Biker patches are used to distinguish biker clubs from one another. While their main purpose is to denote affiliation, the design can be used to express one's belief, achievement or certain deeds the biker has done.
The One, Two and Three Piece Patch
The one-piece patch usually refers to motorcycle associations; the two-piece often means the rider belongs to a club (this convention is followed by most motorcycle clubs). The outlaw motorcycle clubs use the three-piece patch.
Outlaw clubs are not recognized by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA). The design of the patches will vary per club. However, the top and bottom shapes are almost always shaped like crescents. They are called rockers. It should be stressed however, that the three-piece biker patch are also worn by some non outlaw bikers.
Common Patch Designs
The 1% patch is worn by outlaw bikers as reference to the AMA claims that only 1% of US bikers disobey the law. A patch with an Ace of Spades serves notice the biker will fight for what they believe in till death; a flag patch can denote the biker's place of birth or lineage.
There are also patches that denote the biker's position in the club. There are specific patches for club president, vice president, secretary, sergeant-at-arms etc.
Other Types of Patches
A lot of patches come with wings, but the meaning varies. The wings and colors can mean a lot of things, but most of the time it can refer to sexual acts or crimes committed by the biker.
The FF patch means 'club name forever, forever.' There are several versions of this patch. Hells Angels, for example, uses the patch AFFA The 9er means the rider has Indian blood.
The Number 13 Patch
This patch has several possible meanings. Almost always, the 13 stands for M, the 13th letter of the alphabet. But the meaning of M depends on the clubs. Some say it stands for marijuana, others say it means motorcycle while others state it is methamphetamine. However, a lot of clubs have hidden meanings for the letter M, known only to its members.
Meaning of Other Patches
Men of Mayhem patches are given to a biker who has killed on behalf of the club. Rally badges (or pins) are given out to those who attend bike rallies. The rally can be for a number of reasons, but most do it for charity work.
Skull and crossbones mean the biker has gotten involved in a fight and probably killed someone. The skull and bones can also refer to other crimes committed on behalf of the club.
Some bikers also use the Swastika and Nazi symbols. These do not necessarily imply the biker is a Nazi. Rather it is used to invoke outrage among authorities and citizens. The patches are also used by outlaw bikers to ridicule people not in their club.
As the information above makes plain, biker patches can mean different things. Although the types vary, they all symbolize something of the biker and club, whether they are outlaws or law abiding citizens.