cannot say enough nice things concerning them.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Bike and women riders
Frustration brought Christine to her decision to make Motorcycles for women. Women motorcycle riders that need to slide forward to reach forward controls is not only uncomfortable but also unsafe. Women bikers having to balance the bike on the balls of your feet when stopped is the same.
To make the motorcycle more relaxing and safe for women that ride, Christine, when building her own motorcycles, had to fabricate her own parts. She addresses all of those issues when building motorcycles women ride for her respected customers. One such custom motorcycle in production is the "Shady Lady"
The Shady Lady Custom Motorcycle
The Shady Lady is a "Chopper Style" bike, that stock, comes with a Polished 96 Cubic Inch S&S engine - a 107 and 113 inch motor is available as an upgrade.
The frame has a drop-seat to make it simplier and easier for motorcycle women to reach to the ground without sacrificing ground clearance. Everything on the bike is painted, polished or chromed. The handle bars have internal wiring for a authentic clean look and the clutch is hydraulic for easier use with "comfort" style levers to match smaller hands of a women bikers.
The rear tire of this custom is an Avon 250 on a chrome billet 18-inch wheel. The front tire is a 120 Avon on a chrome billet 21-inch wheel. We decide on a larger front tire to give the bike better handling traits.
The bike come standard with an enclosed primary belt drive although you can upgraded to a Primo/Rivera Brute IV open primary for an additional cost.
The Shady Ladies design is with the optimum amount of trail to provide a safe ride at all speeds. These bikes are designed to turn heads and made to be ridden.
The "Shady Lady" is a biker women's dream, it comes stock with what other builders charge as upgrades, although we do have some upgrades available. Our dealers will be able to request the bikes fitted out with what they feel they are able to sell. Individual customers can request any modifications they want and we will work with them from start to a finished product and build a chopper to their specifications…
The First Woman Motorcycle Builder
Being the first biker woman to build a custom motorcycle in a male dominated industry is sure to get some notice. All of the major motorcycle magazines have propositioned Christine exhibiting interest in preforming spotlite stories. She has an article published in Cycle World, as well as SisterCycle, Canadian Biker Magazine, Women on Wheels and feature articles about the first women's motorcycle builders in all of the local newspaper.
Even radio and television are taking notice as well, the Discovery Channel asked her to send an audition tape. In addition, the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall Of Fame contacted Christine and they want her to be a part of a 2-year display they are doing on "First Women" a display about first women riders, Christine being the first woman commercial motorcycle builder and all.
When asked if this biker woman would build a motorcycle for a man, Christine answers, absolutely.
"I don't want anyone, biker dude or biker chick to buy a Wicked Women Chopper because it is made by a women biker. I want them to purchase my motorcycles because they are revolutionary and a tremendous value for the cash. The reality that I am a woman does give me insight into the needs of the women rider, but my abilities as a designer and builder is what I want buyers to look at, not my gender".
"Wicked Women Choppers being the name of my company may keep the men away and fetch in women riders, but anyone shopping for quality and value should to give us a look. Surprisingly enough, the majority of our inquiries to date haven't been motorcycle women but instead from men (go figure)".
Christine stands committed to her dream and a part of that dream is to remain small enough to be individually involved in every motorcycle produced by Wicked Women Choppers, LLC for women riders.
If you're a motorcycle women with a unique story or an interesting contribution for women riders, please contact use at motorcycles and women and we will be happy to review your story and possible post it in a later motorcycle women article.
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