ROAR Motorcycles’ CEO Kathy Tolleson cruised around the corner on the WildKaT to a rousing ovation from the crowd.
Two years of blood, sweat, and tears came to fruition Saturday for one ambitious lady and her crew as ROAR Motorcycles unveiled the first production motorcycle “designed by women exclusively for women.”
Kathy Tolleson, CEO of Daytona Beach’s ROAR Motorcycles, received a rousing ovation when she rolled around the corner on the pearl white and Daytona blue WildKaT. At five-foot-tall, Tolleson looked large-than-life in the saddle on the prototype motorcycle that has been her passion for the last two years.
“If I die tomorrow, I’d die happy because I finally got to ride the bike of my dreams,” Tolleson said.
She has reason to be proud. The motorcycle addresses many of the grievances women have about bikes directly without sacrificing style and ridability. The frame and suspension has been designed to allow seat height and ground clearance to fluctuate. Tolleson had the bike set at 24 inches for her, and it goes as low as 23.5 inches and can be raised up to 29.5 inches. Ground clearance fluctuates from as low as 4.24 inches to as high as 10.25 inches, depending on the seat height adjustment. The foot controls can be moved forward or backward eight inches, adjustable in two inch increments, all without any unsightly extra brackets.
ROAR Motorcycles 2009 WildKaT debuted in front of a receptive crowd of family, friends, motorcyclists and media in Daytona Beach on Saturday, March 7, 2009 on the penultimate day of Bike Week.
The Super-Trapp 2-into-1 exhaust curves forward and around the rider’s foot and is run low below the floorboards. Tolleson said that getting burnt by hot pipes is a major concern among women motorcyclists. The swept-back handlebars make it an easy reach to the hand controls, while ROAR came up with a wide, leather seat in-house to accommodate a woman’s hips.
It sources a rubber mounted 74 cubic-inch Harley-Davidson 1200cc engine for its power to go along with a 5-speed transmission. The package is mounted in a single downtube frame. A 41.3-inch telescopic fork handles suspension duties up front while dual hidden rear shocks and a tubular swingarm smooth out the ride on the rear. The entire package weighs in at a claimed 525 lbs. dry, much lower than comparable cruisers on the market.
The overall design is classic and clean. Chrome Ride Wright spoked wheels with billet hubs and large, tire-hugging fenders maintain the WildKaT’s classic lines. The motorcycles’ graphics and two-tone paint job have been well-conceived and are attractive without looking frilly.
Susan Andersen, a local Floridian, has the honor of owning the #1 bike.
ROAR Motorcycles uses a Harley-Davidson 74 cubic-inch engine in its WildKaT that’s highlighted by a lion’s share of shining chrome.
“I walked in Monday and wanted some sunglasses,” Andersen said with a laugh.
The motorcycle lists for $22,970, but riders who pre-order can save three grand off the asking price. A promotional ‘Limited Edition Reservation’ is being offered for the first 25 production WildKaTs. Several women were on hand who are already on the list expressed their excitement about a motorcycle that caters to their needs.
The timing of the bike’s release couldn’t have been better. Women riders is the only demographic that grew last year, and being the first to market with a bike “built by women, for women” is a strong selling point. As one diminutive rider stated, “There’s no more wrestling. It fits.”
The WildKat is a precursor for a line of women’s motorcycles that includes a sportbike, the StreetKat, and a touring bike, the Lioness.