Motorcycle Glossary

Motorcycle Glossary

ABS – Anti Lock Brake System – available on some cars and motorcycles, this braking system automatically detects if your wheels have locked up and reacts to help prevent any skidding, increasing the safety of the driver or motorcycle rider.

Air Cooling – is one way of keeping your motorcycle engine cool, it’s cooled by the air rushing around as the motorcycle moves and has small fins around the engine to facilitate the heat transfer into the air as it passes by.

AMA – American Motorcycle Association – is the largest motorsports organization in the world, founded way back in 1924.

Anti-Dive System – prevents your motorcycle from pulling in at dirty diners . . . Only joking, this front end suspension part from the 1980’s reduced the amount of compression on the forks under braking, preventing you from diving over the handle bars – used very seldom these days.

Anti-Theft Device – a device fitted to deter would-be thieves from stealing your motorcycle – if you have an anti-theft device fitted you might find that you are entitled to a reduction in your insurance preiums.

Ape Hangers – are those high handle bars which make the rider lift his hands very high, as though he’s swinging from a branch. I’m the king of the swingers oh, the jungle VIP . . .

Apex – of the turn is the center or middle point of the turn. Motorcycle riders need to know about these, as it’s how they determine their riding line.

Backing it In – this is a real motorcycle term, which means that you enter a corner sliding the rear of the motorcycle whilst counter-steering – this enables you to scrub off speed and set up for a fast exit – leave it to the racers.

Bcom – refers to an intercom headset in motorcycle helmets.

Belt Drive – some motorcycles are belt driven – a belt is used to transmit the power from the transmission to the rear wheel. Almost maintenance free and used on many Harley Davidsons.

Big Twin – Arnold Schwarzeneger to Danny DeVito – or alternatively a brand new Harley Davidson which isn’t a Sportster.

Binders – are the brakes man, motorcycle brakes.

Bodily Injury Liability Cover – is a type of insurance cover with pays for any damages for injuries or death from an accident which is your fault. It can also provide the funds to cover your legal defense if necessary.

Bore – someone to be avoided at motorcycle rallies, at all costs! It also refers to the cylinders diameter measurement.

Camshaft – is a metal shaft which has two or more cams (oval shaped “lobes”) which are found on a four stroke engine.

CC – Cubic Centimeters – how the engine size of your motorcycle is measured.

Center Stand – a mechanism in the center of the motorcycle which pivots down from the frame to support the motorcycle vertically, keeping the rear wheel away from the ground.

Chain Drive – is another way that a motorcycle can be driven. With a chain and sprocket (same principle as a bicycle).

Chair – is another term for a sidecar.

Chopper – gets its name from the 1960’s when it was popular to chop bits off your motorcycle in the name of customization, ultimately to make it go a bit faster.

Collision Coverage – pays for any damage to your motorcycle if it hits, or is hit by another vehicle.

Crotch Rocket – well, use your imagination! It’s a term which is sometimes used to describe a sports bike of the very highest performance.

Daytona Bike Week – an annual event held in Daytona, Florida, for 10 days (Daytona Bike Week and a Half wouldn’t have the same ring to it would it). Around half a million people gather there for motorcycle racing, rallies and generally having a good time. Generally held at the beginning of March – mark it on your calendar.

Deductible – is the portion of costs which you pay out of your own pocket, before the insurance kicks in. Having a higher deductible is one way to get your premiums down, but you will have to pay more out of your own pocket if you make a claim.

DOT Helmet Sticker – should be in your helmet, to prove that it has passed the minimum safety requirements as specified by the Department of Transport. Apparently, they drop the helmet from a height of 10 feet with a pretend head inside, to see how it performs.

Engine Cut Off Switch – also known as “kill switch” enables the motorcycle rider to cut off the power to the engine without removing his hands from the handle bars.

Farkles – can be added to your motorcycle to customize it. The word is simply a mixture of “function” and “sparkles”, so if it’s functional and sparkles, and you add it to your motorcycle, your bike has been well and truly farkled.

Gypsy Tour – if you’re invited to take part in a gypsy tour, don’t expect to be home in time for supper. Gypsy tours usually last for a few days, traveling around the countryside and stopping in a new location every night. A brilliant way to enjoy the freedom of the open road.

Hard Tails – are motorcycles which don’t have rear suspension – like the early Harley Davidsons.

Limit – is the maximum amount of protection which has been purchased by the motorcycle rider for any specific cover.

Mag Alloy – (magnesium alloy) is a strong, lightweight material which is often used for motorcycle wheels.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) – not for profit organization which sponsors low cost motorcycle training for new riders and those with experience. Promoting safety for the motorcycle rider.

Pillion – refers to a passenger on the back of the motorcycle, or can also mean a small cushion seat which is designed for use by the pillion passenger.

Rolling Chassis – refers to the assembled frame of the motorcycle, including the wheels and suspension.

RPM – Revolutions Per Minute – the speed at which your engine is spinning.

Shaft Drive – the other method used to drive a motorcycle, apart from belt or chain.

Soft Tail – is pretending to be a hard tail (see above) but has hidden shockers, so it’s actually soft.

VIN – Vehicle Identification Number – is unique to every vehicle and used to identify all motor vehicles, including motorcycles.

Water-Cooled – as opposed to air cooled, this cooling system has a radiator containing fluid to dissipate the heat. Water cooled motorcycles are much less likely to overheat than the air cooled variety.

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