Ducati 1098 – NOT a motorcycle that featured in Sons Of Anarchy, that much I know! As an absolute novice (and pillion) my knowledge of most motorcycles and most certainly about motorcycle clubs are confined to everything that I have learned in Sons Of Anarchy! Before SOA I thought ‘cuts’ pertained to meat, a ‘cager’ was someone confining animals, a hairpin was used for your hair, a ‘hog’ was a domesticated pig, ‘leathers’ were perceived to be different kind of hides, ‘bead’ was well, a bead! In all instances, I was sadly mistaken (see correct terminology below.)
I have to admit that growing up I thought of all motorbike riders riding in clubs or ‘gangs’ as people who were always on the wrong side of the law, out to hurt people, get drunk, smoke weed and pick fights with anything that moves. But I have learned this is rarely the case. There are proper clubs that are legitimate, have amazing internal structures, rules and regulations and almost all of the motorbike riders and MC members I met were friendly, accommodating and very approachable. You will of course always get your ‘bad seeds’. But just because a huge guy wears a T-shirt with a skull, has twenty tattoos and scary looking cuts, doesn’t mean he is a gun-wielding criminal on a motorbike!
There are many MC’s (motorcycle clubs) in South Africa that do amazing things for all kinds of charities. Just last weekend there were toy runs allover the country by all the MC’s in SA. I know there are MC’s who are notorious troublemakers and some are even feared, but for the most part the MC members keep to themselves, and do things within the MC rules and regulations. I do not know that many MC’s in Gauteng (where I stay) but I have only had positive interactions with a few of them. Case in point, we went to ‘Upperdeck’ at Harties today and saw many many MC bikers on the way, as well as at Upperdeck itself. In fact, a well-known MC called ‘The Crusaders’ had a large gathering there. I was so impressed with their general conduct, manners and courteousness towards other patrons and myself. Well done to them for keeping their club’s name high today! I also met some of the amazing members of Grai Motorcycle Club – South Africa – SUCH genuine nice people – funny, witty and very friendly! I really appreciated them sharing tips and giving this novice pillion some very good advice. Thank you everyone, and a special thanks to Jacques Koning for introducing us to the ‘gang’ (meant in the most positive way possible!)
‘Biking’ is not for sissies, and there’s something to be said about riding at 230 kmph down a stretch of road on a beautiful machine (like my hubby’s Duc!) on a wonderful summer’s day. There is just SOMETHING about riding on a motorbike that is quite indescribable really. We are not even remotely ‘bikers’ yet, but it is wonderful to start getting to know what motorcycle riding in South Africa is all about. As pillion I dream about owning my own bike soon, but for now I am quite content riding with the best partner ever. If you’re not sure if you trust your partner or not, try riding with them on a two-wheeled beast at a ridiculous speed, helplessly sitting behind them, holding on for dear life! Now THAT is implicit trust for you!
If you are as clueless as I was/am, especially about the slang and abbreviations used in the motorcycle world, read on to be enlightened about all things motorcycle. You’re welcome!
(A huge shout out to my husband who quite willing shares his passion with me on a motorbike that wasn’t really designed for the schlep of carrying a passenger! I love every second Love!)
THINK BIKE!! (No, seriously, THINK bike!!)
Nicci (aka The Duc Pillion)AALS :A Low Side CrashABATE: The ABATE acronym is understood to have several meanings. ABATE is a social club and lobbying organization that seeks to preserve and regain legal rights on behalf of the motorcycling community.ABS: Anti-lock braking system, same as on a car.ADV: Short for “adventure,” ADV means both a kind of bike and a kind of riding. ADV bikes can be ridden on and off road and are often called “dual sport bikes” or “adventure bikes.” A ride on such a bike is often called an “ADV ride” and there are countless ADV groups, websites, clubs, etc. worldwide.AFFA: Angels Forever, Forever Angels. A sign of loyalty referring to the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.Aftermarket: Parts and accessories that are not OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) made.Air-Cooled: Engines cooled by airflow rather than through liquid cooling that is typical of cars; a bit of a misnomer as all engines are also oil-cooled, including air cooled enginesAirfence: Back in the day, racers could expect to slide into a tire barrier when they crashed in a corner at the track. Guess what? Tires aren’t that soft and many riders got injured. Enter Airfence, an airbag system for racetracks. When a rider hits an Airfence, it rapidly deflates, absorbing the energy of the crash and lessening the chances of injury.Airheads: A term used to refer to older, air-cooled BMW motorcycles.Analog Gauges: Mechanical/non-digital gauges.Anti-Dive System: A component of some front-end suspension system designed to reduce front fork compression (dive) when under hard breaking.Ape Hangers: High handlebars that rise above the rider’s shoulders, The rider assumes a posture reminiscent of an ape hanging from a branch.Apex: In a car or truck, you go around a corner. On a bike (especially when racing), you look for the apex of a corner or the point closest to the curb/shoulder between the entry and exit of a corner. “Hitting the apex” correctly helps carry speed through a corner. It’s also quite fun to do.A’s & 8s/Aces & 8s: Deadman’s Hand. Legendary poker hand drawn by Wild Bill Hickok just before he was murdered.Associate: A person associated with a motorcycle club. Used more by people outside of the biker community than by the motorcycle clubs themselves.ATF: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Strange combination, no?ATGATT (“AT-GAT”): Riders who crash and grind off large parts of their skin while sliding down the road have failed at following the ATGATT rule. Which is to say, if you want to avoid skin grafts, traumatic brain injury, broken ankles, and myriad other injuries sustained in a crash, you should be wearing All The Gear, All The Time.BBack Door: This is the last rider in the group who’s customarily the most experienced rider. The back door is also known as the sweep or tail gunner. Back Warmer: The friend on the back of your motorcycle also called a ‘pillion’.Backbone: The top tube of a motorcycle frame where the tank is typically mounted.Backyard: An area that you ride frequently.Baffle: A sound deadening wall inside a muffler.Bagger: A motorcycle equipped with saddlebags, usually referring to a large motorcycle with hard-side bags and full touring gear.Bandana: A square of cloth used for just about everything.Bar Hopper: A motorcycle used to ride from bar to bar. Flashy or custom bike not suited to long-distance riding.Bark-o-lounger: A large, comfortable motorcycle. Honda Gold WingBasket Case: 1) A motorcycle in a state of dis-assembly, i.e. a bike with its parts in baskets. 2) A person that’s a mess psychologically.BATF: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.Bead: The edge of a tire that touches the wheelBeehive: A beehive style tail light.Beemer: A nickname for a BMW.Belt Drive: A system that uses a belt to transfer power rather than a chain or shift.Bible: Don’t leave home without it.Big Dog: An American motorcycle manufacturer; closed down in April 2011.Big Five: The five major motorcycle manufacturers: Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha.Big Four: Hell’s Angels, Pagans, Outlaws and Bandidos. The four motorcycle clubs that have been identified as Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs by the FBI. These clubs are prosecutable under the Federal RICO statute.Big Twin: Any large displacement Harley-Davidson. Sorry, Sportsters and Street models don’t count.Bike: An acceptable term for most any motorcycle, which is also often called a ride, sled, beast, the old lady, sweetheart, my precious, That Broken Down Old Piece of … and so on. Biker Dictionary: HamstersBiker Friendly: A business that appreciates the patronage of bikers.Biker: Be careful with this term. In general, it means someone who rides a motorcycle, but in the sphere of those who actually ride motorcycles, it more precisely means someone who is in a motorcycle club or gang (although ‘gang’ has a negative connotation in most instnaces). A Hell’s Angel is a Biker, but your Uncle Bob who toots around on his Harley Sportster on the weekends isn’t. He’s a rider or motorcyclist. Bikers don’t mind being called “bikers,” that’s what they are, but they generally don’t like to be called “motorcyclists.” But motorcyclists (non-bikers) may take umbrage to being called a “biker.” Got it? There will be a quiz later. See also: rider, one-percenter, motorcyclist.Billet: Refers to a piece of metal that’s been machined into shape rather than cast.Blip the Throttle: A quick twist of the throttle.Block: The largest part of the engine in which the cylinder/cylinders are bored.Blockhead: A Harley Davidson engine produced between 1984 and 2000.BMW: Bavarian Motor Works (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG), a manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles. The BMWs of the ’60s and ’70s have a cult following that continues to this day.Bobber: Bobbers are/were bikes that have been customized in a certain way. Typical features include a stripped-down look, no front fender, low handlebars, a solo seat, and very spare instrumentation (if any). You can turn most any bike into a bobber with enough time, money, and tools. The name comes from the early practice of trimming, or “bobbing,” the fenders and seat on a bike to the bare minimum. From there, the minimalist aesthetic just kind of took over. Now, some bike makers actually sell production bobbers.Boneyard: A salvage yardBonneville: This time we’re talking about a place, not a bike, except to say that the Triumph Bonneville motorcycle is named after the place. That place is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where riders and drivers take their machines to find out just exactly how fast they can go. Just call it “Bonneville” and other riders will know what you’re talking about. It’s also known as “The Salt.”Bore: The internal diameter of a cylinder.Bottom End: 1) The bottom part of the engine. 2) The lower end of the RPM range.Bottom Out: When a suspension system has no more room to travel.Boxer: The nickname for the two-cylinder, horizontally opposed engine most-associated with older BMWs.Braided Hoses: hose covered in braided metal.Brain Bucket: A helmet.Bro/Brother: A close friend.Bronson Rock: An improvised tool. Not a term used in spoken conversations, but you’ll occasionally read it in forums.Broomsticks: Straight handlebars.BSA: Birmingham Small Arms. A British manufacturer of motorcycles, now out of business.Buckhorns: A style of handlebars that pull back toward the rider, actually resembling a bull’s horns. When someone speaks about buckhorns, it’s usually in the context of wanting to replace them with something more stylish.Buddy Pegs: Footpegs for a passenger.Buffeting: Quick-cycling wind turbulence, especially bothersome when following large vehicles.Bullet bike: This is an outsider’s term for a sport bike, often used by media and non-riders to get attention.Burning Rubber: Applying enough throttle from a stop that the rear tire loses traction and spins freely, leaving melted/burned rubber on the road surface.Burnout: Spinning the rear wheel while preventing the motorcycle from moving forward (accomplished by applying the front brake or setting the front tire against an immovable object such as a high curb).Busa: Nickname for the iconic Suzuki Hayabusa (Suzuki GSX1300R).sport bike. Pronounced either “Bee-you-saw” or “Boo-saw” depending on whom you are talking to.CCafe Chop: Converting a motorcycle into a cafe racer.Café racer: Back in the day in jolly olde England, riders known as Rockers would modify their bikes for speed (of course) with lower handlebars, rear-set footpegs, loud pipes, and more, riding quickly from nightspot to nightspot — usually a café — to show off and pick up girls was part of the scene. Bet I can beat ya there! Thus, the café racer. Today, modifying vintage bikes into “café racers” is a popular trend. (See also: The Ton)Cage: a non-biker’s car.Cage: Car, truck, or van.Cager: Person in a car, truck, or van.Cam: A circle or oblong with an off-center point of axis.Can: Anexhaust muffler, typically an aftermarket muffler for a sport bike.Canyon Carving: Hard, fast riding on twisty roads.Carb/Carbs: No, not a plate full of pasta. This refers to “carburetors,” which mixed fuel and air together for decades before fuel injection arrived. They are finicky, inefficient and prone to clogging, which is why they aren’t used much anymore. Some smaller bikes and dirt bikes still come with them, but probably not for long. See also: petcockCarbon Fiber: A strong and light-weight construction material.Cateye: A style of tail light.Catwalk: A British term for wheelie.CB: Slang for an old Honda, not CB radio, so avoid the confusion. Most vintage Hondas models start with CB, as in CB750, CB550, CBX, CB1100F, and so on (and on and on and on). Many current Hondas still start with CB, but in general, it means “generic old Honda.”CB750: The most iconic of all Honda models and a game changer for the overall motorcycling industry. Introduced in 1969 after it was developed by Honda as a race bike, the CB750 featured the first mass-produced transverse inline-four engine on a motorcycle, a front disc brake (almost unheard of at the time), big power, reliability, and refinement that made high-performance bikes from Britain, America, and Europe suddenly look like oil-soaked relics of a bygone era. Subsequently, the Honda CB750 and its mechanical spawn are roundly pointed to as the death knell of the British heavyweight motorcycle industry and it nearly killed off Harley-Davidson as well. All modern inline-four-powered sportbikes can trace their DNA to the CB750. Honda made a zillion CB750s over the years and many still ply roadways today in various forms. However, the early years —especially those from 1969 — are very coveted, very expensive collector bikes, although you can still ride them with confidence.CC/CI/displacement: In general, motorcycle engines are much smaller than car engines (although, lately, the gap is narrowing). For bikes made in Asia and Europe, engine size (“displacement”) is expressed in “cc,” or cubic centimeters. If you know about cars, you’re familiar with things like a “3.6 liter V6.” In motorcycle terms, that would be a 3,600cc V6. In general, motorcycles range from 50cc at the smallest to 1,800cc or so at the largest. Of course, there are exceptions (example: Triumph makes a line of bikes with 2,300cc engines). Alternatively, U.S. bike makers Harley-Davidson and Indian (owned by Polaris) measure their motors in cubic inches (ci). A typical Harley motor can range from 53ci to 110ci depending on the model. Indian uses a 111ci engine. That converts to a range of 883cc to 1,819cc. Generally, anything under 500cc is considered a “lightweight” bike, while anything over 1000cc is a pretty big rig. Between them are “middleweight” bikes, usually 600, 700, 750, 800, or 900cc, although there’s no steadfast rule or size guide.CE Armor/CE Certified: A European system designed to rate the effectiveness of motorcycle riding armor. There is no American equivalent.Center of Gravity: Balance point.Centerstand: A device used to hold a motorcycle upright when it’s not being ridden. Serves the same purpose as a kickstand, except that the rear wheel is raised off the road surface.Century: 100 mphChain Drive: system that used a chain to transfer power to the rear wheel.Chain: A metal chain that transfers power to the rear wheel. Similar in design and purpose to a bicycle chain.Chaps: Protective riding gear that goes over pant legs and does not cover groin or posterior.Chapter: The local entity of a larger club. Example: XYZ Motorcycle Club, Pretoria Chapter.Chase Vehicle: Truck that follows a pack of riders on a run to assist with breakdownsChassis: Frame and suspension.Choke: The carburetor “choke” disappeared from cars long ago (along with carburetors), but it’s still pretty common on motorcycles. If your bike has carburetors, it’s got a choke somewhere, and you’re going to need it when starting up your bike if the engine is cold. A choke does just that: it chokes off the air going into the engine so it has more gas in the mixture, easing starting and cold running. Modern bikes with fuel injection just do this automatically after you push the starter button. Chokes are variable, so some bikes need “full choke” to start or maybe just a smidge if it’s a hot day. If your bike has one, you’ll learn to use it as a matter of course.Chopper: Term for a customized motorcycle that has taken various forms through the years. Originally, anything unnecessary was “chopped” off and then custom features Any cruiser bike with extended forks, really. There are no specific criteria for what makes a chopper, but typical ingredients include extended forks, a stretched gas tank, fat rear tire, V-twin engine with loud pipes, and perhaps a custom paint job, although a chopper may have some, all, or none of those aspects. Usually, there are some long forks holding the front wheel and a lot of noise, so that’s pretty much a dead giveaway.Christian-Motorcycle.com: Great online resource for the Christian Biker community (yes, there really are hardcore Christian Bikers).Chrome: Chromium plating used to increase corrosion resistance and enhance appearance.Church: A club meeting.Citizen: A person with no Motorcycle Club affiliation.Clip-ons: Handlebars that “clip-on” to the top of the forks. Usually seen on Sports Bikes as they lend themselves to a forward-leaning riding position.Club: A group of people banded together over a common interest. Motorcycle Club is a generally nefarious term referring to Outlaws/1%ers, whereas Riding Clubs are more community friendly.CMA: Christian Motorcycle AssociationCog/cogs: Slang for the gears in the transmission.Colors: Patches, logo, uniform associated with a Motorcycle Club. Bikers often dress in the traditional black leather uniform, but if you take notice, you’ll see many wear vests embroidered with various patches. The patches, or their “colors,” have many meanings. Some patches show which club they belong to or are affiliated with. New bikers who undergo an initiation rite and are accepted are “patched.” That means they’ve earned their stripes – or patches – and can officially sport the patch on their clothing.Compression Ratio: Refers to the difference between the precompressed volume of air/fuel and the compressed volume of air/fuel.Countersteering: If you have never ridden a motorcycle, it may shock you to learn that the best way to make a motorcycle turn while it’s in motion is exactly opposite of what you would expect. Countersteering is the technique of pushing on a handlebar in the direction you want to go. If you try to “turn” the bars in the desired direction, you’ll go the opposite way (and typically, right into whatever you are trying to steer around — a common rookie mistake). That’s just how the physics work on a motorcycle. You actually do the same thing on a bicycle, you just don’t recognize it because the effect is very slight. Find some open space, pedal your bicycles as fast as you can, then coast while steering with just one finger on each handlebar. Now push very, very lightly on the right handlebar. You’ll go to the right, not the left. Congratulations, you are now consciously countersteering. But do be careful, as it takes a while to get used to it.Cowl/Cowling: Bodywork pieces that cover the engine and transmission of a bike to improve aerodynamics and visual smoothness. These are the parts removed from a naked bike.Crash Bars: Bars that attach to the frame and protrude outward so as to protect the engine in the event of a dump. They do nothing in a real crash.Cross Wind: Wind blowing across the direction of travel.Crotch Rocket: A sports bike.Cruiser: A bike built for cruising the boulevards as opposed to sports riding or long-distance riding. Typically of classic style with a low seat, pull-back handle bars, fancy paint and lots of chrome.Cut-Off Switch: A handle bar-mounted switch that turns off the engine. Also called a kill switch.Cuts: A denim or leather jacket which has had the sleeves cut off. All club patches are sown onto cuts, which are worn as the outer-most layer of clothing, even over leather jackets. Most, if not all, outlaw clubs have cuts as their basic uniform.DDaytona: Daytona Beach, Florida, home of the annual Daytona Beach Bike Week rally and the Biketoberfest motorcycle rally.Decreasing Radius Curve: A curve that gets tighter as you progress through. Sometimes found on cloverleaf-style exit ramps, these turns are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists.Digger: A motorcycle with a stretched (lengthened) frame and stock-length front forks.DILLIGAF: You may see this most often as a sticker on a helmet, bike, or even as a tattoo. It’s an acronym for Does It Look Like I Give A F*ck. It’s pronounced “dill-eh-gaff,” or pretty much like what it looks like.Dirt Bike: An off-road bike; not street legal.Dive: The tendency for the front suspension to compress under hard breaking due to the effects of inertia.DOHC: Dual Overhead CamDOHV: Dual Overhead ValvesDome: HelmetDonor: A bike from which parts are taken to make or repair another bikeDo-Rag: Cloth head covering. The evolved form of a bandanaDoughnut: A 360-degree burnout, just as in a car, but harder to do on a motorcycle.Drag Bars: Handlebars that do not appreciably sweep up or back toward the rider.Drag Pipes: Short, straight exhaust pipes typically seen on CruisersDragging Pegs: Leaning so far into a curve that the foot pegs drag on the road surface. Not a good idea and definitely not done on purpose.Dresser: Slang for “touring bike,” not the place where you keep your undies in your bedroom. Back when motorcycles pretty much all looked the same, some riders added on windscreens or saddlebags for more comfort and carrying capacity. Bike makers took note and started making such things factory options, allowing buyers to “dress up” their bikes. Thus, the “dresser” was born. Today, bikes like the Honda Goldwing and Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic are the ultimate examples of a dressed-up touring bike and include things like heated seats, powerful stereos, intercoms, navigation, powered windscreens, cruise control, and more.Drop Seat: A frame style in which the seat-rest has a lowering notch within the frame.Dual front disc brakes: If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle or are new to the sport, you may have noticed that some motorcycles have two disc brake rotors on the front wheel. Why? Quite simply, more braking power. Also, the two discs split up the braking forces so any slight “pull” from the braking mechanism is offset. However, brakes are heavy (and expensive), so many bikes with less performance potential or lower prices have just one front disc brake. With the advent of better brake systems and anti-lock braking systems (ABS), most bikes stop just fine with one disc up front. However, top-tier performance bikes or very heavy bikes will usually have a pair of rotors.Dual Purpose Motorcycle: A motorcycle designed for use on and off road, with a bias toward for off=road.Dual Sport: A relatively new type of motorcycle that is a purpose-made combination of a street bike and dirt bike and can be legally ridden both on public roads or off road/on dirt. Dual sport motorcycles are also known as “adventure bikes” (see also: ADV ). Dual sport bikes can be bone-simple (Honda XR650L, etc.) or extremely high-tech (BMW GS1200 Adventure, Ducati Multistrada) and there are lots of them to choose from. They are an evolution of early “enduro” (see also: enduro) bikes, which were basically street bikes with knobby tires and different exhaust pipes. But after BMW introduced the more purpose-built GS1000 and Kawasaki offered the KLR650, both in the 1980s, the dual sport niche has grown to become a major part of the riding experience. Many riders feel dual sport bikes are both the most practical and toughest kind of motorcycle and often take them on epic rides. See also: Long Way ‘Round and Jupiter’s Travels.Duck/Duc: Nickname for Ducati (“doo-caw-tee” or “doo-cat-ee,” depending on who you ask), the Italian maker of some of the most expensive, powerful, sweet-handling, and beautiful motorcycles in the world. Dumping the Bike: When a bike falls over. Not a crash, as the bike is not under power at the time of the dump.EEarned/Earned or Bought: Refers to patches. Some clubs’ patches are earned (the wearer had to complete a specific task in order to earn the patch) and some patches are bought (the wearer does not have to earn the right to wear the patch). If asked by an outlaw if your patches are earned or bought, “bought” is the safe answer. “Earned” could cause you to be viewed as a rival.Easy Rider: Motorcycle magazine and classic movie. Eating Asphalt: Eating asphalt is, perhaps, the number one thing bikers try to avoid. In fact, this is why bikers are so meticulous about their leather gear. If you’re eating asphalt, you’ve crashed your bike and your body has hit the ground.Endo: Abruptly stopping a motorcycle so that inertia lifts the back end off the surface. Sometimes this is done on purpose as a stunt, also known as a Stoppie. If an endo is not intentional, it’s called an end-over-end.Enduro: An older term that has largely been replaced by “dual-sport” but is still used by older riders when referring to street-legal dirtbikes or enduro (pronounced “endure-oh”) racing, which is where the term originated. Vintage dirtbikes that are street legal are generally known as enduros.Evolution/Evo: Harley Davidson engine produced from 1984 to 2000.Exhaust Wrap: Insulated cloth wrapped around exhaust pipes to retain heat and give an old-school look. Also known as heat wrap, pipe wrap, and exhaust tape. On cars it’s called header wrap.FFairing: On a motorcycle, the windscreen or plastic parts near the front of the bike are called fairings.Farkle/farkles: An ADV/dual-sport term for gear you’ve added or want to add to your bike, such as more lights, GPS, heated grips and so on. Doo-dads, kitch, and add-ons that serve no useful purpose. One or two farkles are ok (flags, stuffed pigs, etc.) but don’t overdo it. Most serious bikers don’t use this term but you’ll find it used in forums and occasionally in magazines. Faster (the movie): No, not the movie with The Rock. Even if you’re not into motorcycle racing, Faster is required viewing for any rider. Chronicling the rise of Valentino Rossi, it gives an inside view of what it takes to succeed at racing’s highest level, known as MotoGP. And it takes a lot, including a lot of pain, fitness, mastering of balky million-dollar bikes, navigation of underhanded shenanigans by other racers, a fistfight or two, and balls the size of melons. Rossi and other riders wrestle 200-plus hp, 200-plus mph terror machines around the world’s premier racetracks within hundredths of a second of each other for victory. The skill, bravery, and determination involved make certain four-wheeled sports look like go-cart racing with your buddies in a vacant lot. Just don’t go ride right after you watch it. See also: On Any SundayFins: Heat sumps on air cooled engines.Fishtailing: Side-to-side sliding of the rear wheelFishtails: Flared exhaust tip that resembles a fish’s tail.Flat Head: Horizontally opposed four- or six -cylinder engines.Flat Spot: The point at which no additional power is gained from increased RPMsFlathead: An early engine design associated with Harley Davidson engines produced from 1919 to 1973.Flycatcher: Hypercharger reminiscent of a racecar’s Bird Catcher, but smaller.Flying Colors: Wearing your clubs “colors.”Fool’s gear: Back in the 1970s, many dealerships displayed an iconic poster about riding called “Full Gear/Fool’s Gear” that showed the correct safety gear to use versus what not to wear (T-shirt, shorts, sandals, no helmet). It made a big impression on a lot of riders and has recently been updated to “Cool Gear/Fool’s Gear.” No one really talks about it, but most every seasoned rider knows what it is. Foot Pegs: Pegs where a rider rests his feetFork Bag: A small pouch attached to forks (sometimes handlebars or frame) and used to carry tools and supplies.Frisco Style: When a fuel tank is mounted on top of the frame rather than having the frame sunk into the underside of the tank.Front Door: Since many riders like to go out with their clubs or a band of friends, it’s likely you’ll find a bunch of motorcycles roaring by together. Whoever holds the role of front door is the first rider in the group.GGap, or The Gap: Refers to The Darien Gap, a roadless stretch in Central America about 100 miles in length bordering Columbia and Bolivia. No roads go through The Gap; it’s a mix of swampland, mountains, and thick jungle. Many of the critters and plants there can kill or injure you. Well-armed rebels inhabit some areas of the Gap and crossing paths with them can be fatal. As such, it is the Mount Everest of dual-sport riding challenges. Few have made it. One couple managed to drive across it in a Jeep — once. It took them two years to go the 100 miles.Garage rot: One of the worst things you can do to a motorcycle is to not ride it. It’s one thing if you’ve got a super-rare vintage bike in your living room as an art installation, but if you leave your bike out in the garage next to your exercise equipment for two years, the brake fluid is going to go bad, brake pistons could stick, piston rings could rust, rust may form in the gas tank, and so on. That’s known as garage rot. Either ride it or store it properly. (I say just ride it).GBNF: Gone but Not ForgottenGearbox/box: Slang for the transmission casing on a motorcycle.Get-off: Get your mind out of the gutter — this is another term for “crash” and usually denotes a minor crash. It’s called a “get-off” because the rider “gets off” the bike during the crash (which is what you want to happen).Getting Patched: Graduating from prospect to club member (getting your center patch).Giggle Gas: Nitrous oxide.Gixxer: Slang for any Suzuki GSX-R sportbike. Legendary for their high performance, GSX-Rs are uncomfortable for the most part but ungodly fast with good handling. A favorite of the too-much-testosterone set, they have a high rate of demolition (see also: squid ) but are rightful favorites of club racers and track day riders.Gooseneck: The stretched portion of the frame just behind the neck, originally used by home-builders to stretch the length of the frame without altering its geometry.Green Light Triggers: “Demand-actuated” traffic lights sometimes don’t recognize motorcycles because motorcycles aren’t big enough to trigger the sensor. Green Light Triggers are magnets that attach to the underside of a motorcycle designed to trigger the light to change. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.Gremlin: Blamed for all sorts of mechanical problems. Typically referred to in the context of Gremlin Bells, which are said to protect against Gremlins.Grocery Getter: A biker’s car, usually a middle-class, family-style car.Grocery Getter: a biker’s car.GS: Nickname for BMW GS dual-sport models, the de facto honor guard of dual sport riding. Most people are referring to the big GS models, such as the GS1200 Adventure when they say “GS.” BMW also makes smaller GS models as well and they are highly competent adventure bikes.HHack: A sidecar. Also a “side hack.”Hairpin: A very tight turn. See also: TwistiesHamsters: A high-profile group of custom motorcycle enthusiasts, easily recognized at events by their distinctive uniform: A yellow t-shirt with the Hamsters’ logo. Membership includes: Arlen Ness, Dave Perowitz, and Donnie Smith.Hand Signals: Beyond the left-turn, right-turn that you were taught when riding a bicycle; can be used to communicate formation, hazards, travel routes, etc.Hang Around: a person that “hangs around” a motorcycle club and may be interested in joining.Hard Tail/Hardtail: motorcycle with no rear suspension.Hard tail: Any bike with no rear suspension. The earliest motorcycles were all hard tails since they were essentially powered bicycles but eventually, someone got sick of having their spine realigned by a pothole and decided some springs would help smooth out the ride. Thank goodness for that idea, because while riding a hard tail may prove you’re a “real man,” it may also lead to getting fillings and/or organs replaced from all the jarring your body takes. Harley: Short for Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle maker. Harley Davidson: is the largest American motorcycle manufacturer.See also: hog/hawg and biker.Heel-Toe Shifter: gear-selector lever that allows the rider to push down on the rear portion of the lever rather than pulling up on the front.Helmet Head: your hair after wearing a helmet.Helmet Stickers: biker equivalent to bumper stickers except 1. bikes don’t have bumpers and 2. like tattoos, one’s not enough.High-side: A very dangerous kind of crash where the rear tire of the motorcycle loses traction, starts to rotate around the motorcycle’s center axis, suddenly regains traction, and then flips the rider into the air (over the “high side” of the bike), all while moving at a good clip. More common in racing (at least it was before traction controls). Trust me, you don’t want to have one. High-Speed FishtailingHighway Bars: bars that connect to and extend away from the frame in a semi-circular arch. Highway bars allow for leg stretching room on longer rides, offer convenient mounting points for auxiliary lighting and they can offer some protection during a dump.Highway Pegs: foot pegs mounted so as to allow leg stretching room. Highway Pegs are much small than Highway Bars.Hog/hawg: Nickname for almost any Harley, but usually reserved for the bigger bikes in the lineup (as in, not Sportsters). Also, HOG is the acronym of the Harley Owners Group.HOG: Harley Owners GroupHorizontally Opposed: engine configuration in which cylinders are set 180 degrees apart.Hyperbike: General term for the highest-performing sport bikes, usually of the 1000cc variety and capable of astronomical speeds. Also called ‘superbike’.II had to lay it down to save it”: If you ever encounter someone saying this phrase while regaling you with stories about their many riding adventures, just smile, nod and say “good thing you were OK!” Because the truth is, pretty much no one — ever — has had enough time to lock their brakes and then gently “lay down” their pride and joy into a controlled slide down the asphalt to avoid some greater catastrophe. Just like in cars, motorcycle crashes happen in the blink of an eye with little or no warning. Besides, if you have time to “lay it down,” then you probably have time to properly hit the brakes and just avoid the crash altogether. If you have POV cam footage of yourself “laying it down to save it”, please send it my way. But I won’t hold my breath. Basically, it really means “I crashed but am too embarrassed to admit it, so here’s a heroic story I made up.”I Rode Mine: T-shirt slogan worn to shame those that trailer their bikes to rallies.Independent: A biker with no club affiliation also called a ‘lone wolf’ sometimes.Indian: An old American motorcycle manufacturer.Ink Slinger: A tattoo artist.Ink: A tattoo.Inline Four: An engine configuration in which all four cylinders are aligned in a row.Inline Six: An engine configuration in which all six cylinders are aligned in a row.Inline Triple: An engine configuration in which all three cylinders are aligned in a row.Inverted Front End/Inverted Forks: A front-end suspension system in which larger tubes are at the top and smaller tubes are at the bottom.IOMTT: Acronym for the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race, which takes place on a small island (the Isle of Man) each year. It is one of the most exciting, insane, and insanely dangerous races in the world. Riders pilot 200 hp sportbikes at speeds close to 200 mph around a 37-mile road course that is made up of city and country roads. There is little margin for error and many riders have died on the course. Also known simply as “the Isle of Man” or the “IoM.”Iron Butt RallyIron Butt: A motorcycle run that covers 1,000 miles in 24 hours. The Iron Butt Rally covers 11,000 miles in 11 days.Ironhead: Harley Davidson Sportsters produced from 1957 to 1985.It’s a Honda: A phrase often uttered by riders (usually on a Honda) in reference to the brand’s legendary reliability.JJet Needle: Controls the flow of fuel through the jet.Jet: Ports in the carburetor through which fuel flowsJockey Shift: A gear selector fitted directly into the top of the transmission.Jugs: Cylinders. Well, sometimes “jugs” refers to part of a woman’s anatomy. I’m sure that you’ll be able to figure out which meaning is appropriate when you read it in context.Jupiter’s Travels: Essential reading for anyone with a bit (or a lot) of wanderlust, Jupiter’s Travels is Ted Simon’s chronicle of his amazing four-year journey around the globe in the 1970s on what was essentially a slightly modified Triumph motorcycle. Many people give it partial credit (or more) for inspiring the dual sport movement. See also: Long Way ‘Round.KKatoom: Pronounced “kah-toooom.” Slang for bike maker KTM.Kawi: Pronounced “cow-ee.” Short for Kawasaki.Keep the rubber side down”: A common way to say goodbye to another rider. Basically, it means to stay safe (the “rubber side” being the tires).Kicker/Kickstart: A motorcycle with no electric starter that must be manually kick-started.Kickstand: A mechanical devise that enable a motorcycle to balance in an upright position when not being ridden.King and Queen Seat: A one-piece seat with a saddle for the driver, a passenger saddle behind, and a high, padded backrest raised about six inches above the driver and attached to a high Sissy Bar. In the ’70s, no chopper was complete without a king and queen seat.Kit: A Britishism and general term for “gear” that’s catching on in the U.S.KLR: Short for the Kawasaki KLR 650, one of the first purpose-built dual sport bikes. Not fast, complicated, or especially stylish, it is the Jeep of the dual sport world and has been in production for about 30 years in pretty much the same form. Riders have circled the globe on their trusty KLRs, which have a well-deserved reputation for toughness, simplicity and low cost.Knucklehead: Harley Davidson engine produced from 1936 to 1947.Kuryakyn: A well respected manufacturer of custom motorcycle bolt-on parts, especially among Harley Davidson enthusiasts.LLace: To lace a wheel is to install the spokes.Laguna: Short for Laguna Seca Raceway, a famous racetrack in California. For a while, MotoGP races were held there, but no longer. However, a lot of other racing does take place there. The track features a very severe turn called “The Corkscrew.”Lane Splitting: Driving between lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction either at speed or when traffic is stoppedLaughing Gas: Nitrous oxideLaughlin/Laughlin River Run: An annual motorcycle rally in Laughlin NV.Lay It Down:A crash in which a biker slides with one leg under the bike, typically done purposely to avoid a worse collision. When done accidentally it’s called a ” low side.”Leathers: Pretty much what you’d expect ⌂this is a general term for protective gear, both jackets and pants or one-piece racing suits. You can get non-leather riding gear (known as “textile” gear) but even then, most riders just call all riding gear “leathers.”Lid: HelmetLine: The intended path of travel.Lone Wolf: A biker with no club affiliation.Long Way ’Round: Long Way ‘Round is a multi-part video series hosted by actors Ewan McGregor and Charles “Charlie” Boorman, two (rich) friends who overloaded some big BMW GS1200 dual-sport models and rode them around the world the “long way.” That is, they rode across Europe, Russia, and numerous other countries over a period of several weeks, often on primitive or barely-there roads. While the show chronicles many hardships and challenges (and fun moments), they also had a comparatively massive support team, including a GS-mounted cameraman and two additional vehicles. Long Way ‘Round gave the dual sport segment of motorcycling a huge boost and BMW is forever in their debt (KTM passed on supplying bikes for the show because they didn’t think the two could actually complete the trip … oops). The series is hugely entertaining and inspired an equally inspiring sequel, Long Way Down, in which the two ride from Britain to the southern tip of Africa. It’s must-see viewing for anyone who rides, dual sport or otherwise.Low-side: A somewhat less-dangerous kind of crash that almost always takes place during a turn. Typically, the front wheel loses traction and basically, the bike just falls down and slides (on its “low side”). Often, the rider “detaches” from the sliding bike (see also: get-off), which is what you want to happen, unless you’re not wearing safety gear (see also: road rash and Fool’s Gear)MMagic button: Slang for the starter button. For decades, motorcycles were kick-start only machines. While they weren’t the first by a long shot, Honda made electric starting commonplace on motorcycles.MC and M/C: A motorcycle club. There are no admitted “Motorcycle Gangs” just as there is no admitted Mafia.Meet: A scheduled social event or “meeting.” Social… this is not “Church.”Megaphone: A flared exhaust tipMetric Cruiser: Cruiser style bike of foreign manufacturerMFFM: Mongols Forever, Forever MongolsMod or mods: Two things here. “Mods” as describing a rider is a British term for someone who rides a scooter, usually as part of a club. A sharp sense of style and a sweet customized Vespa or Lambretta scooter are required. Mods often fought with their motorcycle-riding enemies, the Rockers. “Mod” or “mods” as it applies to machinery is another way of saying you’ve customized (modified) something on your bike.Monkey Butt: The unpleasant “end” result of a long rideMoped: A small motorcycle that also has bicycle pedals – and can be pedaled. Mopeds usually have 50cc or smaller engines, and so aren’t very fast. However, there is a whole hop-up culture around mopeds. Some people call the lightest of the lightweight scooters “mopeds” but unless they have pedals, they are still technically scooters.Motard: Pronounced “moe-tard.” A motard motorcycle is essentially a dirtbike or dual sport bike that has been converted to street use and only street use. It’s not a dual sport. Motards retain the tall stance, long suspension, thin profile, and light weight of a dirt bike, but have sportbike tires, reworked suspension, lights, signals, etc. Once a fringe bike type pieced together by garage builders, motards are crazy fun to ride because they are so light, fast, and maneuverable. That makes them great as city bikes, but not so great for distance, although many people kit them out for long trips because they are so much fun to ride. You can get factory motards from a few major bike makers, including Ducati, which makes the rightly named HyperMotard.Mother/Mother Chapter: An original chapter of a Motorcycle ClubMotoGP: MotoGP (Motorcycle Gran Prix) is the top tier of motorcycle racing. Much as Formula 1 or IndyCar is to car racing, MotoGP is where the best of the best, both in terms of bikes and riders, meet to do battle. The races are held all over the world at the best tracks and consistently attract 100,000 or more fans on race days. Only in the U.S. is MotoGP relatively unknown and overshadowed by car-based motorsports such as NASCAR and Indy racing. There are is usually one MotoGP race a year in the States: at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. If you can go to a race, be sure to do it. And bring earplugs. Other popular racing leagues include Moto2 (600cc machines) and World Superbike, which is also known as SBK.Motorbike: Term for a motorcycle used largely across the pond.Motorcyclist: Politically correct and all-encompassing term for people who ride motorcycles, typically used by people outside the riding sphere. Like “biker,” some riders don’t mind being referred to as motorcyclist, while others do. It might be easier to just say “motorcycle rider.” Motorcyclist is also the title of a popular motorcycle magazine, which was originally called American Motorcyclist.MSF: MSF stands Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Formed in the 1970s, the MSF offers basic and advanced riding instruction. In some states, it’s mandatory that riders attend and pass an MSF class before getting their motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. The MSF supplies the motorcycle (usually 250cc beginner bikes) and teaches proven riding skills. It’s not as easy as you might think! Once you pass the beginner class and have a few hundred miles under your belt, take some advanced MSF classes to up your skill level. Well worth it.NNaked/naked bike: Bikes with little to no cowl or fairing. Often achieved after a bike is laid down. The damaged body pieces are removed and then not replaced either due to their cost or just because the owner decides that he likes the new look. Before about 1980, most all bikes were “naked” because that’s just the way it was — for decades. But when motorcycle makers began offering purpose-built sport bikes in the image of their race bikes, they came covered in sporty plastic fairing panels. Very often, once a plastic-covered bike was lightly crashed, the owner (or new owner) would just strip off all the munged-up plastic stuff and keep riding it. Thus the “naked” and “streetfighter” bike segments were born. Now, most major bike makers sell a naked bike in some form.Neck: The front of a motorcycle frame behind the steering head.Nitrous Oxide/N2O: Oxygen-rich gas fed into the fuel/oxygen stream to increase horsepower.Nomad: 1) “Nomad” on a bottom rocker patch means that motorcycle club member travels between geographical chapters. Kind of like working in a secretarial pool, a Nomad goes where he’s needed. 2)”Nomad” on a top rocker patch or car plaque means “Nomad” is the name of that club.NOS: 1) New Old Stock: old parts that are still in stock; 2) Nitrous Oxide System.OOEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer.OFFO: Outlaws Forever, Forever Outlaws.OFR: Not used much anymore due to the technical evolution of bikes and riding gear, but it used to be that if you were out on the road in driving rain, at night, wearing soaking wet gear, and essentially risking life and limb for nothing, you were the Only Fool Riding while more sensible people were safe, dry and warm at home or in cars.OHC: OverHead Cam.OHV: OverHead Valve.Oil Bag: An oil tank.Old Lady/Ol’ Lady: A wife or long-time girl friend of a senior biker, regardless if she rides herself or not. Has nothing to do with age and is not a derogatory term. If a biker refers to his lady as such, just walk away. No seriously, just go.OMG: Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. You won’t see this advertised on patches or tattoos, but you’ll see it in books and magazine articles. Always used to refer to someone else; 1%s may mention their Club, but will never say they’re part of a gang.On Any Sunday: Quite possibly the best movie about motorcycling ever made, On Any Sunday was released in 1970 and is as much fun to watch today as it was then, especially since a lot of the bikes involved are now vintage machines that sit in collections. But in OAS, they get ridden — and hard at that. Plus, it’s a cavalcade of stars from when the Golden Age of motorcycling was just beginning, including the King of Cool, Steve McQueen, out desert racing with a bunch of regular blokes, no entourage or fun-crushing lawyers in sight. If you haven’t seen it, see it. Other must-see motorcycle movies include Take It to the Limit, Faster (see above), and the more recent Why We Ride. OAS recently got a worthy and updated sequel.One Off: A one-of-a-kind fabricated part or one-of-a-kind motorcycle.One-percenter: Millions of people ride motorcycles and most are ordinary folks you deal with every day. Then there are the outlaw bikers most people like to steer clear of, except for Hollywood types, who enjoy constantly making movies and TV shows about them (Born Loser, The Wild One, Sons of Anarchy, and so on, ad nauseam). Riders refer to them as “one-percenters” because despite their high profile in the public eye that regular riders are constantly trying to live down, they actually make up a tiny, tiny fraction of the actual riding population. In general, riders/bikers who many people would consider one-percenters often refer to themselves as such, so to them, it’s not an insult.Organ Donor: A biker who doesn’t wear a helmet.Originals: The original colors presented to a new Motorcycle Club member.PP: when worn as a patch on Originals/Colors, it means Chapter President.Pancake Engine: horizontally opposed engine.Panhead: Harley Davidson engine produced from 1948 to 1965.Pannier or panny/pannies: Fancy French name for saddlebags or luggage that is located on either side of the passenger seat. With the rise of dual-sport riding, panniers now more refer to hard-sided cases while traditional leather or soft-sided bags are still called saddlebags. It’s probably not a good idea to ask a burly biker if he has some hand lotion in his pannies, but most dual-sport riders may very well have some and won’t mind at all.Pasta Rocket: Italian Sportbike.Patch Holder: member of a Motorcycle Club.Patched/Patched In: graduating from Prospect to Motorcycle Club member(getting your Center Patch).Patches: sewn onto vests or jackets – some have hidden meanings; some are just for fun.Peanut Tank: distinctive style of fuel tank. The quintessential Sportster tank; also popular on Choppers and Bobbers.Peg/Pegs: Short for footpegsPeriod Correct: a motorcycle built to reflect customizations that were trendy when the bike was new.Petcock: Another term that sounds naughty but actually describes something totally mundane. On older motorcycles with carburetors, there’s a little toggle or switch that turns the flow of gas on and off. That’s the fuel valve or petcock. Remember to turn it on when you start your (probably vintage) bike.Pillion/Pillion Pad: a pad attached to a fender that acts as a passenger seat.Pillion: The passenger on a motorcycle.Pin It: speedometer needle is as far as it will go.Pipes: exhaust system.Poker Run: run where participants stop at predetermined checkpoints to draw a playing card; after five checkpoints, the participant will have five cards. Whoever makes the best poker hand from his five cards wins.Poser: pretend biker.Power Plant: engine.Power Train: everything that makes the bike move.Powerband: a bike’s power output characteristics based upon its RPMs.Primary Drive/Primary: mechanical device that connects the engine to the transmission.Property Of: displayed on a shirt, patch or tattoo to show who the woman “belongs to.” Example: “Property of Turk” means that woman has associated herself with Turk and will do his bidding. Yes, this is for real. Property Of PatchProspect: A prospective club member.QQuadraphenia: A 1970s movie chronicling the life and times of a young British scooter rider, or “Mod.” Worth seeing if only for the blazing soundtrack by The Who, for which the film is made. Sting makes an appearance as well, looking all of about 16.RRally: A big group ride, often organized around a location with camping/hotels and loops to local scenic rides. Rallies can be you and ten buddies on an annual ride, or an event like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with thousands of riders. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but try attending at least one — or plan your own with friends. It’s a great way to be among others who love to ride as much as you hopefully do.Rat bike: A rat bike is any motorcycle in good to crappy condition you don’t really care about. That said, some people care plenty about their rat bikes. But for the most part, rat bikes are machines for just gettin’ around and if it gets crashed, tipped over, snowed on, or some drunk idiot pukes on it, oh well, hose it off and it’s good to go. Be sure to own at least one rat bike in your riding career. They grow on you.Rear-sets: Where you put your feet while riding is important and ranges widely depending on what kind of bike you ride. Cruisers tend to place the feet forward (ostensibly for comfort and the right look) while your feet are up high and back on a sport bike. Other bikes put your feet somewhere in between those extremes. Many sport bike owners purchase customizable “rear sets,” which allow them to move the footpegs and bike controls around a bit depending on what kind of riding they’re doing (such as up high and back for a track day session, or lower and more comfortable for commuting). Rear sets can be works of art on their own and are typically easy to install.Rider: Anyone riding a motorcycle. You drive cars. You pilot airplanes. You ride motorcycles. Keep it straight.Ring-ding: Slang for a two-stroke motorcycle, which used to be common but is now mostly resigned to vintage status after being legislated out of existence (they are quite good at polluting the air in their immediate vicinity). The term comes from the “ringing” sound the engine makes. Also known as buzz bombs, skeeter bikes, and fog machines. Ride behind one and you’ll understand why.Road Name: The vest or jacket may be emblazoned with the biker’s “road name” – his or her nickname within the motorcycle club and subculture. Road rash: What’s left after the stripping away of skin from unprotected parts of your body as you slide down the roadway during a crash. Wearing correct gear prevents road rash, which is painful, takes forever to heal, leaves scars, and could give you a nasty infection. It also tells everyone you foolishly didn’t gear up for your ride.Rocker: Vintage British term for a motorcycle rider, as opposed to a scooter rider (or “Mod”). For a more lengthy explanation, watch the movie Quadraphenia. See also: Mod and Quadraphenia.Rubbie: Pronounced “rub-ee,” not “ruby.” Not used as much as it used to be, “rubbie” is somewhat derogatory slang for Rich Urban Biker, or those riders who buy expensive Harleys and then ride them only to coffee shops, bars, or hardly at all. Rubbies will sometimes even call themselves such, so it’s not like it’s a terrible thing to be called. At least they ride. Sometimes.SSalt/The Salt: Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where you go to see how fast your ride is… by riding it wide open on a low-grip dry lake bed made of salt.Skins: Slang for tires.Slicks: A special kind of tire with no tread pattern. Used in racing, slicks afford the maximum amount of contact and traction between a tire and the racetrack. They are not street legal and wear very quickly (usually only lasting for one race) and are no good in the rain.SOA: Sons of Anarchy. An American crime drama television series created by Kurt Sutter that aired from 2008 to 2014. It follows the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional town in California’s Central Valley. This series taught a whole lot of people all about motorcycle clubs, gang slang and all things motorcycle. Some of it was exaggerated, some not… Many hearts were broken when Jax ended up splat after an intended head-on collision. Sigh.Sportster/Sporty: The “entry level” Harley-Davidson (before the Street line appeared). Sportsters began production in 1957 as a lighter-weight speed machine and have been in HD’s lineup since. While they are smaller than the full-size (or “big-inch”) Harleys, they aren’t exactly small, with the smallest Sportster model coming in at 883cc. There is also a 1200cc version, and 883cc bikes can be up-converted to 1200cc pretty easily. Sportsters have traditionally been the most affordable Harleys to buy and a favorite of women riders, although, if you’re a guy, have no shame in getting a Sportster. They are (relatively) light, lean, and fast for a Harley and are great for cruising in the city while also having some long-distance capability.Squid: This is a mocking term for sportbike riders who are long on talk and short on skill, and generally means “idiot rider.” Also, squids typically don’t wear safety gear when riding. The term comes from what happens when said idiot piles his hyperbike into the back of dump truck while showing off for the ladies, breaking every bone in his body (thus, a body like a boneless squid).Standard: A “regular” motorcycle that isn’t specialized for one type of riding. Until the 1980s, most all street bikes could be described as “standards.” Now, they are quite rare, but they are making a comeback. Stoppie: A reverse wheelie. While a wheelie stands the bike up on the back wheel, a stoppie stands it up on the front. Made possible by advances in braking technology, it is still enormously difficult to do a stoppie. Do it wrong and you trash your bike and possibly injure yourself. Do it right and you’re a god among men and women. Sturgis: Short for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, but ostensibly, it’s the small South Dakota town that hosts one of the largest (and probably most famous) motorcycle rallies in the world. About 250,000 riders typically attend each year, so book those hotel rooms early (like, 10 years early) or prepare to camp. Sturgis is primarily a Harley/cruiser-dominated event, but all bikes and riders are welcomed. Bring earplugs. And money. And aspirin.Sweeper: A long, broad, constant turn. There are many kinds of turns out on the road or at the track, but a sweeper lets riders maintain high speed and push their cornering skills to the limit. Ask any performance rider and they’ll likely tell you a sweeper is the sweetest kind of corner.TThe Ton: These days, even the smallest of sport bikes can easily top 100 miles an hour. But way back when, owning a bike that could go that fast — known then as “doing the ton” — meant you had something pretty special. It might blow itself to bits if you went that fast for long (or at least some parts might fall off), but being able to hit triple digits when most bikes could barely do 80 was an accomplishment. The Tuck: The tuck is a stance where the biker keeps his or her head low and arms tight to the side. This makes the rider one with the motorcycle, reducing the drag from the windThe Nod / The Wave: Depending on where you live in the world, you’ll notice that other riders on motorcycles will wave, make a gesture or ‘nod’ as you pass by each other. It’s just a friendly way to say you are a member of a select group of adventurers: a motorcycle rider. So gesture back, it’s rude not to!Tiddler: A somewhat derogatory term meaning “small bike” or “beginner bike.” Typically, street bikes under 250cc qualify as tiddlers.Torque: Engines/motors make power primarily in two distinct ways: horsepower and torque. Torque is the “twisting force” an engine is able to achieve as opposed to a measure of work, which is the horsepower figure. You can have a zillion horsepower but if you have no torque, you’re not going to get going very quickly. Torque is also called “grunt” because it usually lives in the lower registers of an engine’s powerband and can be felt at low revs, especially in single and twin-cylinder engines. Sportbikes tend to have a lot more horsepower than torque to achieve high speeds; cruisers flip that equation for better acceleration (grunt) and “cruise-ability” at legal-ish speeds. Every engine is a mix of horsepower and torque but a lot of riders will tell you that a bike can never have too much torque.Track day: Track days are organized riding events at actual race tracks. No matter what you ride, consider getting your bike out on a race track. While track days are dominated by riders on amped-up sport bikes, track days are great for learning the limits of your bike — any bike — and improving your riding skills. Instructors will help diagnose your riding problems and give you tips to improve your experience. Track day skills translate directly to improved street riding and there’s nowhere else you can safely push the limits to the maximum without fear of cops, dumb-ass car drivers, obstructions, and speed limits. Well worth the time and investment, and quite possibly the most fun you can have while clothed. Check with your closest track or a local riding club to see where track days are taking place near you – and then go attend one, no matter what you ride.Trike: A motorcycle with one wheel in front and two in the back, just like that trike you rode as a kid. Newer rigs with two wheels up front and one in the back are typically referred to as “spyders.”Twisties: Slang for roads with a lot of curves.Two-Stroke: A specific kind of engine that made a lot of power combined with light weight and simplicity. Problem is, they pollute like crazy, so they were essentially legislated out of existence in the United States and the EU. However, they are still used in many Asian countries. In the U.S., some small devices still use two-stroke engines, like weed eaters, but even those are converting over to four-stroke designs.UUJM: Acronym for Universal Japanese Motorcycle. For a while there (mostly in the 1970s), if you took the badges off of a large selection of the motorcycle models from Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha, they were so similar most people would have a tough time differentiating one model or brand from another. Common traits included steel frames, inline-4 engines, disc brakes, and so on. Those bikes became known as Universal Japanese Motorcycles because it seemed like any of the bikes could have come from any of the big four Japanese bike makers. Today, we call UJMs “standard” motorcycles. Beginning in the 1980s, motorcycles began to become specialized (sport bikes, touring bikes, cruisers, etc.) so today, a purely standard “new” UJM motorcycle is pretty rare.VV: Vintage Style Cafe RacersVintage/classic: In general, an old motorcycle. What constitutes “vintage” varies from brand to brand and rider to rider (or collector to collector). The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club sets vintage as a bike 15 years or older, while for others, bikes made before World War II are true vintage bikes. In general, if it doesn’t have modern electronics, uses drum brakes and fires on a points ignition system, it’s probably vintage. But it will depend on whom you ask.V-Twin: This engine configuration, which consists of a two-cylinder motor with the cylinders in a V format, is the predominant engine type found in cruiser motorcycles. In fact, it’s the only kind of engine Harley-Davidson makes. Most every other motorcycle maker makes their own V-twin as well, but the Harley motor is the most iconic. V-twin engines can produce a lot of torque and are therefore ideal for cruising around as they can accelerate quickly at low revs. However, Ducati also makes a V-twin, but since the cylinders are split at exactly 90 degrees, they call their engine an “L-twin.” V-twins are also known for their robust, booming sound signature.W Weekend Warrior: Someone who only rides occasionally.WFO: Acronym for Wide Fucking Open, or full throttle.While “cage” is a derogatory term, “grocery getters” are just a fact of family life.ZZ-bars: A set of tallish, angled handlebars, usually found on a chopper or cruiser. You’ll know them when you see them.
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