No one is quite sure how some terms in the biker culture got started. They’ve been around for so long that they’re just accepted and used constantly. The term “squid” actually got started with surfing and then made its way to other facets of the world, including motorcycling. It started off with “squirrely kid” and then eventually shortened to “squid.” While it’s used in other places, biker culture has really pushed it a lot.
To put it simply, a squid is a motorcycle enthusiast who has no idea what he’s doing. He can be an absolutely horrible driver, have an awful-looking bike, and make moves that aren’t just silly but also downright dangerous. Indeed, the “squid” label has become an insult among bikers who debate the merits of each other—and everyone wants to avoid that label.
The tricky thing is, most squids don’t know they're squids. Folks do tend to overlook their own flaws and like the rest of us, bikers can have an overly-inflated sense of their own skills. A lot of that comes from inexperience or lack of knowledge about the bikes they own. It can be arrogance or how too many see their bike as a fashion accessory more than a mode of transportation. And that’s not mentioning their attitudes and how they do a lot of things that annoy everyone around them.
Here are 25 things motorcycle riders do that they don’t realize makes them squids.
25 Tacky Colors and Wraps
Sometimes, it’s really easy to spot a squid; the best way is by judging how their bike looks. True, some very good bikers can make mistakes with the color of their bike or some decorations. And yet, somehow, squids take it to a new level. They will choose the tackiest and brightest colors imaginable which get them attention for all the wrong reasons. They’ll also go for vinyl wraps, a decoration serious bikers roll their eyes at. There’s also the common mistake of female bikers going for too “girly” colors, which play into stereotypes. A bad color job is one mistake squids just can’t avoid.
24 Riding in Hard Rain
This is a move that’s not just annoying but bone-headed and silly. The biggest downside of being a biker is having to deal with harsh weather. Whenever dark clouds are in the sky, a smart biker pulls to the nearest diner or even stops at a store to wait it out. But squids will instead think they can just ride through like it’s normal. A motorcycle in a massive downpour is just dangerous; between the slick road and lack of visibility, a wipeout is inevitable. Some squids think it proves their skills and toughness to ride in the rain, while any real biker is smart enough to stay dry.
23 Buying Cheap Materials
It’s true no one wants to spend more money than they have to on a bike. But squids can take cheapness to brand new levels in terms of repair jobs. They’ll go for the cheapest tires possible to the point of buying ones that don’t even fit their bike. They’ll buy a new chain that gives way after just a few weeks and won’t take proper care of the headlights, windshield, or other key bike parts. Even when they do mods, squids will go for cheap materials which just hurt their bike’s entire look. A cheap bike is easy to spot and reflects badly on its owner.
22 Showing Off the Alarm
Here’s something that really presses into the “truly annoying” category. Bike alarms aren’t as common as car alarms but they are out there. Squids have a habit of thinking their alarm is one of the coolest things about the bike and they just have the urge to constantly show it off. This includes just sitting in a parking lot and setting it off or even doing so on the road. They’ll even have “specialized” alarms to broadcast their squidliness. The truth is, no one wants to hear an alarm going non-stop, so this is one squid habit that should be silenced forever.
21 Half the Bike is Carbon Fiber
Nothing screams out pure “squid” more than an emphasis on carbon fiber. They defend the move as lowering the weight on a bike and making it move faster. They also just claim it looks cool. In reality, it makes their bike just look like any other squid's bike that's out there. Also, the cost of removing the bike parts and replacing them with the carbon doesn’t offset future repairs with a cheaper material. Plus, it really does little to nothing in terms of fixing the bike’s weight. Too many squids think carbon fiber is the mark of a great biker when it’s really the sign of a bad one.
20 Wheelies For No Reason
More than other bikers, squids can get into some crazy stunts for no good reason. Somehow, getting behind the handlebars makes some bikers think they’re ready for a Fast and Furious film. Thus, you’ll see squids suddenly popping wheelies on a regular highway with no cause to do so. Likewise, they’ll take corners and curbs at major speeds and even go for a “ramp jump” at times. These often lead to wipeouts, showing how dangerous these showboating tactics are for both the biker and others around them. Unless one is highly trained, wheelies and other moves should not be attempted.
19 Backfiring on Purpose
Backfires are a constant issue for cars and motorcycles, as well. They can happen without warning and often point to an engine issue. Thus, trying to make your bike backfire on purpose is a pretty boneheaded thing to do. There are even “how to” methods online telling squids how to do it. They think it shows off the power of the engine and they get a kick out of scaring other folks. Obviously, this leads to serious engine troubles and can give the bike long-term damage. It’s another thing that squids think makes them look impressive when it’s really just flat-out annoying.
18 Covering Up Scratches With Decals
There’s a weird tendency for squids to not do much repair work on their bikes. No one is sure why but squids will tend to go for the DIY treatment more than regular bikers and brush off some obvious issues but the fact remains that they don't take care of their rides. An easy way to spot a squid to see how many decals are on their bike. These are typically used to cover up scratches or even full-on holes in the chassis. The more decals there are, the more their bike should be taken into the shop. It’s a showcase for how squids think just a minor fix makes a bike good as new.
17 You Brag About Wrecks
This is another thing a lot of bikers do that mixes annoying with flat out silliness. No one wants to get into a crash although some bikers wear them as a symbol of pride to show off their toughness. Squids can go way too far in that they’ll act like they've been getting into multiple crashes to show how great they are. This ignores the logic that if you’re getting into that many crashes, you’re just not a good biker. But the squids will brag about their crashes to everyone but not inform their insurance company. Boasting of major wrecks doesn’t mean you’re an epic biker.
16 Riding Wearing Sandals
Few things identify a squid more than their dress sense. Long pants aren’t just fashionable for bikers, they’re also smart protection in case of an injury. Boots are also good for handling the stresses of motorcycling riding. Yet squids often think shorts, sandals, and even a light shirt are perfect biker attire. Sandals alone are a bad idea as you can easily cut up your toes riding. There’s also too much skin exposed to the elements and that poses health risks, as well. Squids may think they look cool but the dress code for bikers exists for reasons more than just fashion.
15 Mods You Don’t Understand
There’s nothing wrong with fiddling with your bike when you’re an expert. But too many squids are not experts and will make moves that are astoundingly horrible for a bike. Among them is removing the gas bolt under the belief it helps increase speed. There’s also removing the front brakes, which is downright dangerous. Plus, not oiling the chains, overloading your battery because of so much neon, and even removing the mirrors to “reduce drag” are all terrible ideas. Repair shops are filled with stories about the frankly inane things squids do to their bikes that end up doing more harm than good.
14 Wearing Numbers When You’re Not a Racer
Bikers enjoy imagining themselves as serious racers. To be fair, a lot of bikers do indeed take part in races and do a good job. But too many squids barely have enough knowledge of their own bikes, let alone to push them to their limits and do serious racing. That doesn’t stop them from donning jackets or shirts bearing racing numbers on the back, or even the front, though. They must think it looks impressive and that it turns any highway drive into a race. It just makes them look silly and easy to laugh at. Unless you’re actually competing on a track, racing numbers should be avoided for bikers.
13 Fixing Up the Kickstand
Motorcycle kickstands can be tricky things, as each model has its own type. A few of them need a good kick to get locked down right and weight issues can affect kickstands, as well. Yet it’s astounding how so many squids never make sure that the stand is down right. Bikers love to laugh about how a squid will lean on their bike for a selfie or just because it looks cool and then fall over. Or they make the amazing mistake of putting the stand down in a puddle or even a pile of mud. Not being able to properly park your bike is an easy sign that you're a squid.
12 You Have Zero Training
The single biggest mistake that a new motorcycle rider often makes is thinking things will be easy. Being well-trained in handling a bike before you take it out should be a logical must. Yet too many bikers go ahead and think ten minutes of being told which lever is which is more than enough to handle anything. “Track day riders” are a subset of the squids, folks who just take their bikes out for a weekend or two yet boast of their great knowledge. So many squids vastly overestimate their biking abilities, many of them to their eventual regret.
11 You’re a Social Media Hog
This is a recent development but it has to count for squids. Thanks to all the various online platforms, social media has taken off for bikers. This means a lot of them enjoy showing off their bikes, which is okay. But some take it to a new degree by often driving around in crazy ways just to get a fun selfie that's going to command a ton of likes online. A constant sight on the road is some biker ignoring traffic to take a selfie of themselves on the road, which is an obvious danger. Using your bike as a focus on your social media to the point of endangering others is a true squid move.
10 Your Bike is Too Small
Let’s face it, some bikers really aren’t known for their great physical conditioning. The stereotype of the big-belly guy on a bike does exist and some bikers are smart to get a bike to hold them and their heft. But quite a few will ignore their obvious body issues and choose a bike that’s just too small for them. The result can be laughable, with someone pushing 300 pounds on what looks like a small scooter. A few will even be honestly confused as to why their bike isn’t performing well, oblivious to the weight strain they've put on it. If you’re too big for the bike, just get another model.
9 Race Tires With No Racing
To be fair, this happens to car owners, too; they’ll spring for some major tires to look cool when they do nothing but city driving. Bike owners can do the same when they buy super-fancy and large race tires for their bikes, which is fine if you’re planning on hitting a motocross rally. If all one is doing is driving the bike a mile to the store, it can look absolutely ridiculous. It’s a huge waste of money and puts unneeded stress on the bike. It’s yet another case of a squid move that the driver thinks looks good but really makes them a joke.
8 A Cup Holder
Obviously, bikers need some refreshment on the road. It can be tricky to accomplish but most bikers do have a small pocket or bag with a thermos close by to drink from. But cup holders on the handlebars or frame is something else. It just looks dorky, not to mention it’s a challenge ensuring the bottle or can stays in the cupholder when driving. It also can be a distraction because if the road is rough or you're going fast, it can drop the contents out. Refreshment is good on the road but cup holders belong in a car not on a motorcycle.
7 Harley Stickers on Non-Harley Bikes
Harley-Davidson is the most famous biker brand out there. Even non-motorcycle buffs know the legendary brand and how they supply some of the best classic bikes out there. When someone is riding a Harley, it can be a good sight and they show off with stickers and decals. But imagine the sight of someone having a Harley sticker when riding a Yamaha or a Kawasaki. Incredibly, some squids do this and think it looks cool, not grasping that it’s a ridiculous sight. If you have a Harley, that's fine, but don’t pretend a totally different bike deserves that legendary label.
6 Utter Lack of Bike Seating Sense
Even people who have never ridden a motorcycle have more sense of how to drive one than some squids. A constant sight is riders lounging on their bikes like they’re in the driveway, not in the middle of the road. Some riders will lean too far back while others will be hunched over as if they’re driving a light cycle from Tron. Aside from looking like squids, this can be damaging if the bike hits a rough patch and skids out. It’s both dangerous and annoying to showcase how some riders don’t even know how to sit on a bike right.
5 Bad Mouthing Bikes You’ve Never Ridden
Every biker loves his ride and will defend both it and his brand a lot; that includes bad-mouthing other brands, which can also be understandable. But it’s one thing to trash a bike you’ve tested out and just didn’t like; it’s another thing to trash brands you’ve never ridden before. But it happens a lot, with squids seeming to go out of their way to bad-mouth some bike they’ve never tried. Harley riders will act like they’re on a whole elite level without ever trying out a Yahama or Suzuki. Likewise, those owners will smash a Harley they’ve never even sat on. Trying to claim you're an “expert” on something you’ve never used is a great way to be an obvious squid.
4 Not Knowing About the Tool Kit
A common story among mechanics at motorcycle shops is that customers come in complaining of a simple broken part on their bikes. When asked why they couldn’t use their own tool kit to fix it, the response is generally a blank stare. Astounding as it sounds, some bike owners are indeed unaware there’s a tool kit that often comes with the bike, typically located somewhere on the body or the rear. It’s something so easy to use and yet it’s ignored or not even known about. This forces bikers to spend a lot more money than they should on something that can be fixed easily. Few things prove what a squid is to mechanics better than this.
3 Fur On the Bike
This has become a rather annoying trend among some bikers. The entire fur issue is a delicate one as it can look good (at times) but there are obvious problems regarding animal lovers. A lot of bikes offer furs or skins to use as seat coverings or just as decorations. Some bikers think they’re more comfortable for a long ride while others believe the fur looks impressive. It doesn’t. It looks cheap and lame and renders the bike a laughingstock. Few serious bikers consider fur a necessary decoration and even the best bikes look amazingly lame with some of these skins on them.
2 Constant Throttling
Here’s another case of something too many bikers think is cool. It happens constantly at a stop light when they’re surrounded by other cars. It can also happen even just riding alone on some quiet road. The biker just feels the need to gun the throttle for no reason. It’s usually just to show the bike off and every squid thinks it’s impressive. The truth, of course, is that it just annoys everyone around them, not to mention that it puts unneeded stress on the bike and can cause some long-term damage. It’s another thing squids think is “cool” when it’s not.
1 Riding Without a Helmet
This should be obvious yet it’s astounding how many bikers do this. Given the large number of injuries and fatalities due to crashes on motorcycles, having a helmet should be a total no-brainer. Yet so many riders insist on not wearing one at all. You see it a lot with some crews and they think it makes them look tougher and shows that they’re a better biker. This just proves they’re being a total squid, as even the best riders can be prone to an accident. Not wearing one doesn’t show you’re a tough biker but rather, just that you're a squid.
Sources: Going Faster, Reddit, and Wikipedia.