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Motorcycle Dictionary

Aftermarket parts – aftermarket parts are parts not made by the original manufacturer.

Ape Hangers – a type of motorcycle handlebars that are usually higher than the average handlebar. The rider must reach up to use them. You see these types of handlebars on choppers.

Armor – protective “armor”, foam, plastic, fabric that offers your body extra protection in the event of a motorcycle accident.

Balaclava – headgear that covers the head but exposes the eyes, eyes and nose, or eyes, nose and mouth.

Basket Case – a basket or lot of parts for a motorcycle. Sometimes all the parts of the motorcycle are included, and sometimes they aren’t all there.

Brain Bucket – slang term for a motorcycle helmet. (see also skid lid)

Bump Start – method to start a motorcycle with a dead battery by turning on the ignition, engaging the cutch, getting the bike up to speed by running with it or having someone push it, then letting the clutch out.

Cage – term for a vehicle.

Café Racer – a type of sport bike motorcycle that has been modified for speed and handling rather than comfort. The term “Café Racer” evolved from Europe where bikers used to ride from truck stop to truck stop or tavern to tavern.

Chaps – a protective lower body gear designed to protect your legs against the elements and accidents. They are usually made of leather but manufacturers are coming out with protective fabric versions.

Chopper – a customized form of a “cruiser” style motorcycle. Choppers usually have very high handlebars, lost of chrome, and customized accessories and paint.

Counter Steering – a technique used to steer your motorcycle by pushing on the handlebars.

Crotch Rocket – a type of motorcycle that is associated with “sport bikes” that are usually super sport and super bikes.

Cruiser – a type of American designed motorcycle that began in the 1930’s, featuring a low slung design that is also comfortable for long distance riding. These motorcycles are designed for cool looks and lots of chrome.

Engine Guard – also termed as “crash or highway bars” but because of superstition referred as an “engine guard”. A metal guard positioned on the motorcycle to protect the engine and motorcycle body from damage in an accident.

Fairing – a shell placed over the frame of the motorcycle to reduce wind drag and protect the rider from hypothermia and flying debris. There are front and rear fairings.

Fork – the portion of the motorcycle attached to the front wheel and handlebars.

Goggles – eyewear designed to protect your eyes from wind and flying debris.

Gremlin – a mythical creature that is responsible for road accidents and bike failures.

Highway Pegs - pegs mounted in the front of the motorcycle, usually to the engine guard, to allow the rider to stretch their legs.

HOG – Harley Owners Group (H.O.G) or a large Harley motorcycle.

Naked Bike – a motorcycle stripped down to its basic form.

One Percenter – term coined by the American Motorcycle Association that says, 99% of all riders are law abiding and break no rules, whereas, 1% of the riders are outlaws.

One Up – riding solo.

PMS – Parked motorcycle syndrome.

Pillion - a term used to describe the passenger seat.

Poker Run – a motorcycle ride usually associated with raising money for a charity by riding to specific route stops and earning a playing card. At the end of the ride, the best poker hand wins a prize.

Skid Lid -slang term for a motorcycle helmet (see also brain bucket).

Soft Tail – a type of motorcycle with springs or shock absorbers that absorb bumps but hidden to mimic the rigid frame look.

Suicide Clutch – a foot operated clutch that was difficult to use because you also had to use a foot operated braking system, therefore, suicidal to use when on an incline and trying to shift. Motorcycles have since gone to clutches on the hand controls.

Swing Arm – component or the rear suspension that holds the rear axle and absorbs bumps.

Tankslapper - wild oscillation (turning) of the handlebars resulting in “slapping” the tank of the motorcycle.

Three Patch – three patch means that the motorcycle rider belongs to an outlaw club. The center patch is the club patch, and the bottom and top rocker signifies complete membership in the outlaw club.

Trike – a motorcycle that has been converted to three wheels, one in front and two in back, that enable added stability.

Twin Cam – Harley Davidson created the first air cooled twin cam engine in 1998. Common characteristics are twin cylinders in a v-twin design at 45 degrees.

Two Patch – two patch means that the motorcycle rider belongs to a motorcycle club or organization. The center patch is the national organization or club patch, and the top rocker is usually the chapter or division patch.

Two Up – riding with a passenger.

Rake – the steering axis angle or the angle of the front fork.

Rice Burner – slang term for Japanese made motorcycle.

Saddlebags – bags attached to the motorcycle, usually behind the seat to enable storage.

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