Motorcycle slang terms are part of the unique language that has evolved among motorcyclists, especially those who ride within specific groups or motorcycle clubs. These terms not only serve as a way to identify members of the riding community, but also help convey specific meanings and shared experiences that are exclusive to the world of motorcycling. Understanding this insider language can help newcomers feel more at ease when interacting with other riders, and provide a sense of camaraderie among seasoned bikers.
This article will explore a range of motorcycle slang terms that are commonly used in the riding community, from basic terminology to more obscure phrases. While some of these terms may be easily recognizable, others might be new to both inexperienced and seasoned riders. The objective is to provide a thorough understanding of motorcycle language and to shed light on the distinctive culture that surrounds life on two wheels.
Common Motorcycle Slang Terms
Motorcycle enthusiasts have a language all their own, filled with unique slang and terminology. This section presents a few of the most common motorcycle slang terms to help you become more familiar with biker lingo.
Hog: A hog is a large, powerful motorcycle, usually with a V-Twin engine. The term is often used affectionately to describe any imposing bike1.
Beeza: This slang term refers to BSA motorcycles and is also where the term “Beamer/Bimmer” (slang for a BMW) comes from2.
Big Five: This term refers to the five major motorcycle manufacturers: Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha2.
Big Red: A colloquial term for Honda, often used by enthusiasts to describe their motorcycles2.
Citizen: A person with no known affiliation with a Motorcycle Club3.
“All the gear, all the time” (ATGATT): A popular saying among motorcyclists that emphasizes the importance of always riding with the right gear to ensure safety4.
Motorcycle Parts Slang
Motorcycles have their own unique language, and for those curious to learn more about it, this section will cover some slang terms related to parts of a motorcycle.
Chicken Strips refer to the unscuffed edges of a motorcycle’s tire that indicate the rider hasn’t been leaning aggressively into turns source. Experienced riders often view worn chicken strips as a badge of honor, showcasing their skills and pushing the limits of their motorcycle’s performance.
Squid is a term used for riders who do not wear proper protective gear and often have a reckless riding style. This name comes from the fact that if these riders were to crash, they would resemble a squid due to their exposed skin and lack of protection source.
Motorcycles equipped for both on-road and off-road use are commonly referred to as ADV bikes, short for “adventure”,source which also represents a style of riding. These bikes are versatile and can tackle a variety of terrains. They are often called “dual-sport bikes” or “adventure bikes.”
APE Hangers are handlebars that rise high enough to force the rider to reach up, resembling an ape. These handlebars are commonly seen on chopper-style motorcycles and are an iconic aspect of that subculture source.
When talking about brands, enthusiasts often use slang expressions as well. For instance, Beeza is a term that describes BSA motorcycles, while Beamer/Bimmer refers to BMW motorcyclessource. Similarly, Big Red is a colloquial term representing Honda, one of the major motorcycle manufacturers.
By learning these slang terms, enthusiasts can engage in conversations with fellow riders and better understand the unique culture that exists within the motorcycle community.
Riding Technique Slang
In the world of motorcycling, riders have developed their own unique lingo to describe various riding techniques. Some of the most common slang terms related to riding techniques include:
Countersteering: This refers to the act of pushing the handlebar in the opposite direction of a turn to initiate the leaning process. For example, to turn left, a rider would push the left handlebar forward, causing the motorcycle to lean to the left and initiate the turn. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is an essential technique for maintaining control at higher speeds.
Trail braking: This technique involves continuing to apply the brakes while entering a corner, gradually releasing them as the motorcycle leans deeper into the turn. This helps a rider maintain control and carry more speed through a corner. It’s a more advanced technique and requires proper timing and skill to execute well.
Drafting: A strategy used by riders in which they follow closely behind another rider or a vehicle to take advantage of the reduced wind resistance created by the leading rider or vehicle. Drafting can help save energy and increase speed, especially during long straight sections of a race or on the highway.
Knee dragging: An aggressive riding technique where a rider leans so far into a curve that their knee touches the ground, often wearing specially designed knee pucks or sliders on their leathers for this purpose. Knee dragging is used to achieve extreme lean angles, enhancing the motorcycle’s traction and control in corners.
Clutchless shifting: A technique in which a rider changes gears without using the clutch, instead relying on precise timing and matching engine RPMs with road speed. This can lead to quicker gear changes and is particularly useful during aggressive riding or racing situations.
Motorcycle slang terms provide a connection between riders and allow for a shared language to describe techniques and experiences. By understanding these terms, riders can better communicate with one another and continue to contribute to the rich culture of the motorcycling community.
Motorcycle Culture Slang
Motorcycle culture is a unique and tight-knit community with its own set of slang terms that help to bond riders together. This section will focus on some of the most popular slang terms in the motorcycle community, helping riders and motorcycle enthusiasts alike to better understand and appreciate this vibrant subculture.
Another term that is commonly used among riders is squid. A squid is a rider who is recklessly overconfident in their riding abilities and tends to ride without proper safety gear such as helmets, jackets, or gloves. They may engage in dangerous riding behavior, which can result in accidents and injuries.
For those familiar with the various types of motorcycles, the term crotch rocket may come to mind. A crotch rocket is a slang term for a sport motorcycle, known for its high speeds, aggressive design, and often loud exhaust. These bikes are popular among younger riders, who enjoy their bold appearance and thrilling performance.
When discussing longer rides on motorcycles, the term iron butt might be mentioned. An iron butt refers to the ability to ride a motorcycle for an extended period of time without significant discomfort or fatigue. This ability is often admired by fellow riders, as it demonstrates a commitment to the passion of motorcycle riding.
In reference to motorcycle clubs, the term 1%er is used to describe a specific type of rider. The 1%er moniker originates from a statement made by the American Motorcycle Association, claiming that 99% of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens, and the remaining 1% are outlaws. Riders who proudly wear the 1%er patch are proclaiming their dedication to a lifestyle outside of mainstream society.
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of motorcycle slang terms, it does provide a solid introduction to the unique language found within the motorcycle community. By understanding these terms, one can better appreciate the camaraderie and shared experiences of riders around the world.
Slang for Motorcycle Events
Motorcycle events bring riders together from all over the world to socialize, showcase their bikes, and engage in various exciting activities. These gatherings often have their own unique slang terms associated with them, helping to create a sense of camaraderie among riders.
Rally is a common term used to describe a social gathering for motorcycle riders1. These events usually include group rides through scenic areas, bike shows, and other activities aimed at fostering a sense of community. Rallies can vary in size, from small local meet-ups to large international gatherings that attract thousands of attendees.
Poker Run is another popular motorcycle event with a unique slang term. In a poker run, participants ride through a pre-determined route with multiple checkpoints, collecting playing cards at each stop2. At the end of the run, the rider with the best poker hand wins a prize. The event emphasizes having fun, socializing, and raising money for charity rather than focusing on speed or competition.
Toy Run refers to charity-driven events where motorcycle riders come together to collect and deliver toys for underprivileged children3. These events usually take place during the holiday season, with riders dressing up in festive attire and decorating their bikes. Not only does the toy run spread joy and bring riders together, but it also supports local charities and creates a positive image for the motorcycle community.
Slang for Motorcycle Types and Brands
Motorcycle enthusiasts often use slang terms to describe different types and brands of bikes. These terms are not only a way to express preference or showcase knowledge, but also a way to establish camaraderie among fellow riders. In this section, we will explore some of the most common motorcycle slang terms used for different types and brands.
One of the most iconic motorcycles is the Harley-Davidson, often referred to as a Hog. This term originated from the brand’s large, powerful bikes with V-Twin engines. The imposing size and power of these motorcycles have made “Hog” synonymous with any large, powerful motorcycle, regardless of brand or model.
When it comes to brands, BMW motorcycles are often called Beamers or Bimmers. These nicknames stem from a slang term for BSA motorcycles called “Beeza” and have evolved to represent BMW bikes as well. It’s worth mentioning that “Beamer” is often associated with BMW cars, while “Bimmer” is more commonly used for motorcycles.
In the world of Japanese motorcycles, the term Big Four refers to four major manufacturers: Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. These brands are known for producing high-quality, reliable bikes across various categories such as cruisers, sport bikes, and touring motorcycles.
Another popular motorcycle type is the Crotch Rocket. This term denotes sport bikes, characterized by their aerodynamic design, aggressive stance, and high-performance engines. Crotch Rockets are typically associated with speed and adrenaline, catering to riders who enjoy pushing the limits on racetracks or winding roads.
For those who prefer more laid-back, relaxed riding experiences, Cruisers are the way to go. With comfortable seating, lower center of gravity, and more accessible controls, Cruisers are ideal for long rides and touring. Some examples of Cruiser slang include Low Rider and Chopper, which describe bikes with long, low frames and extended front forks, giving them a unique and stylish appearance.
In conclusion, motorcycle slang helps riders identify and express their preferences, while fostering a sense of community among them. These terms encapsulate the variety of motorcycling experiences available, from the thrill of sport bikes to the relaxed comfort of cruisers.
Popular Regional Motorcycle Slang
Motorcycle culture has developed its own language over the years, and many slang terms have become popular in specific regions. These terms often reflect the unique characteristics of local biking communities.
In the UK, the colloquial term “Beeza” is used to describe BSA motorcycles, which stands for Birmingham Small Arms Company. This term even influenced the slang terms for other motorcycle brands, such as “Beamer/Bimmer” for BMW.
Here are some other slang terms from various regions:
- Cage: A term used for cars, usually by riders who prefer the freedom of motorcycles
- Cager: Similar to the term “Cage” in the USA, it refers to car drivers
- Lairy: A rambunctious or risky rider
- Green laning: Riding off-road on unsurfaced country roads!
- Ute: A term for a utility vehicle, sometimes used in comparison to adventure motorcycles
- Bogan: A term referring to someone displaying rowdy or unpolished behavior, sometimes applied to riders
These slang terms showcase the unique aspects of motorcycle culture in different regions, but they also highlight some universal qualities shared by riders worldwide. By learning these terms, bikers can better understand and communicate with their fellow riders, regardless of the location or origin.
Understanding motorcycle slang terms can greatly enhance a rider’s experience, allowing them to communicate effectively with fellow bikers and integrate into the wider motorcycle community.
It is possible to communicate more effectively with other motorcyclists and avoid misunderstandings by learning the common slang and language used by the sport. In addition to creating a sense of community and common identity among motorcyclists, this information keeps bikers up-to-date on community-wide trends, gear, and safety precautions.