Biker Patches

The Ultimate Guide to Wearing Biker Patches

The Ultimate Guide to Wearing Biker Patches

Biker patches for motorcycle riders have been in fashion since the 1960s. Just like motorcycles, these patches are the prized possessions of a motorcyclist. The 1%er outlaw motorcycle club members stitch these patches on vests or “cuts” to display their club affiliations and territories. These patches are also called colors or MC patches.

Biker patches are cool, so they became an essential part of motorcycle culture. Other than 1%ers, 99% of law-abiding motorcycle clubs registered with the American Motorcycle Association also have their own biker patches.

Furthermore, individual riders also buy custom biker patches to fully enjoy the biker identity and lifestyle. However, they have to follow rules and etiquette to ensure a safe riding experience.

In this article, we will cover all the types, shapes, sizes, and colors so you can decide which biker patch will suit you or your riding club and which biker patches are not right for you.

1. What Is a Motorcycle Patch?

A motorcycle patch is a piece of fabric or leather with intricate embroidery. Denim and cotton are also used to make biker patches. The embroidery displays the logo of the club, the name of the club or the rider’s name, the location of the club, funny slogans, text, symbols, and numbers.

While members wear biker patches specific to their clubs, individual riders either wear patches that best describe their personalities or ones that best compliment their motorcycles. For example, a Harley rider is most likely to wear Harley-Davidson patches. Similarly, a biker owning a Victory motorcycle will wear a Victory biker patch.

On the other hand, an aggressive male might wear a patch with an image of an angry wolf on it.

Biker patches are also a great way to add a hint of color to a rider’s leather jacket.

2. Who Can Wear Biker Patches?

Any motorcyclist can wear biker patches. However, they need to be aware that some patches are off-limits. If they avoid those, they can sport a patch without problems with club members or police officers. It is best not to wear the cube or diamond-shaped MC patches and rockers - no matter what you have embroidered on them - unless you belong to an outlaw club or your club requires you to wear one.

3. Types of Biker Patches

3.1 MC Patches

All outlaw 1%er motorcycle clubs are called MCs. These clubs introduced patch fashion to the world and are extremely possessive about their patches. Non-members cannot wear their patches and only members who are deemed worthy by leaders and other full-patched members can wear the club-specific motorcycle patch. Motorcycle club members display their club insignia on large embroidered center back patches. An expensive and profound piece, it is their identity. Due to their importance, club members demand that their biker patches be treated with respect.

3.2 Biker Rocker Patches

Rockers are arc-shaped, banner-like patches. They are worn above and below the center patch piece, being appropriately called top and bottom rockers respectively.

The top rocker displays the club's name and the bottom rocker displays the location of the club.

Independent riders, nomads, lone wolves, and friendly riding club members cannot wear motorcycle rocker patches without the consent of the most dominant motorcycle club in the region. This is because rockers are worn to display claimed territory. Moreover, they also display a member’s criminal activities, sentencing, drug rings, and loyalties.

Rockers are worn on sleeveless and collarless jackets. Motorcycle clubs demand that their rockers be respected and not replicated by non-members.

3.3 Biker Colors - (Three-piece Biker Patch)

In biker jargon, colors are three-piece biker patches worn on biker vests to show club membership and their rank within the club.

Biker Front Patches Display Biker Back Patches Display
Left side; top 1% diamond patch Top rocker patch Club Name
Below it Club Name Center Piece Club Emblem + MC patch/cube
Right Side Club office and Member’s Rank Bottom rocker patch Location/ Chapter of the Club
Side rocker patch Regional Chapter  —--  —--

Biker patches for vests and leather jackets are embroidered or stenciled. The color or three-piece biker patches are considered property of the motorcycle club. The members who are awarded these colors are called fully patched members.

3.4 Custom Biker Patches

It is possible for custom patches to be bought online. There is a lot of emphasis on avoiding certain types of motorcycle patches. But many bikers can buy unique patches from online stores as these stores have complete knowledge about the colors and logos of different bikers and offer a wide selection of safe patches for enthusiasts to wear.

3.5 Military Biker Patches

Military biker patches are like ranks and medals awarded to the veterans for their service. Wearing these patches is a source of great pride for army men and women. Civilians also wear patches to express their respect and gratitude for the sacrifices of the army. However, non-members are not allowed to wear patches displaying different medals, regiments, and achievements that do not belong to them. Doing so will be considered disrespectful to those who have actually earned military biker patches.

3.6 Flag Biker Patches

Flag patches are a great way to express one's nationality. You can find different styles of flag biker patches online or in embroidery shops. You also don’t have to worry about offending a certain group of people for wearing your country’s flag. Moreover, you can decorate your bike with flag biker stickers by sticking them to your saddlebags, handlebars, fuel tank, and taillight.

3.7 Ideal Group Motorcycle Patches

Patches of different 1%er outlaw motorcycle clubs and law-abiding clubs cannot be worn without membership. However, there are some cool groups like Valkyrie, Crowz, Blue Knight, Indian, etc. that let you wear their patches without being a member.

There is a large variety of group patches that you can tweak their designs so that they look unique and will make you stand out in the biker crowd.

3.8 Biker Patches for Women

Women are just as fond of motorcycles as men. Over the years, more and more women have registered their motorcycles and adopted the motorcycle lifestyle. Women motorcyclists look badass with their unique biker patches. A large range of biker patches for women is available online. Women can wear reflective patches, patches with feminine colors, feminist slogans, funny sayings, bold images, and striking designs.

3.9 50% Embroidered Biker Patch

Without embroidery, biker patches are just plain or dyed pieces of fabric. However, biker patches can fall into three categories based on the bulk of embroidery on them. Not all patches are fully covered with colorful threads, as many of them are said to have 50% embroidery. These types of biker patches usually only have texts and no logos or images. All biker patches use twill weave but only some of them have 50% embroidery.

3.10 75% Embroidered Biker Patch

The most popular motorcycle patches come with 75% embroidery. These patches have a plain background and may feature images along with a cool slogan. If you want to have a patch customized, chances are it will have 75% embroidery.

3.11 100% Embroidered Biker Patch

The biker patch with 100% embroidery does not have any visible twill background. The piece of fabric is completely covered with intricate embroidered patterns, making 100% embroidered patches the most expensive patches available on the market. The design of these patches is complex and much more detailed compared to 50% and 75% embroidery patches.

4. Sizes & Shapes of Biker Patches

Motorcycle patches are available in different shapes and sizes. The diamond, cube, and arc shapes are widely known and used due to their popularity among outlaw motorcycle clubs.

The design of the biker patch determines its size. Elaborate designs are embroidered on larger pieces of fabric while letters and symbols are stitched onto smaller patches.

For example, the biker patch displaying the logo and territory of the motorcycle club is bound to be larger in size compared to a patch with the letters MC embroidered on it.

Large motorcycle patches are worn at the back of the jacket, whereas the biker patches worn at the front are smaller in size.

However, with the option of customizing biker patches, you can buy a biker patch of any size and shape of your choosing.

5. Colors of Biker Patches

Biker patches are available in a large range of colors. Some colors are of significant importance and represent a certain motorcycle club. Black, red, gold, silver, and white are popular colors, and most outlaw MCs have used these colors in their logos in distinct ways.

If you can create something unique using the MC patch colors then you can wear it without any issues with club members or law enforcement. However, if you are drawing inspiration from a club’s patch, then it is better to switch to other colors. Gray, orange, purple, different shades of blue, and pink are safe options.

6. Biker Patch - Patching Technique

6.1 Sewing

The best way to attach leather vest patches is to sew them on. You can do it yourself with a needle and thimble or go to the nearest tailor if you are not great with needles or are just feeling lazy. Once you sew on the patch, you won’t have to worry about it coming off. Biker patches have a liner; before sewing them onto your jackets, remove the liner. To sew, use 100% nylon or polyester threads as cotton threads are delicate and have less durability. The color of the thread should be the same as the patch to ensure a cleaner look.

6.2 Ironing

The iron-on patches contain a thin heat-activated adhesive layer. When you press a warm iron on these patches after positioning them onto the jacket, the patches are attached to the jacket or vest. Otherwise, you can simply sew on the iron-on patch without using the iron. The needle can easily penetrate the patch without damaging it, offering greater longevity to the biker patch.

6.3 Sticking with Glue

A biker patch for a vest or jacket can be glued to the clothing as well. However, it is the most unreliable patching technique. The glue can discolor the threads of the embroidery. You can also lose your favorite patch as the glue may come off after a couple of times in the washing machine.

7. Biker Patch Backings

The different biker patch backings determine the patching techniques mentioned above.

7.1 Heat Seal Backing

The heat-seal patches work best for leather jackets. It consists of a special heat-activated adhesive film. Consequently, it will only remain attached to the vest or jacket after adequate heat is applied.

7.2 Plastic Backing

Biker patches featuring a plastic backing can only be glued to the clothing. A needle cannot penetrate the thick plastic coat, so you cannot sew these patches onto your jacket. Only use fabric glue for these patch backings or they may damage your jacket or vest.

7.3 Velcro & Sticky Backings

Biker patches with velcro and sticky backings work like biker patch stickers. They don’t last long and bikers often complain about losing them.

7.4 Untapped or Non-Adhesive Backing

Biker patches with untapped or non-adhesive backings are patches that can only be sewed on.

8. Takeaway

Biker patches are an awesome accessory that never goes out of fashion. It enhances the look of all bikers whether they are affiliated with a riding club, a 1%er motorcycle club, or prefer to ride alone. With an array of biker patch designs and ideas, it has become an interesting hobby for many bikers, too. They love channeling their creativity through biker patches. Just learn the do’s and don’ts of the biker patches to better wear one without jeopardizing your safety.

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