Motorcycle Slang: S – Z

Harley-Davidson 2004 Heritage

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Motorcycle Slang: S – Z

Safety Nazi – someone who is just obsessive about always wearing the correct gear, being sensibly and sticking to the speed limits.

Short – a short motorcycle isn’t “not long”, and it isn’t designed for short people, it actually refers to the final gear ratio. A short motorcycle will have a higher top speed at the expense of acceleration and torque (or “grunt”).

Shotgun Pipes – is a type of dual exhaust system which looks like a double-barreled shotgun.

SIPDE – stands for Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide & Execute. You need to be able to do these 5 things effectively in order to ride your motorcycle safely, as well as driving any other vehicle really.

Sissy Bar – can be added or might come as standard, it’s the passenger backrest fitted to the back of the motorbike, they are on a lot of choppers and Harleys.

Skid lid – means motorcycle helmet/brain bucket. A skid lid is usually an open faced helmet.

Sled – is a motorcycle . . . simples.

Sparking the pavement – is not something which should be attempted by beginners. It’s when you lean your motorcycle so low to the ground that the pegs, exhaust or other metal bits hit the ground making a shower of sparks – very effective for impressing your pals but ultimately not the best way to treat your sled.

Sport bike – is a style of motorcycle which is light and highly powered – with the emphasis on acceleration, handling and stopping power . . .

SQUID – Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, Imminently Dead – say no more but enrol on a MSF course immediately.

Static – means bother / trouble. If there’s static it means that something is very like to hit the fan . . . and soon.

Stitching a line – is getting through the traffic as quickly as possible – not by dangerous weaving but by controlled maneuvers, there is a difference, a very important difference.

Steering damper – is found on the frame and fork of the motorcycle to prevent wobble. If you get into a wobble it can be very difficult to get out of it again safely.

Steering lock – can stop somebody from rolling away with your pride and joy.  It freezes the steering (sometimes from the ignition lock) so that nobody can simply wheel it away.

Stoppie – is the same as an endo. Stopping with the rear wheel lifted from the ground.

Straight pipes – can increase performance but are often LOUD. If there is no muffler in the exhaust system the air flows straight through – they are illegal in parts so watch out for the “heat”.

Sweep – is the same as the back door, the tail gunner or the ride lieutenant. There’s no wonder we all get so confused is there? Why don’t they have one name for one thing, then it would be much simpler for everybody concerned.

Tall – is the opposite of short (right at the top of the page). The motorcycle will have a high final gear ratio giving it strong acceleration and grunt, but ultimately a low top-end speed.

Tankslapper – this is dangerous and to be avoided at all costs. It means that something has happened to jerk the handlebars to the left and to the right, and the riders knees keep slapping against the gas tank. Very often a tankslapper ends up with the motorcycle being horizontally parked.

T-CLOCK – this acronym is great for reminding bikers about the main things to check before they go out for a ride – Tires, Controls, Lights, Oils, Chassis/Chain and Kickstand. There, that’s easy to remember isn’t it.

The Ton – means riding your motorcycle at 100 glorious miles per hour.

The Double – refers to the 200 miles per hour mark. Can also be called the Double Ton or the Double T.

Trial – this is a motorcycle sport which isn’t about speed, it’s about control. Trial bikes are off-road bikes which are used to negotiate lots of different obstacles and perform acts of precision and balance, they’re really light and there’s no seat.

Tuck – doesn’t refer to the sandwiches in your panniers, it refers to the position of the rider – all tucked up to cut down on wind resistance (maybe behind the fairing if there is one).

Twisties – are bendy and windy roads, many of the more aggressive motorbike riders really love riding the twisties.

Waxer – waxers spend more time polishing their beloved motorcycles than riding them. You know the sort, out every Sunday morning with the polish and cloth. Very often their motorcycle jacket is worn out before they’ve got a thousand miles on the clock.

Wheelie – I’m sure that everybody knows this one, but how can I not include it? It’s riding along on the back wheel of your motorcycle (or bicycle) with the front wheel in the air. Some people can ride for ages like that, steering and everything, but it’s dangerous to do it on the roads.

Yard Sharks – these are the dogs which just can’t resist the temptation to chase motorbikes, teeth first.

Zook – really means Suzuki – I know, but I had to find something for the Z’s didn’t I? 

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