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Business Management

HIP—ster vs. HIP—pie

It’s funny how the indicators don’t really change: clothes, music and motorcycles remain the benchmarks, but now with a fashionable twist.

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Honestly, modern hipsters are just vintage hippies in sheep’s clothing. A bit more academic, well-trimmed and techno-savvy. Cool. So, too, are the interesting and uniquely assembled hip-cult machines of today which rhyme with neo-retro, rat, café, chop-cult or el chollo. Gone are the extended front ends, 300-series tires and chrome glitz.

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These fads have been replaced by a whole new generation of younger and more earthy machines subscribing to murdered-out flat black paint, asbestos-wrapped headers, funky handlebar ergos and Easy Rider, Jack Nicholson-inspired football helmets with DOT certifications. Did I mention these trends are being driven by a market under 30 years old? Goodie for us … at last. 

 Of course, if you don’t cuff your jeans over your RedWings in this crowd, you might not get past the self-appointed arbiters of cool. Just kidding — this is actually the most relaxed generation since free love and Mary Jane. It’s no different than the 1970s, just without the headbands, tie-dye shirts and moccasins. Replace “Easy Rider” with “Why We Ride” as the inspiration for this next generation of motorcyclists (your customers).

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It’s funny how the indicators don’t really change: clothes, music and motorcycles remain the benchmarks, but now with a fashionable twist. Besides the fashions and the machinery, the vocabulary tends to change too. Last month we looked at the Motorcycle Industry Council/Experian definitions of customers. Now we examine the shift in vocabulary.

The trick is how do us aging hippies communicate with the hipsters of Generation Next? It is like they have a different word for everything (you hipsters should Google wild and crazy guy, Steve Martin for that reference). So do any of these terms remind you of the past … or do they demonstrate just how out of touch you are with the future?

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Chillaxin: A combination of two older favorites — “chillin” and “relaxin” — chillaxin. Usage: “I’d like to be chillaxin after my second moto in my sled … with a brew and a rack.” Two decades ago it was synonymous with “kickin back” before I “kick ass” in the next race against Barry Sheene, Roger DeCoster or James Hunt.  

Rack: A rack is what you think it is, but sometimes super-cool hipsters choose “rig” or “rack spotter.” Usage: “A rack from 2014 isn’t quite a pit tootsie from the 1970s, nor a TLU (Tight-Little-Unit) from the ‘90s.” Disgusting? Well, it was the ‘70s … and the ‘90s.

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Totes: An abbreviation of the word “totally,” because the hipster’s time to say the extra syllable is too time consuming. Usage: “I think that biker with the 6-pack abs is gorge … totes.”  

Tassel: Girl or girlfriend. Usage: “How does that last-place racer get a new tassel every night?”

Piece: Cell phone. Sounds like a .38 cal. revolver, right? No, it’s the modern word for the hipster’s weapon of choice — the smart phone. Usage: “Sling over my piece — I gotta text my tassle.”    

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Mouse Potato: Instead of a couch potato, this person works his mouse-equipped computer all day as a means of communication to the living world. Usage: “Stop being a mouse-potato and go outside to sell some bikes.”

Cross-titute: A young woman who hangs around the Supercross pit areas trying to get picked up by riders.
Usage: “Did you see all the cross-titutes hanging around the Monster tent at A2?”    

Man-wichism: Having three males on a couch watching TV or playing video games together. Usage: “The TV coverage of the race was so good we had a case of man-wichism happening in the living room.”

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Panic Mechanic: A shrink, psychologist or psychiatrist. Usage: “Billy is about to freak out on the starting line. Call in his panic mechanic.”  

Café Cruisin: A repeat of “tavern-to-tavern” racing from the Ace Café days, except 60 years later. The cafés just serve a new kind of genetically modified food than they used to. Usage: “Gotta go café cruisin before Applebee’s closes at 10.”

Monae Mulisha: Bling meets military. Excess bleeds over function. Confused or intrigued? The slang for either “sole advisor” or “big bucks”… bonds with battalion. You’re supposed to tune in to ‘80s haircuts, big Caddies, incurable male behavioral malfunctions and a juxtaposition of the tendrils holding the X to the Y chromosome. Usage: “He’s suffering from Monae Mulisha Syndrome — maybe related to his previous case of testosterone poisoning.”   

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FOMO: The “Fear Of Missing Out” has made us all over-stressed, over-communicated and over-interrupted. It is driving us to earlier deaths than the generation before us for the first time in history. Usage: “He’s gonna drive himself off the edge from FOMO.”   

2-Wheeled Land Yacht: This isn’t a new meaning, but there are some recent additions to the category. Usage: “Those new ADV bikes with suitcases on their sides remind me of 2-wheeled land yachts on the horizon.”  

BMW: “Burly Mountain Woman” has been around for a while. But it’s timeless and totally gender biased. It could change to “DDD” for Duck Dynasty Do-Dos if it makes you feel better. Usage: “Wow! She bench-pressed that F800 like a twig. Now that’s a BMW!”

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It doesn’t matter what generation you look at. If they ride motorcycles, surf on boards or race cars, they all have their own jargon which connects them to the club. It’s no different now … except for the fact that word travels faster. Much, much faster … so pay attention! Stop checking out that cross-titute, pull out your piece and Google that! 


The long-running Confessions of a Customer™ is one of columnist Eric Anderson’s commitments to the industry, which includes his retail sales training efforts and service to the MIC Board of Directors. He has built several well-known aftermarket brands and is the founder of Vroom Network, an industry-specific consulting company specializing in marketing, training and brand development.

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