Life on bikes

The biker slang dictionary A to G

The biker slang dictionary A to G

The Biker & Bike Dictionary H to Q
The Biker & Bike Dictionary R to Z

Lid, can, bin. To a car driver they are things you find in the kitchen.

To the biker, the first two are objects of desire and great reverence and the last is to be avoided at all costs.

Welcome to Biker and Bike’s dictionary of motorcycle language, designed to help you rapidly come up-to-speed in all things biker slang.


Aftermarket – Parts that are not made by the original manufacturer (BMW, Yamaha etc.)

Airheads – Old school, air-cooled Boxer Twins BMW’s. Newer Beemers boxers are Oilheads.

Akra’s – Akrapovic. Manufacturers of exhaust cans and full exhaust systems. The jury is out on whether is pronounced Akra POH vich, Akra Po Vik, Akrap Ov Itch, A crap O vich….

Anchors – Brakes. Normally used to indicate keen braking, as in ‘Pulling on the anchors.’

ATGANI – All the gear and no idea. Normally levelled at a born again biker who has enough money to splash on brand new leathers, boots, lid, luggage carriers… But can’t go round corners very well.

Ape Hangers – Handlebars on chopper bikes that are much higher than the frame of the bike. Think “Clyde” from “Every Which Way but Loose”.

ATM – Not the version Ben Dover might be familiar with, but All Things Motorbike



Babyblade – Practically any Honda sports bike under 1000cc.

Backfire – Pretending it wasn’t you when there’s too much fuel in the intake manifold/carbs and there’s a loud explosion that causes everyone in the street to duck.

Back warmer – Pillion rider, normally of the opposite sex.

Baffle – Sound deadening that quietens the exhaust. Normally removed as a ’safety measure’ to warn other road users of your presence.

Bagger/bagged up – Touring bike laden with luggage and other touring accessories.

Bar-hopper. Bling/trick motorbike mainly used for showing-off at meets, rather than being ridden hard.

Beemer – Any BMW bike.

Bible – Repair manual. Normally the workshop’s Service Repair Manual.

Biker Friendly – As opposed to hiding behind a copy of the Daily Mail and ignoring you when you walk into their cafe.

Bin/binned – You’ve crashed it.

Binders – Brakes. pronounced like ‘ring binders’.

Bitch Bar – Not terribly PC expression for the grab handle behind the pillion seat.

Bitsa/Bitza/Bitser – Bike made from different bikes: bits a this, bits a that. Using different types or makes of bike makes it a Frankenbike.

Blackie – Strip of rubber left after accelerating ‘with some urgency’ from standstill.

Blade – Short for a Honda Fireblade, a quite quick sports bike. But not as quick as an R1, naturally.

Blat – Go for a blast on your bike: “I’m on for a cheeky blat down to Southend. You comin?’

Blinkers – Turn indicators.

Blip – A quick throttle burst. Mainly used to inform cyclists at traffic lights that you are present. More properly used to match engine revs to your speed as you come down through the gears.

Block – The engine

Boots – Tyres

Boneyard – Salvage yard or second-hand parts dealer.

Bottom out – Congratulations, you’re trying so hard the suspension can’t go any lower due to hard braking (or landing) as it hits the internal stops.

Brake check – Unlike the four-wheeled version normally used to frighten tailgaters, this refers to seemingly braking hard before a corner causing the rider behind to brake even harder, giving the rider in front, who hasn’t actually braked as hard, greater momentum out of the corner.

Braap – That noise in your head that you really want your can to sound like.

Brembos – Impossibly expensive but very good brakes.

Burnout – Hold onto the front brake and spin the throttle to lay down some rubber.

Bus stop – Slow, 1st gear corner.



Cafe racer – Originally applied to motorbikes in the late 50’s and early 60’s racing between the Ace Cafe and Hanger Corner in London, a mile or so of pre-speed camera joy. The bikes were stripped down for speed to tuned to wishing an inch of their lives. Now also applied to similarly-styled ’shed-build’ bikes in the retro-custom scene.

Cager – Car driver (in their cage).

Can/cans – Your exhaust. Specifically, the chunky end part that acts to muffle the sound. Also known as your end can or cans.

Carbs – Carburettor, regulates and forces fuel into the cylinder, where, when mixed with some air and a spark, it goes BANG! Said bang forces the cylinder piston down. This turns the crankshaft and eventually, using gears and shit, the cog attached to your chain. Which, in turn, is connected to the rear wheel, eventually making it turn with such velocity that it produces a ’shit-eating grin.’ Once achieved, you now know you are cursed forever with being ‘a biker.’

Carving – Laying the bike over in corners, with your ‘knee down’. Comes from ’to carve a knife through butter’.

Cat – Catalytic converter, designed to remove nasty stuff from the exhaust gases process.

CBT – Compulsory Basic Training, required before you can ride on a UK road and proceed to take the full motorcycle driving tests.

Century – Achieving 100 mph. Not on public roads, obviously.

Chair – Sidecar.

Chicken Strips – The unused sides of the tyre when you haven’t been leaning the bike over far enough in corners. A common method of penis size comparison used by male bikers.

Chopper – Doesn’t refer to the above, but a style of bike customisation, normally inflicted on Harley Davidsons.

Clutching it – Using the clutch to pull a wheelie.

Contact Patch – The bit of your tyre that connects to the road surface. Not really slang, but worth knowing when talk gets technical.

Counter Steer – Ah, the secret to changing direction more quickly than would seem feasible. A whole article in itself. In a nutshell, to go right, push the left-hand handlebar forward. To go left, push on the right.

Crank it – Turn the engine over, using the ignition or kick-starter.

Crash bungs – AKA mushrooms. Those oversized doorstops you see on the sides of sports bikes to protect the fairing in the event of the bike going ‘down the road.’

Crash padding/padding – Your protective clothing.

Crosser – Motocross/scrambler/off-road bike.

Cruiser – Laid bike style of bike, often with a low seat. Easier for picking up ‘ladies of the night’.



Damper/steering damper – Persuades the steering bars not to wobble about too much when you are laying down some high-speed moves.

Dicing – Risking one’s life by playing with other road users.

Dirt Bike – Off-road/scrambler/trials.

Dive – When the front suspension compresses hard during braking. normally a sign you are doing good work.

Doughnut – Laying down rubber in a circle.

Dropped it – Let the bike fall over when stationary. We’ve all done it, haven’t we Paul?

Duke – Sometimes refers to a Ducati, but more usually reserved for the KTM Super-Duke bike.

Dumped the bike – Let it fall over, either at rest or in a very slow turn. We’ve all done it, haven’t we Paul?


End can/s – The big chunky bit/s at the end of your exhaust.

Endo – AKA ’stoppie’ stopping the bike so hard on the front wheel the rear wheel goes up into the air. Kind of the opposite of a wheelie.

Esses – Back to back corners.



Fairing – the shine plastic stuff that hides the engine away.

False Neutral – The feeling when, between changing gears, you have gone into neutral. You haven’t.

Farkle – Add bits to your bike. Comes from a combination of ‘function’ and ‘sparkle’. Or perhaps, ‘fuck around with’.

Fat – When your fuel to air mixture is too rich.

Feathering – Gently applying either brake or clutch, for a smoother transition between states.

Fighter – Short for street fighter, a fairly aggressive style of ’naked’ bike.

Filtering – Taking your life into your own hands, quite legally, by riding between stationary and slow moving lanes of traffic, in order to get to work a whole 30 minutes quicker.

Flat spot – Refers to when the engine has a dip in power when accelerating.

Flickable – The measure by which a bike is thought to corner with ease.

Flogging – Getting on the gas.

Frankenbike – A bike made from many other different types of bike. Normally with a weird feature or two

Front end – Basically everything in front of the petrol tank – so the forks, wheels etc.

Full Chat – going quickly enough for the engine and exhaust to be making some real noise. Example: Biker & Bike’s Paul to B&B’s Ian during a recent trip, “Christ, when you went by me at full chat I nearly sh4t myself,” in response to a question about how loud the bike’s Akra cans were.

Full system – A complete after-market exhaust system, as opposed to the end cans only. See ‘Can’ to see what cans means.



Gear – The stuff you wear.

Get off – Leave the bike unintentionally.

Gixer – Slang for GSXR Suzuki sports and super bikes.

Guzzi – Short for Moto Guzzi. Cos that’s too long, obviously.

Grabbing a handful – Being a bit fierce with either brake or throttle.

Next up: The Biker & Bike Dictionary H to Q
Also see: The Biker & Bike Dictionary R to Z


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