Top ten worst motorcycle fashion fails - two-wheeled fashion faux pas

These are the ten most severe motorcycle fashion fails – please, don’t do any of these!

Top ten worst motorcycle fashion fails - two-wheeled fashion faux pas

LIKE any other activity, riding a motorcycle has garnered its own sub-culture of fashion and apparel, whether it’s technical riding wear, or casual clothing and accessories. If it can be sold, bike-related brands will stick a logo on it and send it out the door.

And like any other activity, golf, football, there are some items of clothing and kit that really are no-go areas in the eyes of the many. In this article, we take a look back at some of the most heinous motorcycle fashion faux pas ever commited.

Top ten worst motorcycle fashion fails

10. Knock-off race replica jackets

You see them at the BSB, bike events, autojumbles and motorcycle shows. You can spot them a mile off as they feature shoddy badges, the ‘Repsol’ font is never quite right, and the leather looks about as tough as an MP’s backbone. They are, of course, shoddily made ‘replica’ race leathers. Whether they are one-piece or two, they will likely provide you all the protection of a leaky condom and are a surefire way of getting a string of people sniggering at your once you’re out of earshot.

Yes, they are cheaper than the alternative. Granted, you might have been drunk when clicked the ‘Buy it now’ button, but that is why on the eighth day our lord and saviour Jeff Bezos created the 14-day cooling off period. 14 days was chosen as this is the maximum amount of time it takes any human to realise these are complete pish.

Save your money, and get some proper leathers from RST.

9. ‘Built Not Bought’ stickers on lightly ‘customised’ bikes

This was rife a few years back and you still see it now. This sticker is most likely to be found on a ritter of a bike. More often than not it’ll be painted at home, using three cans of unmatched matt black spray paint, and someone will have hacksawed the silencer off – bonus points if they have needlessly used heat wrap on the exhaust (see point 5).

The bike will be something like a 15-year-old Hyosung 125cc cruiser, with a cloned CG125 engine. The rider will be wearing a fashion leather jacket (the eagle motif on the back is slightly skewwhiff), camo jeans with a wallet chain. On their bonce will be a Nitro helmet with tribal art on it that looks like they kick it down the stairs daily.

Worn proudly on the air filter cover will be a ‘Built Not Bought’ sticker, with a spanner breaking up the top and bottom lines. Creeping out the back of the same air filter cover will be a bunch of wires that have been joined with household terminal connectors, and the chain will be so worn it’s nearly dragging on the ground.

That’s right, you’re a bike builder now buddy…

8. Jeans tucked into boots

 Jeans tucked into boots, why? It has no advantage whatsoever on the bike, if anything, it makes life worse. Yes, we all know that some motorcycle leathers tuck into the boots, but there are reasons for this, namely, added protection. But when you are wearing your freshest Primark specials and out for a Sunday ‘blast’, there really is no need.

Nobody needs to see your flashy plastic or carbon shin guards because guess what; nobody actually cares.

7. Mismatched leathers and bike

I once saw a guy riding along Mablethorpe high-street on a full Valentino Rossi (2010 Fiat-era) Yamaha YZF-R6. In fairness, the paint on the bike was quite good, and possibly a Dream Machine job. The problem was his leathers were an exact replica of Marc Marquez’ and he even had an MM93 lid on like some mismatched cherry on a very confused cake.

I suppose in football terms it’s like those 50/50 replica football shirts you can get, with both of the teams playing that day featured on one shirt, split down the middle. They are seen as the lowest of the low in football circles. This particular motorcycle faux pas is looked on in very much the same way.

6. Anodised stubby levers/rearsets

I have a mate who is a bike breaker and a general motorcycle hoarder who can’t bring himself to throw anything away. Even bent, or slightly pranged bike parts can find a place in his (eBay) shop window, and inevitably everything eventually finds a home. There is one item though that gets whipped off and binned as soon as a bike lands in his workshop, any cheap, nasty, anodised tat.

And I’m with him on this one, because, what’s the point? And before I get every aftermarket accessory firm in the UK sending me nasty emails; pipe down, I’m not talking about you lot. I’m talking about the crap you can buy off AliExpress,, and pretty much every other dodgy website out there. Yes, your bike might be a whole seven grams lighter than stock thanks to you fitting your new ‘Superfast Best Brake Lever Number 1™’ flick-up adjustable jobbies. But you’ll 100% look like more of a bellend when that chocolate box alloy snaps halfway through a 300-mile ride, and have to get home with no front brake.

5. Exhaust wrap when there really is no need

This has become more prevalent as café racer culture boomed, but fitting exhaust wrap to a bike that doesn’t need it is a bit like wearing a jodhpurs and a horse riding helmet when you’re doing your weekly shop.

On the right bike, exhaust wrap has a practical purpose. It can stop you from getting burns on your leg if the exhaust routing is tight, and can prevent heat from the exhaust from damaging the fairing, or transferring to the bike’s mechanical parts. The thing is, on your otherwise stock Triumph Thruxton, there is no fairing, you’re Chicken legs aren’t in danger, and a clever person at the factory already designed the bike so the heat from the exhaust doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the engine.

Not only that, but glass fibre wrap can also murder a bike’s exhaust system if you aren’t careful. Water soaks the wrapping, which then sits on the pipe degrading the metal. There is also a chain of thought that the insulation that the wrap provides is enough to cause the metal to fatigue and crack, as the heat can’t escape quickly enough.

4. ‘Polite’ vests

Okay, I’m going to hunker down behind my laptop now, as we posted about this on social media not very long ago and caused quite a debate. The ‘POLITE’ (written in a very similar font to ‘POLICE’ and surrounded by chequered banding) vest is one of the most divisive items of motorcycle kit or clothing. Above all else, it will stir the pot and generate (mostly) entertaining banter between bikers.

On the one side of the fence is the ‘well it’s not hurting you, is it?’ crew. Their argument is that it's free choice to wear what you want so leave them to it. Then there is the ‘Oh my god what a knobber, “Hey Kev look at this muppet”’ lot, who just find them a source of amusement whenever they are spotted. Finally, though, we have the ‘up in arms – they must be shot/hung/arrested’ posse, who bang on about how impersonating a police officer is a crime and they must be punished.

I’m not sure where I actually sit on this, but that doesn’t stop it from making the list. Purely and simply because I’m writing this damn thing. I am curious though, if you combine a POLITE vest with an ex-Police R 1200 RT and white Arai RX7, is filtering through London loads easier?

3. Using scrubbed sliders you bought off eBay

Look I’m not pointing the finger, but it happens. I just did a search on eBay and there are any number of used sliders up for sale and it’s not like we are talking ex-famous racer jobbies. They are just worn sliders!

The thing that gets my goat about these is, they are literally pointless. I break it down as follows. You aren’t fooling your mates, they all know how you ride, so, therefore, they know you can’t/won’t/haven’t got your knee down yet. That means the only people you must be out to impress are the people out there that you don’t know. Strangers, randoms, people you’ll never see again. The silly thing about doing that is, nobody actually cares.

2. A two-up couple with totally matching gear

Nothing screams ‘the BMW dealer really saw us coming!’ like a couple on a tour wearing totally matching motorcycle gear: Textiles, boots, gloves, and lid. The whole shebang.

There aren’t many couples that would walk about on a night out wearing exactly the same clothing. Why would you do it when you’re out on the bike? The closest thing I can compare it to is couples who have a joint Facebook page – as soon as I see those I start thinking ‘okay, which one of you cheated?’.

Furthermore, motorcycle kit is a very personal choice. One brand may make lids that fit you like a glove, while others are as uncomfortable as hell and cause an instant migraine. There is a very good chance that one of the people in the duo is riding along in kit that is not as suitable as they would like it to be. The only thing keeping them quiet on the matter is that it cost an extra £3,000 on top of the bike and they are too scared to mention it.

1. Stick on ears, ponytail, mohawk

The act of sticking furry ears and mohawks on motorcycle helmets came about at the tail end of the last century, and it was funny, for about a week. You could (and still can amazingly) order any number of gaudily coloured accoutrements, from feline ears, flappy dog ears, fox-tails, mohawks and ever afros for your skid lid, and I’m sorry if I sound boring but, I just don’t get it.

One of the old Visordown editors summed up this type of riding accessory perfectly some years back. He said, ‘Turning up to a rideout wearing these is like turning 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?’

What more can I say?

Editors disclaimer: This article has been produced for entertainment purposes only. No actual disrespect is meant (except for numbers 10 and 3 – you wronguns). If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article, head off to a quiet place and have a sit down, you’ll feel better soon.

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