Biker fashion – whether it be jewelry, accessories, or outfits - is more than a trend or a way to stand out. In fact, all these items are a reflection of the culture, identity, and values inherent in the biker community. The significance of being a biker can be conveyed with a symbol, inscription, acronym, and even a number. We have many articles on biker symbols, and now it’s time to delve into the world of words and numbers. Fasten your seatbelts, the ride is about to start.
1% and 99%
The term “1%” normally refers to the outlaw biker subculture. In particular, it indicates that a wearer of “1%” jewelry belongs to the so-called one-percenters, a group within the biker community that does not abide by society's laws. The term originated in the 1940s, following a violent altercation between two motorcycle clubs. In response, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) released a statement claiming that 99% of bikers were law-abiding citizens and only 1% were the bad guys. Thus, the AMA tried to distance itself from those who wreak havoc. Surprisingly, outlaw bikers ate it up. They adopted the term and now flaunt it as a badge of honor. To them, 1% signifies the rejection of societal norms and commitment to living life on their own terms.
Having said that, 1% isn’t without its own positive connotations. To those who sport 1% rings, the symbol is a representation of solidarity, brotherhood, and defiance. It denotes their rejection of conformity and loyalty to the club.
The opposite of 1% is 99%. It is an attribute of bikers who follow the rules and live their lives within the confines of societal norms. The “99%” is a reminder to the outlaw biker community that they are not alone, although the majority of motorcyclists do not share their views. It also serves as a reminder to society that the outlaw biker community is the exception rather than the rule.
In the context of biker jewelry, the number 66 pays homage to Route 66 and all the things it represents. It is a symbol of freedom, adventure, and brotherhood, all of which are cherished concepts in the biker world. Motorcycles often wear jewelry inscribed with "66" as a reminder of their journey on the now-decommissioned highway and the memories they made along the way.
Route 66 is a historic highway in the United States that stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica. Established in 1926, the artery served as a major route for migrants, tourists, and truckers until it was officially closed in 1985. That being said, the spirit of Route 66 didn’t cease to exist. You can get your kicks on still-operating sections of The Main Street of America and take in the sights, sounds, and experiences that its small-town ambiance has to offer.
Along with Route 66 associations, the number "66" sometimes refers to the 1960s, a decade marked by social change, rebellion, and experimentation. It is also the golden age of the motorcycle community that witnessed the emergence of thousands of biker clubs, including overseas ones. This way, "66" in biker fashion can represent the counterculture movement and the rejection of mainstream values.
The number 7 has a long and rich history across multiple cultures and religions. It is often associated with luck, magic, perfection, completion, and harmony. Think about it: there are seven days in a week, seven colors in a rainbow, seven wonders of the world, seven chakras, seven deadly sins, and seven virtues. The list goes on and on.
But why do bikers wear the number 7 on their jewelry? Well, there are three possible reasons. One of them is that bikers are gamblers. They love taking risks and living on the edge. They also love winning, and what is a better way to attract luck than wearing the lucky number 7? Along with dice, cards, horseshoes, or skulls, it constitutes an enormous category of gambling and good luck symbols cherished by the motorcycle community.
Another meaning of 7 is spiritual. Riders have their own beliefs and values that guide them through life. Some of them are Christians, some are pagans, some are atheists, and some are just free spirits. The number 7 can stand for either their faith or spiritual connection to the universe.
Finally, the number 7 can symbolize the uniqueness and originality the biker community is so proud of. Motorcyclists don’t follow the crowd or the rules. They make their own choices and stand out from the rest.
In biker culture, the number 13 is multi-semantic. It can signify multiple things based on the context and location. The most common explanation is that 13 represents the 13th letter of the alphabet, which is M. M usually stands for "Marijuana" or "Methamphetamine”, and thus it symbolizes an affinity for these substances. Alternatively, it may indicate that the wearer is a user or dealer.
Along with that, there are many good words starting with M, and one of them is Motorcycle. The number 13 can mean just that, especially if it is worn by a member of an outlaw club.
Bikers are well-known for their rebellious nature, and the number 13 is among the slew of symbols delivering this meaning. Those who flaunt 13 jewelry intend to indicate a rejection of mainstream values as well as emphasize their nonconformity and rebellion. Along with that, 13 is a bad luck symbol. The number as though absorbs negative vibrations around its owner and protects him or her from adversity and misfortune.
Lastly, 13 is linked to American history. It refers to the 13 original colonies that declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. Thereby, bikers may use the number 13 to represent the love of country and patriotism.
Slogans, Mottoes, and Phrases in Biker Jewelry
Biker culture is rich in symbols and imagery featuring certain, oftentimes hidden from the uninitiated, meanings. It also has a distinct vocabulary of phrases and slogans that reflect things dear to every biker such as community, freedom, adventure, rebellion, etc. Apart from that, these slogans may underscore the idea that motorcycling is a way of life and a way of approaching the world. Here are some popular motorcycle phrases and what they mean.
"Ride hard, live free". This phrase is about embracing a free-spirited, adventurous lifestyle. It emphasizes the importance of living life to the fullest and not being constrained by rules or expectations.
"Ride free". Bikers ride their motorcycles without any restrictions or obligations. They don’t care about the laws, norms, or opinions of others. They ride for their own pleasure and put their independence above all else.
"Live to ride, ride to live". This popular saying emphasizes the importance of motorcycling as a way of life. It reflects the idea that a motorcycle is not just a means of transportation, and riding is not just a hobby. Rather, riding is the main purpose and passion in life.
"Ride or die". This phrase has a more intense connotation than the others, and implies a level of commitment and loyalty that is central to biker culture. It suggests that the bond between riders is so strong that they would be willing to die for each other if necessary. At the same time, it showcases that a life of a motorcyclist would be worthless without his steel horse. He would rather die than give up riding.
"Born to be wild". The title of a well-known song by Steppenwolf became synonymous with biker culture and its adventurous spirit. The phrase conveys the idea of embracing your wild side, throwing off fetters, and pursuing a life that is truly your own. It also stresses that the desire for freedom and escapade is not something that can be learned or acquired but is an innate part of who you are.
"Keep the shiny side up". This is kind of a reminder for motorcyclists to ride safely and stay upright on their bikes.
"Loud pipes save lives". This is a reflection of the belief that having loud exhaust pipes can help drivers hear a motorcycle and thus avoid accidents.
"In the wind". This refers to riding with the wind blowing in your face and the sense of freedom it brings.
"Ride with the Wind". This slogan describes the excitement associated with motorcycle riding. It suggests that an open road is a place of limitless possibilities, and bikers are welcome to explore them.
"One down, five up". This phrase describes the gear pattern on some motorcycles. The first gear is "one down" from neutral while the rest of the gears are "up" from there.
"Forever Two Wheels". Bikers love their two-wheelers and the joy they deliver. This phrase conveys their affection and passion for steel horses.
"Road Warrior". Riding a motorcycle requires strength, skill, and determination. This can be challenging, but those who take on this challenge are true warriors at heart.
Inspirational, Sentimental, and Personal Inscriptions
Bikers don’t come off as sentimental persons but there are definitely feelings and emotions underneath their tough exterior. Some of these feelings they prefer to keep to themselves, while others are to be shared with the world. Jewelry and accessories are excellent means to convey what they feel and what they think.
For example, these pieces may showcase the interests and hobbies of a rider. We made our Punk is not dead ring for those bikers who listen to punk and resonate with its message, even though bikers are rather into rock and metal genres. It’s totally ok to be a punk fan. After all, punk and motorcycle riding have a lot in common – for laymen, both are loud, fast, and aggressive. For those who are in the loop, they are meaningful and basically a way of life.
A piece of jewelry can become a commemoration for a person who left an imprint on a rider’s life. It is a souvenir to memorialize a friend and the fun time you had with them. These sentimental pieces of jewelry may carry engravings featuring the name, initials, date of birth, and date of death of a dear friend. When it comes to more original ways to honor a friend’s legacy, a piece of biker jewelry can be inscribed with a message, quote, or something that expresses a biker’s feelings toward his ‘brother’. For instance, a Por Vida ring can symbolize a bond so strong and enduring that it will never fade or disappear. After all, Por Vide means “for life” or “forever”.
A ring or pendant incorporating mentions of events, rallies, and places visited together can also be an excellent way to pay tribute to a late friend.
Hands down, friends and fellow bikers are a great source of inspiration for those who chose the motorcycle lifestyle. Plus, there are other inspirations out there. Anything that is able to strike a chord with riders can be inscribed on a piece of biker jewelry. Our favorite ring of this kind is “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted”. Indeed, time spent on the back of a steel horse is never wasted.
Acronyms are a common way to convey values, beliefs, and attitudes essential to the biker community. They are usually short and easy to remember, which makes them ideal for jewelry designs where space is often limited.
A large portion of biker acronyms is focused on the idea of brotherhood and camaraderie. For example, you might see acronyms like BIKER (Brotherhood, Integrity, Knowledge, Effort, and Respect) or RIDE (Respect, Integrity, Discipline, and Enthusiasm). As you may have guessed, they emphasize the importance of loyalty, trust, and mutual support among bikers.
A different category of acronyms expresses a rebellious or nonconformist attitude. Such specimens as ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), FTW (F*ck the World), B.A.M.F (Bad Ass Mother F*cker) DILLIGAF (Do I Look Like I Give A F*ck?) speak of independence and rejection of authority.
Some biker acronyms have religious or spiritual connotations, such as CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association) or WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). These acronyms reflect the fact that many bikers are deeply spiritual individuals. They view their motorcycles as a way to connect with a higher power or find a purpose in life.
Other common acronyms in biker jewelry, outfits, and accessories are:
- FTW: For The Win
- GBNF: Gone But Not Forgotten
- MFFM: My Friends and Family Matter
- MOTO: Master of Two Outcomes (referring to the risk of death or injury when riding a motorcycle)
- G.: Original Gangster
- O.B.: Property of Biker (usually followed by the name of a club or organization)
And that concludes our journey through the fascinating world of biker jewelry and the messages it conveys. From curious acronyms etched into rings and pendants to bold phrases emblazoned on bracelets and necklaces, biker fashion is a truly unique form of expression. Whether you're a hardcore rider or just love the edgy aesthetic of biker ornaments and accessories, these pieces are a must-have for your jewelry collection. So go ahead, add some extra personality to your look, and let your jewelry do the talking!