FOR NON-BIKERS, HERE’S A VERY BRIEF BIKER DICTIONARY OF TERMS AND EXPRESSIONS:
Aerial Burnout (n). A burnout (see below) done on an elevated platform/stage, giving a better view to the bikers watching the spectacle. Oftentimes the piece of wood upon which the tire “burned out” is given as a memento to the participant.
Ape Hangars (n). Handlebars that are extended up, requiring the biker to hold his arms above his head I order to reach them. (These are illegal in some states, like New York.) (See Mini Apes below.)
Bike Week (n). A week-long biker event held in a particular city (Sturgis and Daytona being the most famous). Bikers generally come from all around the country (sometimes the world) to attend. The event sports hundreds of vendors of motorcycles and motorcycle accessories, as well as live bands, biker food and drink (i.e., beer and Jack Daniels), great riding, competitions, and contests.
Boxes. (n). What bikers call cars (see also Cages).
Burnout (n). An activity wherein a biker tightly engages the front brake while gunning the engine, thereby making the rear wheel spin until it wears a hole in the tire, burns out, and explodes, creating an enormous amount of black smoke in the process – to the delight of spectator bikers. Considered a great event by many bikers who don’t mind inhaling burning rubber, a burnout is often hosted by a motorcycle tire company selling its wares at the bike event.
Cages. (n). See “Boxes.”
Colors (n). See “Patches.”
Cut (n). A leather vest sporting one’s Patches.
DILIGAF (n) A popular acronym for “Do I Look Like I Give a F—“
Flathead (n). A style of motorcycle manufactured between approximately 1930 and 1937 featuring a flatter version of engine heads.
Forks. (n). The front end of a bike that extends from the body of the bike to the front tire.
Iron Horse (n). Motorcycle.
Knucklehead (n). A style of motorcycle made between approximately 1936 and 1947 which has a giant bolt on the top 2 sections of the engine.
Mini Apes (n). A lower version of ape hangars (see above) which keeps the extended arms no higher than the shoulders (compliant with the Traffic & Vehicle Law of NY).
Panhead (n). A style of motorcycle made by Harley-Davidson (1948–1965) in which the rocker boxes (see below) were deep, like upside-down pans.
Patches (n). The insignia of a motorcycle club that is sewn onto the back of a biker’s leather vest. Also referred to as “colors,” these are only allowed to be worn by members of the club. A member of a motorcycle club is considered “patched.”
Primary (n). The part of a motorcycle that houses the chain or belt on some model bikes. There is an inner and outer primary.
Prospect (n). A person who is apprenticing to join a motorcycle club. He usually wears a leather vest with only the rocker portion of the patch until he is officially a member. (v). To apprentice to join a motorcycle club. This includes proving that you ride a motorcycle well, especially in a group, and so, a certain number of rides with members of the club is a requirement.
Rally (n). A major biker event, usually lasting 3-10 days, where bikers from all around the country gather to ride, listen to music, and buy lots of biker paraphernalia.
Ride (v). What you do on a motorcycle (as opposed to driving a car); (n) 1. A motorcycle. 2. An excursion on your motorcycle.
Riding Bitch (v). Riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, which is something unacceptable for a man in the biker world to do unless it’s an emergency.
Rocker (n). 1. A lever shaped like a flattened “V” that is used to change gears by stepping on either side of the “V.” (Many standard gear changers are a simple lever which requires you to use the top of your foot to shift to a higher gear, which can damage your boots.) 2. The bottom section of a patch (see above) which is curved like a smile and usually indicates the chapter and/or state of the motorcycle club.
Rocker Box (n). Not to be confused with a “rocker,” this is the top portion of each of the V-twins of the engine.
Shovelhead (n). A style of motorcycle popular between 1965 and 1984 in which the top section of each V-twin looks like the handle of a shovel.
Sissy Bar (n). A bar on the back of the passenger seat on which the passenger can lean. Alternatively, it is widely used as something on which to secure your duffel bag on the passenger seat.