Biker Slang

Biker Slang

AMA = American Motorcyclist Association

ABATE- An organization started by EasyRider Magazine to fight against discrimination toward motorcyclists, mostly helmet laws originally. Once represented American Brotherhood Against Tolterion Acts. Now ABATE has many other names from state to state such as American Brotherhood (or Bikers) Aimed Toward Education. Now fighting rights many issues well beyond helmet laws, and often helping charities. Membership most often a yearly due for membership, and officers are elected from active membership. They often have local regions, areas, chapters, counties, to get be closer to members in a statewide group and provide local functions as well as state wide functions.

Ape Hangers = High handlebars so Biker's hands are at or above their shoulder height

Asphalt Snake - The material used to patch cracks in the asphalt have less traction than the original pavement and can be slippery. This material also has a lower melting point and will get soft or melt on hot days - this can be potentially hazardous.

Backyard = Where you ride often

Back Door - The last rider in a group ride. Customarily, the most experienced motorcycle rider. Also known as sweep or tail gunner.

Baffle = Sound deadening material that sits inside a muffler and quiets the exhaust note

Belly Shover - A motorcycle racer who, because of the forward position on a sports bike, has the belly on the fuel tank.

Blockhead = The V-twin engine Harley produced 1984 -2000

Boneyard = Salvage yard for used bikes & parts

Brain Bucket = Small, beanie-style helmet (usually not DOT approved)

Broken Wings = a patch meaning the rider has been in a crash.

Burnout = Spinning the rear wheel while holding the front brake. Many places have contests to time how long it takes for the tire to blow out.

Cage = Automobile, Truck, Van....... not a motorcycle.

Cager = Automobile Driver

Chase Vehicle - A truck or van that rides behind a group of motorcycle rider on a long trip to haul any vehicles that break down along the way.

Chopper = Bike with the front end raked out or extended out.

Chromeitis = Someone that just cannot get enough aftermarket accessories (especially Chrome) is said to have Chromeitis.

Church = Clubhouse

CLAP = Chrome, Leather, Accessories, Performance

Clone = A motorcycle built to resemble and function like a Harley-Davidson motorcycle without actually being a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (the vehicle title will identify it as something other than a Harley-Davidson)

Colors = M/C Backpatch

Crash Bar = Engine Guard

Crotch Rocket = Sport bike

Cruiser - Cruisers are low and long motorcycles including many motorcycles in the Harley-Davidson lineup. They tend to be big and heavy but usually have a pretty powerful engine to match.

Counter steering = Turning the bikes handlebars in one direction and having it go in the opposite direction

Custom = Custom built bike

Cut = Vest with Club Colors

DILLIGAF = Do I Look Like I Give A F@#%

DOT = Department of Transportation

Donor Cycle - Nickname most often used by medical professional or emergency workers (police and firefighters) to describe a motorcycle.

Doughnut - A burnout done while the front wheel stays in place, and the motorcycle turns 360% on the front wheel, making a complete circle.

Do-Rag - A cloth covering the biker’s head and forehead, avoiding sweat in the eyes and helmet hair. Often used by non-bikers as fashion.

Drag Bars = Low, flat, straight handlebars

Duals - A motorcycle with duals has two separate exhaust pipes (usually one for the front cylinder and one for the rear).

Duck Walking – Sitting on your motorcycle, and pushing it with your feet, usually done when parking your bike, or moving forwards a few feet (like at a gas station).

Eating Asphalt – Crashing your bike

Endo - Stopping with the rear wheel off the ground (the opposite of a wheelie). Sometimes called a stoppie.

Evo / Evolution® = The Evolution engine (V-Twin, produced from 1984 – 2000)

Fast Riding Award - A Speeding Ticket

Fathead = The Twin-Cam engine (V-Twin, produced from 1999 – Current Day)

Flathead = The Flathead engine (V-Twin, produced from 1929 – 1972)

Fender - A female passenger who is not an Old Lady but simply a lady a biker has invited for a ride. (Also Fender Fluff)

Fishtails - An exhaust tip that resembles a fishtail.

Flash Patch = Generic patches usually sold at swap meets and shops.

Flying Low = Speeding

Forward Controls = Front pegs, shifter & rear brake control moved further forward to stretch your legs out

Freedom Fighter- a MRO member dedicated to preserving or gaining our rights and freedoms.

Front Door - First rider in a group ride

FTW - F@#% The World or some are using Forever Two Wheels

Gearhead – Someone who is very interested and passionate about mechanical objects, like cars and motorcycles.

Hammer Down – Accelerate very quickly.

Hard Tail = A motorcycle frame with no rear suspension

Heat – The police

High Side - A particularly nasty type of crash where the rider can be bucked up and over the handlebars. Usually caused when the rear brake is released after a rear wheel lock up. When under power a motorcycle naturally keeps the two wheels in line. If the rear brake is over applied and the rear wheel locks up it will often slip out of line. If that brake is released and power returns to the rear wheel it violently snaps back in line with the front wheel, often with catastrophic results for the rider.

HOG = Harley Owner's Group

Independent = Someone not a part of any club or group, but normally a part of the biker culture.

Ink = Tattoo

Ink-Slinger = Tattoo Artist

Iron Butt – An association that promotes and holds rallies aimed at travelling very long distances. The shortest distance, the Saddle Sore, is 1,000 miles in 24 hours, the longest, the Bun Burner Gold is 1,500 miles in one day. The Iron Butt Rally is 10 days riding 1,000 miles each day.

Jiffy (Stand) - Side Kickstand

Jockey Shift - Variation on the suicide clutch. A short lever is mounted directly on top of the motorcycle's transmission with the rider shifting near his left calf.

Keep the dirty side down - A parting expression between bikers meaning ride safe.

Keep the shiny side up - A parting expression between bikers meaning ride safely. The same as keep the dirty side down…some people see the glass as half full, others half empty.

Knuck / Knucklehead = The Knucklehead engine (V-Twin, produced from 1936 – 1947)

KSU - Kick Stands Up

Lane splitting - Driving in a non-lane between cars. Generally frowned upon by the law but in some states lane-splitting is legal when cars are stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lane splitting is legal and common in many foreign countries

Lay it Down - Most commonly used as another term for crash. A rider can also "lay down" his motorcycle intentionally when a danger ahead is even less preferable. In this case laying the bike down will be a little like a hockey stop on ice stakes with the bike low, sideways and sliding wheels first.

LE / LEO = Law Enforcement Officer/Official

Leaving Your Mark = Oil puddle on the ground where you parked your scoot

"Lick and Stick" - This is a temporary pillion back seat placed on the fender through the use of suction cups.

Lid – A helmet

M/C = Motorcycle Club

MM = Motorcycle Ministry

MRO- Motorcycle Rights Organization. An organization such as ABATE, BOLT, Motorcycle Riders Foundation, or, American Motorcycle Association. Having as part of their agenda to protect the rights and freedoms of motorcyclists. Membership is most often open to the public by paying yearly dues. Overseas MAG and FEMA are the biggest MRO's.

MSF = Motorcycle Safety Foundation

Monkey Butt – When riding for hours on end, your rear end becomes uncomfortable and becomes sore, often the result of chafing.

NBD - Acronym for Never Been Dropped

Newbie – A beginner.

One-Off - A part that is custom fabricated one time instead of being mass-produced

OTB - Acronym for "Over The Bars" which is rarely a good thing to do on a motorcycle.

OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer

Organ Donor – A biker who rides without a helmet, or rides likes a squid.

Pan  / Panhead = The Panhead engine (V-Twin, produced from 1948 – 1965)

Pasta Rocket - Slang for an Italian-made sport bike such as Ducatis or Aprilias.

Patches – Emblems and symbols sewn on biker jackets and shirts, displaying an affiliation, a club, a brand, or anything that is special to the biker. 1%-ers will always have several patches on their jackets.

Pavement Surfing - Sliding down the highway after laying down a bike at speed.

Pillion Pad = The passenger seat

Pipes = Exhaust System

Plugs = Spark Plugs

PMS – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome, usually the result of not being able to ride in the winter.

Poker Run – A motorcycle run involving usually five stops where you get a card. At the end of the run, the biker with the best hand wins the run. Often used in charity runs

Poser – A wannabe biker, or a biker with all the gear, shiny and new, but rarely rides. Usually found at motorcycle shows with very low mileage full-chrome motorcycles.

Pucker Factor = A very close call when riding.

R/C =Riding Club

Rainbows - Slang for motor oil on the street

Rags = Also used to refer to Cut or Colors.  In some areas it's used only when referring to a woman's colors.

Rake - The angle of the motorcycle's front fork. The extended rake on choppers make them stable but lacking agility

Rat Bike - Usually an older bike that doesn't look like it's been taken care of at all.

Revolution™ = The Revolution engine, Harley-Davidson's first water-cooled engine (V-Twin, produced from 2002 – Current Day)

Rice Burner - Slang term for Japanese vehicles.

Rice Rocket - Slang term for a Japanese sport bike.

RICO = (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Laws passed for Law Enforcement to combat organized crime such as the mafia that are also used against some MC clubs.

Ridin' Bitch = Riding as Passenger

Ride Captain – The leader of a motorcycle rider-out. The ride captain opens the ride, and is up front.

Rippin' it Up - This phrase describes fast, aggressive motorcycle riding.

Road Gator - Road Gators are bits of shredded tires littering a road after a semi truck's tire blows out. They can look innocent enough but steel bands can cause serious damage to a vehicle and are potentially dangerous to motorcycle riders.

Road Name = Also known as handle.  Name given to to someone by his Brothers/ friends.  Usually given after some kind of incident or something they would associate with that person.

Road Rash – Marks from the asphalt left on your body after you have been thrown off your motorcycle, highside or lowside, a skidded alongside the road.

Rocker = Part of M/C colors which usually designates geographic location or territory

RUB= Rich Urban Biker

Rubber = Tire

Rubber Side Down = Ride Safe; Don't Lay the Bike Down

Run = Road trip with your Buds, most of the time with a place to go to in mind

"Running 66" - It’s very rare but at times it’s necessary to ride without a club patch or cut.  This is also known as “riding incognito”.

Safety Nazi – A person who rides in absolutely full safety gear, often to an extreme, obeys every law, and wants all others to do the same.

Shiny Side Up = Ride Safe; Don't Lay the Bike Down

Shotgun Pipes - A dual that resembles a double-barreled shotgun

Shovel / Shovelhead = The Shovelhead engine (V-Twin, produced from 1966 – 1984)

"Shower Head" - Refers to the new Harley-Davidson V-Rod motorcycle motor. It’s water cooled motor features what looks to be a showerhead attachment on it’s right side.

Sissy Bar = Passenger Backrest

Slab = Interstate

Sled = Motorcycle

Softail® = A motorcycle frame whose suspension is hidden, making it resemble a hard tail

SMRO- State Motorcycle Rights Organization. Same as a MRO except defined by the state they operate in that respective state. Such as ABATE of Ohio, ABATE of MN, BOLT of CA, ABATE of CA, TMRO, ABATE of PA. Most often associated with National MROs such as AMA and MRF. However working on a state level, with state government to protect motorcyclists rights and freedoms. Many meet at MRF and AMA functions to discuss issues, strategies, and other helpful information. Membership is most often a yearly due payment, open to riders or clubs. Many clubs are due paying members, however some cannot wear the patch at all some can wear on the front of vest.

Straight Pipes = An exhaust system with no Baffles

SQUID - Acronym for Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, Imminantly Dead. Reckless and inexperienced motorcycle riders who ride without proper gear and beyond their abilities, endangering themselves and others.

Stitching a line - This term refers to the art of slipping through traffic in a quick manner on a motorcycle. The term does not imply reckless weaving but controlled and deliberate maneuvers that allow a motorcycle rider to get through traffic as efficiently as possible.

Stay Vertical - A parting expression between bikers meaning ride safely. Similar to "keep the shiny side up."

Steering Aids - Gouges in the road that "guide" a motorcycles front wheel against the rider's wishes.

Sweep - The last rider in a group ride. Customarily, the most experienced motorcycle rider. Also known as Back Door or tail gunner.

T-CLOCK - An acronym used by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to remember the key points of the pre-ride inspection (Tires, Controls, Lights & Electronics, Oils, Chassis & Chain, Kickstand).

Tail Gunner = The last rider in a group

Tar Snake - The material used to patch cracks in the asphalt have less traction than the original pavement and can be slippery. This material also has a lower melting point and will get soft or melt on hot days - this can be potentially hazardous.

Tats = Tattoos

The Motorcycle Wall-  A motorcycle riders memorial wall in Hopedale Ohio. It is open to all to visit unless an event is going on the prevents viewing. Fallen Riders names are engraved on the wall for the cost to do it. As well as brick memorials on walkways.

Thirteen "13" - Common patch worn by "Outlaw" bikers. Can have several meanings.  The most common held meaning is it's being the 13th letter of the alphabet "M" and stands for Marijuana or Meth.  It's also known to stand for the original or "Mother" chapter of an M/C.   In the last few years, many places are saying the "M" stands for Motorcycle.

In the "Ese"/ Mexican community "13" is often used to represent the "South Side" and "La Eme" (Mexican Mafia).

Twisties – A part of a road that has many curves, turns and bends. Twisties are very much sought after when riding a motorcycle.

Wannabe = Refers to someone that tries to pretend to be a part of the biker lifestyle

Wave – A greeting between bikers on the road, involving raising a hand, usually below the handlebars. The Wave is done to bikers on the opposite direction.

Waxer - A motorcycle owner who is more likely to spend time washing and waxing his bike than actually riding it.

Yard Shark - A dog. Dogs tend to dislike motorcycles and will try to attack. Dogs plot an intercepting path so varying throttle is an effective evasive maneuver. A common tactic is to slow and downshift on approach then accelerate away to avoid the dog.

XXF-FXX / XXFOREVER - FOREVERXX = Patch worn by MC members to represent their total commitment to the club and every other member of that club. (XX stands for the name of the club)

1%er = If you read the papers or listen to the news, the media and law enforcement agents have redefined the term "1%er". The term was first used in the 60’s to describe some of the people that attended the motorcycle events back then. The AMA (American Motorcycle Association) stated that 99% of the people at their events were god fearing and family oriented. The other 1% were hard riding, hard partying, non mainstream type people. Thus the term 1%er was born. Some of the early bikers embraced the term and decided to call themselves 1%ers.  It did not mean that they were law breakers or low life individuals. They were simply men that rode their motorcycles seven days a week in all kinds of weather, liked to drink and raise a little hell. Sometime during the 80’s law enforcement changed the meaning of the 1%er to what they wanted it to represent. It didn’t matter that their meaning was incorrect, they just spoon fed it to the general public and the courts as they had so many other things.

Motorcycle Clubs are rich in history and tradition. One of those traditions is the wearing of a 1%er patch on our vests and referring to ourselves as a 1%er club. The 1%er definition as we see it is one that explains our commitment to Biking and Brotherhood. We ride our motorcycles every day rain or shine. We ride thousands of miles each year with our Brothers to attend parties, social events, funerals and just plain spending time together. We work, have families and do all the things that our neighbors do. In addition to that we belong to a Brotherhood that we are able to combine with our day to day lives.  To say that 1%er’s are criminals or people of a lesser moral code than the rest of society is a tainted opinion.

5%'er- A member of a Motorcycle Rights Organization. The term was first used, to my knowledge, by me (i.e. webmaster at in a 1997 during a Chapter speech, then at a MRF and then a AMA meeting, as only 5% of motorcyclists were involved with MROs. That was to represent the 5% of motorcyclist that did get involved in protecting the rights of the other 95%. It has been used in public speaking in OH, PA, MN, MI, and in some publications in the Midwest, Great Lakes area. Meant to respect those that get involved and spent much time, money, protecting bikers they don't even know.