Are Motorcycles Your Thing? Test Your Knowledge Here!

By: Steven
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Since the motorcycle's invention, riders have used it to declare their independence from conventionality, represented by riding more safely in an enclosed car. This became even more the case in America after the Vietnam War, when veterans who returned from the war took to the open road to escape -- or perhaps to express -- feelings of no longer fitting into society. 

So it's only natural that the bike world has traditions and a language all its own, even if riding is just an enjoyable hobby, not a statement of outsiderhood. For example, do you know what "ape hangers" are, and how they change a bike? You've undoubtedly heard the word "chopper," made famous by customization businesses like West Coast Choppers -- but does that refer to any motorcycle or a specific type? What is "motorcycle armor"? And why do bikers wear gloves and boots? Is it just to look cool?

As with a long Saturday afternoon ride, there's a lot of ground to cover here, but we've got it covered, with a 35-question quiz. If the weather's too lousy to gear up and go ride, do the next best thing -- settle in and take our quiz! You can prove your motorcycle savvy, or learn a thing or two that will earn you respect at the rest stop or the bike shop. Enjoy!

What is the back door in a group ride?

When you have a group ride, someone has to be in the very rear, or the back door. You want your most experienced rider back there, in case anyone else gets into trouble, so they can help and nobody becomes stranded.

What are ape hangers?

Also called monkey bars by some, ape hangers can make controlling a motorcycle a little more challenging. Some people think they look cool, and they show off that you're not some amateur rider.

When people are talking about motorcycle armor, what does that usually refer to?

Any clothing that has reinforcements, padding, or other features that will protect you while riding your bike, especially if you crash, qualifies as armor. There's a huge range of armor styles, whether you want to look sleek and modern, or want a more classic biker gang vibe, so you have no excuse for not riding protected.

What is a dual sport motorcycle?

These used to be referred to as enduro motorcycles, or models that have been designed to be ridden on trails as well as public roads. If you like to do both, getting one of these bikes can be worth the compromises.

What is a motorcycle stoppie?

Also referred to as an endo, this is an advanced stunt new riders shouldn't try to do, because it can result in a pretty bad crash. Generally, it involves just applying the front brakes, but it's more complicated than that, and requires a considerable amount of skill to pull off.

What are drag bars?

Basically the opposite of ape hangers, drag bars are at the same height as the risers. You'll see plenty of factory bikes with this design, since it suits a wide range of riders, and makes controlling the bike straightforward.

What makes a motorcycle a cruiser?

Think about your typical Harley Davidson, and you're likely picturing a cruiser. They're longer than most, plus sit closer to the ground, making them great for just cruising along at high speeds. Even though they usually weigh quite a bit, a larger engine makes them anything but slow.

What makes a motorcycle a chopper?

Thanks to West Coast Choppers and Orange County Choppers, plenty of people have heard this term, but know little about it. A chopper's front end extends out further and is at a more dramatic angle than what you see from factory bikes. These modifications make it so the bike doesn't turn as well.

Where is the clutch located on a motorcycle?

If you squeeze the lever, it will disengage the clutch, which means no power goes to the rear wheel. As you slowly release it, power will once again flow to the rear wheel.

Which handgrip is the throttle on a motorcycle?

If you want your motorcycle to move forward at all, turn the handgrip towards you. If you roll it the other way, that will decrease speed, without applying the brakes. Letting go of the handgrip should set the throttle to the idle position.

Where is the rear brake control?

You must press down on the pedal in front of the right footrest to engage the rear brake. Just like with car brakes, stomping on or pushing the pedal down hard will cause you to stop abruptly, which not only isn't comfortable, but also could cause an accident.

Where is the front brake lever on a motorcycle?

You engage the front brakes by squeezing this lever. Again, just like the rear brake pedal, you want to squeeze this lever slowly and smoothly, or you'll stop too suddenly, which could make you loose control even more than applying the rear brakes hard.

Where is the gear shift lever on a motorcycle?

Most motorcycles have a ratchet shifter, with neutral being between first and second gears. Shift up by lifting the lever up with your toe. Shift down by pressing down on the lever. You can only shift one gear at a time, so plan ahead.

When riding in the rain, you should avoid making sudden what?

Because the rain will make road surfaces slick, you really shouldn't stop, turn, or accelerate suddenly. That also means you should slow down, and pay especially close attention to everything going on around you, and further down the road.

Why should you wear gloves?

With a huge range of glove styles, you can find ones that really suit your personal preferences, so you really have no excuse for not getting a pair. When you fall, automatically you put out your hands. Without gloves, your hands can get seriously torn up, making wearing them well worth it.

What kind of support do good boots provide?

Bikers wear boots not because they look cool, even though they do, but because they need the extra ankle support if they have to push up a bike that weighs more than them. Most boots also have reinforced toes, hardened soles, and other extra protection.

Bikers know that where you look is where you often what?

Paying attention to where you're going is essential on a motorcycle. You can't just be staring at things on the side of the road, because often that means you lean that way, and might even turn the handlebars away from your course, So, look where you want to go, and not other places.

You should enter turns doing what?

Racers will tell you that entering a turn too hot is a good way to wreck out. Save the speed for when you're exiting a turn, and don't forget to lean in, or in the direction of the turn, so you stick it without incident.

What's another name for a sport bike?

Sport bikes are extremely powerful for their weight, and so they can move really fast, hence the analogy with a rocket. Sure, you don't need something like that, but driving a bike that's so quick can be a lot of fun. Just remember to watch your speed, or you could get a ticket or be in a horrible accident.

Adventure bikes allow you to go where?

If you want the ability to leave the road behind you and head down trails, an adventure bike is the right fit. These feature better ground clearance, plus the right kind of suspension travel to deal with the rigors of trails. Just remember to get the right tires for good grip on the dirt.

What could happen if you store your bike on its tires for the winter?

Flat spots on your tires are annoying, and they can really put you at risk of crashing. If your bike has a center stand, put that up so the tires aren't touching the ground. If not, you can buy a stand, or support the frame with wood blocks for the winter.

Who should teach a new rider how to use a motorcycle?

The smart move is to look up an instructor through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. That will ensure the new rider learns everything necessary to be safe on the road, which could save a life.

What keeps your motorcycle upright as you're rolling down the road?

Despite what most people think, your body isn't keeping the motorcycle balanced as you're moving. Sure, that's the case when it's stopped, but as the bike is rolling along, the wheels act like giant gyroscopes, keeping it upright and moving. You can counter that by leaning too much, but your weight isn't the thing that keeps your bike upright.

Countersteering means you turn the handlebars to the left to turn to which way?

This is an advanced technique, but it's how you turn a bike at speed. Most riders don't get it down for about a year. You should practice countersteering with extreme caution, because not doing it correctly can lead to a huge crash.

If you hit the rear brake while turning, what happens?

More advanced riders know that when they need to make a U-turn or navigate a tight turn, the rear brake can really help them stick it perfectly. Practice this, and you'll be able to maneuver your bike through all sorts of areas with no problem.

You perform a burnout with what?

Burnouts look cool, and in races, they heat up the rear tire so you get better traction and, in turn, a better launch. The problem is that a burnout can severely wear down the tread on your tire, so know that going into burnouts and keep an eye on your tire afterward, just in case.

Before storing your bike for the winter, what should you do with the cooling system?

Just like with a car's cooling system, freezing water in your bike's cooling system can ruin it. To ensure everything will be alright, flush the system and put in fresh coolant, using the exact mix that your bike's manufacturer recommends. This is a good preventative measure.

What should you cover your bike with when storing it?

Using anything plastic to cover your bike could trap in moisture, plus form condensation on the underside. Whether it's an old sheet, large towel, or a purpose-made cover, something cotton that breathes and is soft will preserve your bike, instead of making it rust and smell gross.

What does a catwalk mean?

Most people don't use this term much anymore, but you might hear it. Just know it's referring to popping a wheelie, and maybe you can ask an old-timer where it came from. There are lots of conflicting stories on that, and most are entertaining to hear.

On long group rides, the chase vehicle is used for what?

The chase vehicle is usually a van or pickup truck, and should be stocked with some common parts, gas, and tools. In a pinch, it can transport a broken-down bike and the rider, if your attempts at repairs don't work.

When a person talks about the binders on a bike, what are they referring to?

If you think about it, this name makes a lot of sense. The brakes bind or tie up the wheels on your bike, if you apply them hard enough, which is what makes you slow down or stop completely.

What does ballistic nylon do for riders?

Developed by Dupont, ballistic nylon is a nylon fabric that resists tearing and abrasion, like if you were to fall off your bike at speed. If your pants, jacket, etc. hold up to the road, you're less likely to be seriously injured, which is why so many riders love this type of fabric for their clothes.

While traveling through rural areas, bikers might talk about corn snakes. What are they?

As the corn is harvested in fields, the dry stalks will often blow onto the road. These can look like snakes, and will reduce the bike's ability to grip the road surface, so roll over them with caution and avoid making turns on them, if you don't want to take a dip.

If a bike has duals, what does that mean?

Duals are dual exhaust pipes, which are possible when you have two cylinder banks. That means the engine is in a V configuration, no matter how many cylinders it may have. Duals look cool and can be good for performance.

Grabbing a handful means you do what?

Some people think this refers to only hitting the brakes hard, or only laying on the throttle hard. But the term can be used for either, since you control the front brakes and the throttle with your hand.

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