Imagine walking into a motorcycle shop where the bikes parked in the showroom are designed for women, all the clothing, gear and accessories are for women only, and the shop is set up intuitively to the way a woman thinks and shops. Sound like a dream store? Well, this place actually exists, and it couldn't be in a more ideal location -- Daytona Beach, Florida.
Roar Motorcycles is located in a small strip plaza on Bellevue Avenue in Daytona Beach.
"Women riders are definitely on the rise," says Kathleen Steele Tolleson, the 50-something-year-old CEO of Roar Motorcycles. She believes there’s no better time than the present to open a motorcycle shop aimed at women because of what she’s observed over the last few years. "I see a lot of women riding bikes that don’t fit them well."
Kathleen Steele Tolleson in her office at Roar headquarters.
Kathleen, a longtime motorcyclist and one-time stone mason, counselor and minister, wanted to give women more options when shopping for a motorcycle by opening up a full-fledged motorcycle shop named Roar Motorcycles. Other than the female reference intrinsic in the name Roar, Kathleen loves lions so the name seemed perfect. The branding possibilities are endless, and on opening day during Daytona Bike Week 2008, the Roar logo was already splashed on T-shirts, jackets and motorcycles.
Roar has an extensive line of ladies tanks and T-shirts.
The Roar insignia painted on a Roar customized motorcycle.
That's right, motorcycles. The showroom is full of Roar customized bikes divided up by size: petite, medium and tall. Kathleen believes the size of the bike (both engine size and the bike's physical size) is the main feature driving a woman’s purchase of a particular motorcycle.
A V Star customized by Roar Motorcycles.
Customers can choose from an existing Roar designed motorcycle using models like a Yamaha V Star 650 or Suzuki LV800 that's been lowered and custom painted, or bring in their own motorcycle and go through the design process themselves. Much like one sits with an interior designer to choose the custom accents for their home, Roar customers sit in a conference room dubbed the "design room" with a team of professional designers including a painter, seat maker, pin striper and technician who will create a customer's dream bike.
One of Roar Motorcycle designs dubbed the Brown Eyed Susan.
From the paint job, to the seat pattern, to the accessories and ergonomics, the bike is designed to fit the size and personality of the customer. Kathleen shared with us that she and her dream team are excited about a ground-up proprietary Roar motorcycle that's in development and will cost from 18,000 to $25,000.
Kathleen said she wouldn't open her store unless longtime friend and mechanic Gary Lyons would come on board. He did and he's her chief motorcycle builder.
Surrounding the motorcycles in the showroom are racks of riding leathers, clothing, accessories and jewelry, and everything is "blinged" out with glittery rhinestones. Kathleen has also developed her own line of skin care and makeup that is for sale in the store called Wind Blown. It takes into account a woman rider's needs like lipsticks that won't melt in the heat and small packaging to fit in a fanny pack.
The Roar showroom has lots of bling.
Wind Blown Makeup is designed exclusively by Roar.
There's more to Roar than the motorcycle shop. Roar Sisterhood is a membership organization created to support a Roar designated charity. Members receive a monthly printed newsletter called the Roar Report, that's also available on a trial basis for free for three months.
The showroom is full of neat surprises like the Man Chair.
You don't have to live near Roar to take advantage of the custom bike program. There is an extensive Web site listing creative ideas and bikes that are for sale. Of course, if you're ever in the area, you've got to stop in and check out the tastefully decorated showroom that makes shopping for a motorcycle downright fun, exciting and easy.
The showroom is full of motorcycles and clothing.
For more information, visit RoarMotorcycles.com, or call 386.255.7527. The shop is located at 897 Bellevue Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32114.