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Hair Dryer - The spiral shape of a turbocharger leads to its nickname hair dryer or snail.

Hammer Down - Accelerate quickly.

Hard Tail - A motorcycle with no rear shock absorber. This rigid frame results in a stiff ride.

Hard GP Armor - Comprised of hard plastic shells mounted on foam, GP motorcycle armor is good at resisting hard impacts. It is used mainly in gear designed for motorcycle racing. Vanson has a derivative of the GP Armor that is secured with Velcro mounted on elastic to allow the armor more mobility, which adds comfort for the rider.

Heat - Police officers

High Side - A particularly nasty type of crash where the can be bucked up and over the handlebars. Usually caused when the rear break is released after a rear wheel lock up. When under power a motorcycle naturally keeps the two wheels in line. If the rear brake is over applied and the rear wheel locks up it will often slip out of line. If that brake is released and power returns to the rear wheel it violently snaps back in line with the front wheel, often with catastrophic results for the rider.

Horsepower - Horsepower is the unit of energy used to measure an engine's power. 1 horsepower is equal to 0.746 kilowatts

Horizontally park - To crash

Hosed - Trashed, hopelessly broken.

Ironside - Generally referring to something on the northern hemisphere (top) of the motorcycle. Opposite of rubberside.

Jiffy - Side Kickstand

Jockey Shift - Variation on the suicide clutch. A short lever is mounted directly on top of the motorcycle's transmission with the rider shifting near his left calf.

Keep the dirty side down - A parting expression between bikers meaning ride safe.

Keep the shiny side up - A parting expression between bikers meaning ride safely. The same as keep the dirty side down…some people see the glass as half full, others half empty.

Kevlar - A fiber manufactured by Dupont (notice all these funky, freakishly strong textiles are made by the same company) which, by weight, is five times stronger than steel. Often blended with Cordura and other more elastic materials in the production of textile motorcycle riding gear. Kevlar is also used in the bulletproof vests and helmets that protect the lives of American soldiers and law enforcement professionals every day. If I remember correctly, Kevlar also has flame retardant properties.

Knock - This is an engine condition in which the usually smooth and controlled combustion process has a violent and out of sequence burst. This sudden spike in combustion can drastically increase the pressure in the cylinder but is too fast to effectively contribute to the engine's output. Instead, the combustion chamber itself must absorb the excess energy. This is a very good way to shorten the lifespan of an engine. The slang term "detonation" is often used to describe engine knock. Knock is closely related to pre-ignition.

Lane Stealer - A car driver who tries to squeeze by a motorcycle rider in his lane, merges in too close to him or passes him in a no passing zone. Maybe car drivers don't see motorcycle riders. Maybe they don't give them the respect they deserve as a motor vehicle because of their small size. Regardless, all motorcycle riders must expect drivers do things that range from rude to dangerous. A safe rider will learn to anticipate such behavior and adapt because of it.

Lane splitting - Driving in a non-lane between cars. Generally frowned upon by the law but in some states lane-splitting is legal when cars are stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Lane splitting is legal and common in many foreign countries.

Law Maker - Riders that engage in senseless and risky behavior that can lead to accidents, injury or death to themselves or others. Their reckless behavior causes restrictive laws to be imposed on all riders.

Lay it Down - Most commonly used as another term for crash. A rider can also "lay down" his motorcycle intentionally when a danger ahead is even less preferable. In this case laying the bike down will be a little like a hockey stop on ice stakes with the bike low, sideways and sliding wheels first.

Leathers - Motorcycle riding gear, including jacket, pants, gloves and boots, that are helpful in protecting a rider in the event of a crash. Many feel that motorcycle leathers offers more abrasion resistance then even advanced textile gear but on the downside it can be hot and gets quite heavy when wet.

Mad Max - A burnout where the front wheel is stationary and acts as an axis around which the rear end of the motorcycle rotates.

Memory Foam Armor - This motorcycle armor is made from special purpose foam that is soft and pliable when compressed slowly but on sudden impact the foam resists compression and is more rigid. This allows for a more natural and comfortable protection and superior freedom of movement while still maintaining good crash protection.

Molded Rubber Armor - This armor is often nicknamed "turtle shell" because of its resemblance to the aquatic creature. It is generally longer and more oval shaped than other styles of motorcycle armor which can make it harder to fit into average armor pockets.

MSF - Acronym for Motorcycle Safety Foundation. This is an organization that exists to educate riders on how to safely operate their motorcycle on the road. Usually they offer two levels of classes: Basic Rider Course and Experience Rider course. The Basic Rider Course is provides valuable information through classroom and on bike training. It covers everything from identifying motorcycle parts to lane changing and power braking maneuvers. Upon successful completion of the basic rider course in Illinois, a rider receives an exemption from the DMV riding test and qualifies for their M endorsement. More importantly, it offers a safe, controlled environment for training in practical situations. Weekend courses are 4 hours Friday, 10 hours Saturday & 10 hours Sunday. Week long courses are 4 hours per night Monday through Friday. Motorcycles are provided by the organization. The course I took, sponsored by Northern Illinois University, had a $20 fee to register ahead of time, which would be refunded upon completion or kept as a donation. If unable to register, walk on openings may be available at no cost. This course would be easily worth ten times the reservation fee and by far the best way to learn to ride a motorcycle. The Experience Rider course is a one-day class (half classroom, half on-bike) and goes in depth on more advanced techniques. This course requires a valid motorcycle license and the rider is expected to bring their own motorcycle.

Mud Puppies - ATV and Quad riders

Mushrooms - Plastic bumpers that attach to a motorcycle frame to protect the bike's fairing in case it is dropped. Often used by stunt riders to avoid expensive repairs to body panels. Also called crash bungs or frame sliders .

NBD - Acronym for Never Been Dropped

OEM - An acronym for "Original Equipment Manufacturer" which are stock parts (opposed to aftermarket parts).

Odometer - Gauge that tracks distance traveled. Usually there is one odometer that tracks mileage over the life of the bike and cannot be adjusted and a separate trip odometer that can be reset at any time to track short term mileage. Many people reset the trip odometer each time they fill their gas tank so they can estimate how much gas they have left in the absence of a gas gauge (also can be helpful in determining fuel economy).

On Rails - Expression meaning that a vehicle corners very well at high speeds.

One-Off - A part that is custom fabricated one time instead of being mass-produced.

OTB - Acronym for "Over The Bars" which is rarely a good thing to do on a motorcycle.

Pannier - Motorcycle packs or bags that hang over the rear wheel like saddlebags. Available in textile "soft" bags or "hard" packs made from metal or plastic. Care has to be taken to make sure a pannier is kept off the exhaust.

Pasta Rocket - Slang for an Italian-made sport bike such as Ducatis or Aprilias.

Pavement Surfing - Sliding down the highway after laying down a bike at speed.

Pipes - Exhaust pipes

PMS - Acronym for Parked Motorcycle Syndrome

Poker Run - A road rally style motorcycle run where riders stop at 5 checkpoints along the route to draw playing cards. At the end of the run the rider with the best poker hand wins.

Pre-Ignition - This is a condition in an internal combustion engine where the intake charge ignites before the spark plug fires. High compression engines actually can generate enough heat to cause an air/fuel mix that is lean or low octane to combust without the spark plug's help. This obviously can harm an engine since the combustion cycle designed for very specific timing. Other causes of pre-ignition include carbon deposits in the engine that retain excessive heat, a spark plug that gets too hot or improper jetting. Often closely related to knock or detonation.

Pull - A motorcycle's ability to accelerate quickly.

Rainbows - Slang for motor oil on the street

Rake - The angle of the motorcycle's front fork. The extended rake on choppers make them stable but lacking agility.

Rebound - The force a suspension exerts after being compressed. The strength of the return stroke greatly affects the handling of the motorcycle (or any other vehicle).

Rice Burner - Slang term for Japanese vehicles.

Rice Rocket - Slang term for a Japanese sport bike.

Ride Captain - The ride captain is the leader of a group ride.

Ride Lieutenant - The ride lieutenant is the last rider in a group ride and usually the most experience aka Back Door.

Rigid or Rigid Frame - A motorcycle with a one-piece frame lacking a swing arm and suspension.

Rippin' it Up - This phrase describes fast, aggressive motorcycle riding.

Road Gator - Road Gators are bits of shredded tires littering a road after a semi truck's tire blows out. They can look innocent enough but steel bands can cause serious damage to a vehicle and are potentially dangerous to motorcycle riders.

Road Rash - An abrasion that results from sliding along the ground after a motorcycle crash. Wearing proper gear can limit road rash but may not prevent it entirely.

Rocker-Clutch - Some motorcycles have a foot-operated clutch instead of the traditional handgrip lever. This pedal does NOT, however, function like the clutch in a standard transmission car. Instead the pedal pivots over a central fulcrum with the motorcycle rider stepping on the front end with his toe to disengage the clutch and pressing with the rear section with his heal to engage the clutch. The Rocker-clutch is not that common on modern bikes.

Rolling Chassis - The rolling chassis is a milestone stage in building a motorcycle. Though not completely assembled, enough of the build has been completed to take the bike down off the lift and roll it. Usually the main mechanicals missing are the engine and transmission.

Roost - Deriving its name from its resemblance to a rooster's tail, the roost is spray off a motorcycle's spinning rear wheel in wet mud. This is common to dirt bikes and mx motorcycles.

Rubber - Motorcycle tires…or car tires…or bicycle tires…

Rubberside - Generally referring to something on the southern hemisphere (bottom) of the motorcycle. Opposite of ironside.

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