Biker Speak

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What is a "squid"?

A "squid" is a youthful rider who gets ahold of a high powered sportbike and does a lot of stunts and extreme riding - not fully realizing that without training and experience, disaster is near. Wikipedia entry.

There are many versions of what the letters stand for, but they all fall more or less along the lines of:

Stupidly Quick, Underdressed, and Imminently Dead.

Squid 101.jpg Squid chicks.jpg

476787.jpg 490-26.jpg

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An American Squid In Taiwan.jpg Squid 4.jpg

Admins John.jpg

Don't be one!

What is a "burnout"?

Stand on the ground while squeezing the front brake and pressing down on the handlebars with as much weight as you can. Rev it to 8-10k and "dump" the clutch while at the same time twisting the throttle wide open.


There you go; start with the rear wheel on wet asphalt to make it even easier. Have fun wasting your back tire if you choose. You may try it yourself a few times out of curiosity, but you'll quickly realize there is no skill involved in a burnout. A trained monkey can learn to do one. Since it is such an easy act that anyone can perform, most motorcyclists who see someone doing it will quickly lose respect for that individual, unless they see a truckload of rear tires behind him with a sign that says "free to use today only".

It's much more rewarding to practice wearing your tires on the sides than in the center.

What is a "stoppie"?

Stoppie: A trick often performed by squids. It involves intentionally lifting the rear wheel off of the ground by hitting the front brake. This is sometimes followed by the squid being ejected over the handlebars directly into the path of his own motorcycle.


What is "lane splitting"?

"Lane splitting" can mean more than one thing:

  • Riding between lines of stopped or moving cars (not illegal in California).
  • Passing a car that has moved over to give you room. (As long as you don't cross a double yellow line to do it, this is legal in most states).

Lane splitting.jpg

What is a "highside/lowside"?

There two kinds of non-collision motorcycle crashes. A "lowside" happens when the bike is leaned over so far that the tires no longer grip the road and the bike falls on its side. This is the better kind of accident (but crashing still sucks), since the rider has a short distance to the pavement and can (sometimes) gently slide to a halt (you do wear protective gear, right?).


A "highside" is when the bike's front or rear tire loses traction and suddenly regains it with one of the wheels out of the line of travel. The bike reacts with a whip-like action, spitting the rider off the "high side". This is bad, as the rider is usually catapulted off the bike at a higher speed than he or she was traveling, sometimes in a high arc, resulting in tumbling/bouncing/flopping. This is where the worst injuries occur, and why you wear good-quality, CE approved armor in your protective clothing (you do wear protective gear, right?).


What is an "Italian tuneup"?

This is running your bike hard to try to get out whatever has been building up, usually from sitting for a time. Not necessarily guaranteed to work. This is what Bill Cosby used to call "getting the guck out". More in Wikipedia.

What are "Chicken Strips"?

Chicken strips are just unused rubber, indicating a lesser lean angle. "Chicken" implies that you're too scared to lean the bike over farther. That depends as much on the tire as the rider...

If you look closely at different brands, models, and sizes of tires, you'll realize that they don't all have the same profile. In fact, no two are alike. Some have tread that wraps all the way around to the vertical part of the sidewall, while others have a relatively narrow tread area.

Therefore, some tires will scuff all the way to the edge with a pretty conservative lean angle, while others won't get anywhere near the edge, even on a bike with no centerstand and racing rearsets.

What's more (and now we're talking about the rider) there are riders out there who are hugely fast and still manage to use less lean angle than everybody else. Having a bit of chicken strips does not indicate you are a chicken but a good, safe rider who values his/her bike and body. Instead of saying 'chicken strips', prudent riders prefer 'safety margin'.

So, if you get someone who comes up to your bike and makes comments about your "chicken strips", just smile and know that all he's doing is showing his own ignorance.


Chicken strips, about 3/4 inch

Chicken strips 1.jpg

No chicken strips; burned up on the track

1024a.jpg 1024b.jpg Chicken strips 2.jpg

And if you're Nicky Hayden, you can have reverse chicken strips.