Bikers can indeed be compared
to other people who use motorcycles.
Such (not necessarily disjoint
) subsets could include motorcyclist
The biker image certainly includes elements of the garb, rowdyness
and attitude. However very few of those who strike this pose actually
fit the reality of the one percenter or outlaw biker.
Today's average purchaser of a cruiser is well off materially (and needs
to be given the $12-20k US price range). While these riders often affect
the look sometimes associated with outlaw bikers, they are not the same.
The modern (ca 1990's) prominence of 'biker look' partly hinges on the
resurgence of Harley-Davidson as a viable maker of
working motorcycles (even US police forces stopped buying Harleys in the
1980's due to quality problems encountered in the 1970's).
The renewed popularity of Harley's machines with a more affluent demographic
market has given rise to the term RUB or "Rich Urban Biker". Of course
these include riders who do not affect the 'biker look', and probably many
RUB's succeed in motorcycle society because they look and act the part.
The one percenters or members of outlaw clubs uniformly eschewed use of
protective gear, wearing helmets only in locales which require them and
affecting a stance that riding skill is better protection than wearing
leather. Members of outlaw clubs also wear "colors", - a patch on the
back of a riding vest. Wearing colors, however greatly increases the
interest of police in a rider, as generally the wearing of colors is
associated gang activity, hence they are not always displayed.
Both the outlaws and some other groups of motorcyclists may make extensive
customizations to their machines. What characterizes the bike of the
one percenter is the removal of extraneous gear. The classic outlaw bike
is hand-built, and may consist of not much more than an engine,
(loud) exhaust pipes, and wheels. Seats are often little more than a thin
pad of leather, and these bikes are generally older vintage. Even to the eyes
of people who don't much appreciate Harleys, these tend to be unique and
Except for the display of colors, "bikers" adopt "tough looking" (but non-protective) clothing, like what the "outlaws" have affected for decades.
It is in the bikes themselves that "bikers" are readily distinguished from
the "outlaws" they choose to emulate. While the RUB's motorcycle may be
customized, this is done with parts bought from (and likely installed by)
after market vendors and shops. Harley-Davidson does a good business
itself in selling name brand custom parts.