The Ultimate Biker Dictionary


1-Kicker: a bike that starts on the first attempt. 

1-piece (One-Piece): refers to a style of protective leathers which covers the rider entirely causing them to look like a power ranger.

2-Piece (Two-Piece): similar to a 1-piece, but used those with a sense of urgency for constant toilet breaks

2-Second Rule: the minimum following distance between vehicles.

2-Stroke: refers to an engine assembly which runs two strokes per cycle


ABS: refers to the anti-lock braking system, this system was made compulsory in all new motorcycles after 1 January 2016

Aftermarket accessories: a bikers wish list

Air-Cooled: refers to a motorcycle engine which cooled by airflow rather than through liquid cooling

Analog Gauges: refers to a mechanical/non-digital gauges on a motorcycle

Anti-Dive System: refers to a component on a front-end suspension system designed to reduce front fork compression (dive) when under hard braking.

Apex: refers to the tightest portion of a curve, usually a bikers favourite section of a tight bend

ATGATT: refers to All The Gear All The Time. Mostly frequently heard after an accident in which a biker wasn’t wearing all the gear.


Back Brace: A protector you wear on your back

Backbone: refers to the top tube of a motorcycle frame where the tank is typically mounted, also usually something a biker loses while riding through gravel

Baffle: refers to a sound deadening wall inside a muffler. An item known to mysteriously fall out while riding

Basket Case: The state in which a motorcycle is completely dis-assembled, as well as a biker who frequently only has one wheel on the road

Bead: the edge of a tire that touches the wheel

Beemer: refers to a nickname for a BMW.

Belt Drive: refers to a  system that uses a belt to transfer power rather than a chain or shift.

Bible: A bikers’ breakdown membership card

Big Five: refers to the five major motorcycle manufacturers: Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha.

Big Twin: refers to a large V-Twin engine, especially the larger Harley Davidson engines.

Biker: a motorcycle rider

Biker-Friendly: a venue which enjoys exhaust fumes

Blip the Throttle: refers to a quick twist of the throttle, often used when referring to acceleration.

BMW: Bavarian Motor Works

Bobber: a motorcycle customized by bobbing (shortening) the fenders

Bore: refers to the internal diameter of a cylinder.

Bottom End: can refer to the bottom part of the engine or the lower end of the RPM range.

Bottom Out: refers to when a suspension system has no more room to travel.

Broomsticks: refers to straight handlebars, often found on naked bikes

Bucket: biker helmet.

Burning Rubber: a bike applies enough throttle from a stop. The end result is burnt rubber on the road surface.

Burnout: A common ritual performed prior to a tire change in which the biker will spin the rear wheel to get his money’s worth

Busa: A nickname for a Hayabusa.

Pilly Pegs: refers to the foot-pegs for a passenger


Cafe Racer: refers to motorcycles customised in the style of the 60’s British street-racing motorcycles.

Cage: refers to a non-motorcycle vehicle, for example, a car, lorry, or van.

Cager:  refers to the person driving the cage.

Can: refers to motorcycle exhaust.

Carb/Carbs: refers to carburettor

Carbon Fiber: refers to a strong and light-weight construction material guaranteed to leave your wallet empty 

Catwalk: when a biker shows off by pulling a wheelie.

CC: Cubic centimeter. 1,000 cc = 1 liter.

CE Armor/CE Certified: refers to the European system designed to rate the effectiveness of motorcycle riding armour. This is a very common system used in the UK.

Center of Gravity: refers to a balance point.

Centerstand: A device used to hold a motorcycle upright when it’s not being ridden, used fearfully on grass

Chain Drive: refers to the system that used a chain to transfer power to the rear wheel.

Chain: refers to a metal chain that transfers power to the rear wheel. Guaranteed to hurt if it snaps

Chassis: refers to the frame and suspension of a bike.

Choke: refers to a system used to make cold-starting an engine easier.

Chopper: refers to a customised motorcycle, often with an extended fork system.

Clip-ons: handlebars that “clip-on” to the top of the forks

Compression Ratio: The difference between the precompressed volume of air/fuel and the compressed volume of air/fuel.

Counter-Steer: Counter-intuitive steering system in which a push to the left-side handlebar results in a right-side turn and vice versa.

Cowl/Cowling: These are the parts removed from a naked bike.

Crash Bars: Bars that attach to the frame which do nothing in a real crash.

Crotch Rocket: A sports bike.

Cruiser: A deck chair on wheels

Cut-Off Switch: A handlebar-mounted switch that turns off the engine. Also called a kill switch.


Dirt Bike: An off-road bike; usually not street legal.

Donor bike: A bike from which parts are taken to make or repair another bike

Drag Pipes: Short, straight exhaust pipes typically seen on Cruisers

Dual Sport: A motorcycle designed for use on and off road, with a bias toward on-road.

Dumping the Bike: When a bike falls over.


Endo: stopping the motorcycle so abruptly, the read tyre comes off the ground. Also known as a ‘stoppie’

Enduro: off-road/trail ride competition and the bikes that are used to compete in these competitions.

Exhaust Wrap: known as heat wrap, pipe wrap, and exhaust tape.


Fairing: Bodywork at the front of a motorcycle

Fishtailing: Side-to-side sliding of the rear wheel

Foot Pegs: Pegs where a rider rests his feet

Fork Bag: A small pouch attached to forks (sometimes handlebars or frame) and used to carry tools and supplies.

Frisco Style: When a fuel tank is mounted on top of the frame rather than having the frame sunk into the underside of the tank.


Gixer/Gixxer: Suzuki GSX-R.


Hand Signals: used to communicate formation, hazards, travel routes between bikers on the road

Hard Tail/Hardtail: motorcycle with no rear suspension.

Harley Davidson: largest American motorcycle manufacturer.

Helmet Hair: your hair after wearing a helmet.

HOG: Harley Owners Group

Horizontally Opposed: engine configuration in which cylinders are set 180 degrees apart.


Indian: An old American motorcycle manufacturer.

Ink: A tattoo.

Inline Four: An engine configuration in which all four cylinders are aligned in a row.

Inline Six: An engine configuration in which all six cylinders are aligned in a row.

Inline Triple: An engine configuration in which all three cylinders are aligned in a row.

Inverted Front End/Inverted Forks: A front-end suspension system in which larger tubes are at the top and smaller tubes are at the bottom.

Iron Butt: A motorcycle run that covers 1,000 miles in 24 hours. The Iron Butt Rally covers 11,000 miles in 11 days.


Jet Needle: Controls the flow of fuel through the jet.

Jet: Ports in the carburetor through which fuel flows

Jugs: Cylinders.


Kicker/Kickstart: A motorcycle with no electric starter that must be manually kick-started.

Kickstand: A mechanical device that enable a motorcycle to balance in an upright position when not being ridden.

Knucklehead: Harley Davidson engine produced from 1936 to 1947.


Leathers: Riding clothes made of leather.

Lid: Helmet

Line: The intended path of travel.

Low Side: A crash in which a rider slides with one leg under the motorcycle, opposite of a “High Side.”


MC: A motorcycle club. 

Meet: A scheduled social event or “meeting.”

Megaphone: A flared exhaust tip

Monkey Butt: The unpleasant “end” result of a long ride


Naked Bike: Bikes with little to no cowl or fairing. 


OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer.

Oil Bag: An oil tank.

Old Lady/Ol’ Lady: A wife or long-time girlfriend. 

One Off: A one-of-a-kind fabricated part or one-of-a-kind motorcycle.

Organ Donor: A biker who doesn’t wear a helmet.


Pannier: Fancy French name for saddlebags or luggage that is located on either side of the passenger seat.

Pasta Rocket: Italian Sportbike.

Patch Holder: a member of a Motorcycle Club.

Peanut Tank: distinctive style of fuel tank.

Pegs: Short for footpegs

Period Correct: a motorcycle built to reflect customizations that were trendy when the bike was new.

Pipes: exhaust system.

Poser: pretend biker.

Power Plant: engine.

Power Train: everything that makes the bike move.

Powerband: a bike’s power output characteristics based upon its RPMs.

Primary Drive/Primary: mechanical device that connects the engine to the transmission.

Prospect: A prospective club member.


Qualify: to advance to the final race event by timed q


Rally: A big group ride, often organized around a location with camping/hotels and loops to local scenic rides.

Rat bike: A rat bike is any motorcycle decorated in an abundance of bizarre and weird items

Rider: Anyone riding a motorcycle. 

Road rash: What’s left after the stripping away of skin from unprotected parts of your body – commonly occurs to squids


Skins: Slang for tires.

Slicks: A special kind of tire with no tread pattern, often used in racing. 

Sportster/Sporty: The “entry level” Harley-Davidson (before the Street line appeared). 

Squid: This is a mocking term for bikers who typically don’t wear safety gear when riding. 

Standard: A “regular” motorcycle that isn’t specialised for one type of riding.

Stoppie: A reverse wheelie. While a wheelie stands the bike up on the back wheel, a stoppie stands it up on the front. 


Torque: Torque is the “twisting force” an engine is able to achieve as opposed to a measure of work. A motorcycle with a lot of torque can be referred to as a necksnapper

Trackdays: The holy grail of days out. Track days are organized riding events at actual racetracks

Trike: A motorcycle with one wheel in front and two in the back, just like that trike you rode as a kid

Tuck: The tuck is a stance where the biker keeps his or her head low and arms tight to the side. This makes the rider one with the motorcycle, reducing the drag from the wind

Twisties: Slang for roads with a lot of curves.


UJM: Universal Japanese Motorcycle

Under Brake: Failure to apply the brakes



Vespa: Italian scooter manufacturer.

Vintage: A motorcycle 20 years of ago or older.

V-Twin: This engine configuration, which consists of a two-cylinder motor with the cylinders in a V format, is the predominant engine type found in cruiser motorcycles.


Wanna-be: Someone who pretends to ride a motorcycle

War-House: An extremely worn out motorcycle

Wattleshedo: Northern slang for asking the top speed of a motorcycle. 

Waxer: a biker who spends hours waxing his motorcycle instead of riding it

Went down: a motorcycle accident

Wheel Trap:  rise in the road that runs in the same direction making it virtually impossible to turn away from it

Wheelie: what all the cool kids can do

Wobble: Side to side movement which potential leads to an off if not controlled.

Wrench: another name for a mechanic


X-Trap: When a road and railway lines overlap causing a a slit in the road where a motorcycle tyre can potentially be caught


YamahaHarley: Japanese Bikes that look similar to Harleys

Yamahammer: A yamaha


Z-bars: Tallish, angled handlebars, usually found on a chopper or cruiser.

Zooki: Suzuki

Zorst: Exhaust

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