Hairy bikers - end of a stereotype

2013-02-25 13:35

Long hair, dirty denims, ill-tempered and riding along in gangs - bikers have had to put up with an offensive stereotype dating back to the 1960's.

What's worse, the Oxford English Dictionary perpetuated the stereotype - until now, that is...


The online version previously defined a biker as: "A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang: a long-haired biker in dirty denims."

The OED has changed in definition for 2013 to read: "A motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group: a biker was involved in a collision with a car."

The new definition is an improvement though they could’ve skipped the bit about bikers being involved in collisions. In fact do a Google search for a the word "biker" and you'll receive a screen filled with leather-clad riders.

According to the London Daily Mail, insurance firm Bennetts polled 524 bikers who found the definition "inaccurate" and were "outraged and offended". The poll also showed that 65% said they spent most of their time riding alone and were not in a gang.

The study found that the modern biker was most likely to be over 35, middle class, working in IT or telecoms and likely to ride a Honda.

Bennetts spokeswoman Hannah Squirrell said: "In the early 1960's a biker was a relatively new term which provoked fear among many, partly due to their image portrayed in the news media and movies.

"Fortunately, since then, bikers have grown away from the clichéd stereotype and now include all sectors of society."

What do you think of as a biker stereotype? Is there any truth to the first definition? Do have any pet peeves about being a biker?
Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...

  • adrian.partridge.73 - 2013-02-25 14:36

    Hmm. I have a bike. I have dirty denim. I have a beard. I don't have long hair though. Please, oh please, can I still be a biker!?!

      erhard.taljaard - 2013-02-25 15:08

      so what now ....are we motorcyclists ?

      graeme.stockwell - 2013-02-26 07:23

      only if you "was involved in a collision with a car." udder wise you just an oke

      Paul C Wadsworth - 2013-02-26 12:28

      Gruff, Gruff Bikers of the world - HELLO!!

  • lourensenchrisna - 2013-02-25 15:30

    Modern bikers do not ride Honda's. At least not if you want to reach your destination. LOL

      christiaan.carstens.9 - 2013-02-26 07:12

      All 2 my bikes till now have been Hondas, cbr400rr 97 model and a vfr800 with +/- 3000 on the clock that I've put on from 0 and no probs so whats your point "LOL".

      lourensenchrisna - 2013-02-26 08:13

      Just Kidding, my son's bike is a Honda CRF 50 and its awesome compared to the other chinese crap around, My wife is on a suzuki and so is my 2 daughters, I am on a GS, so I am the snob in the family.

  • George Norman - 2013-02-25 20:11

    i own several motorcycles from different eras, don't ride Hoinda, don't have long hair, generally ride alone, don't work in IT or telecoms, no wonder I'm misunderstood.

      Piet Pompies - 2013-02-26 14:30

      Ride a Honda then everyone will understand you!

  • Ilyaas - 2013-02-26 01:02


  • delport.onvlee - 2013-02-26 09:13

    HAHAAHAHAHA!!!! I work in IT have a Honda (home build Bopper) and Im almost 32... Damn two out of three boxes ticked. Guess I will grow up to be a biker yet. LOL

  • Martie Kruger - 2013-02-26 10:31

    Hi, I live in a small village and we "depend" on bikers visiting the village on a Sunday morning for breakfast. There's usually a group of them but although they belong to clubs I don't think of a single one of them as being part of a "gang". We have had doctors, lawyers, architects, people working in IT (let's face it - they make a lot of money) and many other "types of bikers" and they are all well behaved, decently dressed (although usually in denims and leather (designers?)) and very nice people - so I agree - the image of bikers definitely has changed over the years. Martie

      Piet Pompies - 2013-02-26 14:33

      Even doctors, lawyers etc. can be bad a** guys, but yes, I agree with you. I was a biker for many years, I practically grew up on bikes but I was never part of any gang.

  • Warwick Railton - 2013-02-26 10:37

    Mothers scare their kids with such talk, monsters under your bed, Santa not passing by if you are naughty and……….big scary biker gangs. Its only Hollywood and law enforcement that label a group of bikers a ‘GANG’ – they are a biker clubs in reality, like a bunch of sky divers would be together, they would be a club, as are fishermen, a bowls team, soccer teams etc etc. Patch wearing bikers generally shun society’s rules and regulations and nanny state liberals, they enjoy the freedom of the road, the wind in their hair, the independence and adopt their own rules & regulations to police themselves – they are rebels. Bikers vary from being policemen, lawyers & doctors to your hard core 1%er type bikers – they come from all walks of life. Bikers, besides your recognized charity organizations do more for charity than any other group world wide – they get off on that. I feel safer amongst hard core bikers any day than in a Sunday church meeting, with bikers, you always know where you stand, they are tough but fair, loyal and true – Love & Respect is their code. But as Goebbels said, if you repeat the lie long enough, it will become fact!! They are bike clubs, not gangs.

  • Lamont Massyn - 2013-02-26 12:46

    1% for life

  • Shane Crause - 2013-02-26 13:17

    LOL! 37 Ride a Suzuki and work in IT! No beard though... ppffftttt Live to ride!

  • vernon - 2013-02-26 16:48

    61 years old ,no beard ,not much hair ,denims washed after every ride,been riding for ever ,no gang,just good friends, but it seems i am still not a biker yet .

  • Gruntus Maximus - 2013-02-26 18:05

    OK 34, Civil Engineer, Triumph Bonneville, Short back and sides.

  • Ilyaas - 2013-02-27 01:53

    The bikers feel powerful when they in they gang very rude and abrupt ppl

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