Every motorcycle fashion faux-pas. Ever.

We asked you to name the things that shame biking. You weren't backward in coming forward

Posted: 18 April 2012
by Ben Cope


We asked our @visordown Twitter followers what their motorcycling no-nos were. The response was a faux-pas tidal wave.

We know motorcycling is about being an individual, being free, but it doesn’t exempt you from requiring a decent level of taste. You might not like this list if you’ve fallen foul of anything below, but don’t take it out on us. Afterall, you voted for it.

Camo trousers

If your line of work involves being shot at, then camo trousers are alright by us. Otherwise they simply aren’t. Even if you have a mullet.

Jeans into boots

It’s hard to imagine the thought process that results in you leaving the house with your jeans tucked into your boots, but it happens. Far too often. We're here to tell you that you can reconsider your options.

Any cuddly toy

I’ve fallen foul of this myself. When I was 18 I thought a toy dog on the pillion seat of my TZR125 would fool car drivers into thinking it was real. That they would laugh. I thought it was funny. I was very wrong.

Fog lights

We know some bikes are fitted with them as standard but bolting fog lights onto your motorcycle makes you no better than the youth who spend all their hard-earned dressing up their Saxo at Halfords. Battling your way through the adverse conditions on the A316, you adventurer you!

Rim Tape

You can’t help it if your bike comes with rim tape as standard but if you’re one of those people who decides every last bit of their bike has to be the same colour as the paintwork and you actually buy rim tape and spend an hour of your life applying it, then shame on you.

Matching Kit

As Alan Partridge would say: UN. BELIEVABLE. There is no excuse. Surely the shop sold more than one style of outfit? Do these people order exactly the same food at a restaurant too? Control your pillion!

Iridium Visors

Like step haircuts, Global Hypercolour T-shirts and Soda Stream; these were cool at the time but best left in the ‘90s.

Scooter Blankets

I’m all for encouraging more people onto two wheels, but not if they look like this. If you’re a man and you have a scooter with a blanket, you need to have a word with yourself.

Hi Viz

Does hi-viz really reduce accidents? It’s not up to me to tell you how to be safer, but all I’ll say is 15 years ago everyone took the piss out of anyone wearing a Sam Browne and now those very people are 15 years older, they’re wearing hi-viz jackets. Bikers have been doing alright for years without it. People might see you, they might not but hi-viz screams ‘I don’t trust myself on this thing anymore’.

'Fashion' Jackets

Boasting the same amount of protection as luxury toilet paper, nothing says wannabe more than one of these. Badly cut, badly fitting they’re usually plastered in amateur replicas of logos of all the wrong manufacturers.

Fleece over leathers

Usuaully seen riding a Rizla Suzuki rep with a ridiculously loud ‘GP style’ exhaust. Aggressive on the road, downright dangerous on track.

Exhaust wrap

It’s trendy to have a café racer. One picture on BikeEXIF spawns hundreds of home-brew specials with a hand-painted tank, ill-fitting bikini fairing and lashings of exhaust wrap - a right pig’s ear. If it’s there to protect your legs from burning to a crisp then fine but as shown in this example, it’s usually not.

Brand clash

Sorry Bikechannel's Luke Wilkins (pictured). Buying leathers to go with your bike is like tattooing your girlfriend’s name to your forehead. It doesn’t look good when you’re with her, but when you’re not, you look like an idiot.

Rubbish Replicas

There’s not much worse than a rubbish replica. But what about a rubbish replica of a crap paintjob? Why would you want to plaster a plant-hire company all over your bike? Answer: you wouldn’t. This ‘Blade would have looked so much better just black.


Yes we know you’re going to tell us you wear them for medical reasons but we’re just telling you that when you wear sunglasses under a clear visor everyone thinks you look like a dweeb. They said it, not me.

Comedy sliders

The very first person who stuck them on might have been mildly amusing. Everyone since, isn’t. Sliders with an L plate on them aren't self deprecating, they're just naff.

Stick on ears

Turning up to a rideout wearing these is like turing up to the pub wearing your girlfriend's underwear and expecting everyone to find it funny. It's just weird. What are you playing at?

Sliders over jeans

New addition: 19/04/2012. Some sort of Heath Robinson contraption that allows you to wear knee sliders over your jeans. I suppose it's for those times you're heading to the shops and absolutely have to get your knee down. Righto.

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Discuss this story

Jeans in Boots - Please give me a better option, I'm not stretching them over my boots which are beasty off-road style enough anyway!

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 14:50

get some lethers they have better protection then jeans

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 15:23

Iridium Visor, Good on a dull day!
Cooler looking than a clear visor and sunglasses.
Black visor for low sun and bright sunny rides.
Tough if i don't fit in !! Who care's anyway?

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 15:30

Hi-viz a fashion faux pas? Sure, I agree that it may not look cool, but The Hurt Report concluded that high visibility with the use of daytime running lights and bright colored jackets significantly reduced accident involvement. I've always wore a hi vis vest over my leather jacket since I started riding and I'll always will.

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 15:50

owning a harley!

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 15:53

Lucky, I'm not anal enogh to follow fashion

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 16:09

Bolting anything anodised to your bike. I hear blue footpegs and levers increase your gixxers bhp by 10%...

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 16:14

1 out of 17 how cool am I ;-) (hi-viz)

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 17:33

Everyone is entitled to an opinion but you are quite wrong on a couple of these.

1.) Cammo gear, whilst you maybe right generally speaking your picture shows a GSX-R so wearing whatever you want next to such a legend of a bike is really no problem. Everyone's eyes will be on the bike. It is that simple.

2.)Iridium is still cool!

3.)Fleeces over leathers, that's all weather biker gear.

riding a Rizla Suzuki rep with a ridiculously loud ‘GP style’ exhaust. Yes and... well done!!!

Other than that you have made some valid points :) !!

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 18:01

Now wait a cotton pickin' minute here!!
I MUST defend having a stuffed animal on the bike.

When you're riding along, and some innocent little child looks over at you in amazement, seeing that stuffed animal is the cherry on top of the ice cream sunday, and you can see it in their beaming grin!

Yea, we know you're macho Billy Badazz, but c'mon...
do it for the kids!
Sadly, I myself am the very essence of a walking Fax Paus.
I wear camo, (I'm military)
I wear Hi Viz.
It DOES work. (Every little bit helps)
I wear my glasses under my visor.
(I hate changing shields all the time!)
And yes, I love my doggie ears on my helmet.

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 19:21

Wow, so everything visordown says isnt always true!

Some funny points, but lack of evidence based statistical data is poor.
Hi-viz does work!
I dont like to wear it cause I'm vane, but european stats say it helps being seen

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 20:07

Hi-Viz doesn't work. It's just that the sort of rider who wears it is likely to have done training and to have taken it seriously. Even to fancy themselves as an instructor (or be an instructor).

Obvious really, if you see a bike approaching do you see the bike, the headlight or the rider's clothing first?

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 20:23

Don't know if you have it in the UK, but this one's right at the top 5 in your list: wearing knee protectors over your jeans. Damn, you look like an idiot (and they'll slide off too when needed...).

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 20:53

Rim tape, adds at least 3 bhp
Exhaust wrap, fed up with melting my boots!

2 out of 17, must try harder!

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 22:48

The English...ppppffft.

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 22:49

Sunnies under Clear Visor WTF is wrong with that?
How the heck can you ride into the sun every day without sunnies?

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 23:31

Any good on cg 125?

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 23:35

18. Harley Davidson.
19. Leather vests
20. Cut off jacket over leather jacket when you are not in a bike gang
21. Fingerless gloves (inevitably leads to fingerless hands)
22. Charlie Bore-men replica suit
23. Ewan McCharlie replica suit
24. Virgin knee sliders
25. Wearing helmet indoors
26. Chicken strips
27. Fat girlfriend
28. Un-scuffed footrests
29. BMW K1300R
30. Undersized numberplate in fancy font
31. Acid worm leathers/boots
32. Beard and Belstaff

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 01:37

Ouch : I've been tagged then, riding a K1300R with rim tape! Then again, it's a Man's bike.

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 07:52

Come on, the jeans-in-boots is not wrong. There simply is no other way. You get yourself a pair of Draggin Jeans, which offer decent protection, they look like normal jeans, you can take them to work... you just can't get them over your boot.
As a plus, in case you crash, you need them in your boot so they don't ride up on your leg. Simple as that.

I agree with most of the rest, except for the sunglasses thing. I have a helmet that has a sun visor and I've bought it precisely because of the, you've guessed it, sun. If you've bought yourself a helmet that doesn't have one, what are you supposed to do? Go blind?

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 11:31

Loving everyone feeling the need to justify themselves here...lol

At the end of the day, it's only a bit of fun.


Posted: 19/04/2012 at 12:01

Integrated sun visors is another one! Just get a dark visor for the summer sand a clear one for the winter…. there must be some damning safety statistics on wearing glasses inside a helmet anyway!?

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 12:04

Fat girlfriend? You need to live a bit mate. Fat chicks are much better value. Not good pillions tho, I'll admit.

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 12:10

Integrated sun visors? If its dark when you leave the house in the morning and the sun comes up on your commute... they are a lifesaver.

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 12:18

Borrowed fullface helmet with no visor.
No gloves.
Chain dragging on the floor.
Cheap 80s 'fashion' jacket.
An air cooled RD125 while my peers had LCs.
All me at 18 in 1987. I just didn't know/couldn't afford better, I just wanted to ride, man.

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 12:25

can anyone say why a fleece over leathers is bad?

im guessing something to do with the fleece melting when you slide down the road? but it will prob have split and come off by that point anyway.

anyone got reasons as to why these things are no nos???

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 13:01

sunglasses Er, Yes I am tell you wear them for medical reasons, that and I have never got on with dark visors!

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 15:55


Posted: 19/04/2012 at 15:56

Hi Viz doesn't work Harvey?

I'm aware of the 'risk averse' argument but it's nonsense.

Leathers make me feel safer therefore I'm worse rider by the same argument.
Headlights at night make me feel safer therefore I'm worse rider by the same argument.
ABS makes me feel safer therefore I'm worse rider by the same argument.

etc etc....

How about, "In some cases it works and in some it doesn't"?

Or are you saying that it has never worked in the history of it's existence?

I don't wear it by the way. Think it looks silly... :0)

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 16:20

What if your jeans won't go over your boots???

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 16:20

Buy some boot cut jeans. Or, better still don't wear jeans whilst riding a bike.....


Posted: 19/04/2012 at 17:08

My Sam Browne went in the bin along with my "L" plates.

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 17:14

Do yourself a favor and actually ride before you write something this ridiculous again!

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 18:30

BUt my cammo trousers are just about the most comfortable things in the world - I refuse to give them up, DO YOU HEAR ME, I REFUSE!!!!!

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 18:38

I think any Frank Thomas gear should have a reasonable shout of being well placed on this list. Apologies if you wear FT gear (well not really) but having FRANK THOMAS on your cowhide is - let's face it - utterly uncool...

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 20:09

LOL i've never done any of those and never will...EXCEPT, sunglasses under my clear visor (WTF?!?!?) that looks like a dweeb? i'd rather not be blinded by that giant shiny star in the sky, i.e. the sun. what kind of nincompoops think this is a faux pas???

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 20:16


My point is only that the sort of rider who wears Hi-Viz is the sort of person who is less likely to have an off, for other reasons than the clothing.

The only time Hi Viz will have any influence is if you have already crashed - it may help other motorists from colliding with you.

I don't go with the twaddle that safer equipment makes a dangerous rider, which is just a progression of the old RFC argument that a parachute would encourage a pilot to bail out of a combat.

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 20:28

Theres an error here.. I wear jeans in my boots and I look amazing

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 20:28

I don't care what anybody wears or uses my gripe is that all bikers have the manners to ackowledge fellow bikers except one group no prizes for guessing what one HARLEY OWNERS
Did you know that 98 percent are still on the road the rest made it home

Posted: 19/04/2012 at 20:46

When I look in the door mirrors in my van I see the high viz. Quite clearly. On both cyclists and bikers. That is why I wear a high viz bib over my jacket when I commute in the dark winter mornings and evenings.


Posted: 19/04/2012 at 22:14

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