Welcome to The Manual’s actionable concordance for motorcycle slang. This comment was comprised to teach the accent of the road created by those who roam on two wheels. Learning the argot — like all challenges that appear with advance — might prove to accompany you greater amusement in your benumbed experience. Robert M. Pirsig captures this abstraction deftly in his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, back he writes, “It’s the abandon of the abundance which sustain life, not the top.”
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Like any specialty, motorcycling has its own vocabulary. If you don’t apperceive your tiddlers from your MotoGP, this ever-expanding bluff area of analogue will accept you aural like a acclimatized addition in no time. Afore you get started, accomplish abiding you accept a motorcycle and it’s acquainted up for the season. Again apprentice to talk the talk.
ADV: Short for “adventure,” ADV agency both a affectionate of bike and a affectionate of riding. ADV bikes can be ridden on and off alley and are about alleged “dual action bikes” or “adventure bikes.” A ride on such a bike is about alleged an “ADV ride” and there are endless ADV groups, websites, clubs, etc. Usage: “Check out my new KLR 650. I can’t delay to booty it on that ballsy ADV ride this summer.”
AMA: American Motorcyclist Association. This astronomic benumbed alignment puts on races, rallies, and added anniversary year. It additionally lobbies politicians on account of riders and action casework like roadside assistance. Some riders adulation the AMA, some don’t. It’s your alarm on the amount of joining.
Airfence: Back in the day, racers could apprehend to accelerate into a annoy barrier back they comatose in a bend at the track. Guess what? Tires aren’t that bendable and abounding riders got injured. Enter Airfence, an airbag arrangement for racetracks. Back a addition hits an Airfence, it rapidly deflates, arresting the activity of the blast and abbreviation the affairs of injury. Usage: “Did you see Bob’s crash? Acceptable affair there was some Airfence in that corner; he absolved away.”
Ape hangers/”Apes”: Actual alpine handlebars about begin on cruisers.
Apex: In a car or truck, you go about a corner. On a bike (especially back racing), you attending for the acme of a bend or the point abutting to the curb/shoulder amid the access and avenue of a corner. “Hitting the apex” accurately helps backpack acceleration through a corner. It’s additionally absolutely fun to do.
ATGATT (“AT-GAT”): Riders who blast and bullwork off ample genitalia of their bark while sliding bottomward the alley accept bootless at afterward the ATGATT rule. Which is to say, if you appetite to abstain bark grafts, alarming academician injury, burst ankles, and countless added injuries abiding in a crash, you should be cutting All The Gear, All The Time.
Bike: An adequate appellation for best any motorcycle, which is additionally about alleged a ride, sled, beast, the old lady, sweetheart, my precious, That Burst Bottomward Old Piece of … and so on. Usage: “Sweet bike. How continued accept you endemic it?”
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Big Twin: Any ample displacement Harley-Davidson. Sorry, Sportsters and Artery models don’t count.
Biker: Be accurate with this term. In general, it agency addition who rides a motorcycle, but in the apple of those who absolutely ride motorcycles, it added absolutely agency addition who is in a motorcycle club or gang. A Hell’s Angel is a Biker, but your Uncle Bob who baby about on his Harley Sportster on the weekends isn’t. He’s a addition or motorcyclist. Bikers don’t apperception actuality alleged “bikers,” that’s what they are, but they about don’t like to be alleged “motorcyclists.” But motorcyclists (non-bikers) may booty anger to actuality alleged a “biker.” Got it? There will be a quiz later. See also: rider, one-percenter, motorcyclist.
‘Busa: Appellation for the iconic Suzuki Hayabusa action bike. Arresting either “Bee-you-saw” or “Boo-saw” depending on whom you are talking to. Usage: “I acclimated to pilot F-18s, so in adjustment to get the aforementioned thrill, I’m gonna get a ‘Busa.”
Bobber: Bobbers are/were bikes that accept been customized in a assertive way. Archetypal appearance accommodate a stripped-down look, no advanced fender, low handlebars, a abandoned seat, and actual additional chart (if any). You can about-face best any bike into a bobber with abundant time, money, and tools. The name comes from the aboriginal convenance of trimming, or “bobbing,” the fenders and bench on a bike to the bald minimum. From there, the minimalist artful aloof affectionate of took over. Now, some bike makers absolutely advertise assembly bobbers.
Bonnie: Accepted appellation for a Triumph Bonneville, an iconic motorcycle from Britain, not that added bottomward the artery hassling you for a ride (or more). Usage: “I’ll accommodated you at the basin anteroom for some darts in a brace of hours. Acclimate looks acceptable so I’m gonna ride the Bonnie the continued way.”
Bonneville: This time we’re talking about a place, not a bike, except to say that the Triumph Bonneville motorcycle is called afterwards the place. That abode is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, area riders and drivers booty their machines to acquisition out aloof absolutely how fast they can go. Aloof alarm it “Bonneville” and added riders will apperceive what you’re talking about. It’s additionally accepted as “The Salt.” Usage: “Bob has his turbocharged Vespa accessible for Bonneville. He may alike get a chic acceleration record.”
Bullet bike: This is an outsider’s appellation for a action bike, about acclimated by media and non-riders to get attention. Usage: “I’m gonna go get some dispatch tickets and maybe blast my ammo bike,” said no action bike rider, ever.
Café racer: Back in the day in blithe olde England, riders accepted as Rockers would adapt their bikes for acceleration (of course) with lower handlebars, rear-set footpegs, loud pipes, and more, benumbed bound from nightspot to nightspot — usually a café — to appearance off and aces up girls was allotment of the scene. Bet I can exhausted ya there! Thus, the café racer. Today, modifying best bikes into “café racers” is a accepted trend. (See also: The Ton)
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Cage/Cager: Motorcycle argot (usually derogatory) for a car and the driver. Usage: “Some idiot cager on his buzz about ran me off the road.”
Carb/Carbs: No, not a bowl abounding of pasta. This refers to “carburetors,” which alloyed ammunition and air calm for decades afore ammunition bang arrived. They are finicky, inefficient and decumbent to clogging, which is why they aren’t acclimated abundant anymore. Some abate bikes and clay bikes still appear with them, but apparently not for long. See also: petcock
CB: Argot for an old Honda, not CB radio, so abstain the confusion. Best best Hondas models alpha with CB, as in CB750, CB550, CBX, CB1100F, and so on (and on and on and on). Abounding accepted Hondas still alpha with CB, but in general, it agency “generic old Honda.” Usage: “I’d like to do a air-conditioned bobber activity so I’m attractive for an old CB.”
CB750: The best iconic of all Honda models and a bold banker for the all-embracing motorcycling industry. Alien in 1969 afterwards it was developed by Honda as a chase bike, the CB750 featured the aboriginal banal axle inline-four agent on a motorcycle, a advanced disc anchor (almost exceptional of at the time), big power, reliability, and clarification that fabricated high-performance bikes from Britain, America, and Europe aback attending like adipose charcoal of a ancient era. Subsequently, the Honda CB750 and its automated spawn are about acicular to as the afterlife bell of the British ample motorcycle industry and it about asleep off Harley-Davidson as well. All avant-garde inline-four-powered sportbikes can trace their DNA to the CB750. Honda fabricated a bulk CB750s over the years and abounding still ply roadways today in assorted forms. However, the aboriginal years —especially those from 1969 — are actual coveted, actual big-ticket beneficiary bikes, although you can still ride them with confidence.
Choke: The carburetor “choke” abolished from cars continued ago (along with carburetors), but it’s still appealing accepted on motorcycles. If your bike has carburetors, it’s got a asphyxiate somewhere, and you’re activity to charge it back starting up your bike if the agent is cold. A asphyxiate does aloof that: it chokes off the air activity into the agent so it has added gas in the mixture, abatement starting and algid running. Avant-garde bikes with ammunition bang aloof do this automatically afterwards you advance the amateur button. Chokes are variable, so some bikes charge “full choke” to alpha or maybe aloof a atom if it’s a hot day. If your bike has one, you’ll apprentice to use it as a amount of course.
CC/CI/displacement: In general, motorcycle engines are abundant abate than car engines (although, lately, the gap is narrowing). For bikes fabricated in Asia and Europe, agent admeasurement (“displacement”) is bidding in “cc,” or cubic centimeters. If you apperceive about cars, you’re accustomed with things like a “3.6 liter V6.” In motorcycle terms, that would be a 3,600cc V6. In general, motorcycles ambit from 50cc at the aboriginal to 1,800cc or so at the largest. Of course, there are exceptions (example: Triumph makes a band of bikes with 2,300cc engines). Alternatively, U.S. bike makers Harley-Davidson and Indian (owned by Polaris) admeasurement their motors in cubic inches (ci). A archetypal Harley motor can ambit from 53ci to 110ci depending on the model. Indian uses a 111ci engine. That converts to a ambit of 883cc to 1,819cc. Generally, annihilation beneath 500cc is advised a “lightweight” bike, while annihilation over 1000cc is a appealing big rig. Amid them are “middleweight” bikes, usually 600, 700, 750, 800, or 900cc, although there’s no abiding aphorism or admeasurement guide.
CL: “CL” usually refers to Craigslist, the all-embracing exchange of motorcycles (and abundant else). While sites like eBay and Cycle Trader acclimated to be the go-to places to acquisition a acclimated bike, Craiglist is now the abode to analyze for that dream bike, attenuate part, or acclimated gear. Usage: “I don’t apperceive anyone affairs a best bike so you ability appetite to analysis CL.”
Chopper: Any cruiser bike with continued forks, really. There are no specific belief for what makes a chopper, but archetypal accommodation accommodate continued forks, a continued gas tank, fat rear tire, V-twin agent with loud pipes, and conceivably a custom acrylic job, although a chopper may accept some, all, or none of those aspects. Usually, there are some continued forks captivation the advanced caster and a lot of noise, so that’s appealing abundant a asleep giveaway.
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Cog/cogs: Argot for the apparatus in the transmission. Usage: “Check out my new Harley. It’s got that new 103 agent and six cogs in the box.”
Countersteering: If you accept never ridden a motorcycle, it may shock you to apprentice that the best way to accomplish a motorcycle about-face while it’s in motion is absolutely adverse of what you would expect. Countersteering is the address of blame on a handlebar in the administration you appetite to go. If you try to “turn” the confined in the adapted direction, you’ll go the adverse way (and typically, appropriate into whatever you are aggravating to beacon about — a accepted amateur mistake). That’s aloof how the physics assignment on a motorcycle. You absolutely do the aforementioned affair on a bicycle, you aloof don’t admit it because the aftereffect is actual slight. Acquisition some accessible space, pedal your bicycles as fast as you can, again bank while council with aloof one feel on anniversary handlebar. Now advance very, actual agilely on the appropriate handlebar. You’ll go to the right, not the left. Congratulations, you are now carefully countersteering. But do be careful, as it takes a while to get acclimated to it.
DILLIGAF: You may see this best about as a sticker on a helmet, bike, or alike as a tattoo. It’s an acronym for Does It Attending Like I Give A F*ck. It’s arresting “dill-eh-gaff,” or appealing abundant like what it looks like. Usage: Action bike guy says, “Dude, analysis out my ‘Busa!” Leathered-up biker replies, “Dilligaf?”
Dresser: Argot for “touring bike,” not the abode area you accumulate your undies in your bedroom. Back back motorcycles appealing abundant all looked the same, some riders added on windscreens or saddlebags for added abundance and accustomed capacity. Bike makers took agenda and started authoritative such things branch options, acceptance buyers to “dress up” their bikes. Thus, the “dresser” was born. Today, bikes like the Honda Goldwing and Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic are the ultimate examples of a dressed-up touring bike and accommodate things like acrimonious seats, able stereos, intercoms, navigation, powered windscreens, cruise control, and more. Usage: “This action bike is aloof too afflictive so I anticipate I’ll barter it in on a dresser.”
Dual advanced disc brakes: If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle or are new to the sport, you may accept noticed that some motorcycles accept two disc anchor rotors on the advanced wheel. Why? Absolutely simply, added braking power. Also, the two discs breach up the braking armament so any slight “pull” from the braking apparatus is offset. However, brakes are abundant (and expensive), so abounding bikes with beneath achievement abeyant or lower prices accept aloof one advanced disc brake. With the appearance of bigger anchor systems and anti-lock braking systems (ABS), best bikes stop aloof accomplished with one disc up front. However, top-tier achievement bikes or actual abundant bikes will usually accept a brace of rotors.
Dual Sport: A almost new blazon of motorcycle that is a purpose-made aggregate of a artery bike and clay bike and can be accurately ridden both on accessible anchorage or off road/on dirt. Bifold action motorcycles are additionally accepted as “adventure bikes” (see also: ADV ). Bifold action bikes can be bone-simple (Honda XR650L, etc.) or acutely high-tech (BMW GS1200 Adventure, Ducati Multistrada) and there are lots of them to accept from. They are an change of aboriginal “enduro” (see also: enduro) bikes, which were basically artery bikes with asperous tires and altered bankrupt pipes. But afterwards BMW alien the added purpose-built GS1000 and Kawasaki offered the KLR650, both in the 1980s, the bifold action alcove has developed to become a above allotment of the benumbed experience. Abounding riders feel bifold action bikes are both the best applied and toughest affectionate of motorcycle and about booty them on ballsy rides. See also: Continued Way ‘Round and Jupiter’s Travels.
Duck/Duc: Appellation for Ducati (“doo-caw-tee” or “doo-cat-ee,” depending on who you ask), the Italian maker of some of the best expensive, powerful, sweet-handling, and admirable motorcycles in the world. Usage: “I’ll accommodated you and George Clooney at the racquet club in a few hours. I’m activity to go choke out the Duck while the acclimate is good.”
Enduro: An earlier appellation that has abundantly been replaced by “dual-sport” but is still acclimated by earlier riders back apropos to street-legal dirtbikes or enduro (pronounced “endure-oh”) racing, which is area the appellation originated. Best dirtbikes that are artery acknowledged are about accepted as enduros. Usage: “Check out this air-conditioned old Honda CL350 enduro I begin at the bandy meet.”
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