What the police think of biker gangs

Dailies -



This was on cop’s reaction to a biker brawl that started outside a Starbucks, between two gangs who wanted to declare it “turf.” It used to be, that a man on a Harley was someone to be feared and respected. Now? Well, Southpark called them “fags,” and even cops riding BMWs in jodhpurs feel free to mock the biker stereotype. They can’t even call themselves one percenters anymore. If you needed any more evidence that the time of the assless leather chaps has come and gone, it’s likely in the choice of turf badass bikers are fighting over these days. From counterculture to cliche, the time of the biker is, like a mocha chai venti double frapaccino on a warm summer’s evening, gone.


  • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

    Good thing I wasn’t drinking a pumpkin spice latte when I saw this graphic otherwise I would have had a pumpkin spice MacBook.

  • Samuel

    This blog really hates on Harley riders. It’s unfortunate because nearly all of the Harley riding members of Motorcycle Clubs and Rider Clubs that I know are passionate about motorcycling. These men and women really embody what living on two wheels is all about.

    It’s a small few that try really hard to emulate the bad-ass stereotype but this blog seems to get sucked into believing that’s the de-facto personality of all cruiser style motorcycle riders. That would be analogous with associating all sport bike riders with the mindless hoards of squids in wife-beaters and camo shorts.

    • The other Joe

      This is a blog? Since when.

      By the way, I believe both groups are given equal ridicule here. Anyone who is more about the image than the experience deserves it.

      • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

        “Anyone who is more about the image than the experience deserves it.”

        That’s all folks.

        • slowtire


    • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

      I think it’s a “small few” that don’t subscribe to that image. When was the last time you saw a Harley with a muffler?

      • Sean Smith

        At the dealership?

      • Paul B

        Last night when I parked mine in the garage.

    • Joel

      I agree. But that seems to be part of how this publication chooses to define itself. “Who are we?” “Not those fat guys on Harleys!”

      Yeah, I know – HFL is about making motorcycles relevant to a younger generation by focusing on more practical motorcycles (and stunters and those guys who like to ride on the street at 100+ MPH in NYC).

      • Skank NYCF

        You can say our name instead of “those guys”. Look in the mirror and say it 3 times :)

        • tomwito


    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      potato potato potato

      • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

        These hawgs go to eleven. Turn it up!

    • Gene

      I don’t know… I have to agree with HFL here, because most of the HD riders I’ve met are major dicks who are not worth my time. I’ve met a lot of HD guys, and it’s not a small few.

      Now, I’m a person that thinks anything on 2 wheels is good, including scooters, so I started out 100% the other way. It’s so bad, I won’t stop for one broken down by the side of the road any more.

      • Wereweazle

        I’m with this guy. The vast majority of the Harley riders I’ve met tell me to get off that “girl’s bike” and that helmets are for sissies. Instead they ride out of the McDonald’s parking lot in their chaps and bandanas. I’m not regurgitating a stereotype. That is actually what my experiences with Harley riders have been. I haven’t met a single one who hasn’t acted like an ass towards me.

        potato potato potato

        • ike6116

          I agree with you but wonder what if we were talking about black people instead of Harley riders?

          “The vast majority of black people I’ve met are thugs. They sag their pants and smoke weed. I’m not regurgitating a stereotype. That is actually what my experiences with black people have been. I haven’t met a single one who hasn’t acted like a thug.

          potato potato potato”

          That would go over like a fart in an elevator.

          You are regurgitating a stereotype, turns out though that stereotypes aren’t pulled out of thin air.

          (and yes I know one CHOOSES to be a Harley rider etc. etc.)

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            One does choose to be a Harley rider, thereby buying into and choosing to be a part of the stereotype, so it’s not exactly the same as being racist.

            An overweight accountant chooses to dress up in assless leather chaps, get drunk and go ride to starbucks on Sunday morning. In doing so, he’s choosing to put others’ lives in danger while personifying a try-too-hard. Conclusion? Mockery legitimate.

            • zato1414

              What am I reading here? I ride a Harley because I dig the low end torque and when I want to straighten out some winding road, I got the Buell. If I thought I was choosing to buy into “the stereotype,” the first round of pumpkin pie lattes for all the HFL guys and girls would be on me.

              The Harley One per-centers are the dudes without a coffee cup holder on their handlebars, how the world has changed.

              Wereweazle, in my lifetime, I have never heard any motorcycle rider ever tell another to lose the helmet and I have probably been riding longer than you have been breathing our precious air.

              HFL does not discriminate against me cuz I ride a Harley. I have read alot of slamming going on against every kind of biker and rider here. I make the effort to poke at my Harley status whenever the opportunity is there, just having fun.

              In the history of a few dumb posts on HFL, this first block of comments are unbelievably mindless. Racism! Where did that come from, totally too low to respond to. I will re-read this post again, maybe I’m the one who does not understand.

              • matt


            • Michael

              I get this HFL idea its all about the “two wheels” (exempt anything HD).

              • Devin


                My HD dealership is super friendly, and I’ve never had anyone on one give me a bad attitude. They are usualy the first to pull over to help and have all sorts of tools in their bags too.

                The biggest stereotype here is that Harley’s are the “cat’s ass” machine so when you retire or come into some money this is the bike to buy.

                • jp182

                  The dealership or HD riders are quick to pull over

                • The other Joe

                  Sorry, I’m not into cat’s asses. If I could afford a Harley I’d buy a BMW.

          • Ben NYC

            There is this phenomenon called political correctness, and it’s pretty much over. It’s time to get with the program.

  • ktaisa

    dang nice graphic of “Hell Ride” in the background

    great movie

    • Gregory

      Nice! I didn’t even tune in to that. Thanks for the notice.

      I’m going to go re-watch “Hell Ride” (2008) and “Hell’s Angels On Wheels” (1968) now.

      My KLR makes no potato sound. It goes, Vroom, vroom~


  • brutus

    Uhm so here’s a question Wes. Would you say this to their face? Or is this strictly an internet stunt?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      What, quote a news article? Sure.

    • Sean Smith

      What are they gonna do, chase us down on their 45hp 800lb bikes?

      • slowestGSXRever

        hah! +1 zillion

    • jp182

      they’d probably wouldn’t let Wes get close enough. They’d be afraid “the hipster” would rub off onto them.

  • Peter88

    That is truly a sad scene. I don’t know the solution for Harley’s image. However, I would be willing to bet that if I took a stock Road King across the U.S. I would have a very good time and enjoy the bike thoroughly. Perhaps conveying that instead of the outlaw image.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      No doubt, they make great bikes if you plan on going the speed limit everywhere and obeying all traffic laws.

      Irony, thy name is Harley.

      • The other Joe

        If you don’t mind riding a vibrator.

        • Sean Smith

          Even more ironic, they’re remarkably smooth at speed.

      • slowtire

        So you’re saying that sport bike folks don’t obey the speed limit and disobey all traffic laws? Say it isn’t so.

    • Danielsohn

      Having rented a Road King on a vacation recently I would say you would be right. I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth it was at speed in 6th, compared to the other HDs I’ve ridden (softies and sporties) it was a real easy rider. (Although the effort required to turn the thing around is just plain silly) But like any vacation, it made me appreciate coming home and made my (also underpowered and overweight) R12C seem like a dirt bike in comparison.

  • The other Joe

    They like their coffee! I was in Sparks NV the morning after the September shooting. I stood in line with about 30 of the Vagos at the Starbucks in the Nugget hotel to get my morning coffee.

    The shooting did ruin the Street Vibrations bike event as they closed the vendors and activities down in sparks.

  • Adrian

    It’s all about extremes. I’ve met some Pirate-Harley types and Power Ranger squid types who are truly decent people. Then there is the flipside of that coin where some of both types can be nothing more than complete asswipes.
    The whole experience (good and bad) never ceases to be a source of amusement. Assless chaps will just bust me up in a heartbeat.

    Just ride and enjoy life. Hmmm. I could use s $tarbuck$ fix about now. I wonder if the Vespa crowd have overrun the place yet.

    • Gene

      I went to an ABATE shindig (the anti-helmet folks) because I was invited, because I’ll go to anything bike, and because I wanted to hear the different point of view. Pretty much every convo was “gotta hawg? gonna git wun?” and a walk-off. Alrighty then.

      I was carrying my helmet with me into the local Lowe’s, and I passed a guy getting off his HD. “Nice bike…” “fuck you” oookaaay.

      I was sitting on my bike at a local diner waiting for friends, when I had 4 tattooed “harley guys” get out of a van and start giving me shit about my jap bike and being hostile, until my friends showed up.

      I’ve stopped to help out a couple HDs by the side of the road, (once, one was even emitting a little smoke) only to be told they didn’t need any jap-ridin’ help.

      Oh man, that guy on an HD got left-turned and is bleeding to death? Oh, that looks painful! Gotta thing, see ya round dude! Hope ya heal!

      • Adrian

        Ooooooo! Looks like you got more than you needed of the asswipe types with really bad attitudes.
        Sad. Ain’t it.

  • DoctorNine

    I met a guy in my office this week, in for a checkup of his cholesterol. He had his left arm missing, and after obtaining his history, and engaging in polite conversation, it turns out that we frequented some of the same local biker hangouts in the mid ’70s. While I went for the crazy parties, free flowing booze, and women of easy virtue, he apparently decided to go whole Hog (as it were) and joined the club.

    He lost his arm at this well known gathering place in the country with a long straight road that had a nice hill in the middle of it. Start on either end, race to middle, and fly your machine. Sort of like jousting, with a game of chicken thrown into the bargain.

    The thing, was to have a hot machine, all decked out in your own personal idiom, and try to get as close to one another as possible without actually killing yourselves. While drunk, stoned or otherwise impaired.

    Now to me, this never seemed like a particularly promising activity. I was a scrawny and somewhat too horny kid, with no particular violent tendencies. But this was right at the tail end of the Viet Nam war, and a lot of the guys coming back had a pretty strong death wish. So when folks started motoring off from the bars for a late night rendezvous thereto, I usually found an excuse to be otherwise occupied.

    I had completely forgotten about this whole barrel of Americana, occupied as I usually am with more mundane and workaday concerns. But having the chance to talk to this old boy, and remember some of the spark of our youth, brought me back around to what I thought it meant to ride HD back in the day. Looking into his eyes was a refreshing change, from the supercilious BS I get from half the weenies I see these days on their Ducati Monsters.

    I hate seeing what HD has become. And I hate polished, suburban Fat Boys. Some other people here on HFL know just what I mean, too.


    • John

      +1 Good post.

  • JC

    I think as stated before there are negatives to all groups of riders. Honestly most HD riders started probably rode Japanese bikes back in the day. I have met some with a “we all are riders” attitude and others that don’t give anyone the time of day. On the flip side I met a guy with a gorgeous Ducati 748 over the summer. Bought it after touring the factory in Bologna in 2002. The bike only had 10,000 miles on it. He wore shorts, a golf polo, and a fancy Arai.

    • Major Caenus

      At least he’ll make a beautiful head-in-a-jar some day.

  • Mike

    I was wondering how long it’d take y’all to pick up on that part of the HA drama. All of my Santa Cruz friends have been lol’ing ourselves to death over this story – especially those that know the real bikers hang out at (redacted).

    Starbucks?! Really? You can have it, bros.

  • 1

    I hate starbucks. Loath and despise. Can’t people get some real coffee from a guy that’s been on the same machine from 5am for the last 15 years. shitbucks. Makes me so angry, I wish I had never seen HFL this morning.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      I’m a bit of a coffee snob myself, but in the middle of the country, Starbucks is the only decent coffee for miles. Found myself flocking to them like a moth to a flame. Beats shitty watered down diner coffee…

      • Michael


      • 1

        I actually like dirty diner watered down coffee. Much better alternative, and I lap up the vibe of a dirty hole any day over soft pastels and corporate branded lifestyle.

        But I hear you, I have had to do the same when in HK, and am over the instant coffee specialty.

      • Гена

        Get yourself an espresso machine and order some beans from a Moto Guzzi rider http://www.caffefresco.us/

  • paul

    I like “cafe racers’ but this is ridiculous.

    • slowtire

      good one!

  • matt

    “assless chaps” is redundant. Chaps have no ass. You can say “assless leather pants” if you must say “assless”


    • Archer

      nonono. ‘assless chaps’ perfectly describes our disdain for this piratical subculture.

    • The other Joe

      Yeah, but “assless chaps” sounds more insulting. It sounds kind of like a gay porn thing

  • Mr.Paynter

    Biker gangs make me laugh so much.

    Very odd concept for my frame of reference. Out here the gangsters are too poor to own motorcycles, esepecially over-priced status-symbols.

    I love all bikes and very few people here in South Africa care what you ride.

  • Skank NYCF

    Me and my crew run things at Dunkin Donuts. Any of you hipster yuppie note book toting Ipad man satchel wearing bitches step one jesus saddle wearing foot on our tuff you will be delt with.

    • slowestGSXRever

      you actually care about this so much that you’re going to make threats on the internet to nonexistent people?

      • 80-watt Hamster

        You’ve been paying so little attention that you think this is a serious post?

        • slowestGSXRever

          apparently my sarcasm detector is broke today, I blame lack of sleep :(

          I do have an area dunkin donuts that is apparently a pretty serious biker hang out.

      • Skank NYCF

        Wake up dude. Come by the D & D and let me hook you up with a ice coffee. Maybe you can prospect for my crew!!

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

      You NYC crew best watch your backs in the Horton’s up north!

  • Campisi

    Meh, a thousand miles or so northwards and they’ve most likely been fighting over a Tully’s. Some people just have to fight over something, regardless of the thing itself.

  • Deltablues

    Perhaps my perspective is different living in Arkansas. We have MC’s here and they live mostly under the radar. Yes, they wear their colors and such, but they don’t have turf wars over coffee shops. Most importantly, they guys RIDE…all year long and in all kinds of weather. Strangely, I really respect them for that even if they have chosen a life I would probably never need to live if I wanted to keep my nursing license.

  • Scott-jay

    Digital databases default @ infinite sets.
    Our bio-database defaults @ two: us and them.

    • The other Joe

      All of our thoughts and opinions about others get filtered through our own self image

      • doublet

        Great way to say it in a phrase! One night a friend of mine mentioned a Lou Reed quote, albeit a little more enigmatic and ‘artsy’, that has always stuck with me. “Between thought and expression lies a lifetime”

  • Nik

    I’m more surprised that Santa Cruz still has Starbucks, I figured they would have been run out of town by now. I guess 1%’s and Crusties still need places to call home.

  • randry

    I own Harleys/Buells/Hondas. I ride them all for different reasons. I put on 10-15k a year on my bikes. I ride with my gear on, always, in a no helmet law state. You think I don’t stand out in a crowd of Harleys. You all can make fun of Harley, Harley people all you want. You sound no better than the people you make fun of. Lumping everyone in the same basket isn’t quite fair. Harley has it’s good things and it’s bad things. Just like you and me. I will say this, I’ve been 150 miles off in the middle of no-where on a Sunday at 2p.m. Blew a tire.The dealer I called happened to be there and answered the phone. He came and got me, the wife, and the bike, brought in a mechanic, put two new tires on at dealer cost, charged me for labor on one. I was back on the road that evening for a couple hundy. It’s rare to find that in any other brand. That’s just one example. I’m a bike guy. I raced alot, I still ice race and drag race. I would be still racing if some idiot didn’t knock me down and another run me over and almost kill me. I’ve always had a bike. I’m more than likely one of the older guys posting here. But the hate is not healthy or fair. It just show’s your mentality. I got armor, full suits, race leathers and yes chaps, but I’m unaware that I was a low life gang banger at Starbucks that hated you all. Next time your broke down on the side of the road or a cager takes you out, it just might be me that stops for you. Ride safe and remember, when in doubt gas it.

  • Erik

    Check out the link to the real story, the events reported do not involve middle aged badass wannabees, but the real deal, HA. I have been watching HA the 1960′s, and I have a theory that they are on their way to becoming another Freemasons or Moose Lodge (eg legitimate ‘secret’ society). It’s hilarious. Compare the typical HA uniform, grooming, etc., of today from what it was in the 60′s and 70′s. Quote from story ” San Francisco-based lawyer who has represented a number of Hells Angels members, said
    “They made honest livings. They worked hard and were responsible,” Aside from the usual media hysteria and cop propaganda, this is more true than some people would like to believe. Some HA members and chapters are up to their asses in illegal activities, but it is not a requirement for membership, nor is it universal, most HA are well paid working stiffs. I figure another 20 years and HA will be about as scary as the Shriner mini bike stunt team.

    • Thom

      Errrr , but that this were true

      Granted most HA’s have their day gigs , with a few even in some well paying professions . But the fact is there is not a one amongst them that to one aspect or another are not involved in Criminal Activities . Anyone wearing the colors has earned those colors by participating in the gangs criminal ventures . Been that way since day one and will probably remain that way till they either fade away or as you say morph into some kind of Geriatric M/C club

      Don’t believe the Smoke & Mirrors Sonny and Co. would have you believe . Full colors Hell Angels are died in the wool criminals , be it as their lawyers , or on the streets committing the crimes . Want proof . Have a gander at the casualties mentioned in the Reuters article . Thats the ‘ real’ 1% willing to kill over a pathetic Latte .

      And thems the REAL facts about the HA’s as well as any of the True 1%er’s out there .

      The poseurs ? Well thats another story .

    • The other Joe

      Obviously a lawyer is going to say good things about his clients, you would have to be an idiot to think otherwise. Also, just because someone makes an honest living, it doesn’t mean he isn’t also making a dishonest living.

  • Thom

    This one is hysterical !

    So called 1%er’s battling it out over who’s Latte joint it is ?

    Hell …… having cut my teeth playing blues in real biker bars back in the 70′s I’m still laughing my ass off !

    Hells Angels fighting over a Latte ! What’s next ? Hells Angels , along with every other so called 1% Biker Gang battling it out over who gets into the Theater first to watch the next ” Sex in the City ” sequel ?

    Honestly Wes there are times you can piss me off to no end with some of your articles . Sometimes I’m enthralled reading them .

    But its not too often you’ve got me laughing my ass off over a catch like this


  • slowestGSXRever

    GRR!! I’m a tough guy! I have conjured an arbitrary reason not to like you! Lets fight cause that’s what tough guys do! Darwin at work, Awesome.

  • Triman023

    Owning a 96 Buell with a Sportster engine put me in the nether zone. Not a Harley but fair game for Harley jokes from my friends. I went to Glendale Harley last Sunday for parts and found the parts counter deserted, waited for 10 minutes for the parts guy. He came running back and I asked him where he was. He was looking at my bike, said ” I love those classic Buells”. I have never gotten attitude from these guys. I have had to explain how the Buell is different to the service guys but we get it done. The interesting thing is, when I park my bike next to the other Harleys my bike is the one that looks different.

  • Andy

    I’m an individual! I’m free, independent, and un-shackled from society! That’s why I’m riding around with all these other identically-clad dentists and management consultants holding up the traffic!

  • BMW11GS

    So I am an employee of BMW an happen to own a Harley at this point in my life an I am all about it. I see things from both ends here the so called “squids” on sport bikes the rich dude from the valley that comes and buys everything and cant pull out of the parking lot on his $20,000 bike theres the dirt guys an the old man whos been riding since the wheel was invented an the funny thing is I have come to find that it does not matter what kind of bike your on if you enjoy riding you get the bike your interested in.

    Dont forget harley davidson played a huge roll in the beging of this activity we all like I never here the old man or the commuter complaining about harleys its all ways the guy who’s shit dont stink the rich dude or the guy who thinks hes the next rossi!! When you put out a bad vibe like hating all harleys you cant expect to not catch some slack ya there is the goober in a wife beater an vest with an open face on his road king but there is also the idiot who is riding on a new ducati or jap bike doing wheelies in shorts and flip flops.Idiots are every where. Not to forget that stupid tv shows pull a bunch of goons off there couch wanting bikes such as the much hated sons of anarchy or torque witch makes the harley guys and the sportbike guys look like retards.

    I live in a place with an mc in the heart of town an it rocks i am all for it an last I checked they were all stand up guys who dont do drugs and believe it or not help keep or town in line. Hearing some of the stuff you guys have to say makes me laugh cause in all honestly you dont know what your talking about! Happy Riding! Support your local 1% ers.

  • pplassm

    I’ve never had any problem with individual HD rider. Everyone that I know with a HOG has been a decent person.


    When they ride in packs.

    And. Won’t. Let. Me. By!!!!!

  • doublet

    The more relevant point of view is that this happened in California. I’m all for the fact that this tough biker machismo shit is lame and played out, but there are still plenty of “real” (for whatever that’s worth) “bikers” out there who would scoff just as much at this BS. It came from Cali, and it’s still heralding the future, I guess.

  • dfdf

    Biker gangs are the most redicilous fucking thing in the world. Uneducated morons riding bikes thinking they are cool. Faggots. The army should deal with em.