Motorcycle Slangs & Terms: Lingo Dictionary For Newbies

The world of sports bikes isn’t just about riding gears and engines. It’s a subculture brimming with its own vibrant language. Motorcycle lingo weaves a tapestry of terms, expressions, and jargon that transcend mere communication; they encapsulate the spirit of freedom, camaraderie, and adventure that riders share.

65 Motorcycle Slang All Bikers Need To Know

Motorcycle Slang Started With Numbers

1. 2-Up

Refer to riding with a passenger on the back seat of a motorcycle.

Example: We’re going 2-up to the concert tonight, so make sure the passenger seat is comfortable.

2. 3-Wheeler

A motorcycle with three wheels, often known as a trike. It provides more stability than traditional two-wheel motorcycles.

Example: My uncle prefers his 3-wheeler because he feels more secure on it.

3. 5150

Police code for a mentally unstable person. In motorcycle culture, it might refer to someone who rides recklessly or unpredictably.

Example: Did you see that experienced rider pulling a 5150 on the highway? They were swerving all over the place.

4. 7-11 Rider

A biker slang term for someone who only rides their touring bikes during good weather or when it’s convenient.

Example: Don’t expect him to join the ride this weekend; he’s more of a 7-11 rider.

5. 8-Ball

Refer to a black leather jacket often worn by motorcycle riders. It’s named after the black ball in the game of billiards.

Example: He looked like a true biker in his 8-ball jacket and bandana.

6. 10-33

A distress call used by police officers that can be adopted by motorcyclists to indicate an emergency situation on the road.

Example: He signaled a 10-33 on the radio after witnessing a crash up ahead.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter A


An acronym that stands for “All The Gear, All The Time.” It emphasizes the importance of wearing full protective gear every time you ride.

Example: Before we hit the road, remember ATGATT – helmets, jackets, gloves, and boots.

8. Apex

It means the point on a curve or corner where the motorcycle’s path is closest to the inside of the curve. Riders aim to take the apex for the best line through a turn.

Example: He took the apex perfectly, smoothly leaning his bike and accelerating out of the corner.

9. Assless Chaps

Leather chaps without a backside, often worn by motorcyclists as a part of their protective gear and style.

Example: He wore his assless chaps to the biker rally, adding a bit of edgy flair to his outfit.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter B

10. Barn Find

It is an expression meaning for discovering a vintage or classic motorcycle that has been stored and forgotten in a barn or similar location for many years.

Example: He couldn’t believe his luck when he stumbled upon a rare Harley as a barn find.

11. Burnout

Revving the engine while holding the brakes, which makes the rear tire spin and creates a cloud of smoke. Often done for showmanship.

Example: He did a burnout at the start of the race, leaving behind a trail of smoke.

12. Beater

A term used for a well-worn, older motorcycle that might not be in perfect condition but is reliable and gets the job done.

Example: His beater bike may not look flashy, but it’s been with him through thick and thin.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter C

13. Crotch Rocket

A colloquial term for sport bikes or high-performance motorcycles designed for speed and agility.

Example: He loves the adrenaline rush of riding his crotch rocket on the open highway.

14. Clutch Lever Puke

When a rider mistakenly pulls in the clutch lever while the motorcycle is in gear, causing an abrupt lurch forward due to disengaging the V-Twin engine power.

Example: He had a clutch lever puke moment at the stoplight, much to the amusement of onlookers.

15. Chicken Strips

The unused portion of a motorcycle’s tire tread on the edges, typically seen on less aggressive riders who haven’t leaned the bike much in corners.

Example: His chicken strips were so wide that you could practically see the entire logo on his tires.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter D

16. Dresser

A term used to describe a motorcycle that has been heavily customized or adorned with various accessories.

Example: His dresser is a true reflection of his personal style, with custom paint and added chrome.

17. Drafting

Riding closely behind another vehicle to take advantage of reduced wind resistance, similar to the technique used in bicycle racing.

Example: He was drafting behind the truck to save fuel on the open highway.

18. Daytona

Refer to the Daytona Beach Bike Week, an annual motorcycle event in Florida where enthusiasts gather to celebrate and showcase their bikes.

Example: They’re planning to attend Daytona this year to experience the excitement of the bike week.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter E

19. EVO

Short for “Evolution,” it refers to Harley-Davidson motorcycles with Evolution engines, a popular and reliable engine design.

Example: His EVO-powered Harley has been his faithful companion for years.

20. Exhaust Note

The sound produced by a motorcycle’s exhaust system, which can vary based on the engine and modifications.

Example: His bike had a deep and powerful exhaust note that turned heads wherever he rode.

21. Ejection Seat

Humorous slang for the action of being thrown off the motorcycle due to sudden acceleration or hitting a bump unexpectedly.

Example: He hit that pothole so hard, it felt like he was on an ejection seat for a moment.

22. Engine Guard

Also known as a crash bar or highway bar, it’s a protective rigid frame installed on the front of a motorcycle to shield the engine and other components in case of a fall.

Example: The engine guard saved his bike from major damage when he tipped over in a parking lot.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter F

23. Farkle

A term used to describe various accessories or modifications added to a motorcycle for aesthetic or functional purposes.

Example: He spent the weekend installing new farkles on his bike to enhance its appearance and performance.

24. Fat Boy

Refer to a popular model in the Harley-Davidson lineup known for its distinctive wide front tire and muscular design.

Example: His Fat Boy turned heads as he rolled down the street with its bold presence.

25. Footpeg Scraping

When the footpegs of a motorcycle touch the ground while leaning into a turn, indicating aggressive cornering.

Example: He’s a skilled rider; he can take corners at high speeds without any footpeg scraping.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter G

26. Gixxer

Slang term for a Suzuki GSX-R sport bike model, known for its high-performance and aggressive design.

Example: He’s been a fan of Gixxers since he first saw one on the racetrack.

27. Ghostrider

A rider who wears all-black gear and often rides at high speeds, resembling the appearance of a ghost on the road.

Example: The ghost rider passed by so quickly that we could barely catch a glimpse of them.

28. Gremlin Bell

A small bell attached to a motorcycle to ward off evil spirits or bad luck, normally given as a gift to a fellow rider.

Example: He got a gremlin bell from his friend as a good luck charm for his new bike.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter H

29. Hooligan

It is a rider who enjoys aggressive motorcycle riding, performing stunts, or engaging in spirited riding on the streets or in controlled environments.

Example: He’s known as a bit of a hooligan on his sport bike, always pulling wheelies and burnouts.

30. Handlebar Monkey

A term used humorously to refer to a passenger riding on the back of a motorcycle, holding onto the rider’s waist or shoulders.

Example: She was jokingly referred to as the handlebar monkey during their group ride.

31. Helmet Hair

The disheveled and flattened hairstyle that results from wearing a motorcycle helmet while riding a motorcycle.

Example: After taking off his helmet, he had some serious helmet hair that required fixing.

32. Hogging The Road

When a motorcycle rider takes up more than their fair share of the road, often causing inconvenience to other drivers.

Example: He’s hogging the road and not letting anyone pass; it’s causing a traffic jam behind him.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter I

33. Iron Butt

It means a long-distance motorcycle ride, typically covering over 1,000 miles in a single day.

Example: After a grueling 18-hour ride, John proudly earned his Iron Butt patch for completing a 1,200-mile journey in a day.

34. In The Wind

Riding a motorcycle without a windshield or fairing, exposing the rider directly to the wind.

Example: He loved the feeling of freedom while riding in the wind on his custom-built chopper.

35. Inline Four

It is a motorcycle engine configuration with four cylinders aligned in a row, creating a straight line.

Example: The sportbike featured an impressive inline four engine that produced a symphony of power at high speeds.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter J

36. Jap Bike

A somewhat outdated slang term used to refer to motorcycles made by Japanese manufacturers.

Example: Back in the ’80s, you’d often hear riders debating the merits of Jap bikes vs. American cruisers.

37. Jug

Slang for a motorcycle engine’s cylinder, usually in reference to a single cylinder.

Example: He decided to rebuild the jug on his dirt bike to boost its performance in off-road races.

38. Joy Ride

A casual or recreational motorcycle ride taken purely for the enjoyment of riding, often without a specific destination in mind.

Example: On a sunny weekend, they decided to go for a joy ride along the scenic coastal highway, relishing the open road.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter M

39. Mule

A motorcycle used primarily for testing purposes, often in the development of new parts or technologies.

Example: The engineers took the mule out for extensive testing to see how the new engine would hold up under extreme conditions.

40. Mods

Short for “modifications,” refer to changes or alterations made to a motorcycle to enhance its performance, appearance, or functionality.

Example: His bike was loaded with mods, from aftermarket exhaust pipes to custom paint and LED lights.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter N

41. Nac-Nac

A freestyle motocross trick where the rider kicks one leg over the handlebars while in the air, resembling the shape of the letter “N.”

Example: The crowd cheered as the rider pulled off a perfect nac-nac during the big jump at the motocross event.

42. Numb Bum

The uncomfortable sensation of having a numb or sore rear end after spending long hours in the saddle during extended rides.

Example: After a full day of riding on bumpy roads, he complained about having a numb bum that took a while to recover.

43. Nubs

Worn-out tires with very little tread depth remain, reducing traction and increasing the risk of sliding or losing control.

Example: He was riding cautiously on his nubs since he hadn’t gotten around to replacing the worn-out tires.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter O

44. Overdrive

A gear ratio in the motorcycle’s transmission which allows the engine to rotate at lower RPMs than usual while maintaining a given speed.

Example: Engaging overdrive on the highway helped reduce the engine’s RPM and saved fuel during the long journey.

45. Oil Bath

A method of chain lubrication in which the chain is submerged in oil.

Example: Back in the day, riders often used an oil bath to keep their chains well-lubricated for smoother rides.

46. On the Pipe

Refer to a two-stroke motorcycle engine operating at its peak power band or RPM range.

Example: He leaned forward and held on tight as his dirt bike roared on the pipe, delivering a burst of acceleration.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter P

47. Pillion

The seat behind the main rider on a motorcycle, designed to carry a passenger, also known as a “passenger seat” or “back seat.”

Example: She hopped on the pillion seat and held onto the rider as they set off for a scenic ride.

48. Pit Stop

A brief stop during a ride or race to refuel, rest, make adjustments, or perform maintenance on the motorcycle.

Example: During their cross-country journey, they made a pit stop at a roadside diner to grab a quick meal and stretch their legs.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter Q

49. Quiet Core

An insert placed inside the muffler or exhaust system of a motorcycle to reduce exhaust noise and meet noise regulations without sacrificing performance.

Example: To comply with local noise restrictions, he installed a quiet core in his aftermarket exhaust system.

50. Quart Of Oil Syndrome

A colloquial term used to describe older motorcycles that consume a noticeable amount of oil during regular operation.

Example: Despite its charm, his vintage bike had a quart of oil syndrome, requiring him to top up the oil more frequently.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter R

51. Rev Bomb

A maneuver in which a rider rapidly twists the throttle to produce a loud and attention-grabbing burst of engine revs, often as a way to signal other riders or pedestrians.

Example: As they rode through a tunnel, one of the riders playfully unleashed a rev bomb, creating an echoing roar.

52. Road Rash

Skin abrasions or injuries that result from sliding on the pavement after a fall or accident.

Example: Even though the crash was minor, he ended up with some road rash on his arms and legs.

53. Rice Burner

A slang term that was historically used to refer to Japanese motorcycles, especially sportbikes, due to the perception that they were high-performance but lacking in authenticity.

Example: In the ’80s, some riders would jokingly call Japanese sportbikes ‘rice burners’ as part of friendly banter.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter S

54. Squid

A derogatory term for a reckless or inexperienced motorcyclist who rides without proper safety gear and engages in dangerous riding practices.

Example: The group of squids roared past, weaving in and out of traffic without helmets or protective clothing.

55. Skid Lid

A slang term for a helmet, emphasizing the importance of wearing proper head protection.

Example: Before hitting the road, he made sure to strap on his skid lid to stay safe during the ride.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter T

56. Tail Gunner

The rider positioned at the back of a group formation during a group ride, ensuring no one gets left behind and helps manage the group’s safety.

Example: He volunteered to be the tail gunner for the charity ride, making sure all riders stayed together and safe.

57. Twisties

A colloquial term for winding and curvy roads that are fun to ride, allowing motorcyclists to lean into corners and enjoy dynamic handling.

Example: They headed out to the hills to tackle some twisties and make the most of the beautiful riding weather.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter U

58. Up The Creek

A term used to describe a motorcycle rider who finds themselves in a challenging or unfavorable situation with limited options or support.

Example: After his bike broke down in the middle of nowhere, he realized he was up the creek without a reliable phone signal.

59. Urban Jungle

Refer to the bustling and challenging environment of city streets and traffic.

Example: Navigating through the urban jungle requires quick reflexes and a keen sense of situational awareness.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter V

60. Vapor Lock

A condition in which fuel vapor forms in the fuel lines or carburetor of a bike, interrupting the normal flow of fuel and causing the engine to stall.

Example: On hot summer days, his vintage bike was prone to vapor lock, requiring him to let it cool down before restarting.

61. Vroom Vroom

An onomatopoeic term used humorously to mimic the sound of a motorcycle engine revving.

Example: As he started his bike, he grinned and let out a playful ‘vroom vroom’ before hitting the road.

62. Valve Float

A condition in which the intake or exhaust valves of an engine do not fully close due to high RPMs or inadequate valve spring tension.

Example: He noticed a decrease in power at high RPMs, indicating that his engine might be experiencing valve float.

Motorcycle Slang Started With Letter W

63. Wobble

An undesirable oscillation or side-to-side movement of a bike’s front wheel, often caused by imbalanced wheels, misalignment, or other factors.

Example: As he reached a certain speed, he noticed a slight speed wobble in the front wheel that required immediate attention.

64. White Lining

A term used to describe the practice of riding between stopped traffic and slow-moving lanes, typically in congested areas. Also known as “lane splitting.”

Example: In heavy traffic, he skillfully maneuvered his bike by white lining, making efficient progress through the gridlock.

65. Washboard Road

A road surface is characterized by a series of ridges and depressions, resembling the surface of a washboard.

Example: They encountered a long stretch of washboard road, requiring them to slow down and carefully navigate the rough surface.

Final Thoughts

As we park our kickstands and bring this journey through motorbike slang to a halt, one thing is clear: it’s more than just language; it’s the heartbeat of a culture that lives to ride. These slang terms for motorcycle etch a map of experiences and passions that connect riders across continents.

See more:

Share on:

Daniel Barker


Daniel Barker was introduced to racing in 2006 when he experienced his first track day on his Suzuki sv650. With more than 15 years of experience on his track. Daniel is known as for his high-energy riding, drifting, precision stoppies and technical riding ability on virtually any motorcycle.

Leave a Comment