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Dirt Bike Dictionary - Glossary - Slang
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I don’t know what feels worse – not knowing what everyone is talking about, or using the wrong words in front of people who DO know what they’re talking about (Dude, I nac-nac’d my O-ring chain and two-stroked a double into a four-stroke!).

Anyway, the following is an extensive dirt bike and motocross dictionary, glossary, list of slang, whatever you want to call it. But I know we’re missing some, so post a comment and let us know what they are.


Dirt Bike Dictionary / Motocross Terms / Motorcycle Glossary


Back-marker: A slow rider ‘marking’ the back of the pack.

Bar Hop: While airborne, rider keeps both hands on the grips and extends legs straight out between arms and over handlebars.

Berm: Built-up dirt on the outside of a turn. A berm helps a rider take the turn much faster because it acts as banking.

Big Air: Putting lots of air between yourself and the ground while jumping.

Block Pass: Going into a turn, a rider attempting a block pass will accelerate before the apex and position his motorcycle on the inside of the leader, then quickly pivot and make the turn directly in front of the other rider. The rider being passed must brake and is, therefore, blocked.

Bottoming Out: When you compress the shocks all the way down. For example, when jumping and landing hard on the front wheel, or trying to carry four friends on one bike.

Brake Check: Going Braking hard and suddenly to force the rider behind to do the same thing. Often allows the rider in front to gain some distance while the following rider recovers.

Can-Can: When a rider moves one of his legs over the fuel tank to the opposite side of the bike while airborne. The rider must get his leg to the normal riding position in time for the landing (otherwise he performs a can’t can’t). In a No-Footed Can-Can, both legs are extended away from the bike.

Casing It: Coming up short on a double or triple jump and landing on the top of the last jump instead of clearing it. Refers to landing on the engine case.

Checkpoint: A point in a race course to verify that the rider has passed through that spot – to prevent cheating.

Class: Grouping of similar riders in a race – determined by age, bike size, gender, skill, etc.

Clicker: While airborne, laying the motorcycle flat while bringing the back of the bike around.

Cliff Hanger: While airborne, the rider ‘leaves’ the bike, with only his toes catching the underside of the handlebars, and hands raised above his head.

Compression Dampening: Controls how the suspension compresses with an adjustable valve that lets a certain amount of oil through the shock and controls the speed at which it travels through the stroke.

Cordova: While airborne, the rider brings his legs up and hooks his feet under the handlebars, then while still gripping the handlebars, bends his back and tilts his head so he’s looking backwards and upside down over the rear of the bike.

DNF: Did not finish.

Doubles: Two jumps positioned so that riders can clear both jumps at once, rather than tackling each jump one at a time. Triples are, obviously, the same thing with three jumps.

DQ'ed: Disqualified.

Endo: To go head first over the handlebar.

Fat Air: Putting lots of air between yourself and the ground while jumping.

Flying W: Hands on the handlebars, feet in the air, knees bent so that the body resembles a "W", while airborne.

Four-Stroke: A type of engine, or a bike using that type of engine.

Getting Air: Both wheels off the ground, usually during a jump.

Grabbing Air: Both wheels off the ground, usually during a jump.

Hart Attack: Invented by Carey Hart, While airborn, the rider does a handstand in midair with one hand on the handlebars, the other on the seat.

Holeshot: The first rider through the first turn at the beginning of a race. A great position to be in.

Hot Tire Cutter: Used on knobby tires to custom carve them and match them to the terrain.

Indo: Using the front brake to raise the rear wheel off the ground. Also called a stoppie.

In The Weeds: Off the track – either through a mistake of your own, or by being forced off by another rider.

Knobbies: The type of tires used on dirt bikes – named after the large (usually square) knobs of rubber designed for better traction in dirt.

Lapper: A slow rider being lapped by other riders.

Lazy Boy: While airborne, the rider lets go of the handlebars and lies on his back across the seat with feet extending past the handlebars.

Line: The path of the motorcycle as a rider goes through an area of track or around a turn.

Loop It or Loop Out: When the front of your dirt bike gets too high over a jump and you land vertically or on your back.

Low Down: Lying flat against the bike and releasing your hands from the handlebars while airborne.

Monkey Butt: How your rear feels after a lot of riding.

Nac-Nac: Bringing your leg from one side of the motorcycle across the back of the bike to the opposite side – while airborne -- and returning a normal riding position before landing.

No-Hander: Taking both hands off the handlebar while in midair over a jump.

No-Hander Lander: Performing a no-hander and landing the jump with hands still off the handlebars.

Obstacle: Exactly what it sounds like – anything that gets in your way. Large or difficult hills, awkward turns, jumps, rocks, whoops, creeks, etc.

On The Pipe: Traveling fast. Exhaust pipes are designed to perform best at certain engine speeds. When a bike is on the pipe, it’s getting maximum power.

O-Ring Chain: Motorcycle chain with rings made of rubber fitted between links. O-ring motorcycle chains help seal in the lubricant.

ORV/OHV: Off-Road or Off-Highway vehicle.

OTB: Over the (handle)bars.

Pinned: Going full throttle.

Pit Board: A large sign shown to rider as he goes past. Pit crews use the pit board to show a rider's position, or other advice, to the rider.

Power Band: The point where your engine produces the maximum power as you accelerate the bike.

Power Shift: Shifting without using the clutch.

Power Slide: Sliding the bike sideways while accelerating.

Pre-Load: Compressing a suspension spring to take extra loads or for a harder or softer ride.

Ragdoll(ing): Arms and legs flopping every which way while flying throughthe air or rolling across the ground after a crash.

Regrip: Repositioning your throttle hand so that it is in the neutral position whne power is increased, instead of bent up and back.

Roost / Rooster Tail: The shower of debris that shoots up and back from your rear tire.

Ruts: Deep grooves in the ground/track – usually left by earlier riding.

Sandbagging: Riding slower than your able to in a race so you’re moved to a more advanced class – giving you a competitive edge in the class you remain in.

Saran Wrap: While airborne, starts with both hands on the grips. One leg is lifted, placed between the riders arms, and then one arm is lifted so the leg can swing around the bars and end up back on the peg.

Scraping: Banking your bank to the point where the footpegs scrape the ground.

Shroud: Plastic on the side of a dirt bike protecting the radiator.

Spring Rates: The numbers used to indicate the stiffness of fork springs or shock springs.

Sprockets: Gears on the rear wheel and countershaft. You’ll find them at either end of the chain.

Squirrelly: Losing control of the bike.

Stiction: The friction between suspension components as they move against each other.

Stoppie: Using the front brake to raise the rear wheel off the ground. Also called an indo.

Straightaway: A straight section of track long enough to accelerate and race at higher speeds.

Superman: Taking your feet off the foot pegs and throwing them to the back of the motorcycle while airborne, so you resemble Superman when he flies.

Superman Seat Grab: Taking your feet off the foot pegs and throwing them to the back of the motorcycle while airborne to perform a a Superman, then letting go of the handlebars with one hand and grabbing the seat.

Swingarm: The part of a motorcycle that connects the rear wheel to the chassis.

Table-Top (Jump): Picture either a double jump with the middle filled in (level with the top of a jump), or a jump twice as high as usual with the entire top cut off, leaving a flat surface with a ‘ramp’ on either end.

Technical: An area of track with difficult obstacles that have to be taken at slower speeds.

Tight Track: A track with mostly sharp turns packed closely together.

Top End: Top part of the engine - the piston and ring inside the cylinder.

Trail: The distance from the point where the tire rests on the ground to the line drawn down the forks to the ground.

Triples: Three jumps positioned so that riders can clear all three jumps at once, rather than tackling each jump one at a time. Doubles are the same thing with two jumps.

Two-Stroke: A type of engine, or a bike using that type of engine.

Wash Out: The front wheel breaking loose due to a loss of traction.

Wheelie: Riding on only the rear wheel.

Whip: Guiding the bike, while airborne, so that it lies flat.

Whoops / Whoop-de-doos: A row of dirt mounds or moguls.

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