Biker Terminology


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 Towed Education. Now fighting rights many issues well beyond helmet laws, and often helping charities. Membership most often a yearly dues 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

Backyard = Where you ride often

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

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

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

CreditGlide = RUB’s Motorcycle

Crotch Rocket = Sport bike

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

DOT = Department of Transportation

Drag Bars = Low, flat, straight handlebars

Evo / Evolution^® = The Evolution engine (V-Twin, produced from 1984 ‘ 2000)     Fathead = The Twin-Cam engine (V-Twin, produced from 1999 ‘ Current Day)

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

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.

Hard Tail = A motorcycle frame with no rear suspension

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

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

LE / LEO = Law Enforcement Officer/Official

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

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

OEM = Original Equipment Manufacturer

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

Pillion Pad = The passenger seat

Pipes = Exhaust System

Plugs = Spark Plugs

Pucker Factor = Refers to how tight you’re a_ _ got on a close call

R/C = Riding Club

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

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)

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

Scoot = Motorcycle

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

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

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

Tats = Tattoos

Tail Gunner = The last rider in a group

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 “MC” 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).

Turn your back = To completely disassociate from a person or club.

Twisties = Section of road with a lot of turns

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

Wrench = Mechanic

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 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.

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

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

“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’.

“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.