The Craziest Motorcycle Tattoos

Posted by Andy

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Tattooing ones body has been part of tradition and being human for centuries. Obviously there's not enough hard drive space on the entire internet to accurately describe and give tribute to every tattoo stitched into the skin of the individuals who wear their opinions for the rest of us to see.

But here are a few biker tattoos that you may have seen on a guy at the local pub, or perhaps you've gotten yourself, that are ICONIC or EXTREME in the motorcycle world. They all have a common message of immortalizing the love of riding and the "biker" attitude that most of us feel when we get out on the road.

Click on any image below to enlarge It







American Skull

There's pretty much nothing that says "Don't f*** with me" like this tattoo. This image is almost like a character out of a horror movie. The level of detail is exactly where it needs to be, a solid contour line drawing of a burly skull, complete with the most iconic symbol America has, and just a pinch of in your face attitude. Okay, maybe a little more than a pinch.

Flaming Chopper

This tattoo uses some of the tribal elements popular in today's tattoo industry, and takes the whole thing to the next level. The lack of actual detail really makes the imagery of the chopper stand out. It feels like it's speeding down the wearer's arm. Every line is designed with sharp edges, as though it could slice through your skin like a hot knife through butter. The artist did a great job incorporating the flames into the actual bike, and though there is a lot of negative space, the tat looks complete and pretty bad ass.

V-Twin From Hell

Through the flames of hell, the immortal V-Twin engine rises with the wings of an eagle to claim it's throne and rule over the single piston thumpers and the inline multi-piston-wanna-be-power houses. With a message that resonates throughout the biker world, "Ride Free," this tattoo merges atypical symbols of freedom together and, with fine detail, puts it all together in a well thought package.

Angry Carb

To those who don't ride or work on their own bikes, this may appear as just some kind of weird cartoon character from an obscure children's show. But for the rest of us, you see the livelihood of your motorcycle. Sure, nowadays bikes are fuel injected, but older bikes that have carburetors are what shaped the motorcycle industry into what it is now. Though detailed, this tattoo takes a somewhat simplified approach to one of the most complex parts of a bike. It doesn't scream "Harley" or "Honda," it just screams "Motorcycle."

Chain Love

Why is this tattoo on the list of the most iconic motorcycle tats? Because it only takes a second to recognize what it is, and put it in it's place on a bike. It's genius in it's simplistic design. This tattoo is not perfectly symmetrical, nor is it super detailed, but that's what makes it such a good example. You don't have to get a full sleeve permanently drawn on your arm to show your love of bikes... just a few simple chain links says the same thing.

Lots o' Harleys

There's nothing more iconic in the world of motorcycles than Harley-Davidson, and people have been tattooing themselves with the memorable logo ever since these bikes were used in World War I. Even though they all share a common theme, each one of these (and the countless others) are special in it's own way. You don't have to be a Harley-Davidson rider to appreciate the history of the company, and the timelessness of a machine that helped America establish it's place as the best damn country in the world. From simple, to almost unrecognizable, Harley tattoos are extreme just in the subject matter.

Hell's Angel: Hard to Miss

Some tattoos are designed to make the viewer use their imagination to interpret the meaning of the art. . . this is not one of them. Not only is this an extreme example of tattoos in general, but the level of detail itself is way out there. The artist did a fantastic job taking the canvas he/she had (which was a fair amount) and using it to display the heart of every chopper on the road. A classical painter would have difficulty getting to this level of fine detail on a easel. The person tattooed is pretty much exactly what one envisions when you say "biker," and for good reason.

Pretty as a Picture

Uhhh. . . The tattoo is pretty. . . um. . . well, it's pretty cool. Yes, this picture of a tattoo definitely deserves to be showcased.

Yeee-Ouch!

Though the imagery looks to be somewhat painful, the symbolism behind the tattoo stands out even more. There's a couple of double meanings going on here. The easiest is obviously the tribute to the USA with the flag visible in the back ground and the eagle in your face, but the eagle is also a symbol used in some of Harley-Davidson's logos, showing his love of the bikes. "Sturgis 2000" can also be a reference to Harley, but more likely is just the man's place and time of where the tattoo was done.

For those who are unaware, Sturgis, South Dakota is where the nation's largest motorcycle rally is held every year, beginning in 1938. In 2000, there were over 600,000 people whom attended the Sturgis Rally, and this guy is surely one of them. This tattoo helps immortalize the rally even more, and probably makes a great conversation starter.

Vroom and Boop

There are a lot of biker tattoos out there that portray women more as objects than people. This tattoo, however, is not in that category. With one of the most iconic cartoon characters ever to hit the silver screen, Betty Boop stands out as strong woman comfortable with being a woman. Since the early 1930's Betty Boop has been changing the ideas of how women were portrayed in cartoons, television and movies — making it okay for them to be sexy. Even the look that she's giving, though suggestive, shows a sense of knowing that she's in charge of the situation.

The cruiser, although well drawn and iconic in it's own way, would look just like any other bike tattoo if it were by itself. But having Betty on the bike makes the statement that there are women riders out there. In fact, in 2008 the statistics showed that almost 13% of registered motorcyclists were women, which is a number that's rising every day.

Death Riding

Some tattoos are just cool and need to be seen. The artist who designed this ink did an exceptional job with shading and creating a real sense of textures. The bone feels hard and smooth, the scythe looks like it could slice through the neck of a person like a hot knife through butter, and Death's robe feels like it's old and tattered. Even though the source material is fantasy, the imagery looks real. This tattoo is an exceptional example of "bad ass."

Speed Racer

This piece must have taken a great deal of time to complete. The level of shading is absurd, but in a good way. The sense of speed is recognizable instantly. The artist did a good job suggesting background and foreground elements with just enough detail to express the speed, but the level of detail in the motorcycle keeps our focus centered. This tattoo is also an example that man is the master of their machines, and hopefully nobody was injured while doing this stunt for the source image.

Indian: Reach Out and Touch It

That sound was your jaw dropping to the ground. This tattoo is more a work of art than some pieces in the Smithsonian. Xavi Garcia is a world renown artist who continually wins awards for his work, for good reason. Indian motorcycles are as iconic as Harley-Davidson, have been around since 1901, and during the 1910's became the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world for a time. Plus, they're just beautiful pieces of machinery, as shown here. The image looks as though one could walk up and sit on it. Extreme only describes the amount of time this probably took. This tattoo is a testament to the artist and deserves to be seen.

The Wildest Ride

One man walks around with this vivid imagery on his back. As one of the most original tributes to everything American shown anywhere, there is so much symbolism and so many personal metaphors going on here it almost takes a degree in psychology to see it all. There are two things that I can see right away, this guy loves motorcycles, and is proud to live in America. Whomever designed this ink did an amazing job capturing different elements and blending them all together in great detail. The artist brings these images to life with their textures and shading. The more you look at this tattoo, the more you see and can take from it.

Final Thoughts

The tattoos on this list are just a fraction of the millions of biker related tattoos out there. From the artists you may have heard of like Sailor Jerry and David Mann, to the thousands of others who perfect their art on our skin, it takes a real steady hand and a masterful eye to create something that is going to stay with the person forever, and be admired by all who see.

Sure, some tattoos have been used as markers on an individual to indicate that he/she might be associated with, or a member of, an unlawful gang. BUT, that includes a very small percentage of avid motorcyclists. There is a prejudice instilled in our minds that big guys with tattoos who ride motorcycles are members of Hells Angels, or any number of motorcycle gangs that have risen to the public's eye after World War II.

Just remember, it's never a good idea to judge a book by it's cover. Instead, take a second, and look at the illustrations and the artwork on the cover, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Most people who get tattooed will tell you the story behind their masterpiece if you just ask nicely, and chances are the story doesn't have anything to do with gangs. Hopefully you enjoy looking at these as much as we do.

One Response

  1. Baby Zombie Rats With Trichinellosis Hot Links « Tacky Raccoons Says:

    [...] a collection of biker tatts. [h/t Ken [...]

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