Motorcycle Slang: 71 Motorcycle Terms You Need To Understand

Motorcycle Slang: 71 Motorcycle Terms You Need To Understand

Motorcycle slang. What exactly are all of these various motorcycle terms being thrown around by other riders.

If you’re going to ride, buckle up, as you’ve got some studying to do if you want to fit in with the motorcycle elite.

Never fear, we’ve got you covered. What you’ll find in this 2700 word post are the key motorcycle terms you need to understand if you’re going to ride. Not only will we give you the definition for the top 71 motorcycle slang words, we’ll show you how to use these motorcycle terms in a sentence so you can easily fit it.

71 Motorcycle Slang Terms Defined

Ape Hangers: Motorcycle slang for a set of high handlebars where your hands are positioned above your shoulders. For the life of me I can’t figure out why someone would want to do this.

Sentence: Did you see the ape hangers on his chopper?

Apex: The highest point found in a curve on the road. When riding, you want to enter the curve at the outside edge and hit the apex before exiting the curve.

Sentence: The apex is the highest point in a curve.

ATGATT: An acronym for All The Gear All The Time.

Sentence: Don’t be an idiot, you can’t use this in a sentence.

Backyard: Motorcycle term for your home turf, an area where you do most of your riding.

Sentence: Riding in the backyard this weekend, what about you?

Baffle: A substance inside the motorcycle muffler that helps to deaden the sound. See bafflectomy below.

Bafflectomy: Removing or punching holes in the baffles, that are found inside a stock muffler. This will give the bike a louder sound and help improve performance.

Sentence: Tom gave his new Bonneville a bafflectomy, and it sounds great.

Bike: A term for a motorcycle.

Sentence: Nice bike dude.

Blip: The process of revving the throttle slightly and quickly releasing it. Typically done while downshifting, or in the case of Harley’s to let everyone know you’re coming.

Sentence: Be sure to blip the throttle before downshifting.

Bobber: A bike that has had most unnecessary parts removed or shaved down to give it more of a stripped-down look.

Sentence: Have you seen Triumph’s new Bobber?

Bonnie: A Triumph Bonneville.

Sentence: Richard has a hobby of rebuilding old Bonnies.

Boxer: A motorcycle engine with two cylinders, positioned horizontally. A butt ugly engine typically found on older BMW models.

Sentence: The boxer engine has got to be one of the craziest looking engines I’ve ever seen.

Brain Bucket: A type of motorcycle helmet that only covers the top part of the head, typically worn by the Harley crowd. Offers minimal protection, but I guess it looks cool.

Sentence: For the love of god, if you won’t wear a helmet, at least invest in a brain bucket to get some protection.

Buckhorns: A term for a certain style of handlebar where the handle grip is curved toward the rider resembling the look of a buck’s horn.

Sentence: You need to replace those buckhorns with something a little more stylish.

Café racer: A light weight motorcycle optimized for speed. The name comes from the 60’s, where motorcyclists would race from pub to pub in England.

Sentence: The Triumph Thruxton is considered a café racer.

Cager: Motorcycle slang for a driver in a car.

Sentence: That cager was driving like a complete moron.

CE Standard: A certification for motorcycle armor that meets European safety standards. If you’re wondering what the U.S. standard is, there is none.

Sentence: Be sure to purchase armor that meets or exceeds the CE Standard.

Chaps: A leather piece, and I do stress the word piece, of protective gear that covers the legs. The groin and ass are left fully uncovered.

Sentence: If you won’t buy a pair of riding pants, at least get yourself a pair of chaps.

Chicken Strips: A new motorcycle tire will have small pieces of rubber on the side of the tread leftover from the molding process when the tire was manufactured (they look like little strips). These pieces of rubber typically wear off over time as you ride and corner. The more aggressive the rider, the quicker the strips wear off. Therefore, if you can’t get rid of these strips, apparently you’re consider a chicken.

Sentence: Ben has been riding that bike for over a year and still has chicken strips.

Chopper: A motorcycle with a much longer front fork at a higher angle than a typical bike.

Sentence: Did you see that chopper at the dream cruise the other day?

Chromeitis: Motorcycle slang for chrome, and lots of it. These are the bikers whose bike is made up of more chrome than anything else. Always looking to add more. Seriously, I can’t stand chrome.

Sentence: The dude has a serious case of chromeitis!

Clip-Ons: A type of handlebar that clip directly onto the front fork.

Sentence: The older Thruxton’s have clip-ons, but some of the new one’s have handlebars.

Cowl: A piece of plastic fairing that typically covers engine parts or the back of the seat.

Sentence: Get yourself a rear seat cowl, and you’ll turn that thing into a café race.

Countersteering: This motorcycle term causes more confusion than anything, and seems to wig people out. This is a concept that not only applies to motorcycles, but also bicycles when riding at a higher speed. Bottom line, if you want to veer right, you push on the right handlebar end. If you want to go left, push on the left handlebar end. Technically, you’re turning the handlebar in the opposite direction (counter) you want to go. You do this all the time on a bike, and you probably don’t even know it.

Sentence: Countersteering is the process of steering counter to the direction you really want to go.

Crotch Rocket: Motorcycle slang for a specific type of motorcycle. Typically a sport bike where the rider sits in a more aggressive, hunched over, riding position.

Sentence: Jessica just purchased a new crotch rocket.

DILLIGAF: An acronym for Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck! Nothing more than that.

Sentence: Not really applicable, unless you want to sound like an idiot.

Duck Walk(ing): Motorcycle term for the art of moving your motorcycle with your feet instead of the throttle. Typically done while the bike is at a standstill and you need to move it a few feet.

Sentence: He had to duck walk his ride into the parking space.

Eat Asphalt: Motorcycle slang for a crash where the rider is skidding along on the pavement.

Sentence: Be safe out there, you don’t want to eat asphalt.

Fairing: Plastic body panels, typically seen on sport bikes, that provide improved aerodynamics and offer some protection to the rider.

Sentence: The new Daytona has a sick looking side fairing.

Farkle: According to Urban Dictionary, farkle is defined as a cross between function and sparkle. It could mean accessories, bling, or anything that serves some sort of purpose. Typically referenced in on-line forums where bikers talk about all the stuff they’ve added to their bikes.

Sentence: Whatever you do, don’t use the term farkle or you’ll look like a total noob.

Flogging it: Motorcycle slang for an aggressive rider using a wide-open throttle.

Sentence: Jessica was really flogging it on the track today.

Gixer: Refers to the GSXR series of sport bikes manufactured by Suzuki

Sentence: Suzuki has a new lineup of Gixer bikes you need to check out.

Grabbing a Handful: A motorcycle term that can mean one of two things. Either flogging the throttle or grabbing the brakes hard.

Sentence: Don’t be grabbing a handful in a corner or you’ll end up eating asphalt.

Green Light Trigger: A doodad, typically a magnet, that is attached to the bottom of a motorcycle. This will trigger the street sensor and alert that a vehicle is present in order to change a street light to green.

Sentence: It’s debatable, whether or not a green light trigger actually works.

Hardtail: A motorcycle without a rear shock resulting a very stiff ride. If you value your kidneys, avoid this at all cost.

Sentence: If you own a hardtail, be sure to avoid any potholes.

High Side: A specific type of crash, where the rider is thrown over the handlebars.

Sentence: He did a high side going over 50 mph when his rear tire hit a patch of oil.

Highway Bars: A bar that connects to the frame on both sides of the legs that allows the rider to extend their legs for a more comfortable riding position. Typically installed on cruisers for highway riding.

Sentence: Now only doing highway bars offer a comfy riding position, they also give you options for adding running lights.

Iron Butt: An associate that promotes the world’s toughest riders which is dedicated to safe and long distance motorcycle riding. Various certifications are awarded for long distance rides in a set amount of time.

Sentence: She was awarded the Iron Butt Bun Burner 1500 for her ride down the coast last year.

Keep the shiny side up: Motorcycle slang between riders which translates to – avoid crashing your bike.

Sentence: See ya’ Keith, keep the shiny side up.

King and Queen Seat: A single seat to accommodate both a rider and a passenger, both of which have some sort of backrest built into the seat.

Sentence: A chopper, without a king and queen seat, is not really a chopper. While not technically true, I needed to use it in a sentence.

Lane splitting: Typically, this is illegal, unless you live in certain states. It’s the process of riding your bike between lanes to avoid traffic.

Sentence: Lane splitting is legal in California.

Lay it Down – Motorcycle slang for a crash, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Sentence: You can always lay it down to avoid an impending crash and lessen the amount of injury.

Leathers: Refers to leather motorcycle gear, commonly used for safety.

Sentence: Lisa purchased a nice set of leathers to go with her new bike.

Low Side: The opposite of a high side crash. This crash typically results from a loss of traction, where the bike goes down on its side, and the rider is thrown from the low side of the motorcycle.

Sentence: You’d rather be in a low side crash than a high side.

MSF: An acronym for Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Sentence: If you want to learn to ride, be sure to check out the MSF basic riders course.

Naked Bike: The new generation of sport bikes with no fairings and a more upright riding position.

Sentence: If you don’t like the looks of a crotch rocket, get yourself a naked bike.

NBD: Another acronym for Never Been Dropped. This in reality is a lie, as no motorcyclist can ever claim this term.

Sentence: Don’t ever use this in a sentence…

Organ Donor: Motorcycle slang for a biker that doesn’t wear a helmet.

Sentence: Don’t be an organ donor, get yourself a helmet.

Pannier: Saddlebags or another variety of bag that hangs to the side of the rear wheel, giving the rider additional capacity to haul stuff.

Sentence: BMW has a new line of pannier luggage you’ll want to check out.

Pasta Rocket: Motorcycle slang for an Italian sport bike such as Ducati or Aprilia.

Sentence: Jennifer just bought herself a nice-looking pasta rocket.

Poker Run – A motorcycle term for a road rally, usually used as an excuse to get out of the house to ride your bike. The rider stops at various checkpoints along a predetermined route to collect playing cards. At the conclusion of the rally, the rider with the best poker hand wins a prize.

Sentence: There’s an awesome poker run coming up that you need to register for.

Poser: Motorcycle slang for a biker that will seldom ride, but has all the latest and greatest (flashy gear and motorcycle). Who really cares, if he/she rides does it really matter? Stop worrying about others and enjoy the time on your bike.

Sentence: I saw a real poser at the bar the other day, bike had a serious case of chrometis.

Pucker Factor: The process of your sphincter muscle tightening to the point you could turn a piece of coal shoved up your ass into a diamond. Typically happens when you narrowly avoid an accident.

Sentence: The pucker factor was maxed out when I just missed doing a high side.

Rainbows: Motorcycle slang for oil on the road. The name comes from the rainbow-like appearance when oil is mixed with water on pavement.

Sentence: Avoid the rainbows on Main St. just past the traffic light.

Road Gator: Motorcycle slang for the pieces of shredded tires littering a highway.

Sentence: Avoid the road gators if you’ll be doing any highway riding.

Road Rash: A motorcycle term that describes the end result of a crash where an abrasion is present from where the skin makes contact with the road. Also known as a raspberry or strawberry.

Sentence: Jake’s road rash from his crash looks to be painful.

Rice Burner / Rice Rocket: Motorcycle slang for Japanese bikes (Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, etc…).

Sentence: Jim just bought a sweet looking rice burner.

Sissy Bar: A motorcycle term for a passenger backrest typically found on cruisers.

Sentence: I really can’t stand bikes that have a sissy bar, but that’s just me.

Sled: Motorcycle slang term for a motorcycle.

Sentence: Dude, that’s a nice sled.

SQUID: Can be an acronym for a few different terms (Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, Ignorant and Dangerous or Speeding Quickly Until I Die). More so describes an inexperienced rider who doesn’t ride with the proper gear and rides beyond their abilities. Not only is this individual a danger to themselves, they are a danger to others on the road.

Sentence: I got passed by some SQUID on the highway doing in excess of 100 mph.

Stoppie: The opposite of a wheelie. Hitting the front break hard when coming to a stop so the rear wheel will come off the ground.

Sentence: While I can’t quite do a wheelie, I can do a killer stoppie.

Straight Pipes: Most exhaust have a baffle that restricts airflow and noise (which is kind of the purpose of them). Straight pipes have the baffle removed resulting in a very, very loud bike.

Sentence: The reason that Harley was so obnoxiously loud was because it had a set of straight pipes.

Tank Slapper: A motorcycle term for a type of speed wobble that is so server, your front tire will violently jerk back and forth so that the handlebars bang against the gas tank.

Sentence: I had a real tank slapper last week as I was coming off a wheelie.

Tar Snake: A material the road commission uses to patch cracks in the pavement on a road. Looks like a snake given the squiggly pattern. In the summer months, this material heats up and starts to melt resulting in slick spots.

Sentence: Watch out for the tar snakes on that stretch of road.

Ton: Motorcycle slang that describes breaking the 100 mph mark on a bike.

Sentence: Jeff hit a ton yesterday on his Thurxton.

Torque: The force that propels the wheel of a vehicle (not just motorcycles). Torque provides that initial acceleration, while horsepower gives you that top speed. A myth is that a high horsepower bike will always beat a lower horsepower bike in a race.

Triple: A motorcycle engine with three in-line cylinders.

Sentence: Triumph has an awesome lineup of triples.

Sentence: I’ll take torque over horsepower any day of the week.

Twisties: A motorcycle term that describes a road consisting of a lot of curves.

Sentence: Most riders love a ride that consists of a lot of twisties.

V-Twin – A motorcycle engine with two cylinders that when laid out looks like a V.

Sentence: Harley Davidson has an excellent line up of V-Twins.

Waxer: Motorcycle slang for a rider that spends more time washing and primping his/her bike than they do actually riding the thing.

Sentence: Dude, don’t be a waxer, put some miles on that bike.

X-Trap: A motorcycle term that describes the point in the road where multiple railroad tracks cross forming the letter “X”, thereby creating a hazard where your front tire could get caught in one of the slits.

Sentence: Watch out for the X-Trap about 2 miles down US-151 after the light.

Yard Shark: A motorcycle term for a dog, but not just any dog. A dog that likes to chase down motorcycles.

Sentence: If you encounter a yard shark, vary your speed and you’ll avoid it.

What Motorcycle Slang or Motorcycle Terms Are We Missing?

The above list was cultivated through various means, and I’m sure we’re missing a number of motorcycle slang or motorcycle terms that may be in your daily vocabulary. If so, let us know, as we’d love to add them to our list.

One comment on “Motorcycle Slang: 71 Motorcycle Terms You Need To Understand

  1. Lori Roach on

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read in awhile. Love some humor mixed in with education. 😀


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