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.
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 Hangers – Ape 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.