0 to 60 - Time (in
seconds) to reach 60 mph from a standing start.
‘all in one’ outfit of protective clothing. May refer
to leathers or textiles
outfit consisting of a jacket and pants. May refer to leathers or
The two-second rule is a rule of thumb by which a driver may maintain
a safe following distance at any speed. The rule is that a driver
should ideally stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that
is directly in front of the driver's vehicle. It is intended for
automobiles, although its general principle applies to other types
(Anti-Lock Breaking System)
A safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to continue interacting
tractively with the road surface as directed by driver/rider steering inputs
while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up (that is, ceasing rotation)
and therefore avoiding skidding.
In motorcycle context, good aerodynamics means that the motorcycle is designed
to have as little resistance from the air as possible. This is essential
to achieve great speeds. The manufacturers often make use of wind tunnels
during the development of a new motorcycle.
The sector of the market that sells parts and accessories other than OEM
(Original Equipment Manufacturer... ie, Honda, BMW, Suzuki, Harley-Davidson,
Mechanism used to keep the engine at operating temperature by using air
flowing over heat sinks (engine fins) to disperse excess heat.
Proportions in which air and fuel are mixed to form a combustible gas.
A slang-term for older, air-cooled BMW Boxer Twin motorcycles.
Intake Valves - Reed Valves
Air lock - Similar to vapor lock, a pocket or air develops that blocks the
normal flow of a fluid, such as in a hydraulic brake line. Common in two
stroke engines when the oil injection system is allowed to run dry.
Mesh-like, highly tear-resistant Dynafil polyamide weave.
Modern replacement for the dynamo generator, producing large quantities
of alternating current to run the electrical systems of a motorcycle.
American Motorcycle Association.
Ammeter - Gauge that measures amps in electrical current
Shows information in a continuous forum, often a dial; often considered
the opposite of digital gauges. Old school gauges.
front-end suspension component that reduces how much the forks compress
under braking, popular with motorcycles built in 1980s.
or Ape Hangers
high handlebars, usually found on choppers, that have the rider reaching
skyward to graps the controls, making the rider adopt an "ape-like"
- The vertex of tightest (middle or center) point of a curve.
A highly tear-resistant material combining Kevlar®
and Cordura® with the first class weather properties
of GORE-TEX® in a 3-layer laminate.
method for getting air into the engine (i.e., normal, turbo charged, super
Gear All The Time - This refers to a safety attitude which presumes that
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.
to top ]
- A head and neck "sock" with mouth and eye slits.
Nylon - A specific nylon developed by Dupont for the
U.S. Department of Defense for use in flak jackets. Later it was replaced
by Kevlar. The basket-weave construction helps add abrasion resistance as
opposed to a plain weave. The name is used as a marketing tools with ballistic
sounding like something "bulletproof" therefore really tough.
May motorcycle apparel companies us the word "Ballistic" when
describing material. In many cases the materials tear and abrasion strength
does not meet a minimum standard for motorcycle apparel and the word is
used only as a sales gimmick.
plate - A protective plate fitted under the engines
of off-road machines to prevent damage caused by grounding
- Edge of lip of a tire.
- BMW motorcycle.
drive - 1. Final drive (sometimes also the cam drive)
using a fabric belt to provide power to the rear wheel. Harley-Davidson
motorcycles are famous for their use of belt drives.
- 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.
seat - A long, non-split seat that is more comfortable
for two riders.
- Brake horse power. A unit of measurement for engine power output.
- Repair manual
Twin - 1. Any large sized V-Twin motorcycle engine.
Big Dog - Annual dual
sport ride with BMW's in the Rocky Mountains
Ice - Ice that cannot be seen on the road surface as
it takes upon the color of the road. Usually found in cold spots on the
road like under a bridge. Very dangerous hazard to a motorcyclists.
Corner - Blind Turn - A turn in the road that is partially
hidden by visual obstructions such as trees or an embankment, making it
so that a rider cannot see the roads path around the rest of the turn.
The motorcycle brand of the German company BMW. BMW Motorrad has produced
motorcycles since 1923
Bobbers, Bobbed or Bobbingy - The art of shortening
a bike's appearance by cutting down the size of its fenders. These bikes
were also known as "bobbers". Appeared before choppers. They got
the name from the rear fender being cut down to a minimum. And the rest
of the bikes were stripped also. This was all part of the early customizing
done by the returning WWll flyers.
English / Body Steering - A method used by motorcycle
riders to help control lean angle or direction independent of the handlebars
by moving body position on the motorcycle.
out - The Suspension runs out of room to travel and
hits the internal stops.
- A two cylinder engine with the pistons opposing each other, resembling
fists flying away from each other. BMW Boxer engine, Honda Goldwing engine
hoses - Hose made of braided
metal and frequently refers to brake hoses. Typically used to replace standard
rubber hoses which flex or bulge under pressure; braided hoses don’t
and therefore give increased braking performance.
(disc brakes / drum brakes) - Disc Brakes use stationary calipers that squeeze
pads against the discs that rotate with the wheel. Drum Brakes use horseshoe
shaped brake shoes that expand against the inner surface of the wheel hub.
horsepower - Although theoretically
equal to standard horsepower, "brake" horsepower specifies that
a specific engineering process was used to arrive at that horsepower number.
- a manufacturer of high-quality brake parts.
- The high beam of the headlight.
/ Buffeting - Refers
to the wind turbulence pressure experienced while riding a motorcycle. It
is a result of the wind coming around a fairing or windshield.
Start - A way to start
a motorcycle by turning on the ignition, placing it in gear, disengaging
the clutch, then running along side the motorcycle, jumping on and engaging
the clutch suddenly. Hard on the drive train and clutch but will start a
bike with a dead battery when no one is around to provide a "jump".
Cord - A stretch cord for
attaching things to a motorcycle cheaply and quickly.
- 1. Motorcycles modified to resemble racing motorcycles from the 1950's
and 1960's. They are called cafe racers because their owner supposedly raced
from cafe to cafe in London, where the bikes first appeared in the 1960's.
Stop - Phrase often used by motorcyclists meaning to
stop, typically at an intersection, without putting a foot down.
- 1) Inward or outward tilt of a wheel. 2) Convex curvature of the road
surface. 3. Sideways angle of slant of the pavement.
Shaft / Camshaft - The shaft in the engine with cam
lobes, used mainly for operating the intake and exhaust valves. It is driven
by gears or by sprockets and a toothed belt or chain from the crankshaft.
- Riding the twisties (road curves/corners) to an extreme.
- Carburetor, Fuel Management System
Fiber - A high-tech material favored in many motorcycle
applications because it is extremely strong, light and expensive. The distinctive
look of carbon fiber has become trendy.
- 1) The part of the bike that mixes air and fuel in correct proportions
before it is entered into the engine cylinder(s). 2.) Mechanism for mixing
fuel and air and controlling the amount entering the combustion chamber.
3) A mechanical device found on the intake side of the engine which mixes
fuel and air to create the volatile mixture that gets ignited in the engine.
- Forward tilt of steering axis that tends to stabilize the steering.
Converter - Exhaust device to reduce pollution emissions
recently used on motorcycles.
(or CCs) - Cubic centimeters. A 1000cc engine = 1000
cubic centimeters in volume.
- The mechanical stand attached to the frame that holds the motorcycle vertically
upright (as opposed to leaned over on the side stand) when parked.
- Transfers power to the rear wheel from the engine on a chain drive system.
Made up of over a hundred links that provide flexibility and adjustability.
Runs on two sprockets, one located on the engine drive shaft, the other
on the hub of the rear tire.
- The combined frame and suspension on a motorcycle.
- A series of "esses" (S) or turns on a race track.
Strips - The tread left on the sidewalls of a sport
bike. How much of this there is (or isn't) is how some Bikers size each
- A user-controlled device to assist starting a cold engine by making the
fuel/air mixture "richer" in fuel.
- 1. A style of motorcycle that appears deceptively light, has a greater
angle on the front end than usually seen, and radical styling. The word
originates from the post WW2 era when former GIs were looking for performance
mods, there was no aftermarket back then and once all engine mods were out
of the way the bike's weight needed to be reduced... Owners began to remove
unnecessary components and eventually began to cut away (or "chop")
sections of the bike and frame. Used to be called "bobbing" but
the word "chop" became the more popular phrase. 2. A radical customized
bike with extended and raked front end, from which all unnecessary parts
have been stripped. The early choppers weren't raked, so the front end was
high making it necessary to reduce the size of the front wheel. They are
very stable in a straight line, but not to agile in turns. 3. Term originated
from owners removing, or "chopping," features from the motorcycle
and adding their own customized detailing. Now refers to a motorcycle with
heavily raked front forks, "high-rise handlebars and an increased angle
of frame to fork head". 4. Once described as a custom motorcycle that
had all superfluous parts "chopped" off in order to make the bike
faster, a chopper today is a type of custom bike that usually has an extended
fork, no rear suspension and high handlebars.
- Chrome plating is a finishing treatment utilizing the electrolytic deposition
of chromium. The most common form of chrome plating is the thin, decorative
bright chrome, which is typically a 10 µm layer over an underlying
nickel plate. It imparts a mirror-like finish typically found on exhaust
- A type of mechanical fastener made of thin metal that looks like the letter
"C". It snaps into a groove on a shaft to restrict movement in
a particular direction while fastening mechanical parts together securely.
Sometimes called a C clip.
- Handlebars that attach directly to the top of the fork tubes, rather than
on the top yoke, that hold the fork tubes together. Clip-ons can provide
faster steering response by lowering the riding position for countersteering.
They lower a rider's upper body on the front of the motorcycle for a racier
- 1. The clutch is operated by a handle in order to, ultimately, engage
or disengage power to the rear wheel. 2. Device to engage and disengage
engine power to drive train. 3. A device that disengages power from the
crankshaft to the transmission, allowing a rider to change gears. 4. A device
that allows a machine to be linked to a motor in order to set it in motion.
Radius Turn - A turn with a steady, non-changing arc.
In a decreasing radius corner, the arc gets sharper as you progress through
the curve, while in a increasing radius corner, the arc becomes less sharp.
Patch - The area of your tire that actually contacts
the road while you ride. Also called "foot print".
Collar - A wrap for use around the neck used to provide
significant cooling to a rider in very hot weather. The wrap is a cloth
tube that either contains a bead-like material that swells when moistened
and dries slowly, or contains an inner plastic tube which, in turn, contains
ice and/or ice water.
- 1. A high tenacity, air textured nylon fiber, made exclusively by Dupont.
Superior abrasion resistance over any other fabric in a head to head comparison.
Hundreds of nylon materials exist but 500 Denier Cordura is the industry
minimum standard for apparel material abrasion and tear strength. 2. Nylon
yarn which consists of 100% polyamide.The manufacturing process involves
re-spinning and weaving the cut polyamide fibres. The melting point is 210
°C. Cordura® 700 is even more tear-resistant.
Steer - (see also Countersteering) 1. Action of moving
the wheel to the opposite direction desired in a turn. 2. To turn the handlebars
so the contact patch shifts in the opposite direction from that which the
rider wishes the motorcycle to lean.
Balancer - A weight inside an engine that spins with
the engine rpm to cancel out some of the engines vibration and make the
engine feel smoother.
- 1. The act of turning the bikes handlebars in one direction(at higher
speeds) and having it go in the opposite direction. 2. The way you use the
handlebar to lean the bike into a turn. If you want to turn right, you push
the handlebars left, and vice versa.
- Rotating shaft used to offset vibration. Sometimes called counterbalance
- A piece of bodywork that covers the engine, transmission and/or mid section
of a bike crash bar area.
Bars - The incorrect term for engine guards. If you
want to see a factory lawyer cringe, there's no faster way than saying this
Padding - A motorcyclists protective clothing, especially
abrasion resistant and impact absorbing riding gear and helmet.
Emptor - Caveat emptor is Latin for 'buyer beware',
meaning the onus is on you (the buyer) to ensure that you know what you
winds - Winds blowing perpendicular to the direction
of travel of the motorcycle.
- A slang term for Sport Bikes.
- 1. A newer term that surfaced in the late 1980's that refers to the laid
back styled street bikes with chrome and boulevard styling. 2. Factory made
decedents of customized choppers offering a classic look. Characterized
by low seat, swept back look, lots of torque with a strong exhaust note
and lots of chrome and accessories.
- The total weight of the vehicle at nominal capacity, with all standard
equipment and including batteries, fluids and lubricants.
- The act of eliminating, or device used to eliminate (damp), unwanted oscillations
(vibrations) and unwanted energy.
- Device for controlling unwanted movement or absorbing unwanted energy.
Weighted bar ends, bar snake, buckshot, gel handgrips are items used to
Radius Corner - A turn where the arc gets sharper as
you progress through the curve.
- Ducati designed valve opening and closing system that does not rely on
springs. Design offers better high RPM valve control. Desmodromic valves
are closed by a cam and rocker arm rather than a valve spring. Advantages
include less friction, higher valve acceleration and deceleration without
the risk of valve float and higher engine speeds for a given valve size.
Disadvantages include greater complexity of the valve train and the need
for more frequent adjustment intervals. All Ducati motorcycles still use
desmodromic valves today.
- In-depth cleaning, polishing, waxing and other maintenance to make a motorcycle
stick - (1) The long slender piece of plastic or metal
that goes into the oil reservoir of an engine or sump and is used to manually
check the oil level.
Bike - Bikes intended for off-road use that are not
legal to ride on public roads. Sometiemes the term "pure dirt"
is used to distinguish a dirtbike from a dual sport motorcycle.
- These are the metal rotors the caliper presses the pads against to brake.
Brake - Brake that utilizes friction pads held in a
caliper on either side of a rotation disc.
- 1. The size of an engine, in cubic centimeters (cc) or cubic inches (ci).
2. The volume through which the piston travels during a single stroke of
an engine. This term is sometimes also used for the total volume displaced
by all engine pistons. The displacement is measured in cubic centimeters
- 1. Tendency of the front suspension to compress during hard braking. 2.
To quickly change direction such as suddenly leaning the bike into a tight
- Dual OverHead Cam. Two camshafts found in the head or top of the engine
that open and close the valves. Two cams allow more precise control than
- Double OverHead Valves.
- Cloth coverings that are used to cover the rider's hair and forehead in
an effort to keep sweat from dripping into the eyes and to avoid 'helmet
hair. Also can be used as a fasion statement.
- Department of Transportation. Each country has its own separate DOT. It’s
a government agency that regulates all phases of transportation, including
all types of vehicles, as well as roads and highways. A DOT rating on a
motorcycle helmet indicates that it’s passed DOT testing and a DOT
sticker can be found inside the helmet.
plugging - Adding a second spark plug to the head of
a motorcycle engine. Increases fuel efficiency and horsepower.
- Disqualified (as in a race). - The resistance of the air to forward motion.
A flat disc moving broadside along its axis has a nominal rating of 1.00
- Brake design with brake shoes forced out against a rotation drum.
Purpose Motorcycle - Designed for most types of terrain,
the name describes a bike that has off-road capabilities with street legal
accessories. BMW F650, Honda XR650L, Suzuki V-strom, Kawasaki KLR650, Yamaha
XT225, Buell Ulysses are examples of a dual purpose bike.
Sport - 1. A dual purpose motorcycle, made for both
on and off the road travel. See Dual Purpose Bike. 2. Street legal motorcycles
with varying degrees of off-road capabilities. Also called Dual Purpose
- A Ducati motorcycle.
- Slang for a Ducati motorcycle.
Coolmax® - DuPont Coolmax® consist of hollow
fibres which transport humidity to the outside very quickly by means of
capillary action making the material dry 50% faster than cotton.
- Often called a "dyno", it is a device for measuring force, torque
- A famous motorcycle movie, released in 1969, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis
Hopper, and Jack Nicholson about two counterculture bikers travel from Los
Angeles to New Orleans in search of America. This movie defined the road
film genre, even though it was not the first of its kind. Points out a very
real truth about America and its often twisted approach to "freedom."
The original title of the film was "The Loners".
- 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. Eg. Streetcar/Train
tracks, raised pavement construction edges, road stipping edges. If possible
always try to approch these hazards as stright on (non-parallel) as possible.
- Electronic Fuel Injection.
- Battery Acid.
Ignition - Computer controlled method to convey high
tension current to the spark plug(s).
- Substances introduced into the environment from, among other sources,
vehicles. Vehicle emissions include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides,
ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons.
- 1. Typically this category includes cross bikes which are tuned and equipped
for driving on the roads. These bikes are often heavier than, and not as
extreme as cross motorcycles, though not as heavy and well-equipped as the
larger off-roaders. 2. Strictly interpreting FIM regulations, an enduro
bike is a trials bike. Common use of the term describes bikes used in enduro
racing, which is off-road trail riding competition.
Control Unit (ECU)
- A set of microprocessors that helps to monitor dozens of sensors throughout
the vehicle and control the actuators accordingly.
cut off switch (Kill Switch) - Usually located on the
right handlebar switch housing, this switch allows the motorcyclist to turn
off the engine without removing his or her hand from the handlebar.
Guards - Metal tubes bolted to the motorcycle's frame
that should protect the engine from damage in the event of an accident.
They are not designed to offer the rider or passenger any protection in
the event of an accident.
output - The ratio of the effective work of the engine
in relation to the energy expended in producing it.
- Experienced Rider Course.
- The science used to design devices, systems and physical conditions that
conform to the human body. A prime consideration when designing a motorcycle.
Sportbikes have agressive forward leaning ergonomics, standards/dual sports
are chair like ergonomics and cruisers offer laid back ergonomics.
- Phonetic spelling of back-to-back turns, or 'S' curves.
- A colorless, volatile, flammable liquid formed by fermentation. This renewable
fuel can be produced from waste products such as wheat straw, cornhusks,
wood chips and switch grass.
(Motorcycle designation suffix)
- Four-stroke engine (eg. Honda CRF230F, Yamaha WR450F)
- 1) The plastic shrouds that deflect wind and rain from the rider, the
motorcycling equivalent of automotive bodywork. 2) The devices mounted at
the front of a motorcycle to protect the rider from the elements. These
range from simple Plexiglas shields to complex encompassing body panels.
Neutral - When you fail to engage gears and the transmission
behaves as though it was in neutral even though it is not. Example "I
hit a false neutral once when shifting from 4th to 5th gear."
- Factory Authorized Repair
- 1) Things that can be added to your bike that make it more useful, versatile,
or attractive. 2) Any accessory item that enhances the functionality of
a motorcycle and also contributes to the pride in ownership of the bike.
the clutch - See also Slip the Clutch and Friction Zone
- Gently allowing the clutch to engage. This makes for a slow smooth start.
Bunny - Nice babe on the back of a bike
– Avoid traffic jams by riding between the lines of bumper-to-bumper
vehicles (queues). Also known as lane splitting.
Drive - Mechanism that delivers power to the rear wheel,
usually chain drive, shaft drive or belt drive.
- Heat sinks on an air cooled engine.
- Rear wheel swinging from side to side caused by increased rolling resistance
of the rear tire (often caused by over braking, flat tire, frozen drive
train or a road hazard like mud, gravel, sand, snow or ice).
- Early head design where the valves resided in the block so the head only
covered the block and held the spark plug. Also called L-Head or side-valve.
pegs - The resting place for the rider's feet on a motorcycle
- The sprung metal tubs holding the front wheel to the rest of the motorcycle
using the triple-tree.
- An old custom car and bike term that refers to mounting a device, a light,
usually, deeply recessed into the bodywork, "frenched-in," and
peeking out from within a sort of tunnel, completely recessed below the
surface of the surrounding bodywork, presenting only a sudden, clean circle
through smooth the surface from which the light appears
Zone - The part of the clutch lever travel from where
the clutch just starts to engage until it is fully engaged. Riders use the
friction zone to get the bike in motion. See also Slip the Clutch.
Injection - Replaces carburetors. Uses small nozzles,
called injectors, supplied fuel by an injector pump, to inject fuel into
the intake manifold. 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.
(Motorcycle designation suffix) - Dual Sport/Enduro
(eg. BMW F650GS)
- Displays information to the rider on Speed [Speedometer]; RPM
(revolutions per minute) [Tachometer]; Total Distance Traveled
[Odometer]; Fuel, Trip Distance and more.
- The set of toothed parts, such as wheels, disks and chains, that mesh
with the teeth in similar, but different-sized parts in order to transmit
force and motion between rotating shafts. Gears control the number of revolutions
per minute and hence the force.
- Transmission housing.
- A slang term for a person with a strong interest in all things mechanical.
- Global Positioning System
- A satellite oriented system, including computers and receivers, which
allows the determination of a very precise location (latitude, longitude
and height) of an object. The GPS unit allows the calculation of speed and
direction of travel by communitcating with satellites to track movement.
An increased number of motorcycles are being manufactured with a GPS navigation
system built-in, and add-on GPS units are available for any motorcycle.
The units provide colour graphic screen presentations of street maps as
well as both planned and actual travel itineraries. Some will announce turns
that are to be made in order to follow a planned itinerary.
/ Sidehack - A common slang term for
Turn - A decreasing radius turn. Turn
that gets progressively tighter as it bends (often U-shaped corner). A "road
hazard" that many motorcyclists fall prey to and end up going off the
road on if not carefully watching for it. Usually decreasing radius turns
are found on on/off highway ramps.
- The rubber grip on the handlebars to make a more comfortable hand control.
Signals - Verbal communication is not
always possible when riding a motorcycle so riders have come up with a method
of communicating to other riders by use of universal hand signals. Motorcycle
hand signals are important for all riders to know and understand but especially
when riding in a group. (When riding in a group the signals should be relayed
back through the group.) Images reprinted with permission of the Motorcycle
- See also Risers - Designed to correct the ergonomic short comings of your
motorcycle, handlebar risers will raise your handlebars vertically to allow
you to attain the posture needed for maximum control. Risers can simply
extend the bar mounts toward you, or extend up and forward. Risers are designed
to be mounted between your stock bar mount and triple clamp.
– The section of an exhaust system which attaches to the engine head.
Modulator - This device attaches to the headlight bulb
inside the case and pulses the high beam quickly. The visual effect is the
headlight is flashing. Improves visibility of the motorcycle to other drivers/riders.
Siding - 1. Wrecking a bike by flipping it over. Usually
caused by releasing the rear break during a skid. 2. Pitching a bike over
and away from the direction you are turning. The dangerous kind of crash.
3. When a sliding rear tire suddenly regains traction while the motorcycle
is leaned over, causing the motorcycle to violently snap from leaning side
tot he other side (the high side).
Horizontally opposed - Type of engine layout in which the cylinders are
placed at 180° to one another. It is also described as a flat twin/four
etc. or a boxer engine.
- a unit of measure for engine power. Originally developed by James Watt
to compare the power of steam engines to the work done by a horse. 2. One
horse power is the force necessary to lift 550 pounds one foot in one second.
Hurt Report - 1981
study by University of Southern California of 3,600 motorcycle traffic accidents.
Also known as the “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification
of Countermeasures”, and consists of 55 conclusions pertaining to
crashes, including the effect of motorcycle riders wearing helmets. See:
http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/BBS/viewtopic.php?p=208468 for a summary
- 1. When your tires start to float on top of water, causing them to lose
contact with the road surface. 2. A highly dangerous situation in which
the tires lose contact with the road surface and actually life on top of
a shallow film of water. 1" of standing road water will generally hydroplane
a motorcycle tire at speeds of 80 km/h or greater.
- Control panel indicator light(s) that warns of a problem situation. Commonly
called an idiot light because it neither warns you before the problem develops,
nor tells you want the problem is after the bike is disabled.
- A turn where the arc becomes less sharp as you go through the curve.
- Turn signals or "blinkers"
Butt (Rally) - The Iron
Butt Association (IBA) is a US-based organization dedicated to endurance
motorcycle riding with over 35,000 members world-wide who tout themselves
as the "World's Toughest Riders." One of its more popular slogans
is "The World Is Our Playground."
Jump start - 1) When the battery
is too low to start the engine, one can jump start it from a good battery.
2) To temporarily boost the energy of a battery by connecting it to another
working battery with (jumper) cables to assist in the starting of the engine.
- Very popular aftermarket company that manufactures air and oil filters.
They are washable and reusable but require special K&N filter oil. K&N
claims greater engine efficiency with use.
leather - Finer, more closely interwoven fibres and
a tighter structure make this leather even more durable than cowhide.
- Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber,
related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont
in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the
early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Currently, Kevlar
has many applications, ranging from bicycle tires and racing sails to body
armor because of its high tensile strength-to-weight ratio; by this measure
it is 5 times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis.
- An arm attached to a motorcycle that swings out from the left side to
support the bike at rest. Also called a Sidestand.
Tires - Slang term for standing around
motorcycles and talking about them.
start - Before motorcycles had electric starters, they
all used kick starters. A lever that one would kick to turn the engine.
designation suffix) - Dual sport bike (eg. Honda XR650L). Can also
be used for Touring (eg. Suzuki GS850L)
(Motorcycle designation suffix)
- Touring (eg. BMW K1200LT)
Twin - An engine with its cylinders splayed apart at
a 90° angle, which creates a smoother running engine. These engines
can either be placed transversely (crosswise), or longitudinally (lenghtwise)
in a motorcycle frame.
- 1. Riding between lanes of traffic on a freeway. 2. Driving between involuntarily
parked cages on an overcrowded highway. Legal in some states. 3. Consists
of driving between two lanes of traffic at a greater speed than the other
vehicles. Although there are times when this could be dangerous, it’s
actually legal in many countries. It’s illegal in most U.S. states,
but California allows it if it’s done in a safe manner.
lighting - A semiconductor diode generally made from
gallium arsenide that can serve as a light source when voltage is applied
continuously or in pulses. LED: Light Emitting Diode.
- Path selected by the motorcycle rider to take through a turn.
- The brand name of a very common super glue. First used on motorcycles
to keep nuts and bolts together.
Side (Low-side) - 1. A type of motorcycle crash that
involves laying the "low side" of the bike too low in a turn,
resulting in a loss of traction and grounding the bike. 2. When the rider
loses balance of the motorcycle and both fall onto the ground on their low
side. 3. A bike falling over onto it's side that's lower to the ground.
4. The act of crashing a motorcycle where the rider falls off to the side
of the bike which is closest to the ground. Typically caused by the front
wheel washing out..
- A motorcycle (also called a motorbike, bike, or cycle) is a two-wheeled
motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which
they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban
traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation (Training). The highly recommended way to
learn how to properly and safely ride a motorcycle. Offered in many countries
around the world for a very reasonable price.
Bike - 1) Bikes with no to a very small fairing. 2)
A motorcycle where you can fully see the engine.
- The front of a motorcycle frame, where the steering head is located.
- A type of nut for a bolt that has a plastic insert to keep it from backing
off from vibration. It replaces the lock washer.
- 1) An acronym, "Original Equipment from Manufacturer," refers
to parts or components. 2) The companies that build the bikes. 3) In the
motorcycle industry, the term refers to the industry's brand names such
as Suzuki, Harley-Davidson, Honda, BMW, etc., who are federally licensed
and who can warrant or guarantee their product. Licensed component manufacturers
such as Bridgestone, Brembo and K&N, are usually referred to as OEM
- Device that stores the mileage (distance driven). Usually located on the
- Turn that is banked higher on the inside than the outside.
- Term for a motorcycle designed specifically for off-road use.
- Motorcycle helmet with a chin guard and sun shield but no visor.
– A manufacturer of high-quality suspension components.
- Newer, air and oil cooled BMW Boxer engines.
- One-of-a-kind fabricated part. A product or part that is not designed
to be mass produced. It can refer to a one-of-a-kind bolt-on or a fully
- Area where maintenance on race entered motorcycles takes place, which
also includes support vehicles and transport.
- Fuel Valve. Petcock's can have multiple fuel positions such as: OFF,
ON, and RESERVE.
- Exhaust System.
- Spark Plugs
the clutch - Letting the clutch out quickly to achieve
a fast start.
- The RPM range of an engine where the most power is produced.
Plant - The motorcycle engine.
(AKA the Queen's Carriage, The Queen's own) - Sland term for any British
(Motorcycle designation suffix) - Replica,
Racer or Racing (eg. Yamaha YZF600R, BMW K1200R)
(Motorcycle designation suffix) - Race Replica
or Race Ready (eg. Honda CBR600RR, Kawasaki ZX-10RR)
can - A lightweight, free breathing muffler.
Flags - Racing flags are traditionally used in auto
racing and similar motorsports to communicate important messages to drivers
by a flagman. While there is no universal system of racing flags across
all of motorsports, most series have standardized them, with some flags
carrying over between series.
- Oil on the street
Grooves - Channels cut into a roads surface to help
water run off the road during a rainstorm.
- 1. Rake, measured in degrees, describes the angle of the front fork or
the steering axis from the horizontal or vertical plane. 2. Slope of the
Bike - Bike made from several machines and kept on the
road using as cheap as possible and painted matt black. Now has a class
of its own and defined as any thing Mad Max would shoot at.
Line (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.
Link - A link in some motorcycle chains that can be
disassembled for chain repair.
- Hard edged sport bikes. These motorcycles are characterized by riding
positions that tuck the rider into an extreme crouch.
- See Revolutions Per Minute (RPM). A term used to describe how fast a motor
- The action of using the throttle in quick short burts to speed up the
Per Minute (RPM) - The
number of revolutions the engine makes in a minute. Abbreviated RPM and
often referred to as "rev" or revs" in conversation.
Two Up - Carrying a passenger on your bike.
or Rigid Frame - A type of frame that has no swing-arm,
it is a one piece neck to rear axle frame.
- See also Handlebar Risers - Designed to correct the ergonomic short comings
of your motorcycle, handlebar risers will raise your handlebars vertically
to allow you to attain the posture needed for maximum control. Risers can
simply extend the bar mounts toward you, or extend up and forward. Risers
are designed to be mounted between your stock bar mount and triple clamp.
Rash - A slang term used to define injuries to the skin
when a rider falls or is thrown from the motorcycle and lands or slides
on the pavement. Wearing a full-face helmet, gloves, a motorcycle approved
jacket, chaps, and boots is a good way to minimize Road Rash.
Arms - Devices that work like upside down teeter totters
and push on the valve stems.
on the Throttle- Giving the bike more power by giving
it more gas to accelerate.
- 1. The spray of dirt off the rear wheel of a motocross motorcycle. 2.
The expression used when the spray off the rear tire lands on to another
rider and embarassing them.
- Revolutions Per Minute. Example is in reference to how fast the pistons
in an engine are moving.
- Tires, tyres.
band effect - Whenever a group of two or more motorcycles
ride together on the road there is a time lag between when the first bike
in the group changes speed and when the following bikes do the same. This
is known as the 'rubber-band effect'.\
Mounted - Rubber mounted engines use a system of rubber
cushions and/or joined engine mounts to isolate engine vibrations from the
- Towards the bottom of the bike, or bottom area of a part or component
- When the terrain is soft or damp, deep channels or ruts can be formed
when the rear tires dig through the dirt. Ruts can force riders to take
certain lines through a corner, or limit them to only one line, making passing
difficult. Ruts can get deep enough to completely stop a motorcycle.
(Motorcycle designation suffix)
- Sport (eg. BMW F800S or Suzuki SV650S)
- Society of Automotive Engineers.
wire - A springy wire used by racers to help keep a
part from falling off.
Scotchlite Reflective Material - A thin, light weight membrane, mounted
between the face fabric and the lining. It is Waterproof, Windproof, and
(see also SIPDE)- Updated MSF term used to help you remember what to do
when making judgments in traffic - Stands for Search, Evaluate, and Execute
- The locking in place of moving parts due to overheating, lack of lubrication
or opposing pressure. Also called freeze-up.
drive - Shaft Drive System - 1. As an alternative to
chain or belt drive to transfer power to the rear wheel, shaft drive is
the solution that requires least maintenance, but is also possibly the heaviest
solution. On some bikes there is a notable elevation effect when accelerating.
2. Direct connection method between transmission and rear wheel, as opposed
to chain or belt final drive.
- Another term for high speed wobble.
- An engine configuration comprising of one cylinder (also see "Thumper").
Side Up (as in "Keep The Shiny Side Up") -
Drive Safe, Don't Lay the Bike Down. Friendly parting expression.
Absorber - Also known as damper, shocks absorb road
surface vibration through hydraulic friction.
Pipes - This style of exhaust had the two pipes ending
straight and together, giving the appearance of a double barreled shot gun.
- Shovelhead - 1. Slang for Harley-Davidson engines produced between 1966
and 1984, so named because of the shape of the head resembles a coal shovel.
The Shovelhead engine (V-Twin, produced from 1966 - 1984.) 3. Harley-Davidson's
third generation overhead valve Big Twin engine.
- Small carriages attached to the side of a motorcycle to provide extra
carrying capacity or additional passenger(s). Also allows the motorcycle
to become more stable and rideable in slippery condition (snow, ice, mud
- he factory-installed stand that props up a motorcycle at an angle when
it is parked Also called a Kickstand.
Bar - 1. Passenger Backrest. 2. The backrest put behind
the passengers portion of the saddle.
it - Taking the Interstate Highway
- Treadless tire. Can refer to a race tire or a completely worn out tire
with little or no tread left on it. Slick's offer the greatest dry traction
to a road surface as friction is greatest since there is little/no air gap
(tread) between the rubber and the road. A tyre specifically designed for
use in road racing only that is made of a soft compound with no tread.
The Clutch - (see also "Feather the Clutch) To
play with or fan the clutch in order to prevent the engine stalling or spinning
the rear tyre from the start line.
(road snakes) - The serpentine tar strips sometimes used to fill cracks
on a racetrack or on a highway/road.
Rating - A foundation formed in 1957 and is an independent
motorcycle helmet testing organization. A Snell rating on a helmet, indicated
by a sticker inside the helmet, states that the helmet has passed performance
tests. Helmet manufacturers are not required to apply, qualify or receive
a SNELL rating unlike the required by law DOT rating. Having both SNELL
and DOT on a helmet is a very good thing.
Tail - Refers to a mono-shock swingarm bike, has the
rigid or hardtail styling yet full rear suspension capability. One major
company utilizes a play-on version of the word to describe their lineup
of this style; the Softail.
Plugs (or Plugs) - A device that lights an electric
spark within the combustion chamber to burn the fuel in the cylinder.
Wobble - See Wobble - A sudden instability of a motorcycle
at speed in which the front end of the bike darts from side to side uncontrollably.
Best recources I've heard to fix it: DO NOT slam on the brakes. DO NOT death
grip the handlebars. Accelerate out of it or slowly close the throttle to
- A rod that connects the hub and rim on a wheel.
- 1. The racy light weight mega-fast bikes with full fairing, comfort is
not taken into consideration on these bikes rather they are made for hard
acceleration, quick and responsive maneuvering, and rapid stopping power.
2. Motorcycle offering high performance characterized by leading edge engine
design, heavily applied racing technology, radical aerodynamic styling,
low handlebars, high performance tires and suspension, low weight, high
RPM engine and big disc brakes. 3. A motorcycle designed for optimal speed
and handling characteristics, often with expensive bodywork.
Tourer / Sport Touring - 1. Motorcycles that go under
this category are a compromise between powerful sports bikes and touring
bikes. These bikes often have good aerodynamics and lots of power, making
the top models of this category the fastest bikes around. 2. Sport touring
bikes offer more comfort than a sport bike and more speed than a touring
bike. 3. A motorcycle that combines the comfort and carrying capacity of
a touring bike with the handling and power of a sportbike with larger fairing
and hard, lockable luggage.
(shock springs) - Help the shocks absorb road surface
vibration through compression of the spring around the shock.
Fork - Springer type forks use large, exposed springs
to dampen the impact of road irregularities. Very old technology that is
still used today by Harley-Davidson for a heritage look.
handling - A slang term for a feeling of less than full
control on a motorcycle. Loose handling of the motorcycle.
(Motorcycle designation suffix)
- Sport Tourer (eg. BMW F800ST)
- A Brit term for the fork tube.
Patrol Formation - Staggered group riding formation
Vertical - Stay upright, don't crash
damper - 1. A steering damper is mounted to a motorcycle's
frame and fork to prevent situations like a wobble. 2. A system for adding
resistance to the motorcycle steering.
lock - A lock that enables one to lock the fork at an
extreme right or left to prevent or hinder theft.
Fighter - Streetfighter - A bare bones sportbike (or
any bike that originally had fairings) stripped of all extraneous bodywork.
- A motorcycle set up to OEM specifications with no alterations.
Straight Pipes - An exhaust system with no baffles inside thus the exhaust
travels straight through unrestricted. (Very loud and illegal in most areas.)
- 1. (as in bore/stroke) The distance traveled in either direction of by
an piston or rod in an engine. Do not mix up with stroke as in 4-stroke.
2. The up and down motion of the piston. 3.A single movement of a piston,
stem or crank arm from one end of its range to the other.
Shift - Suicide Clutch - An early-style gear shift mechanism.
Unlike modern motorcycles, early motorcycles used a foot-actuated clutch
and the gear shifting was done with the rider's hand via a long gear shift
knob that was connected directly to the transmission (much like a manual
transmission on a car). Because the rider had to remove one of his hands
from the handlebars in order to shift - a dangerous prospect given that
most of the thoroughfares of the day were rutted, unpaved dirt roads or
brick and cobblestone streets - many people felt that motorcycle riders
were literally "taking their lives into their own hands" …
hence the term, "suicide shift".
- A motorcycle category which defines urbanly designed cross or enduro bikes.
- Oil reservoir that either scavenges free draining engine oil or separately
- The system of springs, shock absorbers, or similar devices connection
the axels to the frame of a motor cycle. Designed to reduced unwanted motion
transmitted from the riding surface.
- A new style of motorcycle usually built around, and looking like, off-road
machines with street tires. They tend to be light, flickable machines, and
are used in a new genre of racing that usually encompasses riding on a mixture
of pavement and dirt surfaces. Many manufacturers have a Supermoto in their
Slab - 1. Interstate. 2. A generic term for any multilane,
high speed, limited access highway, including a freeway, toolway, motorway,
parkway, or superhighway.
or GT (Motorcycle designation suffix)
- Touring (eg. Boulevard C90T, Honda VTX1800T, BMW K1200GT)
tach - An instrument gauge that displays how fast the
engine is spinning in revolutions per minute.
bag - A bag or luggage that mounts on to the top of
the fuel tank.
Snake - An uneven, slippery patch in a road crack
Fixation - When a riders eyes focus on a point in the
distance, line or debris on the road, causing them to inadvertently steer
the bike toward that area rather than in the intended path. The majority
of riders fall prey to this as it's easy to target fixate on a bump/hole
in the road or something you didn't want to run over.
British term for what North American's call asphalt.
- An acronym created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation
(MSF) rider training course – used as a pre-ride checklist of items
to inspect on your motorcycle so as to ensure that your bike is mechanically
* T-Tires and Wheels
* L-Lights and Electrics
* O-Oil and Other Fluids
System - The most successful alternate 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.
forks - Front suspension system with two fork legs,
each with sliding and fixed tubular members that telescope together to allow
- The jacket/gloves/etc (safety gear) used by riders that is made out of
- The throttle controls the engine's power by restricting the substance
that enters the engine.
lock - Manual device fitted to the throttle of a motorcycle
that applies friction to keep the throttle from moving. Used to temporarily
give your hand a rest on long rides.
- 1. Motorcycle with single cylinder, for stroke engines with large displacement.
Any single cylinder bike (like the BMW F650, Kawasaki KLR650).
direction - Unlike car tires, motorcycle tires have
an arrow on the sidewall showing the direction of travel. It is important
to mount motorcycle tires correctly and the tire direction arrow is correctly
oriented in the direction the tire will spin the majority of the time.
Profile - The lateral curvature of the tread of an inflated
tire, usually expressed as a comparison of height to width.
Warmers - Real racing tires work best once they’ve
attained their high operating temperatures. Electric “blankets”
wrapped around the wheels help speed this process, allowing the rider to
start going fast sooner.
End - 1. The maximum speed of a motorcycle. 2. The upper
part of the engine, which contains the pistons, cylinders, and valve gear,
and the induction system consits of the apparati that mix an air and fuel
charge and inject it into the combustion chamber, located in the top end.
- 1. The tendency of a force to cause an object to rotate. In an engine,
the torque is expressed as the force applied multiplied by the distance
from the center of rotation. It is the basic measure of the propulsive effect
of a powered wheel. Or, said in other words: The measure of the force applied
to produce rotational motion usually measured in foot-pounds or Nm.
- A type of motorcycle designed for long distance riding, typically a heavier
bike with hard luggage and comfortable seating arrangements. Also referred
to as "Geezer Glides" and an "old man's bike" as older
folks tend to have these.
Bike - 1. A Luxurious motorcycle with many comforts
and amenities for long range travel. 2. A bike equipped for longer riders
with fairings and saddle bags.
Throttle - Closing the throttle as the bike decelerates
to apply engine braking.
- The distance that suspension components, the forks and shocks, move up
and down when the bike rides over bumps.
depth - The distance measured in the major tread groove
nearest to the centre line of the tire, from the base of the groove to the
top of the tread.
Braking - Keeping the brakes applied late in to the
charging - A method of slowly and gently charge the
battery. Motorcycle batteries should be trickle charged at a rate of around
1-2 amps and a charging rate not to exceed 6-12 amps.
- A three cylinder inline motorcycle engine.
Trees or Triple Clamps - The two pieces that attach
the bike's front end to the frame, named after the three positions on each
piece; one for each fork tube and a center for the steering stem.
(Tourist Trophy) - 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. The first race was held in 1907. Racers
routinely reach speeds in excess of 260 kph (100 mph) that take them through
villages, along rocky mountain sides and along single lane country roads.
The TT is also the most dangerous racing event in the world.
- 1. Arguably a more efficient variation of the supercharger. Impellers
in the exhaust are turned by the exhaust gases, which power impellers in
the air intake forcing more air past the carburetors. 2. A forced air induction
system that increases the amount of air available for combustion in the
- An engine configuration comprising of 2 cylinders.
- Section of road with a lot of turns. 2. A road or race track with many
(2-1) - 2 exhaust header pipes mating into one pipe
Second Rule - This is the minimum spacing in seconds
between moving motorcycles. While in formation, maintain a 2-second interval
from the rider in front of you. It is measured by counting "one-thousand
one, one-thousand two" as you see the rider in front of you pass a
sign or landmark. Stop counting when you pass the same marker. Under poor
weather conditions, maintain longer intervals consistent with safety.
Stroke - Two Stroke Engine - 1. Mechanically simple,
light and powerful, two stroke engines combine the exhaust and intake strokes,
making every other stroke a power stroke. 2. An engine (also called a stroker)
who's power cycle consists of just two movements, or strokes: The piston
moves down, drawing in the fuel air charge, and then up, cumbusting the
charge. Unfortunately two stroke engines typically produce much more pollution
than a four stroke design.
- A term for carrying a passenger on your motorcycle.
- Parts of the motorcycle below or not supported by the suspension such
as the rims and tires.
forks - Telescopic forks in which the lower section
telescopes into the fixed upper tube. They are sometimes referred to as
inverted telescopic forks on older bikes.
- A motorcycle engine with the cylinders arranged in an angled V This configuration
can allow for optimum torque for a given displacement.
- A four cylinder motorcycle engine with the cylinders arranged in two rows
in an angled V. (e.g. Yamaha V Max has a 1200cc V-4 engine)
- 1. A 2 cylinder motorcycle engine with the cylinders arranged in an angled
V This configuration can allow for optimum torque for a given displacement.
2. An engine designed in a "V" configuration. Such as a Harley-Davidson
- 1. A device that regulates the passage of fuel through into an engine
cylinder. More specifically, a valve is a mechanical device that controls
the entry of fuel/air mixture into a combustion chamber, as well as the
exit of spent combustion gases from the same.
Lock - Condition where fluid expansion into a vapor
state prevents a system from working, traditionally the fuel delivery system.
- Vehicle Identification Number - Sometimes referred
to as 'Chassis Number' this is a unique code that every motorcycle is fitted
with to protect the identity of the vehicle. (found stamped onto a plate
on the motorcycle.)
- Measurement of the thickness or denseness of a fluid.
- A motorcycle 20 years of ago or older.
- a two finger wave (as in two-wheels) of the hand, typically with left
hand below the handle bars while riding, that acknowledges another motorcyclist
as he or she passes. Motorcyclists often feel like they belong to a big
community, and that sensation gives us something in common; we share a bond
that sets us apart from the rest of the motoring world
Bar / Wear Indicator- Raised
ridge in the tire tread to indicate when the tire needs replacement. All
tires should be replaced when tread depth is 1/32nd of an inch or less.
Transfer - Weight is shifted as you accelerate or decelerate
from one wheel to the other. Acceleration causes the weight to transfer
from the front to the rear wheel. Braking causes the weight to shift from
the rear to the front wheel.
- Measurement from the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear
- Actually doing the maintenance and repair of a motorcycle.
(World Superbike Racing) - Production-based, four-stroke
motorcycle racing with extensive modifications determined by regulations
to control costs and limit alterations.
- A musical instrument (note: not recommended to play the xylophone while
riding a motorcycle, it's not only dangerous, but it annoys the other riders).
- A Japanese manufacturer of after-market parts most noteably known for
their exhaust systems.
- A handlebar that sweeps out of the risers toward the front of the bike
and then sweeps back again towards the rider. A popular handlebar from the
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