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Outlaw Bikers’ Colors: Earning the 3-Piece Patch Hot

The mystique of the outlaw motorcycle gang is alive and well.  The subculture known as the one-percenters evokes images of violence, loyalty and criminal behavior.  First, let’s be clear that the majority of motorcycle clubs do not exhibit criminal behavior.  Further, not all serious gang (or club) members are one-percenters.  In fact, the label one-percenter came from an AMA response to biker violence in the late 40s stating that 99% of all bikers are law abiding citizens; and only 1% exhibit anti-social or criminal behavior.

The most identifying feature of the outlaw biker culture is the 3-piece patch worn on the member's back.  Here is a quick explanation of the significance of the patch or “colors”. 

Earning a place in an outlaw motorcycle club is a process often defined by violent or criminal acts.  Further, outlaw motorcycle clubs require total allegiance from their members.  The club takes priority over the member’s job, outside friends, and even family.  A member who does not exhibit total adherence to the “code” can be severely beaten or even killed.

An individual who is just “hanging around” a gang is awarded no part of the patch.  The process of earning colors starts with a “prospect” being sponsored by a full member.  At that point, the prospect is given the lower “rocker”.  The rockers are the upper and lower curved portions of the three-piece patch. The lower rocker indicates the location of the club.  Later, the other two portions of the patch may, or may not be earned.  The other two parts are the upper rocker that states the club’s name, and the center logo patch.  In some gangs, the last two parts of the patch are earned at the same time; in others, the process is separated.

As was stated earlier, the actions that earn the patch may be criminal or violent.  A biker who does not display total loyalty to the club will not earn the patch.  Further, virtually all outlaw gangs require a unanimous vote of the local membership for a prospect to become a full member.

Because of the crime and territorial violence associated with the wearing of club colors, some local or state law enforcement agencies have placed restrictions on the wearing of certain patches.  The colors can actually be permanently confiscated if worn in public.

It should be noted that the some non-outlaw motorcycle clubs have adopted the 3-piece patch.  Christian and veteran motorcycle clubs now sometimes wear a three piece logo.  The difference is that these patches typically don’t have a specific location in the bottom rocker. 

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Comments  

 
+3 # Luke N Fourclub 2010-07-02 00:12
This isn't 1980 stop reprinting the same bs about MC's and 1% its all BS times have changed
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+2 # squirts 2010-07-02 07:48
I was thinking the same damn thing! Too funny (or sad) as the case may be...
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-1 # MM 2010-07-02 08:46
While the term 1r; is now a cliche' and shows like "The Son's of Anarchy" over dramatize the MC culture, don't kid yourself that MC gang violence is gone. Just this month, the ATF indicted the National President and 26 other members of the American Outlaw Association (Outlaws) motorcycle gang. Also, the president and several members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club were denied bail in my home state of Virginia because they are "a danger to society". I guess the Department of Justice thinks this sh*t still goes on.
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-1 # dewlang 2010-12-03 07:12
I recently went to and participated ina Toys for Tots bike run in Louisville. The Outlaws, Grim Reapers and other omc were there but off to the side. It being my 1st run I was very excited and taking pics. In my "being geeked" state I (alone) walked away from my friends and approached a female member of the Outlaws. She was wearing "colors" with rockers on the back. I asked her if I could take a picture of their jackets (just the back) and she simply said "Nn." I them said thank you anyway and left. When I returned to my group I really got a feeling they were upset with me for speaking with her. Did I do a social no-no in approaching them? I never felt like I was in danger or thought of any repercussion happening. I would like to know if what I did was wrong or not. Oh yeah by the way I am a female too. so please let me know any thoughts out there about my actions so I can either continue to feel okay about it or apologize to the ones I was attending the run with. Thanks
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-7 # Johnny reb 2012-06-21 11:00
Don't bother with the outlaws,they're a bunch of Hells angel hating tossers!!
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-4 # Johnny reb 2012-06-21 11:02
The outlaws are a bunch of no hope Hells Angel enemies who aren't worth a toss!!
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+2 # Kik 2012-06-21 11:34
Quoting dewlang:
I recently went to and participated ina Toys for Tots bike run in Louisville. The Outlaws, Grim Reapers and other omc were there but off to the side. It being my 1st run I was very excited and taking pics. In my "being geeked" state I (alone) walked away from my friends and approached a female member of the Outlaws. She was wearing "colors" with rockers on the back. I asked her if I could take a picture of their jackets (just the back) and she simply said "Nn." I them said thank you anyway and left. When I returned to my group I really got a feeling they were upset with me for speaking with her. Did I do a social no-no in approaching them? I never felt like I was in danger or thought of any repercussion happening. I would like to know if what I did was wrong or not. Oh yeah by the way I am a female too. so please let me know any thoughts out there about my actions so I can either continue to feel okay about it or apologize to the ones I was attending the run with. Thanks


What you did wrong is you approached a female. It doesn't matter if you yourself are female also. Unfortunately even in these modern times, women are still considered property of the club unless one of the members wants to make her his then she is property of his. You don't approach women unless you have permission from a club member. As others stated, they are suspicious, you could be the law and none of them want the law around because even though most of them are really law abiding hard workers the are the few inside the club that are really OUTLAWS and do the bad stuff so in relation it makes the rest of the club bad also. I know this article is about 2 years old but I just read it.
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-1 # Singe 2012-07-09 04:51
In most cases it does not matter if it is the Outlaws, Hells Angles or whatever 3 peice patch club they do not like to have their pictures taken. This is for several reasons and could cause problems in some situations.
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-1 # Tim Kessel 2010-12-03 08:33
I don't think you did anything even slightly wrong. Sometimes the "mystique" of the OMCs is just too much for me. You were just being sociable. As a moto-journalist, I have photographed Hells Angles on several occasions. Sometimes they seem suspicious of someone taking their photo, but this is America after all.
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0 # Reaper 2012-07-28 12:24
To Johnny Reb; you need to watch what club your bashing a**hole. I am not an Outlaw but my father is, I grew up around Outlaws MC, ADIOS
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-1 # Phantom 2013-08-19 17:38
Johnny reb...first of all you need to shut you fucking mouth and never bad mouth a the outlaws...my club is a big supporter of AOA..just for you making that comment I would kick your teeth down your throat!!! You fucking pussy...
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+4 # Mr. Outlaw 2013-01-11 10:48
Johnny reb. You come on down to Covington ga and speak that shit to one of our faces like a real man. See for yourself what happens. Punk!
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