What Is A One Percenter Motorcycle Club?

What Is A One Percenter Motorcycle Club?

The term “1% Motorcycle Club” is commonly used to describe outlaw motorcycle clubs such as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, Pagans Motorcycle Club or the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, as the other 99% of motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens.

one percenter patch
one percenter patch

History of the expression One Percenter Motorcycle Clubs

The expression “1%”, “1%er” or “1 percenter” was coined when the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) was said to make a statement in response to the 1947 Hollister Riot in Hollister, California which stated that 99% of motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens. Not long after the comment was made by the American Motorcycle Association the clubs of the time stated that they were the other 1%.

How Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs Began

Outlaw motorcycle clubs gained momentum in the latter half of the 1940’s, the timing was not random. World War 2 was just over and there were a large number of ex-servicemen returning from the war who found that there was not the same “rush” as in battle when they were back at home with a normal life.

At this same time there were also a large number of ex-military Harley Davidson motorcycles that were no longer required.

Put the two of these items together and suddenly you had the fix for the boredom of the ex-servicemen. They had now regained their excitement as well as had a way to continue their brotherhood.

multiple one percenter clubs meeting
multiple one percenter clubs meeting

Above photo: A meeting between some of the most well known clubs.

Some Of The Most Well Known 1% Motorcycle Clubs

1% motorcycle clubs are spread throughout the world, with clubs such as the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club or Outlaws Motorcycle Club breaking their club down into smaller parts, known as “chapters” or “charters”, in many different cities. These outlaw motorcycle clubs are usually legal entities and often have supporter gear that you can purchase.

Some of the most well known 1% motorcycle clubs include:

The 1% Patch

Clubs who have defined themselves as 1% motorcycle clubs will wear a patch with “1%” or “1%er” on their vest.


In The Media – Violent Crimes Against The Public

The media often shows stories on 1% motorcycle clubs, in most situations highlighting some sort of violent crime which has occurred. While it is true that there are crimes committed by some members of clubs, the airtime given to the clubs is most often disproportionate to the volume of crime in a bid to increase fear in the public.

While innocent citizens have been harmed, the large majority of outlaw motorcycle club related violent crime is amongst clubs and in general the old saying of “stay out of their way and they will stay out of yours” rings true.

one percenter bikers and police
one percenter bikers and police

A Government View On Outlaw Motorcycle Crime

US Government agencies are now able to charge the big four clubs (the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Bandidos Motorcycle Club, Outlaws Motorcycle Club and Pagans Motorcycle Club) under the RICO statute (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). This was the statute that was created in order to attempt to bring down the power of the Mafia.

Outside of the United States of America there are also positions being taken against Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs by other governments. These attempts are to introduce similar laws to ban the contact of club members with one another.

Now you should have all the information to be able to answer your friends when they next ask “what is a one percenter motorcycle club?”.


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