A Comprehensive Glossary from ADVMotoSkillZ
ABS is an acronym for Antilock Brake System, which is a safety feature that prevents the locking of wheels during sudden stops. It does this with sensors that detect if wheel spin is slower than the speed of the bike and predicts when the wheel is about to lock up. When it engages you feel a pulsing sensation in the brake and may hear a loud clicking sound.
Accelerator Pump is an extra pump found in the carburetor that briefly increases the amount of fuel delivered to the air stream.
ADV is short for “adventure”. An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience.
Adventure or ADV Motorcycle is a genre of bike designed for both on-road and off-road use. ADV Bikes are capable of long-distance travel over various terrains and are often separated into sub-categories such as Adventure Sport and Adventure Touring.
Aftermarket refers to accessories made by third-party companies that are not the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
Air Cooling is the process of removing heat from an engine by allowing for the passage of air over it. Engines are built with engine fins to increase the surface area to help disperse any excess heat into the environment.
Air Filters are made of paper, fabric, or oiled plastic foam and filter out dirt, dust, bugs, and other airborne environmental matter from the air entering the engine. That debris remains trapped in the air filter meaning it must be regularly cleaned and replaced.
Air Fuel Ratio refers to the mass amount of air versus fuel in a combustion process. The ratio proportions in which air and fuel are mixed determine the combustibility of the mixture.
Air Lock (or vapor lock) is a pocket of air developed within a fluid that blocks its normal flow, for example in a hydraulic brake line. This is seen in two-stroke engines when the oil injection system is allowed to run dry.
Air Spring is a device used in forks and shocks that utilizes compressed air to support the rider. Compressed air is an alternative to the metal spring support commonly found in these devices.
Airhead is a slang term used to describe older generations of air-cooled BMW models.
Airtime is the amount of time spent in the air when jumping.
Alloy is a substance that is a mixture of two or more metals. This alloy process can be used to create a combined metal with better characteristics for a specific purpose or can be done as a cost savings measure by mixing an inexpensive metal with one of great value.
Alternator is a modern replacement for the dynamo generator and produces large quantities of alternating current to run the electrical systems of a motorcycle.
AMA is the American Motorcyclist Association.
Ammeter Gauge is a tool that measures electrical current in amps.
Analog Gauges are old-school gauges that show information in a continuous forum, typically seen in the shape of a dial.
Anodizing is a technique used to coat the surface of a metal with an oxide layer. Its application aims to provide corrosion resistance, increase wear, allow dyeing, or prepare a surface for other coatings such as paint.
Anti-Dive System was a front-end suspension component that reduced how much the forks compressed under braking and was popular with motorcycles built in Japan in the 1980s. The tech did not stick around, but some companies are researching modern-day versions.
Ape Hangers are tall motorcycle handlebars that typically have hand-grips above the shoulders. The name comes from the way the bars make the rider look like “an ape hanging from a tree.”
Aperture is an opening such as a hole, crack, gap, or similar. Aperture size may be needed to order specific components or after-market parts that will attach to your bike.
Apex means tip, summit, or top of something. The apex of a curve is its mid-point and is frequently referenced in motorcycle cornering tutorials.
Aquaplaning occurs when a layer of water builds up between the tire and the road when riding in the rain or other wet surfaces. As traction is lost, so is steering control and braking ability.
Arm Pump is a condition that results from overuse of the forearm muscles. New riders holding on to the handlebars too tightly can experience this, as well as experienced riders riding technical terrain and using excessive clutch or front brake inputs. This overuse results in a restriction of blood flow to the forearm, making it hard to effectively use their arms; this condition resolves for most with a short rest and recovery break.
Armor is a protective covering. Motorcycle riding gear includes armor padding placed in strategic areas such as shoulders, back, chest, elbows, hips, and knees. Helmets and riding boots are also a form of armor to protect riders and passengers while riding.
Around the World is a term used to refer to a trip that circumnavigates the world. Also known as RTW- Round the world.
Aspect Ratio of a tire refers to the ratio of the height of the wall of a tire as compared to the width of the tread; this is expressed as a percentage. Section height/section width = aspect ratio.
ATGATT is both an acronym and a philosophy pertaining to protective equipment; short for “all the gear, all the time.” This is a safety attitude that presumes safety gear should always be worn when riding a motorcycle regardless of temperature, distance to be ridden, or peer pressures that might encourage not doing so. ADVMotoSkillZ are firm believers in ATGATT!
ATM is an acronym for All Things Motorcycle.
Attack Position in adventure motorcycle riding is the slightly crouched position a rider will stand in when getting ready to ride a challenging/technical section of terrain. Ankles and knees will be squeezing the bike for control, the hips and knees bend and the upper body will be light on the handlebars.
Baby Head Rocks describe a technical off-road riding surface consisting of loose, round rocks about the size of a baby’s head.
Back Bone describes the top rail on a motorcycle’s frame.
Back Door is the last (and often most experienced) rider in a group ride; also known as Sweep or Tail Gunner. This rider ensures all members of the group arrive safely at the planned destination and that no one is left behind.
Back Marker is the slowest rider in a race, “marking” the back of the pack.
Back Slapper is a motocross term for when the backside of your seat hits you.
Back Warmer refers to a passenger on the back of your motorcycle.
Backfire is the well-known loud bang heard from a motorcycle’s tailpipe. This happens when there is an incorrect air-to-fuel ratio resulting in fuel combustion outside of the combustion chamber.
Backing It In is a technique where the rider intentionally locks up the rear wheel approaching a corner and then fishtails or drifts the rear end to quickly go through the corner with heavy countersteering followed by a prompt straightening up for a fast exit.
Backside is the term used to identify the part of the jump that a rider lands on.
Backyard is an area that you ride frequently.
Baffle refers to sound-deadening material that sits inside a muffler and quiets the exhaust note.
Bagger is a motorcycle equipped with saddlebags and other touring amenities.
Bail Out describes when a rider jumps off the bike (to avoid a nasty crash).
Bailed is what the rider did after jumping off the bike (to avoid a nasty crash).
Balaclava is a garment worn on one’s head and neck for warmth and/or protection from the weather/air. Unlike neck gaiters, balaclavas are close-knit caps that fit over the whole head down to the shoulders and have openings for the eyes & mouth.
Ballistic Nylon is unique nylon developed by Dupont for the U.S. Department of Defense for use in flak jackets before it was replaced by Kevlar. The ballistic nylon fabric construction design adds abrasion resistance and can be found in protective riding gear.
Bar Hopper Bike is slang for custom or pristine bikes that only come out of the garage on weekends to ride from bar to bar. Typically, this motorcycle is not very comfortable on longer rides but is highly stylized; rigid frames and hardtails fall into this category.
Bar-Hop is a stunt technique performed by getting the bike airborne while the rider keeps both hands on the grips and extends their legs straight out between arms and over handlebars.
Barkbusters are a brand of aftermarket handguards that protect hands and levers.
Bark-o-lounger is slang for a comfortable motorcycle that’s on the larger side.
Barrels are another term for engine cylinders or jugs.
Bash Plate is a protective plate fitted under the engine of a motorcycle to prevent damage caused by riding over hard obstacles or flying rocks.
Basket Case is slang for a bike being built from scratch with parts from other bikes.
BDC is an acronym for Bottom Dead Center which is the lowest point the piston reaches before it begins to move upwards; this is the opposite of TDC (Top dead center).
Bead is the wire-reinforced edge of a tire that holds it onto the rim of the wheel.
Beanie Helmet is a minimal half-shell style helmet that sits on the head like a beanie; the style is popular with cruiser and chopper riders.
Bearing is a load supporting part of a structure. Bearings are installed on motorcycles to reduce friction and increase durability. Types of bearings include roller ball, tapered, and metal collar cap types.
BEEMER is slang for BMW brand vehicles.
Beeza is slang for BSA brand motorcycles manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms Company.
Belt Drive is a rubber belt that transfers power from the transmission’s output shaft to the rear wheel; commonly used by Harley-Davidson and are quiet and require no lubrication.
Berm is built-up dirt on the outside of a turn, either created with a bulldozer or as riders continually go through the turn. A berm helps a rider take the turn much faster because it acts as banking.
Bias Ply is a type of tire construction utilizing plies that run diagonally from one bead to the other. The initial ply will lay in one diagonal (approx 30°- 40° from the direction of travel) while the other ply will lay in the opposite direction, leading to it being called a cross-ply tire.
Big End is the end of the connecting rod that fits on the crankshaft.
Big Five refers to the five major motorcycle manufacturers including Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha.
Big Four refers to the four motorcycle gangs that the USA FBI recognizes as outlaw gangs, including Hell’s Angels, Outlaws, Pagans, and Bandidos.
Big Red is an informal term for Honda.
Big Slab is an American slang for Interstate Highway.
Big Twin is any large-sized V-Twin motorcycle engine, many being over 1200cc. Examples of big twins include the Roadstar by Yamaha 1700cc (102 ci), Harley-Davidson motorcycles over 1200cc, Honda VTX 1300/1800, & Kawasaki Vulcan 1500/1600/2000.
Big-Bore is a multi-cylinder motorcycle, equipped with 999cc or more (or above 649ccs for single-cylinder motorcycles).
Biker is a motorcycle operator.
Biker Friendly refers to a business establishment that doesn’t mind you coming into their establishment with all your gear on.
Bikini Fairing is a small plastic wind deflector surrounding the headlight, usually with a small clear windshield on top, commonly used on Cafe Racers.
Billet describes a piece of metal that has been machined into shape from a solid cube rather than forged or cast.
Binders are a slang term for brakes.
Binned It is a slang phrase for when a rider crashes and wrecks the bike.
Black Ice describes the presence of ice that cannot be seen on the road surface because it takes on the color of the road. Black ice can be found during wet weather & freezing temperatures in cold spots on the road like under a bridge creating a very dangerous hazard to motorcyclists.
Bladder is a plastic vessel that carries water in your hydration backpack and is accessible to drink via a tube.
Bleeding describes the process of letting unwanted air out of a hydraulic brake or oil system.
Blind Corner is a turn in the road that is partially hidden by visual obstructions or by the sharpness of the turn, making it so that a rider cannot see the road’s path around the latter portion of the turn.
Bling is slang for the good-looking parts on the bike that may or may not have a specific function.
Blinkers are a slang term for turn signals or indicators.
Blip is a technique used to deliver a fast burst of power to the bike with a quick rev and release of the throttle; this is useful in moving the bike quickly through a short section of trail. Blip also describes a quick revving of the throttle, while downshifting, and then quickly rolling off the throttle in order to match revs between gears.
Blitzing is the act of riding across the top of a whoops section at high speed. Blitzing whoops is typically faster than jumping them and is always faster than rolling over them.
Block is the main structure of the engine.
Block Pass occurs in racing to overtake another rider.
Blockhead, also known as Evo, is an engine found on multiple Harley Davidson models.
Blow-By describes exploded fuel and gases forced past the piston rings into the crankcase.
Blower is slang for a supercharger which is a rotating pump that increases the amount of air/fuel mixture delivered to an engine.
Blown Bike is a slang term for a supercharged motorcycle.
Blown Out is a description of a corner that used to have a berm on it but has been moved or destroyed by the riders.
Blue Groove is clay that has been packed down and dried to become as hard as cement. The surface color turns blue after riding on it for a while.
BMW is an acroynm for Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, or in English, Bavarian Motor Works. BMW is a German manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles.
Bobber is a motorcycle that has been customized by ‘bobbing’ or shortening the fenders.
Body English is the twisting or moving of one’s body for the purpose of influencing direction. Motorcycle riders use this to help control lean angles or to counterbalance the motorcycle.
Bog is used to describe a noticeable hesitation of the bike at the moment of the initial throttle opening. This may indicate a problem with the fuel/air mixture in the carburetor or an issue in the accelerator pump timing.
Bolt-On Grips are handlebar grips that are clamped to the bar with bolts instead of using glue, wire, or just the rubber itself.
Boneyard is slang for a salvage yard for used motorcycle parts.
Boost is the amount of pressure applied by the supercharger or turbocharger.
Booter describes a jump that sends the rider far rather than high.
Bore is a hole or opening such as the interior diameter of an engine cylinder.
Bottom End of the engine is where the crankshaft and (usually) the transmission reside.
Bottom Out is when a motorcycle’s suspension reaches the maximum depth of travel causing the skid plate to hit the ground.
Bow Wave is a wave of water being pushed in front of the front tire during water crossing; a high bow wave can force water into the air intake.
Bowden Cable is the trade name for a flexible control cable, as used in brakes. It consists of twisted steel strands that can transmit only a pulling force (not a pushing one).
Boxer is a horizontal engine configuration with the two pistons opposing each other; most notably found on BMW twin-cylinder motorcycles. The term comes from the resemblance of fists coming toward each other.
Braaap refers to the noise a dirt bike makes and can be used when describing the beautiful sound a 2-stroke engine makes while riding it fast. “Brraaaap!”
Brain Bucket is a slang term for a helmet.
Brake Check is a term used in racing to describe when a rider brakes hard while entering a corner causing the rider directly behind to brake hard, thus the rider in front gains distance.
Brake Cylinder is a cylindrical component containing a movable piston that forces the brake shoes or pads against the braking surface (usually a drum or disk).
Brake Dive describes the tendency for the front suspension to compress under braking forces, causing the front of the bike to drop and the head angle to steepen.
Brake Fade is a reduction of the grip of the brake linings, caused by heat building up, and can be seen in drum brakes during hard use.
Brake Horsepower (BHP) is the horsepower of an engine measured by the degree of resistance given by a brake. It is a measurement of useful power that the machine can develop.
Brake Marker is a marker at the side of the track that indicates where a rider may want to start braking prior to entering a corner.
Brake Slide is a maneuver performed by locking up the back brake and thereby forcing the rear wheel to slide either in a straight line or off to one side (aka power slide).
Brakes are used to slow or stop the motorcycle by way of friction.
Brakes (Disc) are located on the front and/or rear tire and use stationary calipers that squeeze pads against discs that rotate with the wheel.
Brakes (Drum) are located on the front and/or rear tire and use horseshoe-shaped brake shoes that expand against the inner surface of the wheel hub.
Braking Bumps are small bumps on the trail or riding surface that are created by riders continually braking, most commonly seen before corners.
BRC is an acronym for Basic/Beginner’s Rider Course which is an entry-level motorcycle safety riding class.
Brights is a slang term for the high beam of the headlight.
BSA is an acronym for English motorcycle maker, British Small Arms.
Bump Start is a way to start a motorcycle by turning on the ignition, placing it in gear, disengaging the clutch, then running alongside the motorcycle, jumping on, and engaging the clutch suddenly.
Burnout is a technique created by spinning the rear wheel while holding the front brake allowing the bike to stay in one place. The rear wheel loses traction and spins causing the rubber to overheat, smoke, and disintegrate. This can be used briefly before a race to warm up the rear tire or is done for a showing off.
Busa is a slang term for Suzuki’s Hayabusa model, also known as the GSX1300R.
Cafe Racer is a style of motorcycle modified to resemble vintage racing motorcycles from the 1950s and 1960s. Cafe racers originally got their name because their owners raced from cafe to cafe in London, where the bikes first appeared.
Cage is a slang term used by bikers to describe a car, truck, or van. The name stems from being cooped up inside a closed shell (inside the vehicle).
Cager is the descriptive term for someone driving a car, truck, or van.
California Roll is a term used to describe the act of riding up to a stop sign, without fully stopping and proceeding through the intersection at a slow rate of speed.
California Stop is a term used by motorcyclists meaning to stop without putting a foot down (typically at an intersection).
Caliper is the non-rotating component of a disc brake that houses sliding pistons, that squeeze brake pads against the spinning brake rotors to stop the motorcycle.
Calipers are a device for measuring the inside or outside distances and thicknesses of components.
Cam is a metal shaft with oval lobes that rotates to open the valves in a four-stroke engine.
Camber is the inward or outward tilt of a wheel. Camber is also the convex curvature of a road surface designed to aid in the drainage of water.
Came up Short is a term used to describe when an obstacle/jump is not completely cleared by a rider.
Camshaft is the shaft carrying the cams which open and closes the valves in a four-stroke engine.
Can Can is a stunt move in which a rider performs a jump and moves one of their legs over the fuel tank to the opposite side of the bike while airborne. The rider must then get their leg back to the normal riding position in time for the landing.
Can is a slang term for a muffler or silencer on a motorcycle’s exhaust system.
Canyon Carving is also known as riding the twisties and describes the act of extreme riding on road surfaces that have significant curves/corners.
Capacitor is a device for storing or collecting a surge of electrical current (also known as a condenser).
Carb is short for a carburetor, which is a part of the fuel management system.
Carbon Fiber is a heat-resistant, lightweight, high-tech material with many applications due to it is a high strength-to-weight ratio.
Carburetor is a mechanical device that mixes air and fuel in correct proportions before it enters the engine cylinder(s) where it then gets ignited to produce power.
Carve/Carving is to aggressively ride curves at high speed.
Case or Caseing is slang for when a rider comes up short on a jump and has a hard landing on the engine case.
Case Guards are covers that go over engine cases designed to protect the engine from falls or from debris that may impact the engine.
Cases are the protective outside covers of an engine. These are the two clam-shell-like halves in the bottom end of the engine, surrounded by a metal shell.
Caster is the forward tilt of the steering axis that tends to stabilize the steering.
Catalytic Converter is an exhaust device used to reduce pollution emissions.
CC/CI is an acronym for cubic centimeters or cubic inches, which are both measurements used to determine an engine’s displacement.
CE Approved is the certification that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area.
Center Stand is a fold-out motorcycle stand that completely lifts the rear wheel off of the ground. Center stands are located centrally under the engine between the front and rear wheels when installed on bikes.
Chain is the mechanical device that transfers power to the rear wheel from the engine on a chain drive system.
Chain Drive System is a system of transmitting the driving force from the engine to the rear wheel and typically includes two or more sprockets plus the chain.
Chain Spring Link is the specialized, removable link in a chain that allows it to be taken off for cleaning and adjustment.
Chair is a term used to describe the area where a passenger sits on a motorcycle with a sidecar.
Chaps are clothing accessories designed for wind protection and fashion. Typically made of leather and fastened around the waist, chaps cover only the front of the legs and are worn over trousers.
Chase Vehicle is the van or truck that follows a group of riders on an event to assist or haul any bikes that might break down.
Chassis is the term used to describe the combined frame and suspension on a motorcycle.
Chatter is a description of conditions involving mechanical oscillation or vibration.
Checkered Flag is the flag used at a race’s finish line to denote the first rider to cross and win the race.
Cherry Juice is a term used for transmission fluid.
Chicane is a series of tight turns going in alternating directions on a race track or straightaway.
Chicken Strips are the unused/unworn patches of rubber on the outer portions of a motorcycle tire. This term has a joking or negative connotation that the person riding the bike is using very little lean angle while cornering (referencing that they are too “chicken” to lean the bike).
Choke is the air restriction device used to enrich the fuel mixture with more gasoline.
Chopper is a term that is used to describe a motorcycle that has been modified by extending the forks and altering the steering angle. The term originates from the fact that early riders would cut away, or chop, unnecessary portions of the bike and frame to reduce weight and alter the bike design.
Chopping the Throttle is to rapidly close or back off the throttle to reduce speed.
Chrome is a finishing treatment utilizing the electrolytic deposition of chromium which imparts a mirror-like finish to items such as metal.
Citizen is a slang term used to describe a rider who is not a member of a Biker Organization.
Clapped Out is a slang term used to describe a bike that is worn out or poorly maintained.
Clean is a term used to describe when a rider rides through a tough section flawlessly, such as “…it was a clean run”.
Clip Ons are handlebars that attach directly to the top of the fork tubes, rather than on the top yoke. Typically used on race bikes, clip-ons can provide a faster steering response by lowering the riding position for countersteering.
Closing the Door is a term that describes what a sweep/tail gunner in a group ride does when they recognize that a lane is about to be lost. The rider will move into the lane that is about to be lost in order to prevent a vehicle from trying to pass the group. This will prevent the vehicle from cutting off the group of motorcycles as they merge into the lane.
Clutch is a device that engages/disengages power from the crankshaft to the transmission, allowing a rider to change gears. The clutch is operated by a lever on the left handlebar to engage or disengage power to the rear wheel.
Cockpit is where a rider sits on the bike, including the bars, dash, and seating area.
Cordura is a fabric manufactured by Dupont and often used in the production of motorcycling protective gear.
Coil is a part of the electrical circuit that steps up the voltage into a high-tension current needed to cause a spark and ignite the air/fuel mixture in the engine cylinder.
Colors are the insignia or patches worn by a motorcycle club or organization.
Combustion Chamber is the area at the top of the cylinder where the fuel charge burns and pushes the piston down.
Coming On the CAM is the phrase used when a four-stroke reaches its powerband.
Coming on the pipe is a phrase used when a two-stroke reaches its powerband.
Commuter is anyone who rides their motorcycle to and from work.
Compression is when the volume of fuel and air in an engine cylinder is reduced as a result of increased pressure by a piston.
Compression Damping refers to systems that slow the rate of compression in a suspension fork or rear shock.
Compression Ratio specifies how much the fuel is compressed when the engine’s piston is at its highest point.
Compression Release occurs in two-stroke engines by opening an extra valve to prevent compression and increase engine drag.
Concrete Start is a term used to describe when the racing starting block is made out of concrete.
Condenser, also known as a capacitor, is a device for storing or collecting a surge of electrical current.
Connecting Rod the rod connecting the piston to the crankshaft.
Constant Radius Turn is a turn with a steady, non-changing arc.
Contact Patch is the area of the tire in contact with the ground while you ride and is also known as the footprint.
Cool Collar is a specialized wrap worn around a rider’s neck and used to provide a cooling effect in very hot weather. Typically the cloth wrap contains a bead-like material that swells when moistened and provides cooling as it evaporates.
Coolmax® is a moisture-wicking polyester fiber material used to make garments that promote evaporation and cooling.
Cordura is a fabric made by Dupont that is known for its abrasion resistance.
Corn Snakes are slang for dried cornstalks that look like snakes that blow across rural roads during harvest time.
Corrugations occur when a dirt road surface becomes bumpy from heavy vehicle use. The surface can be very jarring to a rider and may cause nuts & bolts on the bike to become loose over a long ride.
Counter Steer is a steering technique in which the rider momentarily steers the bike in the opposite direction of the intended turn. This counter steer causes the motorcycle to lean in the desired direction via gyroscopic forces.
Counterbalancer is a weight inside an engine that spins with the engine rpm to cancel out some of the engine’s vibration and make the engine feel smoother.
Counterbalancing is a technique common to off-road motorcyclists during cornering. Off-road cornering requires leaning the bike into the corner while the rider counterbalances to the outside peg.
Counterweight is a rotating shaft used to offset engine vibration. Sometimes called counterbalance or countershaft. Also describes the motion a rider uses to stabilize the bike in slow rider maneuvers.
Coupon is slang for a traffic ticket.
Cowl/Cowling is a piece of bodywork that covers part of the motorcycle, typically used to cover up unsightly ancillaries or to add style and increase aerodynamics.
Crack It is slang for roll on the throttle.
Cradle Frame is a term used to describe a motorcycle design where the bottom tubes “cradle” or embrace the engine.
Crank It Over is slang for starting a motorcycle (also known as “turn an engine over”).
Crankcase is the external housing for the crankshaft assembly.
Crankshaft is a rotating component that converts the up-and-down motion of the pistons into a rotary motion that then drives the rear wheel.
Crash Bars, also known as engine guards, are protective bars mounted to the lower frame of both sides of a bike to protect it from damage during tip-overs.
Crash Bungs, or mushrooms, are protective plastic components attached to the lower frame of a bike. In case of tip-over, the crash bung will hit the ground first, thereby protecting the fairing from damage.
Cross Winds are winds that flow at a perpendicular angle to the direction of travel of the motorcycle. They can make keeping the motorcycle traveling in a straight line challenging when the cross winds are very strong, while sudden gusts can also blow a bike “offline”.
Crossover is a section of pipe that connects the front and rear cylinder exhaust pipes together.
Crossrutted is a situation where the front and back wheels are in different ruts, making it difficult to steer and control the bike.
Crotch Rocket is a slang term for a sport bike.
Crowns are the top portion of the piston.
Cruise Control is an electronic feature on motorcycles that allow for setting a specified speed without having to hand-modulate the throttle.
Cruiser is a motorcycle designed for a more relaxed style of riding, as opposed to sport-riding or long-distance riding. Typical features of a cruiser include a classic style with a low seat, pull-back handlebars, and lots of chrome.
Cycle is a term used to describe the up and down motion of the piston. The terms cycle and stroke can be used interchangeably when referring to engine types.
Cylinder Block is the portion of the engine where the pistons reciprocate (move either up and down or side to side as appropriate).
Cylinder Head is the portion of the engine that closes off the top end of a cylinder.
Cylinder Sleeve is a liner that a piston travels in.
Cylinder(s) is the shaped space in an engine where the piston moves up and down to compress and explode fuel, thereby generating the engine’s power.
Dab is a term used to describe a quick touch and push off the ground with one foot while riding to keep your motorcycle upright (avoid a tip-over) during slow, technical terrain.
Dampen is the act of eliminating unwanted oscillations (vibrations) and unwanted energy.
Damper is a device used for controlling unwanted movement or absorbing unwanted energy in the suspension system.
Daytona is short for Daytona Beach, Florida, the location for an annual American motorcycle rally.
DC is an acronym for direct current, which is an electrical current that flows in only one direction.
Dead Center is the location at either end of the piston travel. At its highest point, the piston is at Top Dead Centre (TDC), and at its lowest, it is at Bottom Dead Centre (BDC).
Death Grip is a slang term describing a fearful and overly tight grip on the handlebars.
Decarbonizing is the process of removing unwanted carbon deposits from the combustion and exhaust system.
Decreasing Radius Corner is a turn in which the corner becomes sharper and tighter as you travel through it.
Deflector Piston is a piston designed for two-stroke engines with crankcase compression to channel fresh fuel up to the head, forcing the burnt fuel out to the exhaust posts.
Delta-V is a change in velocity, acceleration, or direction.
Denier is a unit of measurement used to describe the strength of a material like nylon; the greater the number the bigger the thread.
Desmodromic Valves are a Ducati-designed valve opening and closing system which are closed by mechanical means instead of by springs.
Detailing is a term used to describe the in-depth cleaning, polishing, and waxing of a motorcycle.
Detonation, as known as a knock, describes an out-of-sequence burst from an otherwise smooth and controlled combustion process Detonation is closely related to pre-ignition.
Dialed In is a term used to describe when everything on your bike is running perfectly and smoothly.
Diamond Frame is a tubular frame design in which the engine cases form part of the structure so that in a profile view, it resembles a diamond shape.
Dicing is a slang term for taking the risk of racing one or more riders, usually on public roads.
Dieseling, also known as engine run-on, is when the engine keeps running for a short period after being shut off.
Digger is a term for a motorcycle with a stretched-out lengthened frame and stock-length front forks.
Ding is a term used to describe a nick or scratch in the paint.
Dip Stick is a long slender piece of metal inserted into the oil collection point of an engine, or sump, to check the oil level.
Dirt Bike is a motorcycle designed for off-road use and tends to be restricted from use on public roads.
Disc Brakes are brakes that utilize friction pads held by calipers pressed on either side of a rotating disc which is held on the hub of the wheel.
Discs are the metal rotors that the caliper presses the pads against to stop the motorcycle.
Displacement is the term used to describe the size of an engine, more specifically the internal volume of its cylinders(s). This is usually expressed in cc (cubic centimeters) or ci (cubic inches). Generally, the larger the displacement, the more powerful the motor.
Distributor is an electrical circuit breaker often consisting of points, timing advance device, condenser, and cam, used to direct high tension current to spark plugs at the proper timing.
Dive is a term used to describe what happens to the front suspension as it compresses during hard braking.
DNF is an acronym for Did Not Finish.
DNS is an acronym for Did Not Start.
DOHC is an acronym for Dual OverHead Cam.
DOHV is an acronym for Dual OverHead Valves.
Dome is a slang term for a helmet.
Donorcycle is a slang term often used by medical professionals or emergency workers (police and firefighters) to describe a motorcycle ridden by a reckless rider. (The reference here is that a motorcycle rider who dies as a result of their own reckless riding becomes an organ donor).
DOPE is a highly combustible alcohol/methanol-based fuel mixture.
Do-Rag is a cloth covering that is used to cover the rider’s hair and forehead in an effort to keep sweat from dripping into the eyes.
DOT is an acronym for the Department of Transportation. Each country has its own separate form of DOT which is a government agency in charge of regulating all phases of transportation.
Double Blip is a term used to describe a technique used by trials and enduro riders for clearing obstacles. There are two distinct “blips” of throttle used in the technique. The first blip is used to initiate a wheelie into the obstacle, followed by a second blip (along with body movement) to force the bike into a vertical lift over the obstacle.
Double Jump is a jump over two separate jumps in succession with a gap between them (the rider flies over the gap).
Double Track is a term for an off-road trail wide enough for two motorcycles or one ATV.
Doubles/Triples are large multiple jumps that allow riders to fly through the air rather than traversing each jump one at a time. Triple jumps are the signature obstacle of Supercross.
Doughnut is a term used to describe a circular “burn-out” achieved as a rider moves the rear tire of the motorcycle into a 360° circle thus leaving a circular mark of rubber on the road surface or a doughnut-shaped mark in the dirt if off-road.
Downshift is the process of shifting to a lower gear.
DQ’ED is an acronym for disqualified (as in a race).
Drag is a term used to describe the resistance of air to forward motion.
Drag Bars are straight-styled handlebars that do not sweep up from the risers. They are low, flat, straight handlebars.
Drag Pipes are short exhaust pipes that run low along the frame that typically have no baffles.
Dragging Pegs is a term used to describe when a bike is leaning so far into a curve or turn that its foot pegs drag on the ground.
Dragon Back is a type of jump that includes a series of whoops.
Drifting is an advanced technique used to slide the motorcycle (tires get pushed sideways) around a corner or turn when traveling at speed.
Drop Seat is a motorcycle frame style in which the seat-rest has a lowering notch within the frame.
Drum Brakes are located on the front and/or rear tire and use horseshoe-shaped brake shoes that expand against the inner surface of the wheel hub.
Dry Sump is the lubrication system in four-stroke and large two-stroke engines that use more than one oil pump and a separate oil reservoir.
Dual Shocks are the traditional rear motorcycle shock configuration that includes one shock absorber and spring assembly mounted on each side of the frame to support the bike’s weight and control the motion of the rear suspension’s swing arm.
Duals is a term for two separate exhaust pipes (one each for front and rear cylinder).
Dual-sport or Dual-Purpose Motorcycle is a street legal motorcycle that provides varying levels of off-road capabilities.
Duc is a slang term for the Italian motorcycle brand Ducati.
Duck Walking is a technique used to walk the motorcycle forward while remaining seated on it. The act of the rider sitting on the bike and pushing it forward with their legs and feet looks a bit like “paddling” the bike, which is why is referred to as duck walking.
Dump the Clutch is when a rider quickly releases the clutch while the revs are high. This technique is used when performing doughnuts but can cause excessive wear to friction plates if overused.
Dumping the Bike/Dumped the Bike is when the bike falls over at a slow speed or no speed. This typically occurs when a rider applies in a very slow turn or forgets to put the side-stand down when getting off the bike.
Dynafil is a tear-resistant polyamide yarn that is claimed to be more robust than Cordura 500/700 with impressive resistance to high temperatures.
Dynamo is an electric generator that produces alternating currents.
Dynatec is a fabric made of Dynafil that is highly tear- and heat-resistant.
Eat Asphalt is a slang term for crashing.
ECM is an acronym for Electronic Control Module which is the computer that controls ignition, timing, fuel to air ratio, and more. In cars, it is often referred to as the ECU or the electric control unit.
Edge Traps are the raised edges of bumps or cracks in a paved surface that can catch a motorcycle’s tire and cause the bike to lose balance.
EFI is an acronym for Electronic Fuel Injection.
Egged On is when a rider is prompted by others to attempt something beyond their comfort zone.
Electrolyte is the fluid inside a battery usually comprised of acid.
Electronic Ignition is the computer-controlled method to convey high tension current to the spark plug(s).
Endo is a technique in which the rider stops the motorcycle with the front brake and has the rear wheel lift off the ground.
Enduro is an off-road motorcycle usually equipped with features that make them more comfortable for cross-country competition. Enduro is also a type of off-road motorcycle racing.
Engine Cut-Off Switch, also known as a kill switch, is usually located on the right handlebar control housing and cuts all power to the motorcycle when pressed.
Engine Guards, also known as crash guards, are metal tubes bolted to the motorcycle’s frame that protect the engine from damage in the event of an accident or tip-over.
Ergonomics is the study of body posture, and the positioning of instruments, to create a good human-to-machine interface. Good motorcycle ergonomics refers to how well a motorcycle fits a specific rider for their personal use.
Exhaust System is a system of pipes designed to guide burnt gases away from the engine.
Face Plant is a slang term for when you fall off the bike and land face-down on the ground.
Face of a Jump is the front side of the jump that you ride on take-off.
Face Shield is the clear protective shield on the front of a helmet that protects the rider from the wind, bugs, and other road debris.
Fairings are the plastic body panels that protect the rider from the wind, rain, and other environmental debris. Fairings may also provide a degree of aerodynamic streamlining.
Falling on its Face is a description for when the engine suddenly loses power and stalls during acceleration (often usually caused by debris lodged in the main jet of the carburetor).
False Neutral occurs when a rider is shifting gears and the transmission becomes caught between two gears. This can be corrected by quickly pulling in the clutch and re-shifting to the intended gear.
Fan Boy is a slang term for a motorcycle owner who believes in only one brand of bike.
Farkles is a slang term for accessories that can be added to your bike that make it more useful, versatile, or attractive. This word originates from a combination of “function” and “sparkle”.
Fast Riding Award is a slang term for a speeding ticket.
Fat is a term used to describe a fuel mixture that is too rich (too much fuel compared to air).
Fathead is the term for the dual cam Harley Davidson V-Twin.
Fatigue is a term used to describe the tendency of a material to fail under repeated use.
Feathering the Brake is gently applying the brake.
Feathering the Clutch is to gently allow the clutch to engage making for a slow, smooth start.
Fiddy is a slang term for a 50cc motorcycle.
FIM is an acronym for Federation Internationale Motorcyclist, the international governing body of motorcycle sport.
Final Drive is the mechanism that delivers power to the rear wheel (may be chain drive, shaft drive, or belt drive).
Finesse is a term used to describe when the rider is supremely smooth in their technique.
Fins are the rows of thin metal on an air-cooled engine. These stacks of thin metal create more surface area for the air to pass over to help dissipate heat more efficiently.
Fishtail is when the rear wheel swings from side to side while under acceleration.
Flat Landed describes when a rider misses the backside of a jump by overshooting it and lands on flat ground.
Flathead is an engine design that Harley-Davidson employed from 1919 to 1973.
Flickable is a term used to describe the agility of a motorcycle or how quickly a rider can tilt/flick the bike from side to side in turns.
Flogging It is a slang term for an aggressive style of riding wherein the rider opens the throttle hard and shifts through the gears quickly.
Floorboards are large, flat-style foot pegs commonly found on cruiser motorcycles.
Flow is a term to describe when a rider is riding smoothly and effortlessly.
Fly Wheel is a rotating weight used to dampen engine vibration or to improve the smooth operation of the engine between power strokes.
Footpegs are the component for the rider or passenger to rest their feet during riding.
Footprint is the part of a tire that is in contact with the ground.
Fork Dive is when the front suspension drives downward.
Fork is a set of telescopic tubes containing springs and hydraulic dampers that provide front-end suspension.
Formation Ride is a group motorcycle ride in which participants maintain a set position in a group while riding.
Four Banger is slang for an in-line four-cylinder motorcycle (or automotive) engine; these are among the most powerful motors on a motorcycle.
Four-Season Gear is weatherproof riding gear designed for keeping riders and pillions comfortable in all climates.
Four-Stroke Engine is a common engine design that refers to the number of times a piston moves up and down through each power cycle. 1) A downward stroke brings in the fuel/air mixture 2) an upward stroke compresses the fuel/air mixture 3) a downward stroke results when that mixture is ignited and expands, and finally, 4) an upward stroke expels the exhaust gases.
Frankenbike is a slang term for a motorcycle built from many different makes, models, and years.
Freestyle is a timed competition judged on the rider’s ability to perform aerial maneuvers.
Front Door is a slang term used to describe the first/lead rider in a group ride.
Frontside is the term used to describe the surface of a jump that faces the rider (the take-off side of the jump).
Fuel Injection serves the same function as a carburetor but uses computer-controlled jets to inject atomized fuel and air into the air stream going into the engine.
Fuel Injection System is when an injector atomizes fuel through a small nozzle under high pressure, into the combustion chambers (unlike carburetors, which rely on the vacuum created by the engine to draw the charges into the combustion chambers).
Full Face Helmet is a style of helmet with a chin bar and face shield providing increased crash and weather protection.
Full Throttle is a term used to describe the action of opening the throttle as wide as possible.
Full Chat is a term used to describe when a rider is riding at top speed for their skill level and road conditions.
Gap is the distance between two jumps that must be cleared.
Gasket is a seal used between two components to prevent leakage.
Gauges are displays used to show information to the rider and may include Speedometer, Tachometer, Odometer, Fuel, Trip Distance, and more.
Gear(s) are the sets of toothed parts that transmit or receive force and motion. A motorcycle’s transmission uses gears to change the rate at which energy is changed into motion, to allow the engine speed to match the bike’s road speed.
Gear Ratio is the ratio of rotation between gears. A small gear must rotate more times when paired with a larger gear.
Gear Whine is the noise made by gears that are not spaced correctly or are worn.
Gearbox is the casing that houses the mechanical gears that connect to the transmission housing.
Gearhead is a term used to describe a mechanic or person with an interest in all things mechanical.
Get Off is a slang term for crashing a motorcycle.
Giggle Gas is a slang term for nitrous oxide.
Gnarly is a slang term for extreme riding terrain.
Goon Riding is a slang term for a rider that is messing around trying to look silly while riding.
GORE-TEX is a lightweight fabric that is waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
G-Out is a term used to describe when the bike’s suspension becomes fully compressed due to G-forces, which can occur when riding down a hill fast and then transitioning quickly up another hill.
GPS is an acronym for Global Positioning System, a satellite-oriented system, including computers and receivers, that determines the precise location (latitude, longitude, and height) of an object or person.
Grabbing a Handful is a term used to describe when applying the front brake or twisting the throttle in excess.
Graphics are the stickers placed on motorcycles.
Gray Market Bike refers to a motorcycle that was not available in a particular regional market but was later privately imported.
Green Flag is used to signal that the race has started.
Gremlin is a slang term used when one can’t find the problem in an engine, transmission, or electrical system.
Grid is a pattern indicating the start line of a racetrack.
Grind is to work or ride hard over a long period of time.
Grinding is the technique of riding over a long cylindrical length (commonly a log or telephone pole) with the motorcycle’s front tire on one side of the log and the rear tire on the opposite side.
Ground is the “earth” pole of a battery, usually negative on most motorcycles.
Ground Clearance is the distance between the ground and the lowest part of the motorcycle (excluding the wheels).
GS is a German acronym for “Gelande/Strabe”, translated as “Off-Road”. The BMW series of off-road/on-road motorcycles is designated as GS.
GS Trophy is an international competition held by BMW Motorrad every two years. Teams are selected at a national-level competition to then put forth their best three riders to compete in an exotic location.
Gudgeon Pin, also known as wrist pin, is the pin that attaches the piston to the connecting rod to pivot upon as the piston moves.
Hack is a slang term for a motorcycle sidecar.
Hairpin Turn is a turn with a decreasing radius meaning that it gets progressively tighter as it bends (often a U-shaped like the end of a hairpin).
Hammer Down is a slang term used to describe the act of opening the throttle fully or accelerating rapidly.
Hand Guards are attachments placed on the handlebars that protect and block a rider’s hands and levers from any direct impacts.
Hand Signals are universal signals used by motorcyclists to communicate with each other when riding in a group. Having everyone in a group educated on these signals offers increased safety for all.
Handgrip is the rubber portion on the ends of the handlebars a rider holds onto.
Handle is a slang term for a street name/nickname that a rider goes by.
Handlebar Risers are an aftermarket item installed under the handlebar to raise them higher. Designed to help correct any ergonomic shortcomings of a motorcycle and are especially useful for riding while standing.
Hanging It Out is a term used to describe riding aggressively or faster than skill level.
Hard Armor is body protection gear comprised of hard plastic shells mounted on foam.
Hardpack is a track surface made of compact dry dirt.
Hardtail is a rigid motorcycle frame with no shock-absorbing device on the rear.
Hare Scramble is a form of off-road motorcycle racing that varies in distance and time, with the riders completing multiple laps around a marked course through wooded or other rugged natural terrain.
Harshness is an uncomfortable jolting sensation on the compression stroke in an engine.
Head, or cylinder head, is the piece that covers the top of the cylinder and often houses valves, rockers, and overhead cams.
Head Gasket is the gasket between the cylinder head and the block or piston cylinder.
Head Shake is when the handlebars shake back and forth due to improper set-up or bumps.
Header is the portion of an exhaust system that runs from the engine to the muffler/exhaust pipes.
Helmet Hair is a term used to describe matted hair that results from wearing a helmet.
High-Side is one of the worst situations a rider can experience. A high side occurs when the bike’s rear wheel loses traction while it is leaning over in a corner. The rear wheel loses grip, causing it to slide, and then it suddenly regains traction causing a violent catapult of the rider up and off in the opposite direction the bike was leaning in.
Highway Pegs are specialized footpegs mounted to engine/crash bars that allow the rider to stretch their legs further forward for a more relaxed riding position.
HOG is an acronym for Harley-Davidson Owners Group.
Holeshot s the term used to describe the section from the start of a race until the first turn.
Hooligan is a slang term for a motorcyclist known for their reckless disregard for public and personal safety.
Hooligan Bike is a motorcycle that has been stripped of all unnecessary parts and accessories so that it can have a higher power-to-weight ratio. They have minimal bodywork, a racing-styled seat, no passenger pegs, and an exposed frame.
Horizontally Opposed is a type of engine layout in which the cylinders are placed at 180° to one another.
Horizontally Parked is a slang term for a crash.
Horsepower is a unit of measurement used to describe an engine’s strength. Typically, the more horsepower an engine produces, the faster the motorcycle can potentially go.
Hosed is a slang term for a bike that is worn or broken beyond repair.
Huck-a-Buck is a slang term for when the bike is in control instead of you; for example, when a rider is being bucked all over the place in the whoops.
Hurt Report is the nickname (named after the author) of a study by the University of Southern California in 1981 that reviewed 3,600 motorcycle traffic accidents. Its proper title is ‘Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report.’ The study provided data clearly showing that helmets significantly reduce deaths and brain injuries without any increased risk of accident involvement or neck injury.
Husky is a slang term for Husqvarna motorcycle.
Hydrolock is the term used to describe a scenario in which a volume of liquid greater than the volume of its cylinder enters that cylinder at the end of the piston’s stroke, so the piston cannot compress the liquid and the travel of the piston cannot be completed. This can lead to mechanical failure.
Hydrometer is a device to measure the charge in a lead acid battery.
Hydroplane occurs when your tires start to float on top of the water, causing them to lose contact with the road surface.
Idiot Light(s) is a slang term for a control panel indicator light(s) that warns of a problem. Commonly called an idiot light because it does not warn you before the problem develops. (That is why there are gauges).
Idle Mixture is the fuel/air mixture at a low rpm.
Ignition is the way the fuel is ignited inside the engine, achieved by a spark from a sparkplug.
Ignition Timing is the point at which the ignition spark occurs; this is relative to crankshaft rotation or piston position.
Impeller is a device that assists the movement of fluid.
In the Weeds is a term used to describe when a rider goes off the track.
Increasing Radius Turn is a turn with an arc that becomes less sharp as you go through the curve.
Indicator(s), also known as turn signals, are lights that blink to notify others of your intention to turn your motorcycle.
Indie Shop is a term for an independent, not franchised, motorcycle store.
Injector is a mechanism that squirts fuel or lubrication where required.
Ink Slinger is a tattoo artist.
Inline Four is a four-cylinder engine or refers to a motorcycle with four cylinders.
Inline Six is an engine with six cylinders in a row.
Inline Triple is an engine with three cylinders in a row.
Integral Helmet is a motorcycle helmet that encloses the head completely.
Inverted Forks are telescopic forks fitted upside-down with the intent of providing more structural integrity than conventional forks.
Involuntary Dismount is a slang term for a crash.
Iron Butt Rally is an association dedicated to riders covering 1,000 miles in 24 hours.
Jesus Clip is a slang term for a small “C” clip/circle clip, which is a fastener that holds something in place. When you drop them, you might say “Oh Jesus”, because you know you will never find them.
Jet is a precisely drilled opening in the carburetor through which fuel passes into the air stream.
Jet Needle is the part of the carburetor that meters the fuel going through a jet, or hole.
Jiffy Stand is the nickname for a Harley – Davidson side stand/kickstand. Originally coined because the bike could securely be leaned over when parked “in a Jiffy” (meaning quickly).
Jockey Shift is a variation of the suicide clutch. It is a short lever gear-shifting device mounted directly on top of the motorcycle’s transmission. The rider can reach their hand down to use it, making them look like a jockey using a crop on their horse.
Jockey Wheel is a wheel used to maintain tension in a chain or belt.
Jug(s) is slang for motorcycle cylinder(s).
Jukebox is a slang term for an overdressed bike with lots of lights, making it look like a jukebox.
Jumpstart is the process of restarting the motorcycle with a discharged battery by connecting it to an external power source.
Kangaroo Leather is leather from the hide of kangaroos. It is stronger and lighter than cow leather, making it a durable material for motorcycle clothing.
Keep the Shiny Side Up (& the Rubber Side Down) is a slang parting expression between bikers meaning ride safely.
Keprotec is a blend of Kevlar and polyamide fibers which further improves Kevlar’s characteristics and can be used to reinforce those areas of clothing most at risk in the event of a fall (elbows, shoulders, knees, thumbs, etc.).
Kevlar is a heat-resistant and very durable synthetic fiber manufactured by DuPont. It is 10X stronger than steel in tensile strength. Kevlar fiber does not stretch and is blended with other fabrics for use in motorcycle apparel.
Keystone Frame is an American term to describe a diamond-type frame in which the engine serves as part of the structure.
Kickstart is a ratcheting lever that is used to start a motorcycle with the rider’s foot. When one uses the lever to start the bike, they are “kickstarting” the bike.
Kicker is a jump, usually with some curve to it, that sends the rider high rather than far. A “kicker” is also an object such as a rock or solid object placed in front of a jump to help compress the suspension so that the rebound helps take the bike over the jump.
Kickout is a stunt move requiring a rider to swing the rear tire sideways while keeping the front wheel on the ground.
Kickstand, also known as a side stand, is a lever attached to a motorcycle that swings out from the left side to support the bike at rest.
Kill Switch is the button that stops/kills the engine.
Kilowatt is the base unit used in the measurement of electrical gadgets.
Knobby is a type of motorcycle tire that has a tread pattern with raised blocks and is ideal for bikes that ride off-road conditions.
Knock is an engine condition that occurs when the fuel in the cylinder ignites before it should.
Knuckle Buster is a slang term for a crescent wrench. The tendency of the adjusting mechanism to loosen over time can result in the jaws sliding off the nut/bolt at maximum torque, resulting in injury to the hand.
Lane Splitting is a term used to describe driving in a non-lane between cars in slow-moving or stopped traffic.
Lane Stealer is a car driver who tries to squeeze past a motorcycle rider in their lane.
Lap is one full ride around the track.
Lap Traffic is when the leaders of a race have to navigate around and pass the slower riders.
Lapper is a rider that is a full lap behind the leaders in a race.
Lay it Down is a slang term for a crash resulting from a slide down onto one side of the bike.
Layshaft, also known as the countershaft is the shaft in a gearbox that carries some of the gear pinions (located parallel to the mainshaft).
Lazy Foot is slang for shifting gears too lightly and causing a false neutral.
LCQ is an acronym for Last Chance Qualifier.
Le Mans Start is a start procedure of a race in which the riders begin off of the bike on a start line and then run to their waiting bikes to begin the race.
Lean is a condition where the optimum mixture of fuel and air is not being fed into the engine correctly (too much air as compared to fuel).
Leathers typically refer to one-piece racing suits or two-piece jackets/trousers worn by motorcyclists but can also refer to other riding gear including jackets, pants, gloves, and boots, that are helpful in protecting a rider in the event of a crash.
Lemon is a slang term for a motorcycle that is unreliable and continues to break down.
Lid is a slang term for a motorcycle helmet.
Light the Fire is a slang phrase for “start the engine”.
Line is a term used to describe the path of travel selected by the motorcycle rider. Typically, a rider is always looking for the fastest line or the safest line.
Lip is the top of the takeoff surface of a jump.
Loam is a term for aerated soil known for its fluffy consistency, usually made of sand/clay mixture. Loam is a great surface for dirt bike riders to ride on.
Loner is a slang term for an individual who shares the same values and enjoys the same lifestyle as outlaw gang members but prefers to not formally belong to one specific club.
Loopout is a slang term for when the front end of the motorcycle goes into an uncontrolled wheelie and flips back over itself as the rider falls off.
Loose over Hardpack is a descriptive phrase for sand, dust, or fine gravel on top of a hard surface and tends to be a slippery surface to ride on.
Lost It is slang for a crash.
Love Nudges, also known as swapping paint, is slang for when two riders bump into each other while racing.
Low Side is a motorcycle crash in which the rider loses front and/or rear traction (though more often front) resulting in the bike sliding onto the side that is lower to the ground in a turn.
Lubrication System is the process where oil is used to reduce friction between the moving parts of an engine. In a two-stroke engine, the oil and petrol are mixed, and an oil mist enters the engine with the air/fuel mixture. In a four-stroke engine, oil is pumped around the engine from either a wet sump or a dry sump.
Lugging the Engine describes when the bike is in a gear too high for the speed of travel. This scenario allows the RPMs to drop and makes the engine work harder than is necessary.
Lump is a slang term for a motorcycle engine.
Lung is a slang term for the number of cylinders that a motorcycle engine has, for example a 4-cylinder motorcycle engine can be referred to as a “four lunger”.
Magneto is a small self-contained generator with magnets used to generate current.
Mags is an abbreviation for magnesium or light alloy wheels.
Mainshaft, also known as the driveshaft, is the shaft in a gearbox that is connected to the engine and carries some of the gears.
Manifold is a section of pipes that supply fuel/air mixture to the engine. An exhaust manifold channels exhaust gases from the engine.
Master Cylinder is the hydraulic cylinders connected to the brake and clutch levers that send pressure to the brake calipers or clutch slave cylinder to activate them.
Master Link is a specialized link in a chain that can be disassembled to repair the chain.
MC is an acronym for Motorcycle Club.
Meerkat is a slang term for a rider who often stands unusually high on a motorcycle while riding, just like a meerkat.
Metric Cruiser is a term to describe a motorcycle that uses metric nuts and bolts (i.e. 8mm, 14mm, 17mm) rather than imperial sizes (1/4, 3/8, 1 1/8).
Mill is a slang term for the engine.
Milwaukee Vibrator is a slang term for a Harley-Davidson, due to its distinctive vibratory ride.
Minibike is a miniature version of a motorcycle and it is typically not street legal.
Monkey Butt is an unfortunate condition a rider may experience after riding too long on the bike in the same position. The term is used to describe the resulting soreness from chaffing or rubbing.
Monoshock is a rear suspension design using one large damper instead of two.
Motocross Bike is a lightweight motorcycle specifically designed for racing on a track. These bikes are generally more technologically advanced than their off-road counterparts.
Motorcycle-Specific Cut is a specialized clothing pattern that takes into consideration the contours of the rider’s body when in the riding position atop a motorcycle. This cut ensures the function and feel of the garment are more comfortable while on the bike.
MPG is an acronym for miles per gallon.
MSF is an acronym for Motorcycle Safety Foundation (Training).
Mud Diving is what happens when a bike abruptly sinks into the mud and oftentimes results in throwing the rider into the wet mush.
Muffler is an exhaust device that cools engine exhaust gases, quiets exhaust noise, and provides back pressure to improve engine performance.
Mushrooms or Crash Bungs are protective plastic components attached to the lower frame of a bike. In case of tip-over, the mushroom will hit the ground first, thereby protecting the fairing from damage.
Nac Nac is a stylish trick performed while airborne. The rider swings both legs off the same side of the bike and extends one leg even further behind them in a twisting rotating movement and then remounts the bike before the landing.
Nailed It is a slang term for when a rider was able to clear a difficult section of the track or trail section in control.
Naked Bike is a motorcycle with either no or limited fairing exposing the engine.
NBD is an acronym for Never Been Dropped and can typically be found in used motorcycle advertisements.
Neck is the front of a motorcycle frame where the steering head is located.
Needle Bearing is a small cylindrical type of roller bearing used to prevent friction between moving surfaces that have low rotational speeds.
Newbie is slang for a person who is new to the sport of motorcycling.
Nipple Surfing is slang for sliding across the ground chest down after falling off a motorcycle.
Nose Heavy describes when the bike tilts forward onto the front wheel as you are about land after a jump.
Nose Wheelie describes when a rider applies the front brakes to make the rear tire rise up off the ground and then rides balanced on the front tire.
Nyloc is a type of nut for a bolt that has a plastic insert to keep it from backing off from vibration and can replace lock washers.
O-ring is a rubber sealing part that is shaped like an O.
Octane Rating indicates the ability of a fuel to resist early detonation.
Odometer is a gauge that tracks the distance traveled.
OEM is an acronym for Original Equipment from Manufacturer.
Off is a slang term for a crash or fall off the bike.
Off-Camber Turn is a turn that is banked higher on the inside than on the outside.
Off-Road Bike is a motorcycle designed specifically for off-road use.
Off-Road Helmet is a motorcycle helmet with a chin guard and sun shield but no visor.
Off-Road is a term to describe any type of terrain that is not paved with asphalt or concrete.
OHC is an acronym for Over Head Cam.
OHV is an acronym for Overhead Valve.
Oil Bag is a slang term for a motorcycle’s oil tank.
Oil Bath is lubrication by complete submergence in oil.
Oil Cooler is an engine cooling system that sends the engine’s oil through an external radiator to help remove heat from the engine.
Oil Filter is a component designed to remove impurities from the oil that is used to lubricate the engine.
Oil Head is a slang term for oil-cooled BMW Boxer engines.
On Rails is an expression meaning the motorcycle corners very well at high speeds.
On the Box is a top-three finish that puts a racer on the victory podium.
On the Gas is when a rider is going very fast.
On the Pipe is a motorcycle running at the rpm which gives maximum horsepower.
One-Off is a one-of-a-kind fabricated part or one that is not designed to be mass-produced.
Open Class refers to street legal sportbikes with engines that displace more than 800cc in volume.
Open Cradle Frame is a motorcycle frame without tubes running under the engine. The engine unit bolts into place between the front downtube and the swingarm pivot area as a semi-stressed or stressed member.
Open Face Helmet is a helmet that covers the top of the head and sides but has no chin bar leaving the face open.
Organ Donor is a slang term used for a biker who doesn’t wear a helmet.
OTB is an acronym for Over The Bars, as it relates to an over-the-handlebar crash.
Overbore is when the diameter of the cylinder is increased by drilling it out.
Overcook is to enter a turn or other obstacle too fast (coming in hot) making it impossible to complete the turn or section perfectly.
Overdrive is transmission gear such that one revolution of the engine produces more than one revolution of the driveshaft creating a gear ratio of less than 1:1.
Overhead Cam is when the camshaft is mounted in or on the cylinder head. There is less reciprocating mass in an overhead cam valvetrain, so it can operate at higher engine speeds, permitting higher peak power in high-performance engines.
Oversquare, also known as short stroke, describes an engine with cylinders that have a greater bore diameter as compared to stroke length (bore/stroke ratio greater than 1:1).
Oversteer is when the rear of a vehicle tends to skid before the front while turning.
Packing is another slang for crashing.
Paddock is the specialized area at a racetrack where maintenance on race motorcycles takes place and also houses support vehicles.
Panic Rev is a twisting of the throttle when the bike is airborne (mid-jump) and the bike is nose heavy in the air. Twisting the throttle wide open will cause the rear tire to spin very fast, and can help lift the nose of the bike so it lands more evenly on the tires.
Pannier(s), also known as saddlebags, are packs or baskets hung over the rear wheel of a motorcycle to carry items.
Parallel Twin is a twin-cylinder engine with the cylinders paired side-by-side.
Patches are cloth insignia sewn onto a jacket or shirt to signify a motorcycle club.
Pavement Surfing is a slang term for sliding down the highway after laying down/crashing a bike at speed.
Peewee is a slang term for a 50cc dirt bike and is also a class of racing.
Petcock is a small two-way shut-off valve that controls the flow of liquid. Petcocks can have multiple fuel options such as Off, On, Reserve, and Prime.
Pile Up is a crash where more than one bike is involved in a crash.
Pillion is a motorcycle passenger.
Pin It is slang for opening the throttle wide open.
Pinch Flat occurs when an impact on a wheel creates so much pressure that the rim bottoms out, punching holes in an inner tube.
Pinched is slang for being picked up by the police.
Pinned is slang for when the throttle rolled wide open.
Pipe is a slang term for an exhaust pipe, especially an aftermarket exhaust system added for higher performance.
Piston is the moving part in the engine cylinder responsible for converting the energy released in combustion into mechanical work.
Pit is the designated area where makeshift garages are set up to perform maintenance on race motorcycles.
Pit Board is a sign a mechanic writes on and shows to their racer to relay information such as which position they are in and how far ahead or behind they are.
Pit Crew are the mechanics and or assistants supporting a racer.
Pit Lane is an area adjacent to the track used to enter and exit the race track circuit and where maintenance takes place prior to and during practice sessions and the race event.
Plastic Princess is a slang term for a rider or their bike, often both, that is too precious to get dirty.
Plastics are panels that attach to the bike like fenders and shrouds.
Play the Clutch is slang for the partially engaged clutch or the act of feathering the clutch.
Plugs is a slang term for spark plugs.
PMS is an acronym for Parked Motorcycle Syndrome.
Poker Run is a road rally-style event in which riders travel to checkpoints to collect cards that create a poker hand. The person with the best hand at the end of the run is the winner.
Popping the Clutch is letting the clutch out quickly to make a fast start.
Poser is slang for a wannabe biker (pretend biker).
Positive Camber Turn is a turn that is banked so that the outside of the turn is higher than the inside of the turn.
Pot is a slang term for a single carburetor (4 pots would be a 4-barrel carburetor)
Power Plant is a slang term for a motorcycle engine.
Power Shift is the act of shifting without using the clutch.
Power Slide is when the motorcycle slides sideways while accelerating.
Powerband is the range of RPM where an engine produces the most power.
Powertrain are the components that deliver rotary motion from the engine to the drive wheels (including transmission, clutch, primary and secondary drives).
Pre-Ignition is a condition in an internal combustion engine when the intake charge ignites before the spark plug fires.
Preload refers to the force applied to spring components before external loads, such as rider weight, are applied. More preload makes the suspension sag less and less preload makes the suspension sag more. Adjusting preload affects the ride height of the suspension.
Pre-race Routine is a sequence of habits performed by riders to get themselves ready to race.
Primary Drive is the drive method of connecting the engine’s crankshaft to its transmission.
Privateers are racers who do not have the financial or material backing of a manufacturer.
Production Motorcycle is the motorcycle manufacturers produce to sell to the general public (versus bikes built specifically for racers).
Prospect is a slang term for a “prospective” new member looking to join a motorcycle club.
PSI is an acronym for pounds per square inch and is used when discussing tire pressure.
Pucks are part of the body armor worn by the rider that attaches to the side of the knees and is used while cornering.
Pull is a slang term used to describe the ability of a motorcycle to accelerate.
Purring is a slang term for a smooth-running engine.
Pushrod Engine is an engine whose camshaft mounts low in the engine. It activates the valves in the head by means of pushrods.
Q-Tip is a slang term for an elderly cage/car driver. Q-tips are blanketly considered dangerous by bikers who assume their eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and decision-making abilities are hindered by age. The term Q-Tip is used due to the white color of their hair.
Quad is a jump with 4 peaks or can be used to describe a 4-wheeled ATV.
Qualify is to advance to the final race event by timed qualifying or position in a heat race.
Qualifying Heat Race is a preliminary race used to determine elimination or position in the final race event.
Rad is a slang word meaning “cool” or short for “radical”.
Radial refers to a tire design with cords of the tire positioned from the left to the right side. This construction requires a belt to stabilize the tread and define the tire diameter.
Radiator is an engine cooling device allowing excess heat to be purged.
Rag Doll is a slang term for when a rider goes limp when thrown from the motorcycle in a crash and is bouncing around.
Rain Grooves are channels cut into a road’s surface to help water run off the road during a rainstorm, but can be a hazard for a motorcycle to ride across at speed.
Rainbows are the appearance of patches of different colors on roads on a rainy day caused by oil on the street. The presence of this rainbow effect is a cautionary guide to beware of slippery conditions.
Rake is the angle of the front fork or the steering axis from the horizontal or vertical plane measured in degrees.
Rally is a type of long-distance, off-road motorcycle race using roll-charts or GPS for navigation. Rally can also refer to a social gathering for motorcyclists that usually involves group rides and camping.
Rat Bike is a slang term for a motorcycle that’s kept running by any means possible, usually with mismatched parts and minimal maintenance. Sometimes these are curated for effect, other times just the natural result of daily riding on a budget.
Rear Wheel Drift is to slide the rear wheel sideways during cornering while the front wheel keeps traction.
Rebound or rebound damping is the rate at which a motorcycle’s suspension decompresses after absorbing an impact or imperfection on the road.
Redline indicates the maximum RPM’s an engine may run. The name is derived from the actual red line manufacturers typically put on the tachometer.
Relay is a light current electrical switch that triggers a heavier switch capable of caring a heavier current.
Retard is a term used to describe setting back the ignition timing before the piston reaches TDC (Top Dead Center.)
Rev(s) is an acronym for Revolutions Per Minute, referring to how fast a motor is spinning.
Revalving is the term used to describe changing internal dampening valves.
Revving is the action of using the throttle in a quick short burst to speed up the engine.
Rhythm Section is a section in a supercross track that typically contains different kinds of obstacles and requires skill to successfully complete.
Rich is a condition where the optimum mixture of fuel and air is not being fed to the engine (too much fuel as compared to air).
Ride Captain is the leader of a group ride.
Ride Lieutenant is the last and usually most experienced rider in a group ride.
Ride Modes are electronically adjustable riding options that change engine, traction control, suspension and brake performance in a motorcycle. Examples include Street/Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road/Enduro, etc.
Rider’s Meeting is the gathering of all of the riders at a race or before a group ride to review any information riders may need to know.
Rigid Frame is a type of motorcycle frame that has no swingarm or rear suspension.
Riding Gear refers to all the apparel and protective equipment a person wears while riding.
Riding Two Up describes riding with a passenger on your bike.
Rip is a slang term for riding with an aggressive flow, stated as “Rippin’ It Up!”
Risers are an aftermarket item designed to help correct the ergonomic shortcomings of your motorcycle. Risers are designed to be mounted under your handlebars to raise them vertically to help while standing or extend the bar mounts toward you while sitting.
Road Agent is a slang term for Highway Patrol Officer or State Trooper or police officer.
Road Crown is the arc of a road, designed to allow for water drainage.
Road Gator is a slang term for shredded tire pieces littering a road after a car or large truck tire blows out. The tire bits can look like alligators laying across the road.
Road Rash is a slang term for abrasions and scrapes to the skin a rider receives after sliding along the ground after a motorcycle crash without proper protective gear. Wearing proper protective gear will limit road rash but may not prevent it entirely.
Road Snakes are the strips of tar sometimes used to fill cracks on a racetrack or on a highway/road. These may be slippery to ride a over with a motorcycle.
Rocker Arms are devices that work like upside-down teeter totters and push on the valve stems.
Rodeo is a slang term for the feeling a rider has when going over a section of rocks or bumpy terrain. The bike may be bouncing around similar to riding a bull in a rodeo.
Roll Chart (AKA Road Book) is printed navigation commonly used for rally racing. Roll charts may be manually or electronically controlled on a specially mounted component behind the windscreen.
Roll Offs are thin clear plastic disposable films that cover riding goggles. Rolls offs are designed so the rider can advance (or roll) the film to create a fresh and clear field of vision on their goggles. As the film rolls, it takes with it any stuck on mud blocking the rider’s vision.
Roll Up is a technique trial/enduro riders will use to move the bike over an obstacle. This entails an acceleration (blip) before approaching the obstacle and then a quick roll off of the throttle as the bike arrives at the obstacle. Flywheel inertia helps carry the bike up/over the obstacle. Variations can include lifting the front wheel onto taller obstacles.
Roller is a smooth obstacle that can either be jumped or rolled over.
Rolling Chassis is when a motorcycle build is at the stage of assembly where it can be taken down off the lift and roll it around.
Rolling On the Throttle means giving the bike more power by giving it more gas to accelerate.
Rollover happens when the tire sidewall rubs the road surface during aggressive cornering.
Rotor is the spinning brake disc that the brake caliper clamps on to for the purpose of stopping the bike.
RPM is an acronym for Revolutions Per Minute.
RUB is an acronym for Rich Urban Biker.
Rubber is a slang term for tires/tyres.
Rubber Mounted is a system of mounting an engine that uses rubber cushions under the engine to isolate engine vibrations from the rider.
Run Out of Rubber is a phrase for describing when a rider exceeds the maximum lean angle of the tire and typically results in laying down the bike.
Rutted or Ruts are terms used to describe a trail with long deep tracks or crevices created by repeated passage of other motorcycles.
SAE is an acronym for the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Sag is a measurement that indicates the suspension travel that a motorcycle has at rest with the rider on the bike.
Same, But Different is a slang term for when something is new but still the same.
Sand Pit is a section of an enduro or supercross track that is full of sand.
Sandbagger is someone who is riding in a class that is slower than their own capabilities, typically done to have a better chance of winning.
Schrader Valve is the type of spring-loaded valve that releases air or let’s air it in.
Scoot/Scooter refers to true scooters or mopeds but is also slang for any motorcycle or two-wheeled vehicle.
Scramble is a term used to describe a type of cross-country off-road motorcycle racing usually performed through woodland or desert terrain. Racers will attempt to complete a number of pre-determined laps or race for a pre-determined time limit.
Scrambler is an off-road-inspired motorcycle that is usually ridden on-road; these are often stylize with a high-mounted exhaust and muffler and have knobby tires.
Seat Bounce is a jumping technique wherein a rider sits down forcefully on the seat to compress the suspension and help rebound the bike before taking off on a jump. This skill is more commonly seen on smaller displacement bikes in Supercross.
Seizure, also known as freeze-up, is the locking in place of moving parts due to overheating, lack of lubrication, or opposing pressure.
Selector Fork is the component within the gearbox that selects the gear (operated by the gear lever).
Send It! is a term used to express excitement and encourage a fellow rider to perform a jump on the motorcycle.
Sending Unit or Sensor Unit is an electrical or mechanical device for sensing a physical property of the motorcycle’s operating conditions.
Shaft Drive is a final drive system installed on some motorcycles that utilizes a shaft to transmit power to the rear wheel (as opposed to a chain or belt drive).
Shim is a small piece of metal used to set clearances between valves or other parts.
Shimmy is another term for high-speed wobble.
Shock Absorber, also known as a damper, absorbs road surface vibration through hydraulic friction.
Shocks is slang for shock absorbers.
Short Legging is a situation where a rider attempts to put down a foot on pavement or solid ground when stopping a motorcycle but finds that no pavement exists where it was expected.
Short Shift is shifting to the next gear before the optimum point of power in the current gear.
Shotgun Pipes are a style of exhaust that has the two pipes ending straight and together, giving the appearance of a double-barreled shotgun.
Shovel is a slang term for Harley-Davidson engines produced between 1966 and 1984. The name is derived because the shape of the head resembles a coal shovel.
Showed Him My Wheel is an expression a racer will use, meaning that one rider got their bike so close to another that they could see the front wheel directly beside them.
Shred is slang for when a rider displays a higher-than-usual level of expertise while negotiating a track or trail.
Sick is a slang term for crazy, cool, or insane … but in a good way.
Side Grass is grass on the side of the trail containing rocks or tree stumps that can clip the front wheel.
Sidecar is a small carriage attached to the side of a motorcycle to provide extra carrying capacity or an additional passenger.
Sidestand, also known as kickstand, is lever attached to a motorcycle that swings out from the left side to support the bike at rest.
Seized is the term used for the bonding of two separate parts or dissimilar materials.
Single Shock is a single rear spring and shock absorber assembly (as oppoeds to a traditional dual spring setup).
Singletrack is a narrow off-road trail that must be ridden single file.
SIPDE is an acronym for Scan, Identity, Predict, Decide & Execute. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recognizes these as five critical behaviors for safe motorcycle operation.
Sissy Bar is another term for the passenger backrest.
Sketchy is a slang term for when something is hard or you don’t feel 100% safe doing it.
Skid Lid is a slang term for a helmet (usually an open-face helmet).
Skim is a slang term used to describe when a rider hits the top of each whoop with each tire, during a whoops section. The result is that the bike travels (seemingly floats) straight across the tops of the whoops instead of jumping through them individually.
Skin is slang for a new paint job.
Slabbing It is American slang for taking the interstate highway
Slam is slang for a motorcycle (or car) that has a lowered suspension.
Slave Cylinder, also know as cluth or brake cylinder, is a hydraulic cylinder activated by the master cylinder.
Sled is a slang term for a motorcycle.
Slick describes a treadless tire that is used in motorcycle racing on tarmac. Slick can also refer to a completely worn-out tire with little or no tread left on it.
Slink Riders is a slang term for riders in a group ride who consistently fail to maintain the correct spacing with other riders and are a severe hazard to the group.
Slip Ons is a slang for a higher-performance aftermarket muffler that slips onto the factory exhaust header (rather than replace the entire exhaust system).
Slipping the Clutch or feathering the clutch, is a control technique use by a rider whereby they release the clutch lever to the point where it engages the engine. This is particularly helpful in slow speed manuevuers. *Note that this differs from a mechanical problem of the clutch plates slipping and failing to deliver torque.
Slop is a term for “play” or “looseness” in a motorcycle assembly.
Slow Race is a common bike competition seen at rallies or safety events where riders are tasked to ride as slowly as possible, with the last rider to cross the finish line winning. It takes great balance and friction zone control to perform this well.
Small Bore is a slang term for a small CC bike (usually less than 250ccs).
SMIDSY is an acronym for “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you” and can be used after accidentally hitting another motorcyclist.
Snail is the spiral shape of a turbocharger that leads to its nickname snail or sometimes hair.
Soft Tail is a mono-shock swingarm motorcycle design that has rigid or hardtail styling with full rear suspension capability. Harley-Davidson famously utilizes this design.
SOHC is an acronym for Single Over Head Cam which is a single camshaft per bank of cylinders and found in the head or top of the engine above the combustion chamber.
SOHV is an acronym for Single Over Head Valve that describes a pushrod engine with the camshaft located in the cylinder block.
Soil Sample is slang for a rider getting a face full of dirt either in a crash or as the result of a roost.
Soiled is when a rider is completely covered in dirt from head to toe after riding their motorcycle. Being “soiled” is a positive term used to praise a rider for how hard they rode.
Solenoid is a cylindrical coil of wire that acts like a magnetic when carrying current.
Solid is slang for good, trustworthy people.
Solid Mounted is a motorycle engine mounted directly to the frame tubes with bolts.
Spark Plug is a device that lights an electric spark within the combustion chamber to burn the fuel in the cylinder.
Sparkin’ or Sparking the Pavement is a slang term used when a rider leans their bike over far enough to drag the footpegs, floorboards or exhaust pipe to cause sparks to fly.
Speed Wobble is a sudden instability of the motorcycle when riding at a speed in which the front end of the bike oscillates from side to side uncontrollably.
Splat is a technique used by trials/enduro riders to launch their bikes over a tall obstacle. As the rider approaches the obstacle, they forcefully compress the bike’s suspension and use the throttle to launch the bike at the ledge/obstacle while allowing the bike to rotate slightly backward in the air so that the rear tire impacts “splats” the face of the ledge/obstacle.
Splicing is aggressive driving in the narrow passage between oncoming or parked cars.
Spode is a dirt bike slang term for a rider that has no skill (but doesn’t realize it) and therefore never improves. Spodes can also be found giving bogus advice to other riders.
Spoke is a rod that connects the hub and rim on a wheel.
Sport Bike is a race-inspired street-legal motorcycle with design features that include aerodynamic plastic fairings and windshields.
Sport Standard is a motorcycle that has some racy styling but with a more upright riding stance.
Sport Tourer is a motorcycle that offers the power and speed of a sport bike combined with the comfort and amenities of a touring bike.
Spring Rate is the measured stiffness of internal fork springs or external shock springs.
Springer Fork is a fork design that uses large, exposed springs to dampen the impact of road irregularities.
Sprocket is a metal tooth wheel designed to engage the links of a chain. In a motorcycle the front sprocket runs off the transmission shaft and a rear sprocket is bolted to the hub of the rear wheel and they are connected together by a chain.
Square Off means to turn and pivot in the middle of a turn while going to the inside of the track.
Squat is the downward movement of the rear suspension of the motorcycle as it bottoms out due to hard acceleration.
SQUID is an acronym for Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, Imminently Dead. This describes a reckless and inexperienced motorcycle rider who rides without proper gear and beyond their abilities, endangering themselves and others.
Squirrelly Handling is a slang term used when a motorcycle feels less than full control.
Stacking is slang for crashing.
Standard is a classic-styled motorcycle with a focus on no-frills function. These are designed to have a comfortable flat seat, sensible handlebars that the rider can reach easily, and footpegs directly beneath the rider. A standard motorcycle is intended for general, all-around street use.
Standing on the Brakes is a phrase used to describe the aggressive application of braking power (usually in a panic stop).
Start Gate is the metal device used at the start of a race; when the gate falls, the race starts.
Stay Vertical is a parting expression a rider will use meaning to ride safely.
Stealership is a slang term for the local “authorized” motorcycle dealership, so named for their overpriced charges.
Steering damper is a part mounted on a motorcycle’s frame and fork that adds resistance to the motorcycle steering in an effect to balance steering controls and avoid wobbles.
Steering Geometry is the geometrical relationship between the motorcycle frame, the angle of the fork, and the position of the front tire.
Steering Head is the tubular section at the very front of the motorcycle frame where the fork mounts to the frame; this is the location where the steering angle in measured.
Steering Head Bearing is the pivot between the front forks and the main frame.
Steering Lock enables a rider to lock the fork at an extreme right or left to prevent theft of the motorcycle.
Step Down is a jump with a gap on the back side making the landing lower than the takeoff.
Step Up is a jump where the landing is higher than the takeoff.
Stiction is static friction or lack of movement between two surfaces.
Stitching a Line is a slang term for slipping through traffic in a quick manner on a motorcycle. The term does not imply reckless driving, rather, a controlled and deliberate style of maneuvers that allows a motorcycle rider to ride through traffic as efficiently as possible.
Stock describes a motorcycle set up to OEM specifications with no alterations and no aftermarket parts.
Stoked is slang for being excited or overly pleased about something.
Stoppie is a technique that has the rider stopping with the rear wheel off the ground (the opposite of a wheelie). A rider uses precisely applied front brake pressure to correctly perform this technique.
Straight Pipes are an exhaust system with no baffles inside the pipes, allowing unrestricted exhaust to travels straight out. The lack of restriction can increase performance but makes the bike very loud and therefore illegal in most areas.
Streetfighter, also known as a hooligan bike, is a sport bike with little or no bodywork. This started as cost savings measure for riders who couldn’t afford cosmetic repairs to their sportbikes, but became a trend over time.
Stressed Member is a component that is an integral part of the whole structure.
Stretch describes a motorcycle with an extended front fork, such as a chopper. This increases the degree of rake and allows for the use of a long, extended forks.
Stretching Out refers to a bike with a pulled or stretched out swing arm, making the bike longer. This design is used in hill climb racing bikes and drag bikes.
Stroke is the distance traveled in either direction by a piston or rod in an engine; or refers to the length of usable suspension travel.
Stroker is slang for a two-stroke engine.
Stuff, Stuffed is slang for an especially forceful block pass that made with contact with another rider.
Suicide Shift is an early-style gear shift mechanism with a foot-actuated clutch and the gear shifting performed with the rider’s hand via a long gear shift lever connected directly to the transmission. Because the rider has to remove one of their hands from the handlebars in order to shift many people felt that motorcycle riders were literally risking injury to themselves, hence the term, “suicide shift”.
Sump is an oil reservoir that either scavenges free draining engine oil or separately holds oil.
Superbike is a term for a modern, high-performance sportbike, usually with a displacement of around one liter (1,000 CCs).
Supermini is a motorcycle race class designated (typically 85cc to 105cc engines).
Super-Motard is a motorcycle race category that defines urbanly designed cross or enduro bikes.
Supermoto is a style of riding/racing, as well as a genre of motorcycle. Supermoto bikes are essentially dirtbikes that have been outfitted with smaller wheels, street tires, and tight suspension for technical riding.
Supersport is a high-performance, race class of sportbikes that has mid-sized engines (600-750 CCs).
Suspension is a system of springs, shock absorbers, and levers that allows the wheels to move in relation to the frame. A good suspension should allow the wheels to stay in contact with the riding surface when going over rough or uneven sections.
Swap is a slang term dirt bike riders use to describe the tendency of the rear end to bounce from side to side through bumps and whoops.
Swapping Paint is slang for when two riders bump into each other while racing.
Sweep, also known as the back door or tail gunner. is a term for the last (and most experienced) rider in a group ride,
Sweeper is a broad high-speed turn.
Swingarm is the moveable rear suspension component that mounts the rear wheel and is then mated to the rest of the chassis via a mono-shock or pair of rear shocks.
Swingarm Stand, also known as paddock stand, is a device used for lifting a motorcycle’s rear wheel by a lever that is not mounted on the bike.
Switchback is a trail that follows a zig-zag pattern on a hill or mountainside. Often involving challenging hairpin turns.
SX is an acronym for Supercross.
Tabletop is a type of jump that lacks a gap between the front and backside; or is describing a technique of laying the bike flat in the air (pancake) during a jump.
Tachometer or Tach(slang) is a gauge that measures how fast an engine is spinning and is expressed in revolutions per minute (RPMs).
Tail Gunner, also known as sweep, is the last (and often most experienced) rider in a group motorcycle ride. This position comes with many responsibilities such as creating a new lane when the group needs to change lanes, rendering aid to any rider who has a mechanical breakdown, and may need to communicate with the rider captain about traffic conditions or if a rider has left the group ride.
Tail Pack/Bag is a bag or piece of luggage that mounts onto the (tail) rear seat or rear luggage rack of the bike.
Tall is a term for a motorcycle gearing ratio that has a high final drive gear ratio. This creates less top-end speed but creates more torque for stronger initial acceleration.
Tang is the part of the side stand that sticks out for the rider to put their toe on to lower the side stand while seated on the bike.
Tank Bag is a bag or piece of luggage that mounts to the top of the fuel tank.
Tank-Slapper is a dangerous occurrence in which the handlebars jerk back and forth (violently sometimes) with incredible force. This can be caused by suspension issues or riding on loose off-road surfaces like sand.
Tappet is a device to self-adjust valve clearances.
Tar Snake is a slang term for the material used to patch cracks in the asphalt. These have less traction than the original pavement, have low melting points, and can be slippery.
Target Fixation is a term used to describe a rider’s inclination to focus on an obstacle, resulting in them riding into it rather than avoid it.
Tarmac is another term for asphalt.
T-Bone is a term used to describe the act of crashing into another vehicle/rider at a right angle (resulting in a T-shape with the two vehicles).
T-Clocks is an acronym from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation used to help riders remember the Pre-Ride inspection: Tires, Controls, Lights (and electronics), Oils, Chassis (and chain), and Stands (make sure it’s up).
TDC is an acronym for Top Dead Center, the point at which a piston is at its highest position within the cylinder.
Team Green is slang for the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Kawasaki.
Tearoffs are thin, plastic sheet that are removable and cover riding google lens. When a rider gets roosted and the dirt/mud covers the goggles, they then pull/tear off the plastic to clear the vision.
Technical Briefing is a meeting that all riders must attend at the beginning of the race day.
Telescopic Forks are the motorcycle’s front suspension system with two fork legs.
Telelever System is the front suspension made by BMW, which takes the shock absorption function of a hydraulic fork and transfers it to a shock absorber located behind the steering head.
Textiles are the jacket/gloves/etc (safety gear) used by riders that are made out of textile fabric rather than leather.
The Double is slang for the 200-mile-per-hour mark.
The Ton is slang for the 100-mile-per-hour mark.
The Zone is a mental state in which someone is in a flow-state, where activities are performed effortlessly and time seems to move slower.
Thrashing It is a slang term for riding a motorcycle aggressively.
Throttle is the control that adjusts speed and acceleration by regulating the amount of air and gas that enters the carburetor.
Throttle Rocker is a manual device fitted to the throttle of a motorcycle that applies friction to keep the throttle from moving. Bikes without cruise control can use these to temporarily allow the rider the rest their right hand.
Thumper is slang for a single-cylinder motorcycle engine.
Tire Direction is the correct way a motorcycle tire should be mounted onto the rim to ensure the tread pattern is rolling in the correct direction. Motorcycle tires have an arrow on the sidewall showing the correct direction of travel.
Top End is the term for the maximum speed of a motorcycle; or refers to the upper part of the engine, containing the pistons, cylinders, and valve gear.
Torque is a unit of measure describing a twisting or rotational force (Torque = Force x Distance from the center of rotation). Typically, an engine with a lot of torque will have the potential to speed up faster at lower RPMs.
Torque Wrench is a tool that tightens nuts, bolts or screws to a set torque setting (typically specified by the manufacturer) to ensure proper fastening (not too tight and not too loose)
Torque Setting is measured in Newton-meters (N-m) or Foot/Pounds (ft/lbs). N-m divided by 1.356 equals ft/lbs.
TORX is a 6-point star-shaped screw drive. This star-shaped design is less resistant to stripping (cam-out) versus either Philps or flathead configurations.
Totaled is a term used by insurance companies to describe a bike after an accident that will cost more to repair versus the value it is worth.
Tourer is slang for a Touring Bike.
Touring is a term used to describe long-distance travel.
Touring Bike is a motorcycle with many comforts and amenities designed for long-range travel, such as fairings for wind protection and saddle bags for carrying gear for extended time out on the road.
Tracking is a term used to describe riding/holding a defined line.
Traction Control is an electronic safety feature that modulates the rotational speed of the rear wheel to prevent or minimize loss of traction. Reactive traction control automatically reduces the power delivery to the rear wheel after traction has been lost. Predictive traction control utilizes sensors to predict when traction will soon be lost and adjusts inputs preemptively to avoid any wheel spin.
Trail is the distance along the ground measured from the steering axis to the center of the contact patch. A trail is also the term used for an off-road route.
Trail Braking is a cornering technique requiring the rider to brake before entering a corner and then slowly releasing pressure off (trails off) of the brakes as the lean-angle increases.
Trailer Twinkie is slang for a rider who is physically able to ride, but would rather trailer or haul their bike to a destination.
Trailing Throttle is closing the throttle as the bike decelerates to create engine braking.
Transmission is the system of gears and chains that transmitted power from the engine to the driving wheel.
Traction is the ability of a tire to grip the road or surface is it rolling on.
Travel is the distance that suspension components, forks and shocks, move up and down when the bike rides over uneven surfaces.
Tread Pattern is the design pattern of grooves molded into the surface of a tire.
Trials is the sport of motorcycle riding with specifically designed bikes to ride and overcome obstacles. Trials riders will tackle an obstacle course by jumping from a standstill without touching their feet to the ground. The motorcycle trial bike is lightweight and does not have a seat mounted to it.
Trials Bike is a motorcycle built for competition over radical terrain. The bikes are lightweight, have low gear ratios, are designed without a seat, and have high ground clearance suited for clearing obstacles.
Tri-Armor is CE-approved motorcycle armor made up of a plastic membrane sandwiched between layers of dual-density memory foam. This is an advanced armor that balances impact resistance, abrasion resistance, and comfort.
Trick is slang for “cool”, as in “That dude’s bike is trick!”
Trickle Charging is a method of slowly and gently charging a battery with the use of an external trickle charger; these are particularly helpful for stored bikes during the off-season to avoid battery drain.
Trike is a three-wheeled motorcycle with no sidecar. These can have one wheel in front and two in the back (traditional trike) or two wheels in front and one in the back (reverse trike).
Tripmeter is a manually resettable odometer that displays the distance traveled since the last meter reset. These can be used to estimate fuel consumption or help estimate when to stop for gas on bikes without a fuel gauge.
Triple is a three-cylinder inline motorcycle engine, or references a jump containing three moguls.
Triple Clamps or Triple Trees or Triple Yokes are the components that connects the front forks to the steering stem. The name is derived from the three tubes that are joined (one steering stem plus two fork tubes).
Troubleshooting is the process of looking for the problem on the bike.
Trumpet is slang for a Triumph motorcycle, or can refer to a trumpet-shaped exhaust pipe.
TT (Tourist Trophy) is a road race held on closed public roads on the Isle of Man, off the coast of Great Britain. The TT is the oldest motorcycle-racing event in the world and also the most dangerous racing event in the world.
Tuck is a crouched position a rider utilizes to limit wind drag and gain an aerodynamic advantage.
Tuck the Front is a term used to describe losing front-end traction, often as a result of using too much front brake.
Tucking is slang for a front wheel that suddenly turns itself too sharply into a turn with the bike leaned over.
Turn it Over is slang for starting a bike.
Twisties is a slang term for a road with many turns.
Two Into One is an exhaust header where two pipes mate into one pipe.
Two Second Rule is the minimum spacing, in seconds, between moving motorcycles while riding in formation on a group ride. It is measured by counting “one-thousand one, one-thousand two” as the rider in front of you passes a sign or landmark and ensuring you do not pass that same landmark prior to finishing the two-second count phrase.
Two Stroke is a reciprocating engine that uses two strokes of the piston to complete one power cycle; Intake and compression are combined in the first stroke, while power and exhaust are combined in the second stroke.
Two Up is a term for carrying a passenger on your motorcycle.
Two-Wheel Drift is a technique in cornering in which both tires drift.
UJM is an acronym for Universal Japanese Motorcycle coined in the 1980s because Japanese motorcycles all had the same looking inline-four-cylinder engine.
Under Brake is the term used to describe a rider’s failure to apply the brakes fully and therefore, resulting in a longer than necessary stopping distance.
Undersquare, also known as long stroke, occurs if the engine’s cylinder stroke is greater than the bore (bore/stroke ratio is less than 1:1). This scenario produces more horsepower but less torque than an oversquare engine design.
Unitized Transmission is when a motorcycle’s engine and transmission are built together and oil (seen on larger-displacement Harley-Davidson models).
Universal Joint or U-Joint is a coupling that connects rigid shafts and assists in transmitting rotary motion. These are used on shaft-drive motorcycles.
Unsprung Weights are the parts of the motorcycle not supported by the suspension system and therefore rise and fall over irregularities on the road surface.
Upshift is the term used to describe shifting into a higher gear.
Upside-Down Forks are the telescopic forks in which the lower section “telescopes” into the fixed upper tube.
Up-Sweeps are a style of exhaust pipes that run up along the side of the bike at an angle and often up to the sissy bar.
Urban Tumbleweed is slang for plastic grocery bags/sacks that fly up onto a hot exhaust or into your face while riding.
V2 Evolution is the name for the Harley-Davidson Engine introduced in 1984.
Valance Fenders are larger sweeping fenders popular with Indian Motorcycle owners.
Valve Clearance is the space left for expansion between the valve stem and the rocker arm on a four-stroke engine.
Valve Guides are metal tubes that house the valves.
Valve Train is a system of valves that let the fuel charges in and let the exhaust gases out.
Valves are mechanical components in engines that allow or restrict the air/fuel mixtures and exhaust gases from entering and leaving the combustion chambers. Valves are opened and closed by cams (in modern bikes) or rocker arms (in older bikes)
Vapor Lock is a condition where fluid expansion into a vapor state prevents a system from working.
Vespa is an Italian scooter manufacturer.
V-Four is a four-cylinder motorcycle engine with cylinders arranged in two rows and then angled into a V shape.
VIN is an acronym for Vehicle Identification Number which is a factory-stamped number onto the frame and engine used to identify the motorcycle. No two motorcycles in the world have the same VIN.
Vintage/Classic is a motorcycle 20 years or older.
Viscosity is the measurement of the thickness or denseness of a fluid.
Voltage Regulator is a device that controls the output from the generator.
V-Twin is a twin-cylinder engine with cylinders arranged at a V-shaped angle. This is most typical for Harley-Davidson, however Ducati and Moto Guzzi have designed bikes with V-Twin engines as well.
Wash Out is a slang term describing what happens when the front tire loses traction (often going around a corner) and resulting in a fall or near-fall.
Washboard, also known as corrugated, is the transverse ripple effect that form on poorly maintained rural dirt roads and create a very rough ride.
Water-Cooled is a high-performance motorcycle engine that utilizes a radiator to help shed heat from the engine.
Waxer is a slang term for a motorcyclist who spends more time waxing and washing their bike than riding it.
Weekend Warrior is slang for riders who are only able to get out on the weekends for rides.
Weight Transfer describes when weight is shifted from one wheel to the other during acceleration or deceleration. Acceleration will cause the weight to transfer from the front to the rear wheel, while braking will cause the weight to shift from the rear to the front wheel.
Went Down is slang for a crash at any speed.
WFO is an acronym for Wide F_ _ king Open (referring to throttle).
Wheelbase is the distance from the front wheel hub to the rear wheel hub. A longer wheelbase results in more stability but less agility for the motorcycle
Wheelie is a term for riding a motorcycle on the rear wheel only with the front wheel suspended in the air.
Whip is a stunt performed when jumping requiring the rider to push the back of the bike out to the side while in mid-air (like whipping a tail).
Whiskey Throttle is a slang term for when a rider gives too much throttle. This often happens by mistake when a rider starts to slip off the back of the bike, causing their hand to overrotate the throttle open more and more as they slip backward.
White Flag is used to signal one lap left to race.
Whoops is a slang term for whoop-de-doos, which is a section of track with repeating dirt mounds or moguls. Whoops are good places for fast riders to pass by being able to skip along the tops of them.
Widowmaker is a term used to describe any number of trail hazards that could cause massive bodily harm and possible death when riding.
Wipe Out is slang for a spectacular crash.
Wobble is a potentially dangerous unexpected side-to-side movement of the front or rear wheel at speed. Wobbles are a mechanical problem that require troubleshooting and repair.
Wonky is slang for something not functioning properly.
WOT is an acronym for Wide Open Throttle.
Wrenching is the act of actually doing the maintenance and repair work on a bike.
X-ring Chains are a type of sealed roller chain (similar to the standard O-ring chains) used in high-performance motorcycles.
Yard Sale is slang for a crash that leaves bike parts and gear scattered all over the area, as if on display for sale.
Yard Sharks is a slang term for dogs that come out of nowhere and try to bite you or your tires.
Yellow and Red Striped Flag means “caution” and indicates debris, fluid, or other hazard is on the track.
Yellow Flag indicates “Caution, do not pass.”
Zap is an obstacle-clearing technique used by trials/enduro riders; similar to the double blip technique but on the second blip, the rider dumps the clutch to achieve a more significant lift to the rear tire.
Zook is slang for Suzuki.