learn the language

Aftermarket (n.)

A general term for the parts made by a manufacturer other than Harley-Davidson.

Bagger (n.)

A common reference to H-DĀ® Touring motorcycles that come stock with touring luxuries (like saddle bags).

Bar & Shield (n.)

The iconic Harley-Davidson logo.

Bob/Bobbers (n.)

A very classic style of motorcycle dating back to when military guys came back from the World Wars and "chopped" a stock motorcycle to fit their individual taste. This style has regained in popularity in recent years.

CC (n.)

Refers to the cubic centimeters of an engine. Your standard Harley cruiser is equipped with a 1,584-cc engine.

Chopper (n.)

Custom motorcycles that originated when World War II veterans returned from war and "chopped" their bikes by taking everything off but the essentials.

CVO (n.)

Custom Vehicle Operations. Factory-built custom motorcycles produced in limited runs by Harley-Davidson.

Cruiser (n.)

A motorcycle that is not a bagger, dresser or sport bike. It will usually have a lower seat, loud exhaust, nice paint and plenty of chrome.

Do-rag (n.)

A bandana worn under the helmet to avoid "helmet hair.

DOT (n.)

U.S. Department of Transportation. Your helmet should meet DOT standards.

ECM (n.)

Electronic Control Module. The computer built into modern motorcycles to control different performance processes such as ignition and timing.

EFI (n.)

Electronic Fuel Injection. Electronic device to automate the motorcycle's fuel flow, replacing a carburetor and eliminating the manual choke.

EVO (n.)

A nickname for the Harley-Davidson Evolution V-Twin engine.

Gearhead (n.)  

A rider who enjoys repairing and maintaining his/her motorcycle.

Giblets (n.)

The endless possibilities of chrome, gadgets and accessories that one can add to his/her Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

H.O.G. (n.)

Harley Owners GroupĀ®, started in 1983.

Hammer Down (v.)

Aggressively opening the throttle to get somewhere fast.

Hugger (n.)

A type of sport bike with lowered suspension made to hug the road.

Jiffy Stand (n.)

A kickstand. Always make sure it is in place before you get off and walk away from your bike.

Kick Start (n.)

A feature used on old-school bikes to start motorcycles before or instead of electric start.

Lid (n.)

A term used to describe a helmet or hat. Many times this term is used to describe helmets not approved by DOT. Sometimes referred to as a "skid lid.

Road Gator (n.)

Those scattered pieces of rubber left on the highway from truck tires that have been cheaply re-treaded.

RPM (n.)

Revolutions Per Minute. A term used to show the number of times a motor cycles in 60 seconds.

Sissy Bar (n.)

A backrest for a passenger.

Slabbing It (v.)

Rushing a trip by taking the interstate as opposed to taking the scenic route. When you need to get from point A to point B quickly.

Tricked-out (adj.)

Motorcycles with an abundance of accessories and detailing.

Throttle Jockey (n.)

A term used to describe the guy who spends more time revving his bike up in the parking lot or garage than he does actually riding it.

Twisties (n.)

These are the fun roads with bends and corners that every biker dreams of riding

Air Filter/Cleaner (n.)

Filters out any debris that might get into the engine.

Ape Hanger (n.)

An elevated handlebar that raises the rider's hands above the shoulders

Brake Calipers (n.)

When you squeeze the front brake lever or press the rear brake pedal, pressure is applied to the corresponding brake caliper and brake pads. This in turn applies pressure to the friction surface of the disc rotor allowing you to stop.


Manages the blend of fuel and air in an internal combustion engine. All new Harley-Davidson models are fuel injected and don't have a carburetor.

Clutch Lever (n.)

Just like having a standard transmission in a car, the clutch engages and dis-engages the power from the engine to the rear wheel using a lever on the left handlebar.

Cylinder (n.)

Workhorse of a motorcycle engine. Contains the pistons

Engine (n.)

The source of propulsion to move you and the motorcycle down the road. The engine is an "internal combustion design." It uses the energy from gasoline and turns it into a rotational force. Engines are measured in sizes in either c.c. (cubic centimeter) or c.i. (cubic inch) i.e. 1584cc or 96 ci

Fairing (n.)

A molded piece of the motorcycle's body that protects the rider and bike from road debris.

Footpegs (n.)

The place to rest the rider's and passenger's feet.

Forks (n.)

The forks are the front suspension; they keep the front wheel on the pavement and absorb bumps on the road. The angle of the front fork is called the "rake.

Frame/Chassis (n.)

Think of this as the "skeleton" of the motorcycle, holding the engine, suspension and all components together.

Front Brake Lever (n.)

To operate the front brake, squeeze the lever on the right handle bar.

Gas Tank (n.)

After you fill the tank with fuel, the cap seals the tank to prevent leaking. Don't overfill the tank. Consult the owner's manual for the correct grade of gasoline for optimum engine performance.

Hardtail (n.)

A motorcycle frame that does not feature a rear suspension.

Headlamp (n.)

The "always on" headlamp has a high and low beam mounted on the front so you are seen by others during the day and for visibility at night.

Muffler (n.)

The muffler dampens the exhaust sound from the engine.

Rear Brake Pedal (n.)

To operate the rear brake, press the pedal on the right hand side of the motorcycle at the footpeg.

Rear Shocks (n.)

This rear suspension keeps the rear wheel on the pavement and absorbs bumps in the road.

Saddlebags (n.)

LuggageLuggage that hangs from either side of a bike's rear fender.

Shift Lever (n.)

Use the shift level to shift the transmission through different gears for different road speeds. The lever moves up and down. To select first gear move the lever down. To select second gear you move the lever up. Neutral is located between first and second.

Softail (n.)

A motorcycle frame that features a hidden rear suspension, giving it modern comfort with the look of a classic hardtail.

Suspension (n.)

The system of springs and shock absorbers that protects the rider and motorcycle from bumps and vibrations.

Swingarm (n.)

On the rear of most motorcycles; connects the tire, shocks, brakes and suspension.

Throttle (n.)

Just like the accelerator in a car that you push with your right foot, you twist the right handlebar grip to increase engine speed.