17 Motorcycle Patches to AVOID [With Pictures and Why]

17 Motorcycle Patches to AVOID [With Pictures and Why]

So you finally got yourself a Harley and a matching leather vest that you might be tempted to start decorating with your own patches. But hold onto that thought first, as you might end up biting off more than you can chew.

The truth is that while motorcycle patches can be cool to look at, not every one of them can appeal to the random biker that you might come across at the parking lot or the police for that matter.

For your safety’s sake, we’ve come up with a list of motorcycle patches you should refrain from wearing no matter what, lest you summon an entire gang of bikers or squad cars in your side view mirrors!

What are motorcycle patches?

Motorcycle patches are patches worn on motorcycle vests and jackets that are typically associated with a particular motorcycle club (MC).

Official motorcycle patches are only given to members of motorcycle clubs, thus wearing one without being affiliated with any club can get you into trouble.

As much as motorcycle patches can complete the biker aesthetic for you, certain types of patches are a big no-no if you don’t want to have problems with any particular gang, social group, or even local law enforcement.

This is because some motorcycle patches are property of and trademarked by a motorcycle club or organization that only gives them to dedicated and loyal members.

Moreover, some clubs aren’t exactly known to be on their best behavior when it comes to the law, and the last thing you need is to be on the cops’ radar just for wearing a patch of an outlaw motorcycle gang (OMG).

Hence, let’s help you not get on anyone’s bad side at all by not putting these 17 different motorcycle patches on your leather jacket!

Motorcycle Patches to Avoid

Motorcycle patches to avoid are those related to any outlaw motorcycle gang, such as the Hells Angels, Outlaws, Bandidos, Sons of Silence, and Mongols.

Other patches to avoid are 1%er patches, skull/crossbones patches, white/red cross patches, nazi patches, Ace of Spades patches, and runes patches.

1. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Patches (Big 5 OMG]

1. Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Patches (Big 5 OMG]

If there was ever one type of motorcycle patch that you should absolutely avoid using the most, it would be a patch from any of the known outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Outlaw motorcycle gangs, or “OMGs”, are named as such because they’re not officially sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA), meaning that they do not conform to any of the AMA’s rules but rather make their own.

Some of these outlaw gangs have had histories of criminal activities, and while we obviously cannot generalize every single existing member of every gang, it’s better to be on the safer side and not get lumped in with them because of a patch.

Several of the biggest known outlaw motorcycle gangs include:

  • Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC)
  • Outlaws Motorcycle Club (American Outlaws Association/AOA)
  • The Bandidos (Bandido Nation)
  • Sons of Silence (SOSMC)
  • Mongols Motorcycle Club (Mongol Brotherhood/Nation)

The gangs above are known as the Big 5 OMGs (Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs), which only give their patches to deserving members who have pledged their loyalty to the club, and it usually takes several years to earn them.

While it’s usually quite easy to spot an outlaw club’s patch since it also has the name of the club (top rocker) printed as part of its insignia, it’s still essential to familiarize yourself with the other parts that don’t quite spell it out for you.

For instance, the Hells Angels’ main logo is that of a winged skull (Death Head), the Outlaws use a skull with pistons as crossbones, and the Bandidos have the “Fat Mexican” logo holding a sword and pistol.

The Sons of Silence’s logo or insignia is that of a bald eagle in front of the letter “A”, which is known to be based on the Anheuser-Busch logo. Alternatively, it can also be a depiction of the Grim Reaper holding a scythe. 

On the other hand, the Mongols use a caricature of what appears to be Genghis Khan in biker clothes riding a motorcycle.

2. Death Head Patch (Hells Angels)

2. Death Head Patch (Hells Angels)

As one of the biggest motorcycle clubs in America and even worldwide, the Hells Angels has quite a few patches that are associated with it, but one logo that you can’t mistake for any other club is the “Death Head”.

The Hells Angels’ Death Head logo is a skull with golden/yellow and red wings protruding from the side, which serves as the main center patch for the club’s 4-piece insignia.

Since the Death Head logo is only ever given to individuals who have undergone the lengthy processes to become a “full-patched” member, it’s a sacred symbol and property of the club that not just anybody can ever rock on their vests.

3. 81 Patch (Hells Angels)

3. 81 Patch (Hells Angels)

Another patch that you should avoid is the “81” patch since this also corresponds to the initials of the Hells Angels MC. Simply put, the “8” stands for the letter H (8th letter), and the “1” stands for the letter A (1st letter).

The 81 patch is typically displayed in red and white colors and can come as part of other notable Hells Angels patches, such as “Support 81” and “Route 81” patches.

So unless you’re an actual friend or supporter of the club, you’re better off opting for any other combination of numbers for your motorcycle patch.

4. Filthy Few Patch (Hells Angels)

4. Filthy Few Patch (Hells Angels)

Even within the Hells Angels MC, only a limited number of members wear what’s called the “Filthy Few” patch, and for a good reason. 

The Filthy Few patch can also sometimes come with two black lightning bolts in between the two words. 

While there is no official interpretation from the club itself about what this patch stands for, speculations from some law enforcement officers say that it’s only given to members who have fought or are prepared to fight for the club by committing the “M” word. 

On the other hand, we also have people who’ve had some form of connection with the club claiming that the “Filthy Few” only refer to those that were the “first to show and last to leave the party.”

Regardless of its true meaning, the fact that the Filthy Few is associated with the Hells Angels is already enough of a reason to steer clear of this patch.

5. Dequiallo Patch (Hells Angels)

The “Dequiallo” patch is another notorious Hells Angels patch that can easily get you into trouble because of what it means.

Hells Angels members who are given the Dequiallo patch have supposedly been involved in violent altercations or confrontations with law enforcement, meaning that such members have fought back during an arrest.

Despite seemingly being a badge of honor for a member of the club, the Dequiallo patch can easily attract unwanted attention from the police when in the hands (or sewn onto the denim jacket) of an innocent yet naive motorcycle enthusiast.

6. Vagos Motorcycle Club Patch

6. Vagos Motorcycle Club Patch

The Vagos Motorcycle Club is another big outlaw MC with a particular set of patches that you should avoid using.

Aside from the obvious “Vagos” top rocker patch, the Vagos MC primarily uses a caricature of the Norse God “Loki” in red and riding a winged wheel. This is then placed on a green or green/black background with the rest of the full patch.

Now, if you’re familiar with your Norse mythology, you would know that Loki is the God of mischief, which is quite fitting considering the club’s long history of criminal allegations and incidents.

7. Skull and Crossbones Patch

7. Skull and Crossbones Patch

One of the most classic and iconic patches associated with any biker gang is the skull and crossbones patch, but even this seemingly common piece of graphic is enough to earn you some stares.

It’s been said skull and crossbones patches are only given to outlaw motorcycle gang (OMG) members who have already “taken a life” for the sake of the club or while serving their prison sentence.

In other cases, whether it’s the skull or the crossbones alone, wearing such patches can even make someone innocent out to be a dangerous individual in the eyes of the public.

But whether it’s a random bystander, the police, or an actual OMG member who spots you wearing a skull and crossbones patch, it can paint you in a bad light in any case, so go ahead and ditch that patch.

8. One-Percenter Patch (1%er)

8. One-Percenter Patch (1%er)

A one-percenter patch (1%er) is a very common motorcycle patch linked to many different outlaw motorcycle gangs, making it one of the top patches you should definitely avoid pinning to your biker gear.

The 1%er patch, which is usually sewn onto a black diamond logo, solidified its place in outlaw gangs as a result of a “claimed” comment by the AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) on the 1947 Hollister riot that 99% of bikers abided by the law.

The remaining 1%, on the other hand, were presumably labeled as outlaws, and despite the AMA’s denial of having ever said the comment, various outlaw gangs adopted the concept of being a “one-percenter” into their subculture.

9. Iron/Maltese Cross Patch (White Cross)

9. IronMaltese Cross Patch (White Cross)

Any kind of patch that resembles a white cross is part of the list of patches you should avoid using, especially if it’s an actual iron cross or Maltese cross patch.

Used commonly in outlaw motorcycle gangs, the white cross has had several different connotations that have been passed around ever since the days of WWII bikers.

It’s been said that some members only use white cross patches simply as a form of rebellion or to provoke those outside of their culture left to their own interpretations of the symbol.

One specific and more unsettling meaning about the white cross patch that’s been spread around is that wearers are those who have robbed and/or desecrated a grave.

While we can’t exactly confirm the authenticity of these descriptions, the white cross patch still, without a doubt, generally carries a negative connotation when worn as part of any motorcycle enthusiast’s gear.

10. Red Cross Patch

10. Red Cross Patch

The red cross patch is another one that you shouldn’t be putting on your motorcycle vest. Similar to the white cross, the red cross can look like an iron or Maltese cross in red with white outlines.

The main connotation of wearing a red cross patch is that the individual has engaged in some sort of homosexual activity, and the majority of motorcycle clubs do not allow people with this experience to join.

As if the white cross patch wasn’t bad enough, adding another touchy topic to be associated with the red cross patch further adds to the list of reasons why you shouldn’t be wearing it at all.

11. Nazi Symbol Patches

This one should be obvious enough. Any kind of nazi symbols made into a motorcycle patch should be avoided at all costs.

This can include anything from iron cross logos, ss lightning bolts, swastika symbols, or Totenkopfs or the “Death’s Heads” of German military personnel who lost their lives during the World War era.

While it was common for veterans who joined earlier European motorcycle clubs of that time to sport such patches, modern-day MCs have become more distant when it comes to anything tied to the Nazis.

In general, the dark history surrounding the Nazis is already a good reason to avoid any kind of Nazi patch, emblem, or logo, whether or not you’re a motorcycle enthusiast.

12. Runes Patches

12. Runes Patches

One specific kind of motorcycle patch to also avoid is runes, which were initially based on the Vikings’ ancient writing but are now associated with a darker meaning.

Patches that contain runes and other Nordic writing have been used by both motorcycle clubs (MCs) and prison gangs to connote white supremacy, essentially turning the runes into hate symbols. 

Such runes can include the Sonnenrad rune (sun rune), the Algiz/Man rune (life rune), and the Valknot/Valknut rune (knot of the slain rune).

Some runes have even been used by the Nazi party during its time like the “life rune”, or as they called it, the “Lebensrune”.

13. 13 Patches (13 1/2, Diamond 13)

13. 13 Patches (13 12, Diamond 13)

Patches that contain the number “13” have also been associated with biker gangs. The number 13 has been linked to members who have sold or have been involved in illegal drugs.

To explain why that is, the number “13” is believed to represent the 13th letter of the alphabet, which is the letter “M”, which then, in turn, stands for “marijuana”.

Throughout its subculture, the 13 patch has taken other forms such as 13 and a half (1/2), which can imply that the MC member is willing to take more risks against the law.

The Diamond 13 patch, on the other hand, diverted from the other patches’ meanings, as it dated back to the first 13 biker clubs not sanctioned by the AMA in the 1930s.

Since they were not part of the AMA, all 13 clubs were considered outlaws. Such outlaw clubs were said to have formed when some racing teams refused to pay fees for AMA-sanctioned races, which ended up with them holding their own illegal races.

14. Ace of Spades Patch

14. Ace of Spades Patch

If you’ve been looking around the internet long enough, you’ll find that lots of motorcycle clubs wear an “Ace of Spades” patch on their vest, and we don’t recommend you do the same unless you’re a bonafide member of theirs.

The Ace of Spades patch can come in different variations, with the graphics being either black, white, gray, or red.

The general consensus for the Ace of Spades patch is that the wearer is ready to confront all sorts of adversaries for the club and even their country, even if leads them to their grave.

This means that even if you are already part of a club, then you better have a pretty big pair down there if you really want to look convincing and deserving of a patch like that.

15. AFFA Patch (Angels Forever, Forever Angels)

15. AFFA Patch (Angels Forever, Forever Angels)

Hells Angels can sometimes show off a certain “AFFA” patch or logo whether on their vests or helmets, which stands for “Angels Forever, Forever Angels”.

Wearing the AFFA patch is a symbol of absolute loyalty for club members, and wearing it for any other reason as a non-member is a risk we advise you not to ever take.

16. MFFM Patch (Mongols Forever, Forever Mongols)

16. MFFM Patch (Mongols Forever, Forever Mongols)

Similar to the Hells Angels’ “AFFA”, the Mongols also have their own “MFFM” patch denoting the motto “Mongols Forever, Forever Mongols”.

Again, unless you’re part of the Mongol Nation yourself, we highly recommend not including an MFFM patch on any part of your biker aesthetic.

17. DFFL Patch (Dope Forever, Forever Loaded)

17. DFFL Patch (Dope Forever, Forever Loaded)

The DFFL patch is another particular patch associated with both outlaw MCs and illegal drug usage, as it stands for “Dope Forever, Forever Loaded”.

Needless to say, if you’re neither a biker nor a user/seller of that stuff, then do yourself a favor and forget about ever putting a DFFL patch on your vest unless you want to attract unwanted attention.

What are the rules for wearing motorcycle vest patches?

Motorcycle Vest Patch Rules:

Motorcycle club patches are earned and are the property of the club.
Learn the specific rules for patches for your particular club.
Display your patch properly on your vest or jacket.
Do not touch the patches or vests/colors of other club members.
Do not use one-percenter (1%er) patches or any other patch from an outlaw MC.
Remove your patch or vest when told by a member.
Do not put any other unnecessary patches on your vest.
Do not wear any patches while driving a car.
Do not wear patches or vests of other members Return all your patches/colors when leaving the club for good.