Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Biker Glossary of Terms

Motorcycle enthusiasts tend to have their own language. This can be confusing for a beginner, so here’s some help in translating just what everyone is talking about! This list is by no means definitive, and I’d love it if people would post additions and keep the list going!

Bagger: Refers to touring-style bikes, which have extra luggage capacity; examples: Honda Goldwing, Harley Classic; luggage can include saddle bags, luggage racks, sissy-bar mounted bags, etc.

Carb: Short for carburetor. This is what blends air and fuel for an internal combustion engine. Most bikes have these, although newer ones are using fuel injection now instead.

Chopper: Refers to a special type of cruiser in which the bike has been heavily modified from its stock origins. Usually involves having raked out forks, custom paint, an unusually-shaped gas tank, a wide back tire, and any other modifications you can possibly dream of.

Crash bar: another word for an engine guard; an attachment that can be added to the front of the frame of your motorcycle that protects the bike and the rider’s legs if the bike should tip over.

Crotch-rocket: Another term for sport bikes. Typically Japanese in make, these include Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. Sport bikes are typically lighter with a smaller weight-to-frame ratio, and are popular racing bikes. They are characterized by their notable riding position, with the rider sitting leaned forward towards the hand controls and the feet in a mid or back position, as well as their plastic farings.

Cruiser: Another term for so-called American-style motorcycles, made popular by Harley-Davidson. Characterized by a “cruising” position – a comfortable, upright way to ride. Bikes are often more customized than sport bikes, with chrome or custom paint available.

Dirt bikes: Smaller, more rugged motorcycles. Typically have a smaller, two-stroke engine.

DOT: Department of Transportation. Helmets must have a sticker with the letters DOT on them to be legally considered appropriate head gear in states requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets.

Faring: Non-clear pieces on a motorcycle that act to block the wind. A front faring is usually attached to the handlebars in some way, and may or may not have a windshield attached. Farings can also be positioned in front of the legs (popular on sport bikes, also can be seen on Honda Goldwings and Harley UltraClassics).

Forks: Refers to the front part of the bike that holds the front wheel in place. If a bike has “raked out” forks, it means the forks are extended and the angle between the frame of the bike and the forks is larger than usual.

Forward controls: referring to the position of the feet on the motorcycle.

Full Dresser: See “bagger”

H.O.G.: Harley Owner’s Group. A club you can join for a fee associated with Harley-Davidson. The national organization offers discounts to members at the various dealership locations, as well as patches, pins, and magazine subscriptions. The local chapters act as social gatherings for its members – they organize rides, help out at the Harley dealership they are affiliated with, and participate in other events.

Kawa: Short for Kawasaki.

Mid controls: referring to the position of the feet on the motorcycle. If the foot pegs sit so that your feet are beneath your hips and your legs are bent at an approximately 90 degree angle, these are mid controls.

One-up: Refers to a style of seat or riding in which there is only room for the driver, no passengers. Sometimes people have been known to sit on the back fender of a bike equipped with a one-up style seat. This is dangerous.

Poker Run: A biker activity. All the participants will usually gather at one starting point, then travel to 5 different points within a reasonable distance throughout the day, collecting cards or tokens as they go. At the end of the poker run, the person with the best poker hand wins – usually a raffle prize of some sort. Often used in conjunction with raising money for charities or other general promotions.

Saddle bags: Luggage that attaches to your bike much in the same way bags do on horses – by the saddle. Can either be mounted on special attachments on the sides of your bike, OR you can get different kinds where you remove your seat, sling the saddlebags over the frame, then re-attach the seat over the top.

Sissy-bar: The passenger’s backrest on a motorcycle. Makes for a safer, more comfortable ride.

Two-Stroke: Refers to a type of engine. Have a simpler design than a four-stroke engine and have a higher power-to-weight ratio. Popular in dirt bikes. The process mixes the fuel and engine oil.

Two-up: Can refer to either a style of seat in which there is room for the driver and a passenger, or to the style of riding two-up.

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