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Motorcycle Glossary of Terms


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Fanny - Common term for a Francis Barnet motorcycle.

Featherbed - A Norton frame, designed by Rex and Crommie McCandless, Belfast, used for racing machines from 1950, road machines from 1953.

Feeler blade or guage - A thin strip or blade or hardened steel, ground to an exact thickness, used to check or measure clearances between parts.

FIM - Federation Internationale Motorcyclists, controls motorcycle sport worldwide.

Final drive - Description of the drive from the transmission to the rear wheel. Usually by chain or shaft, but sometimes by belt.

Firing order - The order in which the engine cylinders fire, or deliver their power strokes, beginning with the number one cylinder.

Fizzy - Slang for Yamaha's FS-1E.

Flat head - A flat surfaced cylinder head.

Flat spot - Occurs when the rider opens the throttle but there is a delay in the engine responding. Usually caused by incorrect fuel/air mixture.

Flat twin - An engine with 2 horizontally opposed cylinders, or 4 to make a flat Four.

Float - A plastic or brass box which floats upon the fuel in a float chamber and operates the needle valve controlling the fuel.

Flywheel - Attached to the crankshaft this heavy wheel smooths intermittent firing impulses and helps slow running.

Four-stroke - This is the most common design found in motorcycles today. It refers to the number of times a piston moves up and down through each power cycle. 1) A downward stroke brings in the fuel/air mixture; 2) an upward stroke compresses the fuel/air mixture; 3) a downward stroke results when that mixture is ignited and expands, and finally; 4) an upward stroke expels the exhaust gases.

Friction drive - An early form of drive using discs in contact instead of chains and gears.

Fuel consumption - A way of measureing how efficiently your engine burns fuel, measured in miles per gallon (mpg).

Fuel injection - The fuel/air mixture is metered electronically and directed into the engine intake ports (indirect injection) or into the cylinders (direct injection). Sensors supply information on engine speed and conditions.

Fueler - Term used for Nitros Oxide Drag bike or car.