Glossary / Technology

Motorcycle Glossary

2-Second Rule: The 2-Second Rule is the minimum spacing in seconds between moving motorcycles. While in formation,
2-Stroke: A 2-Stroke is an engine (also known as a Stroker) having two strokes per cycle. The combustion strok
4-Stroke: A 4-Stroke is an engine that uses four strokes to complete a complete cycle. The four strokes are: I
ABATE: ABATE is a biker organization that promotes more freedom for motorcyclists by limiting restrictive l
Aerodynamics: Motorcycle aerodynamics refers to bike designs that have as little air resistance as possible to ach
After-Market: Any items or accessories you buy that are not from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
Air Cleaner: An Air Cleaner is a filtering device with a replaceable cartridge (air filter) that filters the inco
Air Cooling: A method of dissipating heat from a motorcycle engine to keep it at operating temperature by way of
Airhead: Flat-twin, BMW motorcycles with an air-cooled engine that were built from 1923 up to 1995. The airhe
Alternator: Electronic generator that makes alternating current by spinning a magnetic rotor inside a coil-wound
Americade: Touring Rally held in early June at Lake George, NY
American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMAL): Sanctioning body for vintage motorcycling competition, it’s a member-owned non-profit association
American Motorcycle Association (AMA): The largest motorsports organization in the world, overseeing thousands of professional and amateur
Anodize: Anodizing, or anodising, is a process used to increase the thickness and density of the natural oxid
Anti-Dive System: A front-end suspension component that reduces how much the forks compress under braking, popular in
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS): The system, popularized on BMW and then Honda ST1100 motorcycles, utilizes a computerized system to
Ape Hangers: If you remember the motorcycles in the movie Easy Rider, you may also remember that the riders held
Apex: The middle or center point of a turn. This is important to motorcycle riders, since they orient thei
Arenacross: Arenacross is a variant of Supercross performed inside athletic arenas. These shows are promoted by
Arlen Ness: Motorcycle customizing owes much to the talents of Arlen Ness. He started out in 1967 by customizing
Armor: Protective padding used to reinforce motorcycle apparel. It is designed to absorb energy on impact
Asphalt Sealer: A tar-like substance used by road maintenance crews to fill cracks in the pavement. It can be very s
Atmospheric-Automatic Inlet Valve (AIS): System used on early engines in which the inlet valve is held shut by a weak spring and opens by atm
Autocycle: A 98cc moped.
Automatic-On Headlamp: An automatic-on headlamp, or a daytime running lamp (DRL), is a motorcycle’s headlamp that automat
Automatics: Riders of motorcycles are used to shifting gears and using a clutch. However, some new riders would
Back Marker: A slow rider marking the back of a pack of motorcyclists.
Backing It In: Going into a corner with the rear of the motorcycle sliding while the rider is counter-steering. Thi
Bagger: A Bagger is a motorcycle that is fitted with saddlebags to allow the rider to carry items for a trip
Balaclava: A Balaclava is a thin pull-over head and neck cover with eye slits for winter usage under a motorcyc
Bash Plate: A protective plate fitted under the engines of off-road machines to prevent damage caused by groundi
Basketcase: A Basketcase is a pile of parts usually bought as a whole and supposedly from a single bike model. B
Bathtub: Bodywork resembling an upside-down bathtub used on rear of some Triumph motorcycles. It was introduc
Battery: A Battery is an electrical storage device that forms the central core of a motorcycle's electrical s
Beanie: A beanie, also called a shortie, is a small helmet that sits on the top of the head providing less p
Beater: Beginning riders should not attempt to buy a new motorcycle as their first bike. Almost always, a ne
Beemer: A term used for a BMW motorcycle. A bimmer is the corresponding term used for a BMW automobile.
Bell Mouth: Bell-shaped air intake fitted to some carburetors.
Belt Drive: Belt Drive is a method to transmit power from the transmission to the rear wheel of the motorcycle u
Berm: Built-up dirt on the outside of a turn, either created with a bulldozer or as riders continually go
Bevel: The angle that one surface makes with another when they are not at right angles.
Bevel Drive Shaft: A shaft with a bevel gear at one end or both ends. It is used primarily for driving an overhead cams
Bevel Gears: A pair of gears with faces cut at an angle of 45°, allowing drive to be turned through 90°.
Big Dog Rider: An experienced and aggressive motorcyclist known for feats of daring and skill, such as riding at hi
Big End: The larger (crankshaft) end of the connecting rod.
Big Twin: Any Harley Davidson brand motorcycle that is not a Sportster.
Bike Blessing: Since motorcycling is an activity involving risk, it is sometimes prudent to bless these machines an
Biker: A Biker is one who rides a bike or motorcycle. The term Biker brings up different images to differen
Binders: Motorcycle brakes
Blind Corner: A turn in the road that is visually obstructed and prevents the rider from seeing the path of the ro
Block Pass: Going into a turn, a rider attempting a block pass will accelerate before the apex and slip his moto
Blue Knights: The Blue Knights® is a non-profit fraternal organization consisting of active and retired law enfor
Bluetooth: Bluetooth wireless technology utilizes short-range communications technology for both voice and data
BMW: A BMW is a brand of motorcycle. BMWs were first made in 1923 with the R32 boxer. If you mention BMW
Body English: A method used by motorcycle riders to help control lean angle or direction independent of the handle
Boinger: 1) Suspension. Example: I tested various boinger components to improve my bike’s front-end handlin
Boneshaker: A late 19th century bicycle, and later, a very early motorcycle based upon the same frame. "Bonesha
Bore: The measurement of a cylinders diameter (see also stroke).
Bottom Dead Center (BDC): The point during crankshaft rotation at which the piston is in its lowest possible position. (Compar
Bottom End: Bottom End refers to the bottom portion of a motorcycle engine including the crankshaft, connecting
Bottom Out: When the suspension runs out of travel and bumps against its internal stops. "My rear suspension bot
Bow Wave: A wave of water pushed ahead of a tire, similar to the wave pushed ahead of a boat moving through wa
Boxer: Refers to the BMW R-Series engine that has two horizontally opposed cylinders.
Boxer Twin: A horizontal engine configuration with the two pistons opposing each other, commonly found on BMW tw
Brake Horsepower (BHP): The measure of an engine’s horsepower without the loss in power caused by the gearbox, generator,
Brake Marker: A track indicator placed off to the side of the track, marking a spot where a rider may wish to begi
Bungee Cord: Bungee cords or nets are used to secure cargo to a bike. There are U-shaped hooks at the ends of the
BuRP Rally: BuRP stands for Blue Ridge Parkway and You. The BuRP Rally is a motorcycle rally founded by members
Bus Stop: A slow first-gear corner.
Cafe Racer: A style of motorcycle popularized in London in the ’50s where bikers wanted a fast, personalized a
Cafe Racer: A Cafe Racer is a style of bike popularized in London in the '50s where bikers wanted a fast, person
Cage: A car, truck, van, RV or other vehicle that confines the inhabitants within an enclosed space.
Cager: The driver of a car, truck, van, RV or other vehicle that confines the inhabitants within an enclose
Caliper: A Caliper is the non-rotating portion of the disc brake that contains the hydraulic components inclu
Cam: An eccentrically shaped rotor that converts rotational movement into linear movement. Cams are used
Camber: Sideways angle or slant of the pavement.
Camshaft: A metal shaft with two or more cams (oval "lobes") that rotates to operate inlet and/or exhaust valv
Camshaft: A Camshaft is a shaft containing lobes (also called cams) which is synchronized with the crankshaft.
Canyon Bites: Serious motorcycle accidents that occur while riding fast on twisty roads that are found in canyons
Carbon Fiber: A high-tech material available in many motorcycle applications due to its high rigidity and low weig
Carburetor: A mechanical device found on the intake side of the engine which mixes fuel and air to create the vo
Casing It: "Casing" refers to landing on the frame rails and engine cases. For example, when coming up short on
CB: The Citizen's Band (CB) craze in automobiles has long since died but CBs are still used to communica
CC: CC refers to the cubic centimeters of displacement of an engine. Usually written, for example, as 12
CE Armor: A European system of grading motorcycle protective armor that encompasses both energy absorption cap
Centerstand: A Centerstand is a stand mounted under the motorcycle with a spring return. When the Centerstand is
Chain Drive: Chain Drive is a method to transmit power from the transmission to the rear wheel of the motorcycle
Chair (Sidecar): A one-wheeled carriage for a single passenger attached to the side of a motorcycle, producing a thre
Chaps: Most motorcycle riders like to have some protection on their legs while riding. A pair of leather ch
Chassis: The frame and suspension systems of a motorcycle.
Chicane: A part of the track consisting of back-to-back left and right turns. Chicanes can be a part of the o
Choke: The Choke is a device that restricts the air intake to result in a richer fuel mixture which assists
Chopper: A cruiser style bike that has a lot of the pieces of the bike 'chopped off.' The riders of the '60s
CI: CI refers to the cubic inches of displacement of an engine. Usually written, for example, as 80ci. T
Clincher Rims: Type of wheel rim used with early beaded-edge tires.
Clip-On Engine: An engine that attaches to a conventional bicycle frame.
Clip-Ons: Handlebars that are clamped around the top of the fork tubes, rather than bolted to the top triple-t
Clutch: A mechanism for transmitting rotation, which can be engaged and disengaged. There are many different
Clutch - Dry: A Dry Clutch is more like the clutch found on an automobile that separates the engine from the trans
Clutch - Wet: A Wet Clutch is one that contains many plates that are in the oil spray of the transmission and the
Co-Rider: A Wet Clutch is one that contains many plates that are in the oil spray of the transmission and the
Colors: Many bikers/motorcyclists join motorcycle clubs. Usually these clubs have distinctive jackets. Also,
Compression Ratio: In an internal combustion engine, the measurement of the difference between cylinder volume at BDC a
Contact Breaker: The spring switch in the low-tension ignition circuit that controls the timing of the spark in the h
Contact Patch: The Contact Patch (CP) is the area on the ground where your motorcycle tire actually touches the roa
Contracting-Band Brake: A brake in which a band is tightened around a rotation drum.
Counter Balancer: A weight in the engine that spins with the rpm to smooth out engine vibrations.
Counter Steering: The input a motorcyclist gives to the handlebars in order to steer: push the right handlebar to go r
Countersteer: A motorcycle turns left/right by slightly pushing the left/right handlebar. Push left, go left. Push
Cradle Frame: Motorcycle frame with two tubes passing under the engine (Compare Open Cradle Frame).
Crankshaft: The main rotating shaft running through the length of the engine. As the pistons move up and down, t
Crash Bar: Many motorcycles have a Crash Bar or guard to protect the bike should it fall over. You'll have to l
Crash Padding: A motorcyclist’s protective clothing, especially abrasion-resistant and impact absorbing riding ge
Crotch Rocket: A term some people use to describe a high-performance sportbike motorcycle.
Cruiser: A style of motorcycle generally equipped with a low seat and pullback handlebars. This style of bike
Cush Drive: A transmission shock absorber, usually a rubber cushion in the rear hub.
Custom Motorcycles: For many motorcyclists, the choices provided by the motorcycle manufacturers do not provide enough v
Cylinder: The tube-shaped sleeves that house the pistons in an engine and where the fuel/air mixture is drawn
Cylinder Head: A casting that caps the cylinder and contains the valves and combustion chamber.
Damper: Means of controlling speed of movement of the steering or suspension.
Daytona: The famous Daytona Bike Week held in late February to early March.
Daytona Bike Week: A motorcycle event and rally held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. Approximately 500,000 people m
Desmodromic: Desmodromic has to do with valve control in the engine. With desmodromic control, no return springs
Diamond Frame: Tubular frame design common until World War II and derived from the bicycle layout. The engine cases
Die-Cast Controlled-Fill Aluminum Frame: Alloy frames featuring large one-piece sections constructed with a high-vacuum mold process, reducin
Dirt Bike: Some motorcycles are designed to be ridden on rough terrain. They are known as Dirt Bikes or trail b
Disc Brake: A Disc Brake consists of both a rotating portion called the Rotor and a stationary portion called th
Displacement: Displacement is the volume displaced in the cylinders of an engine as the pistons move from their bo
Distributor: An internal combustion engine device which distributes high voltage in the ignition system to the sp
Dope: Highly combustible alcohol/methanol-based fuel mixture.
DOT Helmet Rating: The Department of Transportation (DOT) rates motorcycle helmets. The rating is based on dropping the
Double Overhead Cam (DOHC): Designation for engines that utilize one camshaft to open the engine intake valves and another to op
Doubles-Triples: Large multiple jumps that allow riders to fly through the air rather than traversing each jump one a
DQed- Disqualified: To become ineligible. "I thought I won, but I got DQ’ed."
Drag Bars: Drag Bars are distinctive custom handlebars that are relatively straight and require a slight forwar
Dresser: Normally a large fully equipped bike with fairing, saddlebags, and a trunk.
Druid Forks: Side-sprung girder forks. Druid were the original makers.
Drum Brake: A Drum Brake is the older style of motorcycle brake. Most bikes use disc brakes these days. Drum bra
Dry Clutch: As opposed to a "wet clutch" which is immersed in a cooling, lubricating fluid, which also keeps the
Dry Sump: An oil lubrication system for four-stroke and two-stroke internal combustion engines that incorporat
Dual Sport: Street legal motorcycles that provide varying levels of off-road capabilities. Not as focused as pur
Dual-Sport: Dual-Sport refers to a street-legal motorcycle that is designed to also be used in off-road situatio
Dump The Clutch: This is when a rider revs up the engine and quickly releases the clutch, launching the bike off the
Duplex: Double, having two parts. Applies to frames with two down tubes, and chains with double rows of roll
Dynamo: Electric generator that produces alternating current.
Dynamometer: A machine used to measure torque and rotational speed (RPM) which can be used to calculate the mecha
E-ZPass: Motorcyclists have always had a problem at toll plazas. They have to slow down, push up their face s
Earles Forks: Long leading-link forks, ie front suspension by pivoting fork controlled by twin shock absorbers. De
Easy Rider: The famous motorcycle movie, released in 1969, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nichols
Electric Motorcycle: Motorbikes with two (or three) wheels that use electric motors powered by batteries, or fuel cell te
Electrics: Many motorcyclists ride in all kinds of weather conditions. Thus, riding is not just for fair weathe
Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI): Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) is a fuel delivery mechanism that eliminates the need for a carburet
Enduro: According to the rules of the AMA, 'An Enduro is a meet in which speed is not the determining factor
Engine Control Unit (ECU): Controls various aspects of an internal combustion engine’s operation. ECUs control the quantity o
Engine Cut Off Switch: Usually located on the right handlebar switch housing, this switch allows the motorcyclist to turn o
Engine Guards: See Frame Sliders
Enrichener: The Enrichener is a device that restricts the air intake to result in a richer fuel mixture which as
Epicyclic Gear: A gear that operates around the circumference of another.
Ergonomics: The study of body posture, and the positioning of instruments, to create a good human-to-machine int
Esses: A series of turns with quick left and right transitions.
Evolution: Evolution is the name of the Harley-Davidson engine used from 1984-1999, sometimes called the EVO. T
Face Cam: A cam system in which the eccentrics are situated on the face of a rotating disc.
Fairing: An enclosure on the front of the bike containing the windshield and affording wind protection to the
Farkles: Motorcycle enthusiasts may install accessories, called farkles (also spelled farkels), to customize
Fat Boy: Harley-Davidson released a motorcycle in 1990 based on the FLST Heritage Softail. They called it the
Featherbed Frame: Famous Norton frame design by the McCandless brothers. It was introduced in 1950 and was given its n
Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM): The governing body of the international motorcycle sport. Originally founded in 1904, it represents
Final Drive: Means of transmitting power to the driven wheel, usually by chain, shaft, or belt.
Flat Tank: Fuel tank shape used on early motorcycles.
Flat Twin: A two cylinder internal combustion engine with the cylinders arranged on opposite sides of the crank
Flathead: Flathead is a type of engine where the valves are located in the side of the engine. The head of the
Flickable: Used to describe the agility of a motorcycle, or how quickly a rider can "flick" the bike from side
Float Bowl: The fuel reservoir on a carburettor into which fuel flow is controlled by a valve operated by a floa
FMVSS 218: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218. It outlines
Foot Pegs: Foot Pegs are pegs wide enough to support the foot while riding. They may be mounted directly under
Fore-and-Aft Flat Twin: A flat-twin engine mounted with cylinders positioned in line with the frame.
Forecar: Early three-wheeled vehicle with two-front wheels fitted to a motorcycle based fame. Passenger accom
Fork: The metal tubes that connect the front wheel to the motorcycle frame via the triple tree. For handli
Forward Controls: The foot pegs, foot brake, and shifter on a motorcycle can be located either pretty much straight do
Four Stroke Engine: The most common engine design found in street motorcycles. It refers to the number of times a piston
Frame Sliders: Many motorcycles have Engine Guards to protect the bike should it fall over. These are billed as Eng
Fuel Injection: A device that serves the same function as a carburetor, but uses computer-controlled jets to inject
Full-Face Helmet: A Full-Face Helmet surrounds the head with protection on the top, sides, back, front, and chin areas
G-Force: The amount of gravitational pull simulated during a period of high acceleration or a sudden change i
G-Out: A rapid transition from a long downhill to a steep uphill causing the rider to experience G-Force at
Garden Gate: Nickname for the plunger-sprung frames used on Norton machines from the late 1930s.
Gear Cluster: A set of gears.
Gear Ratio: The gear ratio is the relationship between the number of teeth on two gears that are meshed together
Geezer Glide: Geezer Glide is a term used by some old Harley riders to lovingly refer to the Harley full dress tou
Get-Off: Sometimes a rider gets into a situation where the bike becomes unstable either because of an impendi
Girder Forks: Type of forks common on early machines, comprising rigid beams attached to the steering head by para
Gloves: Hand apparel covering all or part of the hand and fingers. Motorcycle gloves provide additional safe
Gold Wing: Gold Wing is a Honda model first introduced in 1975. It's a touring motorcycle suitable for luxuriou
GPS: These days, motorcyclists want to equip their motorcycles with all the latest electronic gadgets. On
Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing: Established in 1949 by the FIM, it is the oldest motorsport World Championship that is still in exis
Greasy Track: A slippery racetrack.
Green Track: A new road-racing course with no rubber on the surface, which can be slippery. "I had to be careful
GWRRA: GWRRA stands for the Gold Wing Road Riders Association. This group headquartered in Phoenix, AZ has
Gypsy Tour: A motorcycle road event, usually several days in duration, in which the participants travel through
Hack: A Hack is another term for a sidecar. Also called a chair. Hacks are an old form of motorcycle trans
Hairpin: A very slow, tight, sometimes 180-degree, turn.
Hard Tail: Hard Tail refers to a bike with no rear suspension. Harley-Davidson motorcycles were all Hard Tails
Head Tube: The outer tube which holds the bearings that allow the front fork steer tube to pivot freely.
Headlight Modulator: A Headlight Modulator is a device that turns your motorcycle headlight into an attention-getter. It
Heel-Toe Shifter: Normally, shifting on a motorcycle is done by placing your foot under the shift lever, squeezing the
Helical Gear: The leading edges of the teeth are not parallel to the axis of rotation, but are set at an angle. Si
Hells Angels: Movie produced in 1930 by Howard Hughes. Also a B-17 squadron in WWII. The name was subsequently tak
Helmet Hair: Wearing a motorcycle helmet tends to mess up one's hair. Removing the helmet usually leaves hair sti
High Side: A type of motorcycle crash that occurs when the rear wheel starts to slide in a turn (sometimes due
Highsiding: Highsiding occurs when the rider of a motorcycle is flipped over the handlebars of the bike. This mo
Highway Pegs: Footrests situated forward of the rider so the legs can be stretched out to relieve highway fatigue.
HOG: Has various meanings from Harley Owners Group to simply a Harley rider or the machine itself.
Holeshot: In motorcycle racing, the drive from a standing start up to racing speed. Generally, the rider who m
Hollister Incident: A band of bikers rode into Hollister, CA. on July 4, 1947 for a 3-day rally. Some drunkenness occurr
Homologation: Homologate means "to approve, especially to confirm officially." Homologation is the approval proces
Honda Dream: First Honda model that popularized motorcycles to Americans in the early '60s.
Horizontally Opposed: Type of engine layout in which the cylinders are placed at 180° to one another. It is also describe
Horsepower: A unit of measurement used to describe an engine’s strength. Typically, the more horsepower an eng
Horsepower: One Horsepower is defined as the amount of work required to raise a 550 pound weight one foot in one
Hub-Center Steering: One of several different types of front-end suspension/steering mechanisms used in motorcycles. Hub-
Hunting (engine): The uneven running of an engine, due to air/fuel mixture being too rich.
Hurt Report: Harry Hurt conducted the definitive study on motorcycle accidents at USC in 1979. His team studied 3
Ignition Timing: The process of setting the time that a spark will occur in the engine combustion chamber (during the
Inlet Over Exhaust (IOE): Valve layout used on some early machines in which the exhaust valve was mounted to the side of the e
Inline: Engine layout in which the cylinders are arranged in a row. For example, an "inline 4? engine would
Inline 4: An Inline 4 is an engine having four cylinders in a row.
Integrated Brakes: Integrated Brakes are used on motorcycles to link together the front and rear brakes. Many inexperie
International Six Day Enduro (ISDE): The oldest "off road" motorcycle event on the FIM Calendar. (Originally titled the "International Si
International Six Day Trial (ISDT): Originally titled the International Six Day Trial, since 1980 it has been called the "ISD Enduro." T
Iron Butt Rally: The Iron Butt Rally is an 11 day 11,000 mile trip around the perimeter of the United States. It has
Isolastic: Proprietary name for an engine/swingarm rubber mounting system used by Norton on its early Commando
JA Prestwich Industries Ltd (JAP): English engine manufacturer. Engines were produced for motorcycles such as Brough Superior, Triumph,
Jet: Within a carburetor, precisely-calibrated small holes introducing fuel into the air stream.
Jockey Shifter: A motorcycle shift lever that is controlled by a rider’s hand (instead of a foot) and which sits e
Jockey Wheel: A wheel used to maintain tension in a chain or belt.
Jump Start: Jump Start is the term used to describe starting a motorcycle that has a dead battery by placing a g
Jumper Cables: Jumper Cables are heavy electrical cables with clips on the ends used to connect two batteries toget
Keystone Frame: An American term to describe a diamond-type frame in which the engine serves as part of the structur
Kickstarter: A Kickstarter is used to start a motorcycle. The kickstarter is a pedal that is swiftly kicked downw
Kill Switch: The Kill Switch is in series with the ignition switch. When the Kill Switch is open, the bike will n
Knobbies: The type of tires used by supercross and motocross racers. These tires have large square knobs of ru
Knucklehead: Knucklehead is the name of the Harley-Davidson engine used from 1936-1947. If you sit on the seat of
Laconia: Large rally and races in Laconia, NH in late June each year. Predominately, Harley-Davidson riders.
Laguna Seca: "Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca" is a 2.238 miles (3.602 kilometers) paved racetrack near Monterey, Calif
Lane Splitting: Lane Splitting is the process of riding your motorcycle in the same lane with cars or other motorcyc
Lapper: In motorcycle racing, a slow rider who is being lapped by the leaders.
Laughlin: Laughlin is a rally held in Nevada near the Arizona border in late April.
Leading Link: Front motorcycle suspension design in which the axle is mounted at the front end of two short links
Leading Shoe: A type of drum brake mechanism. The "leading" brake shoe is applied in the direction of the drum rot
Leaf Spring: A spring that comprises strips of spring steel clamped together commonly used for the suspension in
Leathers: The form-fitting leather suit a rider wears on the street or track. Racing leathers feature special,
Left-Turner Accidents: The most frequent motorcycle/automobile accidents are collisions of motorcycles with left-turning dr
LEO: Cops have many terms that describe them. One term sometimes used by motorcyclists is LEO which stand
Lid: Another name for a helmet is a Lid. Some states require helmet use. Other states have age restrictio
Line: This describes the path of the motorcycle as a rider goes through a section of track or around a tur
Loading: Compression of a motorcycle suspension. (Compare unloading).
Loop Frame: Early motorcycle frame design in which the downtube curves underneath the engine case and then upwar
Low Side: A motorcycle crash that results from a wheel losing traction, allowing the bike to fall sideways. Th
Lowsiding: Lowsiding occurs when a motorcycle falls over and drops the rider to the ground. Some riders have be
M-C: M/C stands for Motorcycle Club. M/C is also written as MC. A motorcycle club is just a group of ride
Mag Alloy: Magnesium alloy, a strong lightweight metal used for many components, particularly wheels.
Magneto: A high-tension spark generator for the ignition system that does not require an external power sourc
Manifold: A branched collection of pipes for inlet or exhaust gases.
Marque: Make or brand of a motorcycle. (French for "brand"). For example: Aprilia, BMW, Buell, Ducati, Harle
Master Cylinder: A Master Cylinder for a motorcycle is usually located in two places. The front master cylinder is po
Megaphone: An outwardly tapered high-performance exhaust.
Mesh Jacket: An open-weave, protective apparel for motorcycle riders that allows air to circulate through the gar
Metric Cruiser: Metric Cruiser is a general category of bikes including Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki as oppos
Modular Helmet: Similar to a full face helmet, however the chin area can be pivoted up and out of the way, when a ri
Monocoque Frame: A motorcycle frame in which the structure is made as one unit from a sheet material (ie alloy or ste
Moped: A pedal assisted motorcycle of less than 50cc.
Motocross: Off-road motorcycle racing held on enclosed, rough circuits. Motocross is derived from the French, a
Motocross: Motocross is an outdoor dirtbike competition using long courses over basically natural terrain with
Motocross Bike: A light-weight motorcycle specifically designed for racing in motocross competition or on a dirt tra
MotoGP: The premier class of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. The sport combines high-speed motorcycles, which
Motor Maids: The Motor Maids is a woman's motorcycle organization founded in 1940 by Linda Dugeau of Providence,
Motorcycle: Motorcycles are 2-wheel vehicles patterned after bicycles but with engines and much heavier frames.
Motorcycle Assembly: The putting together of manufactured parts to make a completed motorcycle, or the set of parts so as
Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF): The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a US national, not-for-profit organization sponsored by the U.S.
Motorcyclist: A Motorcyclist is one who rides a motorcycle or bike. The similar term Biker brings up a different i
Motosacoche Accacias Geneva (MAG): Swiss motorcycle engine makers in the first half of the 20th century. The company also produced comp
Nacelle: A housing, usually for mounting instruments or headlight.
Naked Bike: A Naked Bike is a machine with little or no wind-deflection and an exposed chassis. The Ducati Monst
Naked Bikes: Sport or standard motorcycles with minimum bodywork, fairings or windshields. This is a motorbike in
Neutral Light: Most modern motorcycles have a green neutral light that lights when the motorcycle transmission is i
New Werner Motorcycle: Unveiled at the 1901 Cycle & Motor Show in Paris, the "New Werner" is one of the early motorbikes to
Newbie: A Newbie is a person who is just starting to learn about some new endeavor. A Newbie is a beginner o
NHTSA: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an agency of the United States Departm
North American Trials Council (NATC): The mission of the NATC, Inc. is to establish and to administer a US National Trials Championship se
Off-Camber: OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. As an example, Harley makes a motorcycle out of part
Off-Road: Off-Road implies that a motorcycle is ridden off the street onto dirt, trails, sand, woods, hilly te
Off-Road Bike: A motorcycle designed for use in the dirt or off-pavement. They are typically not street legal, but
Oil Filter: An Oil Filter filters the oil in the engine. Changing the oil and oil filter is one task that many r
Oilhead: Oilhead refers to the air-cooled engines of more recent BMW motorcycles that also contain an oil coo
On Any Sunday: Famous motorcycle movie featuring Malcolm Smith that popularized motorcycling.
On The Box: A top-three finish that puts a rider on the victory podium. "I was happy just to get on the box toda
On The Gas: When a rider is going very fast. "I tried to pass him, but he was really on the gas."
On The Pipe: When a rider or bike is going very fast. This expression refers to when a competition bike’s two-s
One Percenter: Many years ago, the AMA stated that 99% of motorcyclists are law abiding people and only 1% are caus
One-Off: Those who happen to watch TV shows such as American Chopper get to observe the building of a custom
Open Cradle Frame: Motorcycle frame without tubes running under the engine. The engine unit bolts into place between th
Open Frame: Motorbike frame layout with a low structure between the seat and the steering head often associated
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): A company that purchases products or components from another company and resells them with their own
Outlaw: The AMA attempted to organize most of the motorcycle racing competitions many years ago. Some motorc
Over Square: An engine with a greater cylinder bore than piston stroke.
Overhead Camshaft (OHC): A camshaft in an internal-combustion engine that is mounted within the cylinder heads, above the com
Overhead Valve (OHV): A type of piston engine that places the camshaft in the cylinder block and uses pushrods or rods to
Packing List: A Packing List is an alphabetical list of items to be taken with you when you travel on your motorcy
Panhead: Panhead is the name of the Harley-Davidson engine used from 1948-1965. The chromed rocker covers res
Paralever: Paralever is the name of a radically different rear suspension system first used on the BMW R100GS m
Parallel Twin: A two-cylinder engine configuration in which both cylinders are mounted side-by-side and across the
Parked It: To be going slower than conditions allow through a turn. "As I was coming up to turn three this guy
Parked Motorcycle Syndrome (PMS): PMS is defined as Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. This is a common disease that occurs in the winter whe
Passenger Pegs: Passenger Pegs are pegs wide enough to support the foot of a passenger (pillion) while riding. They
Petcock: A petcock is a manually operated device inserted in the gas line that allows for an On, Off, and Res
Pillion: A small cushion designed for carrying a passenger mounted behind a solo saddle. Also, can refer to t
Pin It: To go full throttle: Reference to pinning the tachometer and/or the speedometer needle all the way t
Pinion: A small gear
Pit Board: A large sign a mechanic writes on and shows to his rider as he goes past. Pit board signs can be use
Pit Lane: The lane on the inside of the track, usually adjacent to the main straight, where riders come in to
Pits: Where the racing teams park their trucks and set up makeshift garages to work on the bikes and house
Planetary Gear: A gear system that consists of one or more outer gears (or planet gears), rotating about a central g
Plunger Suspension: In the 1930’s the "plunger" motorcycle frame suspension began to replace the rigid frames of earli
Pocket Bike: These are extremely small bikes that look like miniature sportbikes, have engines under 50cc and sel
Podium or The Box: The victory stand where riders placing first through third stand to receive their trophies.
Poker Run: A Poker Run is an organized motorcycle event where riders travel over a prescribed course and at des
Polar Bear Grand Tour: Most motorcyclists don't ride in the winter. However, the Polar Bear Grand Tour held each Sunday beg
Port: Opening into an engine cylinder.
Port Timing: In two-stroke engines the critical moment when ports are covered or uncovered by the piston. Port ti
Poseur: A Poseur is a person who pretends to be what he is not. There are those individuals within motorcycl
Positive Camber: A Positive Camber turn is one that is banked higher on the outside of the turn than on the inside. N
Powder Coating: There are various ways to paint a motorcycle. A popular method these days is powder coating. The pai
Pre-Unit: An early motorcycle engine architecture where the engine and gearbox are built as independent casing
Pressed Steel: Sheet steel made into curved sections by press forming. It is often used in the construction of moto
Primary Drive: The system of transferring power from the motorcycle engine to the gearbox. Usually achieved by chai
Privateers: Motorcycle racers who do not have the backing of a manufacturer.
Puck: Knee skids, attached to leathers with hook and loop material, that riders wear to slide their knees
Pushrods: Pushrods are used to connect to rocker arm assemblies which, in turn, open and close valves. In this
Racing Flags: Checkered Flag – First across wins: race over, Black Flag – Rider disqualified or problem with m
Radial Mounted Calipers: A transfer of technology from road racing machines to street bikes of today. The brake calipers atta
Rake: The angle the forks are from perpendicular, usually expressed in degrees. (Compare trail).
Rake and Trail: Rake is the angle of the fork away from vertical toward the rider. Trail is the distance on the grou
Rally: A gathering of motorcyclists. Could be any number as small as 50 or as large as 500,000.
RAM-Air Intake Ducts: Inlets in the front of the fairing, connected to ducts leading to the airbox, force fresh, cool air
Rat Bike: A rat bike is a bike that is usually unkempt and is loaded with all sorts of luggage, tools, tents,
Rear Sets: Racing-style footrests fitted towards the rear of the machine to allow the rider to adopt a racing c
Rearsets: When racing a motorcycle or just doing the twisties, a rider often finds that the pegs just get in t
Rectifier: An electrical component in motorcycle charging circuits that converts alternating current into direc
Redline: The maximum number of revolutions per minute an engine can run before damage occurs. The name is der
Reed Valves: Reed valves are commonly used in high-performance versions of the two-stroke engine, where they cont
RETREADS: The RETREADS® Motorcycle Club was conceived and founded in 1969 by five men through a letters colum
Rev Limiter: Also known as an "RPM Limiter": A rev limiter reduces the power of an engine when a certain RPM is r
Revolution: Revolution is the name of the Harley-Davidson engine first introduced in the V-Rod in 2001. This eng
Rice Rocket: High performance sport bike from Japan
Riceburner: A Riceburner is a Japanese motorcycle. The term tends to be used by riders of American made motorcyc
Rich Urban Biker (RUB): Image-oriented motorcycle owner with more money than riding knowledge or experience.
Ride Bell: There are many stories about the Ride Bell. Here's one: Have you noticed that small bell on some peo
Ride To Work Day: Ride to Work Day was inspired by various 'Work to Ride - Ride to Work' T-shirts, stickers and other
Riding The Clutch: A clutch generally consists of a disk which, in its normal state, connects the engine to the transmi
Rig: A motorcycle with an attached sidecar. Also any combination of motorcycle with or without sidecar pu
Rigid: A bike with no rear suspension is said to be a rigid. Harley-Davidson motorcycles all had rigid fram
Rim Lock: Rim locks are used to prevent tires from slipping around motorcycle rims. They are primarily used on
Rising Rate: A suspension system that becomes harder to compress the further it is compressed. This is usually ac
Road Rash: Road Rash is a term used to define injuries to the skin when a rider falls or is thrown from the mot
Roadster: Type of motorcycle with no fairing or wind protection, and where the bike’s engine and system comp
Rocker Arm: A centrally pivoted lever that transmits the motion of the camshaft to open and close the valves.
Rolling Chassis: The assembled frame, wheels and suspension of a motorcycle.
Roost: The debris kicked up by a spinning rear wheel. Used as a verb, to leave someone behind.
Rotary Engine: An internal combustion engine that does not have pistons, camshafts, valvetrain, or a crank shaft. I
RPM: RPM is defined as Revolutions Per Minute. Horsepower, Torque, and RPM are interrelated by the formul
Ruts: When dirt terrain is soft or damp, deep channels or "ruts" can be formed when the rear tires dig thr
Saddle Tank: A fuel tank that fits over the top tube of the motorcycle frame.
Saddlebags: Saddlebags are either soft or hard containers attached over the rear fender of a motorcycle. They ha
Scoot: Affectionate term for a motorcycle.
Scooter: Small, two-wheeled, utilitarian motorbike with a step-thru frame.
Scooter: A scooter, in its purist definition, could be considered a small motorcycle with a step-through or f
SCRC: The Southern Cruisers Riding Club (SCRC) was founded by Rick Perry (Rickster) as a local motorcycle
Sender: An electronic sensor unit on a motorcycle conveying information about an engine to a warning light o
Servo (Servomechanism): An electronic control system in which a hydraulic, pneumatic, or other type of larger-powered contro
Shaft Drive: Shaft Drive is a method to transmit power from the transmission to the rear wheel of the motorcycle
Shaft Jacking: Unwanted motion in the rear end of motorcycles with a shaft drive. While under acceleration, the rea
Shovelhead: Shovelhead is the name of the Harley-Davidson engine used from 1966-1985. The shovel engine has rock
Sidecar: A Sidecar is attached to a motorcycle to create a 3-wheeled combination. The sidecar is also known a
Sidestand: The Sidestand retracts from the left side of a motorcycle and contacts the ground to hold up the mac
Sidevalve Engine (SV): Valves positioned in an engine beside a cylinder instead of in the cylinder head. The design was com
Simplex: A lightweight motorized bike manufactured from 1935 to 1960 in Louisiana. Starting the engine was ac
Single Overhead Cam (SOHC): A single cam shaft found in the head or top of the engine that activates the valves. (Compare DOHC).
Sintered Brake Pads: Asbestos-free brake pads made of sintered metal, with excellent friction coefficient and heat resist
Sipes: One of many small incisions on a tire’s surface for the purpose of improving traction.
Sissy Bar: A tall backrest on the passenger seat of a motorcycle. It helps to keep a passenger from falling off
Slicks: Racetrack-only tires, so named because they have no tread at all, just a smooth surface so that the
Slip The Clutch: To feather or fan the clutch lever back and forth to prevent stalling the engine or spinning the rea
Slipper Clutch: Specialized clutches developed for racing motorcycles to mitigate the effects of engine braking when
Snakes: The serpentine tar strips sometimes used to fill cracks on a racetrack.
Snell Helmet Rating: The Snell Memorial Foundation rates motorcycle helmets. The rating is based on dropping the helmet c
Snell Rating: The non-profit Snell Memorial Foundation was formed in 1957 and is the world’s most popular indepe
Soft Tail: A Soft Tail is a motorcycle that appears to have a Hard Tail rear suspension but in reality has shoc
Speedway: Motorcycle speedway is a specialized sport run on oval, dirt tracks with usually four and sometimes
Spine Frame: A motorcycle frame with a single main structural member from which the engine is suspended. Also kno
Sport Bike: A focused motorcycle designed for speed and handling. These machines are usually equipped with aerod
Sport Tourer: A motorcycle that combines some of the handling and power of a sport bike, with some of the amenitie
Sport-Tourer: A Sport-Tourer bike is one that is sporty like a sportbike but capable of touring with some comfort.
Sportbike: Very fast, colorfully decorated, high-performance motorcycle. Sportbikes are flashy, fast, and light
Sportie: Harley-Davidson introduced the Sportster in 1957. The Sportster is sometimes called a Sportie or Spo
Sportster: Harley-Davidson's entry level model is a popular model for both men and women riders.
Springer: A Springer is a particular Harley-Davidson model in the Softail family. It is characterized by a fro
Squat: When the rear of the motorcycle compresses due to hard acceleration. "The bike seems to have a lot o
Squid: Have you seen a motorcycle rider who does not wear protective clothing, darts into and out of traffi
Standard: A motorcycle intended for general, all-around street use, typically with an upright seating posture
Standard Bike: Tends to be a motorcycle without frills such as saddlebags, windshield, radio, or trunk. It is the c
Steering Damper: In order to prevent or minimize the front wheel from oscillating left and right over varied or bumpy
Step-Thru: Motorbike frame layout with a low structure between the seat and the steering head often associated
Stiction: Short for "Static Friction." More generally, this refers to the friction which tends to prevent stat
Stoppie: A stoppie is a motorcycle maneuver performed by a skilled rider to stop a moving motorcycle so the r
Streetfighter Motorcycle: A custom sport bike noted for having an "aggressive" appearance, often as a result of modified or re
Stressed Member: A component that is an integral part of the whole structure. A common motorcycle use of this term is
Stretch: Used by those that customize motorcycles: an expression of how much a tank or frame has been elongat
Stroke: Measurement of length of piston travel in the bore, usually expressed in millimeters.
Stroker: Stroker has at least two definitions. First, it is another word for a 2-stroke engine. Second, it re
Sturgis: Town of 6000 in SD where the Sturgis Rally and Races is held in early August. Attracts as many as 40
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: Motorcycle event held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota. It was founded on August 14, 1938 by the Ja
Subframe: Any auxiliary framework attached to the main body of a motorcycle frame. Typically, this refers to t
Suicide Shifter: Nick-name for a hand-shifter mounted onto a motorcycle. The term refers to the shift operation which
Sump: The oil reservoir for an internal-combustion engine, which is part of the lubrication system. See we
Superbike: A high-performance sport bike with a big engine (generally 1000cc and larger)
Supercharger: An air compressor used to force more air into the combustion chambers of an internal combustion engi
Supercross: Supercross is a dirtbike competition using relatively short courses inside athletic stadiums with mo
Supermoto: Generally, a style of motorcycle usually built around, and looking like, off-road machines with stre
Sushi Wagon: An import motorcycle of Japanese origin.
Suspension: The system of components that reduce the impact of surface bumps and serves to keep the wheels in be
Sweeper: A broad high-speed turn in racing.
Swept Volume: The volume displaced by a piston’s travel.
Swing Arm: Older motorcycles and some new motorcycles have rigid frames much like bicycles. Thus, the frame is
Swingarm: The one- or two-sided arm (often made of aluminum or steel) that connects the rear wheel to the fram
T-Bone: A category of motorcycle accident where the rider runs head-on into the side of another vehicle. Usu
Table-Top Jump: Similar to a double jump, except the void between the jumps is filled in with dirt, creating the tab
Tachometer: A gauge that measures how fast an engine is spinning. The measurement is usually expressed in revolu
Tailgunner: The last rider in a group formation of motorcycles is called the Tailgunner.
Tall Gear: A gear that, compared to a short gear, results in lower engine RPM for a given road speed. A short g
Tank Bag: A piece of luggage that mounts on top of the gas tank of a bike. Sometimes contains a clear plastic
Tank Slapper: A rapid, high intensity oscillation of the handlebars (literally, slapping the tank side to side). I
Target Fixation: A motorcyclist often inadvertently looks at an object and finds himself/herself headed straight for
Tats: Tats, short for Tattoos. Many bikers have tattoos that depict various aspects of their relationship
Telelever: Telelever is the name of a front suspension system used on BMW motorcycles. The front forks are just
Telescopic Forks: Front suspension system on a motorcycle comprised of two fork tubes which contain coil springs. The
The Dakar: Formerly known as "The Paris Dakar" and now as "The Lisbon Dakar Rally," or "Dakar Rally," and also
The Motor Company: Another common name for Harley-Davidson, INC.
The Wild One: Famous motorcycle movie about the Hollister incident starring Marlon Brando. Brando rode a Triumph,
Throttle: The Throttle on a motorcycle is contained in the right grip on the handlebars. The speed of the engi
Throttle Lock: Manual device fitted to the throttle of a motorcycle that applies friction to keep the throttle from
Throttle Lock: Manual device fitted to the throttle of a motorcycle that applies friction to keep the throttle from
Thumper: A single cylinder four-cycle motorcycle engine is sometimes called a Thumper because of its distinct
Tiered Licensing: Tiered licensing is a safety and insurance practice that restricts a rider’s operation of a motorc
Timing: Measurement of the exact instant when the valves open or close in an internal-combustion engine, or
Tire Warmers: Real racing tires work best once they’ve attained their high operating temperatures. Electric "bla
Tokyo Motor Show: An auto, motorcycle, and commercial vehicle show held October-November in Japan. The event is hosted
Ton Up: Refers to riding a motorcycle over 100 miles per hour
Top Dead Center (TDC): The point at which the crankshaft and piston are in their highest possible position. (Compare BDC).
Top End: Top End refers to the top portion of a motorcycle engine including the fuel system, valve covers, he
Torque: Torque is a turning or twisting force applied at a distance from the axis of the object. Thus, if yo
Total Loss: An engine ignition or lubrication system in which electricity or oil is used without being generated
Touring: Traveling on a motorcycle to visit what's over the next hill. Carried to extreme, some motorcyclists
Touring Bike: Any motorcycle that you can take on a tour. Normally, it has a fairing, saddlebags, and requires lit
Track Day: Organized events in which members of the public are allowed to ride motorcycles around established r
Trail: The distance from the front axle’s vertical position on the ground, to the spot in front of it cre
Trail Bike: A lightweight motorcycle for riding on trails and rough surfaces. Also known as a Dirt Bike or Off-R
Trail Braking: Keeping the brakes on late into a corner, after initial braking has taken place. A motorcycle riding
Trailie: Another name for an Adventure Touring Motorcycle, which could be likened to a larger displacement du
Tranny: The transmission of a motorcycle.
Trials: Trials, or Observed Trials, is a form of off-road racing where the course is made up of a series of
Trike: A 3-wheeled vehicle created by stripping off the rear wheel of a bike and replacing it with two auto
Triple: A Triple is a 3-cylinder motorcycle engine.
Twin Cam 88: Twin Cam 88 is the name of the Harley-Davidson engine first introduced in 1999. This engine is a 145
Twin Cam 88B: Twin Cam 88 is the name of the Harley-Davidson engine first introduced in 1999. This engine is a 145
Twisties: Twisties are any series of curves in the road that offer a challenge to a motorcyclist.
Two-up: Two people riding on a motorcycle, a rider and a co-rider. Two-up riding requires that the manufactu
UJM: UJM stands for Universal Japanese Motorcycle. It was a radical concept in the early '70s. The UJM wa
Uncork: Free a motorcycle from a sealed or constrained state to unleash its power. In general use, it can si
Under Brake: Failure to apply the brakes to their full capability, resulting in a longer than needed stopping dis
Unit Construction: Motorcycle or automobile engine design where both the engine and gearbox are integrated within the s
Unloading: Reducing the weight, or load, on the motorcycle suspension. Examples: The front and rear suspension
Unsprung Weight: The mass of the motorcycle that is not supported by the suspension, such as the wheels, brakes, tire
Upside-Down Forks: Telescopic forks that are installed inverted compared to typical forks. In this case the slider tube
V-Rod: The Harley-Davidson VRSCA V-RodTM is a liquid-cooled, 1130cc V-Twin cruiser. The engine was designed
V-Twin: A V-Twin is an engine having two cylinders placed at an angle to each other in the shape of a V.
Valves (Intake and Exhaust): Poppet valves within a four-stroke cylinder head that open and close to allow fuel/air into the comb
Valvetrain: An all-encompassing term used to describe the mechanisms and parts which control the operation of th
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number. It's much the same as the VIN used to identify a car.
Viscosity: Term applying to a lubricant. Defines the liquid’s coherence (the level of attachment between the
Wannabee: A Wannabee is someone who tries obsessively to emulate a person, profession, or activity, e.g., 'The
Water Cooling: Also known as "liquid cooling," this system includes a radiator and fluid to dissipate heat. Liquid
WERA: The Western Eastern Roadracers Association (WERA) also known as WERA Motorcycle Roadracing, Inc, is
Wet Clutch: A clutch that contains many plates that are in the oil spray of the transmission and the oil gets be
Wet Sump: As part of the lubricating system of an internal combustion engine, a wet sump is a built-in oil res
Wheelbase: The horizontal distance between the ground contact points of the front and rear wheels. Wheelbase is
Wheelie: A wheelie is a motorcycle maneuver performed by a skilled rider to raise the front wheel off the gro
Wheelie Bar: A set of short arms that project several feet from the rear of a motorcycle to prevent or control th
Whoops or Whoop Section: Also known as whoop-de-doos. A section of track with a row of dirt mounds or moguls. Whoops are one
Willie G: Willie G. is short for William G. Davidson, Vice-President of Styling for Harley-Davidson. Willie G.
Wind Triangle: A simple triangular-shaped piece of cloth or leather worn around the neck of a motorcyclist for wind
Works Racers: Racing machines built and operated by the factory.
Worm and Pinion Gear: System for turning rotational movement through 90°, in which a pinion is turned by a spirally cut g
WOW: WOW is short for Women on Wheels, a national women's motorcycle association.
Wrench: A wrench is a term used to describe a motorcycle mechanic.

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