Is there a difference between a motorcycle club and a motorcycle gang?

Very commonly people make the mistake of calling a motorcycle club something that is seen as offensive and disrespectful. The correct name is “motorcycle club” and not “motorcycle gang”. “Motorcycle club” is an official name given by the local club authorities in that area. A “motorcycle gang” is what you commonly see in movies and don’t really exist.


In this short article, I explain why you shouldn’t replace the word “club” with the word “gang” when talking about a motorcycle club. I also give some very helpful advice on what to do when you are around a motorcycle club.

We will look into the following:

  • What is a motorcycle club?
  • What is a motorcycle gang?
  • Why you can’t call a motorcycle club a gang
  • Advice for when you are around motorcycle clubs

What is a motorcycle club?

A motorcycle club is an official status given to a group of people that make motorcycles their fundamental interest for their existence as a group. There are various types of clubs that all operate differently:

  • MCMotorcycle Club
  • MCCMotorCycle Club
  • RCRiding Club

There are also manufacturers riding groups that are specific to a certain manufacturer and in rarer cases certain models of a manufacturer.

There are significant differences in these types of clubs but we won’t go into all of that in this article. The important thing to take away from this is that none of these types of clubs are “motorcycle gangs” nor should they ever be called a “motorcycle gang”.

What is a motorcycle gang?

A motorcycle gang is literally a gang that happen to ride motorcycles. They don’t wear patches and even if they did, a real “motorcycle club” would have them removed as they are impersonating a motorcycle club. The reason a motorcycle club would remove their patches is simply because the impersonators would be putting real motorcycle clubs in a bad light.

Today, motorcycle gangs don’t really exist and it’s not something you should be worried about. Still, movies, tv shows and the news channels often refer to motorcycle clubs as “gangs”.

Why you can’t call a motorcycle club a gang

gang (noun)

a group of criminals or of people, esp. young men and women, who spend time together and cause trouble

Extract from – meaning of gang

When looking at the meaning of the word “gang”, you will realise why any motorcycle club would not want to be called a gang. Now I’m not saying that people in motorcycle clubs obey the law 100% and that is to be expected. I mean, does anyone really obey the laws fully?

Have you never exceeded the speed limit on a public road? Is the movie you downloaded last night from piratebay not stealing? Do you never rage in traffic showing fingers and calling people names? (I don’t think this is illegal but you see where I’m going with this)

I’m not trying to make you feel bad about yourself. I’m trying to point out that the media has a tendency to target groups more than individuals. Why? Because no one cares about an individual unless they are well known and will sell more newspapers.

The thing is, motorcycle clubs don’t want to be associated with the word “gang” if it makes them seem like a bunch of criminals. Reporters like to throw the word “gang” in the headlines whenever they write about motorcycle clubs. And not everyone is educated enough in this field to know that there is a difference.

Advice for when you are around motorcycle clubs

  • Don’t refer to a motorcycle club as a “gang”.
  • Don’t wear a patch if you are not in an official club. This includes Sons of Anarchy vests that you can buy from china.
  • Don’t talk about their club as if you know everything about it.
  • Don’t go to their clubhouse and act as if it’s public property. In other words, don’t cause trouble.
  • Be respectful like you would with anyone else.

Final words

I use often use Quora to get ideas on what my next article would be. And it’s so disappointing to see almost everyone asking about “motorcycle gangs”. I hope this article makes a difference and was helpful to you as well.

Featured image by danomoto on Instagram.

I always try to keep my articles interesting and informative. And I’m always thankful when they are shared on social media platforms or Pinterest.

Two Motion

I don’t see myself as an expert in every topic of motorcycling but my articles usually relate to new experiences that are relevant at the time of writing.

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