What is the Braided Rope on a Motorcycle, and Why is it Important?

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What Is The Braided Rope On A Motorcycle

Motorcycles are an exciting form of transportation, and one of the most iconic parts of a motorcycle is the braided rope that runs along the side of the bike. But what is this rope for and why is it important? This article takes a deep look into the purpose of a braided rope on a motorcycle and why it is essential to a biker’s safety. Read on to discover the answers to these important questions and more!

What is the Braided Rope on a motorcycle

When you’re speeding down the road, you might notice a Harley-Davidson or another bike that has something similar to a braided whip or rope hanging from the handlebars. For bikers who aren’t familiar with what they are, it may seem a slightly strange site. However, there are various reasons why bikers have braided whips on their bikes.

Braided rope or also known as braided line is a type of rope that is constructed by weaving together numerous strands of fiber or wire in a particular pattern. This typically results in a rope that is extremely strong, durable, and flexible, which makes it an ideal material for carrying out a wide range of applications, including in the motorcycle industry.

History of braided ropes

The history of braided rope on motorcycles dates all the way back to the early days of motorcycles. In the early 20th century, motorcycles were used as means of transportation for soldiers during wartime. As a result, the need for strong, durable, and reliable ropes became increasingly important. These ropes were used for securing equipment and supplies to the motorcycles.

One of the most popular types of braided rope during this time was made from Hemp. Hemp ropes were strong, durable, and resistant to rot and decay. These factors made them ideal for use in harsh outdoor conditions. However, as synthetic materials like nylon and polyester became more widely available in the mid-20th century, they replaced hemp rope as the go-to material for braided ropes.

These days, they might not be as common as they once used to be, but they’re still used extensively in the motorcycle industry for various applications. One of the most common uses of braided rope on bikes is for securing cargo and luggage on the bike. Braided ropes are also used for a wide variety of decorative purposes like creating custom handlebar grips, seat covers, and other accessories.

What Is The Braided Rope On A Motorcycle - Braided Ropes

Important uses of Braided Ropes on motorcycles

Braided ropes are a popular choice for securing cargo to motorcycles or securing motorcycles to other objects, among others. There are a wide variety of uses for which you can use braided ropes. Some of the common ones of braided ropes for motorcycles include –

#1. Securing cargo to motorcycles

One of the most common uses of braided ropes on motorcycles is to secure cargo to the bike. Whether you are going for a long trip or simply running errands around town, it’ll be important to make sure that your cargo is securely fastened to the bike. Braided ropes will be ideal for this task as they’re quite strong, durable, and resistant to abrasion and UV light.

When you’re securing cargo for your motorcycle, it’ll be important to choose the right type of braided rope for the job. Nylon and polyester are two of the most popular choices for this job, as they’re both strong and durable materials capable of withstanding the rigors of the road. Kevlar is a popular choice for securing cargo, as it is a strong and durable material that can handle even the heaviest loads.

#2. Securing motorcycles to trailers or trucks

Another use of braided ropes on motorcycles will be to secure the bike to a trailer or truck. This is especially important when you are transporting your bike over long distances. It will help you ensure that your bike remains securely in place during transportation.

When securing a motorcycle to a trailer or truck, it’ll be important that you use a strong and durable braided rope capable of handling the weight of the bike. Kevlar is often the go-to choice for this application. Kevlar is an extremely strong and durable material that can withstand even the heaviest loads. Nylon and polyester are great choices for securing motorcycles to trailers or trucks. They are both strong and durable materials that can easily handle the rigors of transportation.

#3. Securing motorcycles to other objects

In addition to securing cargo and motorcycles to trailers or trucks, braided ropes can also be used for securing a motorcycle to other objects. For instance, if you’re parked in an area that is infamous for theft, you could consider using a braided rope to secure the bike to a sturdy object, such as a bike rack or a lamppost.

When securing your motorcycle to other objects, it’ll be important to choose a braided rope that is strong and durable enough that it can withstand any attempted theft. Kevlar is usually the material of choice for this application. It is an extremely strong and durable material that can easily resist cutting and other forms of tampering. Nylon and polyester are also great choices for securing motorcycles to other objects, as they’re both strong and durable material materials that can withstand the rigors of outdoor use.

What Is The Braided Rope On A Motorcycle - Harley On The Road With A Large Braided Rope

Why are braided ropes important for Harley-Davidson bikers?

Braided ropes or Getback whips are quite popular among Harley-Davidson bikers. These ropes or whips became popular in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, when motorcycle clubs and gangs were starting to become more prevalent. The braided ropes play a significant role to a Harley-Davidson biker, and they are important for a variety of reasons. Some of them are –

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#1. Biker club colors

In major cities, it is quite common to find motorcycle clubs or gangs of people who love riding Harleys together. These clubs organize themselves into democratically voted positions such as President, Treasurer, and more. Many biker clubs are involved in charity events, road rallies, motorcycle shows, and more.

The members of these biker clubs are incredibly proud to be a part of the organization. For showing off their membership, they get specifically colored braided whips or ropes. These multi-colored whips are typically the same colors for everyone in the biker club. Many clubs provide one to each new member after paying a specific entry or membership fee.

Some biker clubs are so big that there are chapters all around the country. If you’re heading for a road trip and pass someone who has the same colors as you, there’s a decent chance that you both are in the same biker club. You could pull over and have a conversation with them. They may be able to introduce you to other members in your area and give you a few tips on riding in the city or state.

If you are going to purchase a braided whip because you like it, make sure that you do proper research first. If there is a certain biker club associated with these colors, you might make someone mad. It will be best to go for the default full black one if you are not certain.

#2. Self-defense

Braided ropes or whips were commonly used for self-defense back in the 70s and 80s. This practice was much more prevalent during those days than it is now. Those decades saw a sharp rise in motorcycle gang violence cases, especially against police, compared to other decades.

These whips have a quick-release handle that clips to your Harley’s handlebars, front brake lever, or clutch lever. The quick-release handle will allow the biker to give a hard yank to the rope to pull it quickly when needed. Further, it also serves as a hard surface for a blunt impact.

Another reason bikers like to have it right within hand reach is such that they can use it against another biker when driving. Of course, this is not a good idea, but when you are in danger, it can come in handy.

These whips are illegal in places like California if they come with a quick-release latch. If they are permanently attached to the bike for purely aesthetics, then you may be allowed to have them. If it isn’t permanently attached, the police in California have the option to pull you over for it, confiscate the whole, and serve you a ticket or penalty. Before you purchase one, you should contact local law enforcement to confirm whether they are legal in your state or not.

#3. Helps others spot you easily

The biggest annoyance to motorcycle riders is cars and other vehicles cutting them off and swerving into the mas they do not look before they merge lanes. Bikers have to be on edge, constantly looking out for their safety. Anything that makes their bike more visible will only increase the safety factor.

If you see a motorcycle with a braided rope on it, you’ll be curious about what it was for, and you’ll become aware of the rider. It certainly gets the attention of most people. Safety is always a risk for bikers, so it is recommended that they should get a braided rope if they want a better probability of other vehicles spotting them on the road.

Some bikers also have two braided ropes or whips, one hanging off each side of the motorcycle, to get people’s attention. Whatever you can do to possibly make you feel safe, then you should do it.

#4. As a tribute to lost family or friends

Most online marketplaces that sell braided ropes offer customizable options for colors and different surfaces at the bottom. Some of them might have a Harley or other logo on the end of it. Bikers can have the person’s name at the end of the rope as a token of remembrance of a lost family member or friend who also rode a motorcycle.

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It’ll be very easy to attach a picture or quote from that person at the bottom of the rope, so you can feel that they are still with you while you ride. Most people who have ridden Harley-Davidson bikes long enough have probably lost someone to an accident. If they were also into getback whips, then maybe it can be the perfect way to remember them.

You can also design the braided rope with their favorite colors, favorite brands, or the logo of their favorite sports team. There are countless options from online suppliers to choose from.

#5. As a way to remember the past

Many people often have the feeling of being born in the wrong generation. For instance, some people wish if they could have lived through the roaring 1920s, while others wonder about being a cowboy during the wild west days.

If you’re one of those people whose style came from the 70s and 80s, then this may be the best option for customizing your Harley a little bit. The majority of people who have braided ropes prefer big bobbers, big cruisers, and choppers because that was the style of that era.

Some people also use a small link chain in the braided whip, although this is highly discouraged. If the chain were to come off while you were driving and got wrapped around the chain or rear tire, it could end up being catastrophic.

#6. Purely aesthetics

There are numerous people out there who are simply braided ropes as they think they look amazing. Everyone has their personal style, and this is what makes the world so colorful and interesting. If you want to get a braided rope because you like it, then you should go right ahead.

However, some of the old-school motorcycle clubs may frown upon bikers buying braided ropes because they like them, but it’s not the 70s or 80s. If you like something, go ahead and buy it. It is 2023 and no one should have the right to give you grief about it. A splash of color to your Harley might be just what is missing.

If you’re purchasing a braided rope purely for aesthetics, then it is recommended you should buy one that isn’t removable. Get a permanent one such that if a police officer pulls you over and inquires about it, you can prove that it isn’t dangerous.

Different types of braided ropes on motorcycles

When it comes to braided ropes for motorcycles, there are many different types of materials that you can choose from, including synthetic fibers, natural fibers, nylon rope, polypropylene rope, and more. Each type of braided rope comes with its own set of unique characteristics and benefits, making it important that you choose the right type of braided rope for the job at hand.

#1. Natural fibers

Natural fiber braided ropes such as hemp or cotton have been used for centuries and are still a popular option for some bikers. These ropes are known for their natural appearance, softness, and flexibility. These features can complement the vintage or retro look of some bikes. However, natural fiber ropes are not as strong or durable as synthetic fibers and might break or fray more easily.

#2. Synthetic fibers

Synthetic fiber braided ropes such as nylon and polypropylene are much more commonly used in modern bikes due to their strength and durability. Synthetic fibers are resistant to moisture, rot, and abrasion, which makes them ideal for outdoor use. These ropes come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, which makes it easy to find the perfect rope to match your bike.

#3. Nylon rope

Nylon braided ropes are a popular choice for securing cargo or tying down a motorcycle. Nylon is known for its strength, durability, and elasticity. These qualities allow the ropes to stretch and absorb shock without breaking. Nylon ropes are resistant to UV light and moisture, which makes them ideal for outdoor use. However, nylon ropes are not as resistant to abrasion as other synthetic fibers and might wear down over time.

#4. Polypropylene rope

Polypropylene braided ropes are another popular option for securing cargo or tying own a motorcycle. Polypropylene is known for its durability, strength, and resistance to moisture, which makes it ideal for outdoor use. Polypropylene ropes are resistant to UV light and mildew, which makes them perfect for use in humid or wet environments. However, these ropes are not as strong or durable as other synthetic fibers and might break or fray more easily.

Care and maintenance of braided ropes

Braided ropes are essential tools for a wide variety of tasks. For ensuring that the rope stays in prime condition and provides a secure hold, it’ll be important to properly care for and maintain it. Here are some of the tips for proper care and maintenance of braided ropes – 

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#1. Cleaning the braided rope

Over time, braided ropes can end up becoming dirty and stained from exposure to dust, dirt, and other debris. For cleaning the rope, you should simply soak the rope in warm, soapy water for 10–15 minutes. Then, you should rinse it thoroughly with clean water. You should avoid using any bleach or harsh chemicals as it could damage the rope fibers. Once it is clean, you should hang the rope to air dry in a properly ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

#2. Storing the braided rope

When they aren’t being used, braided ropes should be stored in a cool, dry place away from any direct sunlight. You should avoid storing the rope in areas that have high humidity or moisture, as it could cause mildew and rot. To prevent the rope from becoming tangled, you should coil it loosely and then store it in a rope bag or container.

#3. Inspecting the braided rope

Regularly inspect the braided rope for any signs of wear and tear, including kinks, fraying, and abrasions. Check the braided rope for any damage or weak spots that might compromise its strength and integrity. If the braided rope shows any signs of wear or damage, it’ll be important to replace it before it fails.

#4. Replacing the braided rope

When it comes time to replace the braided rope, you should choose a new rope that is of the same diameter and material as the old one. For replacing the rope, you should remove the old rope and tie the new one in its place using the appropriate knot for the application. Make sure that you securely tie the knot and test the new rope before use.

What Is The Braided Rope On A Motorcycle - Green Braided Rope On A Tree Trunk

Safety considerations with braided ropes

When you’re using braided ropes for any application, safety considerations must be remembered to prevent accidents and make sure there is a strong hold. Here are some of the safety considerations to keep in mind when you are using braided ropes on motorcycles.

#1. Types of knots

The type of knots used for securing the braided ropes will depend on the application. Some of the common knots used for securing cargo include the trucker’s hitch, bowline knot, and clove hitch. For tying down a motorcycle, the taut-line hitch and slipknot are commonly used. It is important that you choose the appropriate knot for the application and tie it securely. 

#2. Maximum load capacity

Each braided rope comes with a maximum load capacity, which is the maximum weight that it can support safely without breaking. When you’re using braided ropes for securing cargo or tying down a motorcycle, it’ll be important to choose a rope with a load capacity that exceeds the weight of the load being secured. Exceeding the maximum load capacity of the rope could result in the rope breaking, resulting in damage or injuries.

#3. Weather conditions

Weather conditions can affect the safety of using braided ropes on motorcycles. When you are using braided ropes in wet conditions, it will be important to choose a rope that is resistant to moisture, such as polypropylene or nylon. Moisture can easily weaken the fibers of the rope, reducing its strength and load capacity. Additionally, extreme temperatures can also affect the strength of the rope, making it more susceptible to breaking.

#4. Taking precautions

To ensure the safety of using braided ropes on motorcycles, it’ll be important to take certain precautions such as wearing gloves for preventing rope burn, keeping loose clothing and hair away from the rope, and using caution when tying knots on handling the rope. Moreover, it is important to regularly inspect the rope for any signs of wear and tear and replace it when necessary.

FAQs

What is the braided rope on a motorcycle?

The braided rope on a motorcycle is typically found on the handlebars and is used to secure items such as key fobs, wallets, and cell phones. The rope is typically made of strong and durable materials, such as nylon or polyester, and is braided to provide extra strength and security.

What are the benefits of using a braided rope on a motorcycle?

The braided rope on a motorcycle provides multiple benefits. It is strong and secure, making it difficult for items to be stolen or lost. It is also lightweight and easy to use, making it convenient for riders to store items without taking up too much space.

How do I install a braided rope on a motorcycle?

Installing a braided rope on a motorcycle is relatively simple. First, measure the length of the rope that you need and cut it to size. Then, attach the rope to the handlebars using strong zip ties or screws. Finally, secure the rope with a knot and you’re ready to go!

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White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.