The Motorcycle Bikers Dictionary – A

Ape Hangers
Ape Hangers

ABS (Anti-Lock Breaking System) – 1. System that senses when a tire is about to loose traction during braking and decreases braking force, preventing tire lock up. 2. The ABS detects when a wheel is not turning and releases pressure to the brake on that wheel, preventing a skid. 3. A component added to the braking system that detects wheel lock up. The system then modulates the brakes at that point with the idea of stopping you faster than you could yourself. 4. ‘Anti-lock braking system’ Active safety device that stops the wheels locking-up under heavy braking, thus allowing the driver to maintain steering control. 5. An anti-lock braking system is a safety system that prevents a vehicle’s wheels from locking during heavy braking. Essentially, the ABS regulates the braking pressure on the wheel, allowing it to continuously have traction on the driving surface.

Accelerator pump – Extra pump in the carburetor to temporarily increase the amount of fuel delivered to the air stream.

Aerodynamics – In motorcycle context, good aerodynamics means that the motorcycle is designed to have as little resistance from the air as possible. This is essential to achieve great speeds. The manufacturers often make use of wind tunnels during the development of a new motorcycle.

AFFA – Angels Forever Forever Angels

Aftermarket – The sector of the market that sells parts and accessories other than OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer… ie, Honda, BMW, Suzuki, Harley-Davidson, etc.)

Air – 80% nitrogen, 19% oxygen, some carbonic gas and minor trace elements.

Air cooling – Mechanism used to keep the engine at operating temperature by using air flowing over heat sinks (engine fins) to disperse excess heat into the environment directly.

Air fuel ratio – Proportions in which air and fuel are mixed to form a combustible gas.

Airheads – A term for older, air-cooled BMW Boxer Twins.

Air Intake Valves – Reed Valves

Air lock – Similar to vapor lock, a pocket or air develops that blocks the normal flow of a fluid, such as in a hydraulic brake line. Common in two stroke engines when the oil injection system is allowed to run dry.

AirTex – Mesh-like, highly tear-resistant Dynafil polyamide weave.

Akra – Akrapovic. Manufacturers of exhaust cans and full exhaust systems.

Alloy – A solid or homogenous solution that is a mixture of two or more metals to create a combined metal with better characteristics for a specific purpose.

Alternative fuel – Generally refers to energy sources other than the traditional petroleum ones such as gasoline and diesel fuel.

Alternator – Modern replacement for the dynamo generator, producing large quantities of alternating current to run the electrical systems of a motorcycle.

AMA – American Motorcycle Association.

Ammeter – Gauge that measures amps in electrical current.

Analog gauges – Shows information in a continuous forum, often a dial; often considered the opposite of digital gauges. Old school gauges.

Anch’s or Anchor – Brakes

Anodizing – A technique used to coat the surface of a metal with an oxide layer. It may be used to increase corrosion resistance, increase wear resistance, allow dyeing or prepare the surface for other processes and coatings including paint. Anodization changes the microscopic texture of the surface and can change the crystal structure of the metal near the surface. The process derives its name from the fact that the part to be treated forms the anode portion of an electrical circuit in this electrolytic process.

Anti-dive System – A front-end suspension component that reduces how much the forks compress under braking, popular with motorcycles built in 1980s.

Apes or Ape Hangers – 1. Handlebars that are very high, and which often raise the rider’s hands above his or her shoulders. High handlebars so Biker’s hands are at or above their shoulder height.. Refers to a handlebar style where the handgrips are located at a higher position, so as to enable the rider’s arms to “hang” Picture “Clyde” from “Every Which Way but Loose” and you’ll get a perfect understanding of the riding position. 2. Very high handlebars. Usually found on choppers. 3. A term coined at the height of the custom-bike movement to describe tall handlebars that forced the rider to reach skyward to graps the controls, making the rider adopt an ape-like posture.

Aperture – An opening, hole or port.

Apex – The vertex of tightest (middle or centre) point of a curve.

API – American Petroleum Institute.

Armacor (GORE-TEX® Armacor) – A new kind of highly tear-resistant material combining Kevlar® and Cordura® with the first class weather properties of GORE-TEX® in a 3-layer laminate.

ASE – National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Aspect Ratio – The ratio of the height of the wall of a tire to the width of the tread expressed as a percentage. Section height divided by section width equals aspect ratio. If the section height is one half the section width, the aspect ratio is 50%.

Aspiration – The method for getting air into the engine (ie, normal, turbo charged, super charged etc).

ATGANI – All The Gear And No Idea. Derogatory term for a biker who has an expensive new bike with new expensive gear, yet cannot ride for toffee.

ATGATT – All The Gear All The Time – This refers to a safety attitude which presumes that safety gear should always be worn when riding a motorcycle regardless of temperature, distance to be ridden or peer pressures that might encourage not doing so.

ATM – All Things Motorcycle


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