How To Understand Motorcycle Racing Lingo

Wow Everyone by Studying This Primer Before Heading to a Motorcycle Racing Event

As with most any sport or activity, there is a language, or slang words, or even gestures sometimes exclusive to that endeavor. And motorcycle racing is no different. In a very short time, every racer, crew member, and fan will become familiar with phrases and motions to express to describe what was experienced or witnessed.

Before you head to the race track, it might be a good idea to use this as a study guide.

Step 1

At the beginning of the race, a rider may:

  • Jump the start – That is just like it sounds. The rider took off before the green flag was dropped.
  • Nail the start – Here is another one that aptly describes what happened. The rider got a great start to the race.

Step 2

Good things that can happen during a race - a rider may:

  • Find a good line – As the racer speeds around the track, he or she may find various places in the track where seconds can be shaved off because it is the fastest way through a curve or a corner.
  • Motor past – This usually happens on the straight-away when a rider with a stronger engine easily passes others in the same race.
  • Pin the throttle – Just like flooring the gas pedal in a car. The engine will respond and take off, but racers need to be wary of wheelies because too much throttle may cause the front tire to come up off the ground as the rear tire gains traction. This one usually comes with a gesture of making a fist with the right hand and cranking it as if to rev up an engine.

Step 3

Unnerving events that can happen during a race:

  • Stuffed – A rider may cause another racer to take evasive action in a corner when the racing gets too close and making the turn in the corner questionable.
  • Backed in – A racer will sometimes use the back brake to slide the back tire into a corner, hoping to get through that corner faster yet without falling down.
  • Steps out – This can happen when the back tire slips and slides in a corner, bouncing the rider uncomfortably until he or she can get the motorcycle back under control.
  • Stood it up – A racer will lean the motorcycle when going into a corner, but sometimes when another rider is too close, a bike may have to be brought straight upright again in order to prevent an accident.
  • Spun it up – This means the back tire is moving faster than the bike and can cause rubber to be left on the track.
  • Chatter – The front of the bike is talking to the rider, in a mechanical sort of way. The front tire may bounce while in a corner, causing the rider to have to muscle the bike under control. Suspension and tire wear are usually checked when this happens. This comes with its own unique hand gestures of fisting both hands, as if holding onto the handle bars, and shaking them.

Step 4

Worst case scenarios:

  • Tuck the front, or a low side – In a corner, when the front tire slips too far, the motorcycle and rider go down and slide off the track. Usually this happens when the bike is leaned over too far going through the corner.
  • High side – When the back tire “steps out” (see above) severely, then comes back in line, the rider is usually bucked off the seat and sent flying, while the motorcycle tumbles off the track. This is usually the worse way to dismount a motorcycle.

But at the end of the day, the best part happens and that is called:

Bench Racing – When it is all over and done with, everyone safely back in the pit area, the bench racing begins. Racers, pit crew, and fans will relive the exciting and wonderful moments of the day – using all the slang and all the hand gestures appropriate for just the right explanation.


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