What is the Leather Strap on Motorcycle Handlebars

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What Is The Leather Strap On Motorcycle Handlebars

Are you a beginner biker, and you are curious about the leather straps that hang on motorcycle handlebars? If you want to know what is its significance, then you are in the right place.

The leather straps on motorcycle handlebars are basically used for indicating your Motorcycle Club’s colors. Further, they are also used as a defensive weapon, a token of remembrance, a gift from another member of the motorcycle club, or simply for their aesthetic value. These straps are usually made from strands or paracord that are braided together into any length that you desire, although they are usually two to four feet in length.

In this article, you will get to learn all about leather straps on motorcycle handlebars, get back whips, what is the leather strap on motorcycle handlebars, are leather straps on handlebars legal, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

What is the Leather Strap on Motorcycle Handlebars?

If you are an old-school Harley-Davidson biker, chances are that you must have come across a bike with a leather strap hanging off the clutch lever. Further, you must have seen bikes on the road without even realizing that there is a name for the leather straps that hang from the handlebars. Typically made up of leather strands or paracord braided together into the strap length that you desire. Generally, they happen to be around 2–4 feet in length.

Traditionally, the straps used to be attached to the motorcycle by braiding the leather or paracord strains near the handlebar for a permanent installation that prevents the rider from being able to remove it. Another installation method will involve using a metal panic or quick-release snap to allow you to quickly release it from the bike in case of emergencies.

The history of get back whips typically depends on the source of the story. The broadly accepted history has this practice starting in the 70s, when members of motorcycle clubs made from leather dyed for connecting to their club’s colors.

In the United States, leather whips became popular in the 70s and 80s. While this tradition still continues until now, they aren’t quite as popular as they used to be in the past. Leather straps or also known as get back whips are used for indicating the Motorcycle Club Colors. They are also used as a defensive weapon, token of remembrance, gift from another motorcycle club member, and for their aesthetic value.

Why Do Bikers Hang Leather Straps on their Motorcycle Handlebars?

While you are driving your bike, you might notice a bike that has something similar to a leather rope hanging from the handlebars. For bikers who aren’t familiar with these straps, it might seem slightly strange to see them. There are numerous reasons why Harley-Davidson bikers use leather straps on their bike’s handlebars.

These leather straps are also referred to as “get back whips” and they became popular in the United States in the 70s and 80s when motorcycle clubs and gangs were becoming much more prevalent. They aren’t as common as they used to be, but every once in a while, you will see a bike with a leather strap passing by on the highway. Here are some of the reasons why bikers use leather straps on motorcycle handlebars.

1. Biker club colors

In large cities, it is quite common to find motorcycle clubs or groups of bikers who love to ride together. They also organize themselves into democratically voted positions like president, manager, treasurer, etc. Many motorcycle clubs are also involved in charity events, road rallies, and motorcycle shows, and help the community.

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The members of these motorcycle clubs are very proud to be a part of this organization and to show off their membership by getting specifically colored leather straps. These multi-colored leather straps are generally the same colors for everyone in the biker clubs, and many of them even give one to each new member after paying the membership fee.

Some motorcycle clubs are so large that they have branches all over the country or even around the world. If you are going on a road trip and come across someone with the same colors as you, then there is a good chance that you happen to be in the same club. You can talk to them and ask them to introduce you to other members in the area, while also giving you important tips about riding and having a better experience.

If you are purchasing a get back whip simply because you like it, you should be sure that you do ample research first. If there is a certain motorcycle club associated with those colors, you could make someone mad. It would probably be best to purchase a full black leather strap if you are not certain.

2. Self-defense

Leather straps or get back whips were used for self-defense during the 70s and 80s much more than they are now. Those decades saw a sharp increase in motorcycle gang violence, especially against police, compared to subsequent decades.

Leather straps or get back whips come with a quick-release handle that clips to the handlebars, front brake lever, or clutch lever. The quick-release handle will allow the user to give it a hard yank and then pull the whip quickly when needed. The quick handle release handle will serve as the hard surface for blunt impact.

Since they are made out of leather, it makes them pretty strong and flexible. If you want to conceal the leather strap, you can wind it up easily and then tuck it away somewhere safe. If you have been hit with a leather whip, you will know that it is definitely an unpleasant experience.

Another reason that bikers love to have it within hand reach is so that they can use it against another biker while driving. But you should remember, this isn’t a good idea at all.

3. Help other bikers to spot you easily

The biggest annoyance for motorcycle riders is other cars and bikes cutting them off and swerving into them as they don’t look before merging lanes. Bikers have to be on edge all the time, concerned about their safety, so anything that makes their bike more visible will increase safety.

Safety is a huge factor for motorcycle riders, so it is recommended that you should get a whip if they want every chance possible of other vehicles seeing you on the road. Some bikes even have leather straps and whips, one of them hanging off each side of the bike to get everyone’s attention. Do everything possible to feel safe, and then do it.

4. In memory of family or a lost friend

Most online stores that sell get back whips come with customizable options for colors and hard surfaces present at the bottom. As a token of remembrance of lost family members or friends who used to ride bikes, bikers will have the person’s name at the tail end of the whip.

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It should be easy to attach a picture or quote from them at the end of the strap such that you can feel like they are still there with you while you are riding. Anyone who has ridden bikes long enough has probably lost a family member or close friend to an accident. If leather straps were their style, then maybe it can be a good way of remembering them.

You can also design the leather strap with their favorite color or even the logo of their favorite sports team. There are several options from online suppliers to choose from.

5. As a look at the past

Many bikers feel like they were born in the wrong generation and wish they could go back to the prime years of motorcycle gang culture.

If you’re someone whose style comes from the 1970s and 1980s, then this might be a great option for customizing your motorcycle a bit. Most bikers who have leather straps tend to like choppers, cruisers, or big boppers since this is the style of that generation.

Some bikers also use small link chains as their get back whip, which is something that is highly discouraged. If the chain comes off while you were riding the bike and got wrapped around the rear tire, it can be catastrophic. If you are going to get one, then it will be better to get leather or vinyl.

6. Purely aesthetics

There are numerous people out there who just like leather straps for their aesthetics and think they look remarkable. Everyone has their own style, and this is what makes the world colorful and interesting. If you want to get one because you like them, then you should go right ahead.

Some old-school motorcycle gangs often frown on people who purchase leather straps just because they like them. Even if you aren’t old school, you can still go for one because no one will give you grief about it. A splash of color to your bike might be just what you were looking for all along.

In case you are purchasing one purely for aesthetics, it is recommended that you should get one that isn’t removable. You should get a permanent one so that if a police officer pulls you over and asks you about it, you can answer that it is merely for aesthetics.

Are Leather Straps on Motorcycle Handlebars Illegal?

As long as the leather strap or get back is attached firmly to your bike’s handlebars, you will not get into any trouble. The biggest cause of concern against get back whips is they can be used as weapons, making them against the law.

Having the get back whip attached securely to the handlebars will limit that from happening. Even if they are perfectly secure on the bike’s handles, if the bike is long enough, it can be used for attacking people. This is why most states have set laws that state that the leather strap shouldn’t be more than a certain length.

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Finally, the get back whip shouldn’t have any sort of metal tip at the end of the leather strap, as this will cover it into a deadly weapon. Following these set of rules, you will be able to own a leather strap without any problems with the police.

Leather straps or get back whips on motorcycle handlebars are illegal in a few states if they have a quick-release latch. These states include Florida, New York, California, and more. Leather straps are also illegal in countries like Australia.

If the bikers ignore the rules, it becomes illegal to use leather straps on motorcycle handlebars.

If you have a leather strap that is longer than a few inches and extends to a foot or two, it’ll likely be against local law enforcement rules. They might ticket you if they see your bike. The next thing to consider is whether they are detachable or not.

You can also get quick-release systems and latches, which will make it possible to remove the get back from the motorcycle. This can allow the leather strap to be used as a weapon, which is the main thing that the laws are trying to prevent.

Having a metal clip tied at the end of the get leather strap will turn it into a slingshot, which many states consider to be a deadly weapon. Simply owning it can cause you to get arrested as the metal tip could be turned into not just a lethal but painful weapon that could prove to be a fatal one, which is completely illegal.

FAQs

What is the purpose of ropes and straps hanging from motorcycle handlebars?

The ropes or leather straps are actually called get back whips. This is generally used for numerous reasons like safety, aesthetic, or making the biker visible to oncoming vehicles. If a car gets too close to the bike, the get back whip might whack into the car’s window, as there is often a heavy weight braided into the end of the whip.

Are leather straps and get back whips considered dangerous?

Get back whips are generally not considered dangerous when used properly. However, they can be extremely dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands and are used improperly. For that reason, some states and countries have decided to ban get back whips.

Why do some bikes have a whip hanging from handlebars?

Get back whips come in all sorts of sizes, types, and forms. Sometimes, they are in the form of leather straps, with the tip of the whip being a collection of leather strings. Meanwhile, it can also be a long braided rope that hangs around the bike.

The latter is frowned upon as they can be used as a weapon, which makes them illegal in multiple states. The rope is merely a longer and more flexible version of a get back whip, which makes it easier to attack people with.

Are get back whips illegal in Texas?

Get back whips and leather straps are allowed in Texas as long as they are within a specific length and cannot be used as a deadly weapon.

Even if you are using leather straps for self-defense, they can be used as weapons. Since you cannot get a license for one, you will be issued a ticket or even arrested if you get caught by the police.

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