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Archive for May, 2012

You may be a newbie, or a veteran biker, but what’s for sure, our hobby and transportation means is full of jargon. Some terms are a must to know, some are for insiders, but it makes sense to know a few of them.

When frequenting other bikers, it’s good to know a few terms, so here are a few of them. We’ve divided them up in General Terms and Motorcycle Specific ones. Next article is about the motorcycle specific ones.

General Terms

1%er – A biker belonging to an outlaw motorcycle club, like the Hells Angels. The term was coined by the AMA, when they mentioned that these biker gangs represented 1% of the biker population. You will find a “1%” patch often on their vests.

Ape HangersApe hanger handlebars rise far above the mounting location so that the rider must reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on choppers. They are available in heights up to 20 inches. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat.

Apex – the line a motorcycle must take in order to minimize the time taken to complete a curve.

Armor – The reinforced parts of your riding gear, often found in motorcycle jackets and trousers. Armor can be made out of different materials, like Kevlar, Foam or plastic, and can often be removed.

ATGATT – All The Gear, All The Time, meaning you should always wear all your protective clothing, no matter when you ride. ATGATT Gear means helmet, gloves, vest, trousers and boots.

BAMBI – Born Again Motorbiker, a biker who having reached middle age, starts riding again after years of not riding.

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

Big Slab – A highway or motorway.

Brain Bucket – A helmet

Bubble Gum Machine – The signal that there is police up ahead. The signal is accomplished by patting the top of your helmet several times so that opposing bikers can see they are riding towards a police trap.

Burnout – By holding the front brake and accelerating, the rear wheel of the bike will start spinning and burning rubber, hence the burnout.

Cage – A car or SUV

Cager – Someone who drives a car.

Century – 100 mph

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. Examples

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

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

Hammer Down – Accelerate very quickly.

Heat – The police

Highsider – Being ejected from your motorcycle while riding, above the motorcycle.

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.

Lid – A helmet

Lowsider – A motorcycle crash with the bike falling sideways and the biker ejected sideways.

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

Newbie – A beginner.

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

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.

Pillion – A passenger on the motorcycle.

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.

Popping The Clutch – Letting go of the clutch rapidly, making it possible for the motorcycle to accelerate very quickly.

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.

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

Ride Lieutenant – An experienced riders who rides as last in a ride-out, making sure that every thing goes according to plan with all the other bikers.

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.

RUB – Rich Urban Biker, a biker who rides an expensive motorcycle only on the weekend, and never very far. Often RUBs are Posers.

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.

Two Up – Riding with a pillion.

Stoppie – Stopping a motorcycle by pulling only the front brake, resulting in the rear wheel lifting off the ground. Often used in stunts.

Squid – A biker who rides with no protection, and rides very dangerously.

Tank Slapper – A high speed wobble resulting in the handlebars banging against the sides of the fuel tank. Usually an extreme Pucker factor.

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

Wannabe – A person who wants to be a real biker, who dresses like one, who tries to behave like one, but probably only drives a SUV or a moped.

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.

Wheelie – Sudden acceleration and slight pulling of the handlebar (unless your bike has enough torque to do it by itself), resulting in the front wheel of the motorcycle moving up in the air, and riding on the rear wheel alone.

Whoops – An obstacle section on a dirt track that has rows of mounds, requiring expertise to ride within a race.

Wrench – A mechanic.

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As we’ve mentioned in our previous article, there are a couple of things a biker needs to have. It’s not just about buying a motorcycle, and possibly some proper clothes, but there are elementary things you need to function as a biker.

If you are lucky enough to have your own garage, then there are a couple of items you will really need, and some that would be nice to have. They will not cost you an arm and a leg, but having them will make your life so much easier, meaning you will be able to get your motorcycle up and running, enjoying your rides.

Basics

The already mentioned (see previous article) HD-40 oil and duct tape, two indispensable “tools” of the trade. Also put a window cleaner spray and some paper towels (best is a kitchen roll) to clean your helmet.

If your motorcycle has a chain (in other words not a belt or shaft drive), you’ll need chain lube. You can get them in nice & easy sprays.

Bugs are bad for your bike, so get a bug cleaner, usually a spray. Make sure you have a proper soft cleaning cloth, preferably a microfiber one. Some cloths may scratch your bike, so make sure you get a good one.

Wax for the bike, wax for the leather. Wax protects your motorcycle from the elements. Rain and sun will slowly deteriorate the metal and leather parts of your bike. Wax your bike at least once a month.

A battery charger will go a long way for making sure you can ride. If you ride everyday, there’s no need, but if there are intervals of several weeks before the bike is fired up, you might want to invest in a trickle charger and hook up your motorcycle every time it gets pulled into the garage.

Not only is a tire pressure gauge essential, but a small electrically powered air compressor is very handy. You can get them relatively cheap, and they will work on 12V, so powered by your motorcycle. Depending on whether you ride alone, with a pillion and/or with cargo, you will need to adjust your tire pressure.

Another essential piece of equipment is a strong light that you can use to inspect your motorcycle. Even if your garage is well lit, you’ll still need to inspect at times the lower parts of your bike, and with a handheld torch, or light, it will make your life so much easier.

And the last item you’ll want in your garage is a motorcycle cover. Just because your bike sleeps in the garage does not mean dust will not get on your ride. So cover it properly. Unless of course you like cleaning your bike (I prefer to ride mine).

Wrenching

If you plan to do maintenance yourself, then you’ll need quite a lot of stuff. Obviously, all the tools to open up your bike and perform open-heart surgery, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, you name it, the list is long. But apart from that, you will be well served with the following:

Gloves. Unless you love scrubbing your hands to clean off the grease, mechanic gloves will save you wear & tear of your hands.

Trays for parts, and trays for oil. If you’re going to change oil, you’ll need to catch the old oil. The parts you take off your bike when working on them should go in a good sized tray, because if you don’t you’ll be spending more time looking for them then actually wrenching.

Good solid shoes. Don’t wrench while wearing flip-flops. You can easily skid and hurt yourself in a garage. You need shoes that are solid, with a good ankle support.

Obviously a motorcycle lift would be great to work on your bike, but that does cost a lot of money. But if you are planing to do a lot of work, it might be a worthwhile investment, since it will make working a lot easier. You can get quite elaborate lifts, but there are simple, manually operated lifts available. It also makes changing tires os much easier.

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Riding motorcycles is fun, but it’s not just about having one. Once you buy one, insure it, put gasoline in it, you’re not done.

There are several things, some indispensable, that you need as a biker if you want to function properly.

Obviously you’ll need a helmet, maybe even two, jacket, boots, gloves and maybe even some good trousers. These are for safety, and although you can go without them (depending on where you live), it’s a good idea to protect yourself.

But that is not all. Before you know it, you’ll be wanting a few other things in your garage or with you on your bike. For example, when you finished a nice ride through the forest and fields, once you take off your helmet, you’ll notice all those bugs splatted over your visor and motorcycle. You’ll need to remove them pretty quick, since they are not good for your material. The bugs will start rotting and damage your fairings and helmet.

Bug remover sprays will work wonders on your motorcycle. Spray it on the bike where the bugs are, get a good cloth (you’ll need to buy one), preferably a microfiber one, and remove the bugs.

Your helmet can use a bit of the spray as well, but preferably not your visor. Helmet visors are a bit strange, remember that they let the light through, so you will need to be extra careful. Bug spray may stain the visor. The best way to remove stains from the visor is the old fashion way; soap and water. Window cleaner spray is the next best option. In my garage, I have a window cleaner spray and paper towels (or use special towelettes) right where I park my bike. The first thing I do when I arrive is clean the visor.

Next thing is cleaning your motorcycle. Depending on how dirty it became during the ride, particularly if you’ve gone off-road, the cleaning effort can involve high pressure water, or just plain running water. If you are using high pressure, remember not to aim it at joints, brakes, levers and anything that can move.

After cleaning off the dirt, you’ll want to wax your bike to protect it from the elements for the next ride. If you’ve got leather on your motorcycle, like saddles and saddlebags, a bit of waterproofing cream will go a long way.

After months of riding, even years, things on your motorcycle will wear out, and even fall off. Two of the handiest and most used items bikers often carry are HD-40 oil and duct tape. As the old saying goes “if it moves and it shouldn’t, use duct tape, if it doesn’t move and it should, use HD-40”.

Your bike probably has a small tool kit hidden somewhere. Usually the tools are for emergency repairs, but it makes sense to get a few tools that will add to the initial kit. Screwdrivers, pliers, Allen keys (make sure they are all the right size for your bike) are always welcome.

Depending on how much cargo space you have on your bike, carry a small first-aid kit. I always have one in my topcase, since you never know what can happen. Just a simple scratch that starts bleeding will require a plaster, and that is not easy to get right away.

If your bike has storage space for one or two helmets, great. But if not, you’ll not want to be carrying your helmet wherever you’ve gone, so a small chain and lock is handy to secure your helmet to your bike. A good chain can be used to secure your bike, but also your helmets.

The last thing you’ll always find on my bike is a tire pressure gauge. Tires should always be properly inflated, depending on the weight you are carrying (solo, with pillion, with cargo). Once a week I’ll check the tire pressure, just to be safe.

Next time we’ll look at the stuff you need in your garage.

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