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Motorcycle Glossary of Terms


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Tachometer - See rev counter.

Tank slapper - A motorcycle's handlebars slap back and forth at high speed, can be caused at high or low speed.

Tappet - A cylindrical component which transmits motion from the cam to the valve stem, either directly or via a pushrod and rocket arm. Also called a cam follower.

T-bone - A type of accident where the rider hits another vehicle in the side, usually caused when onother vehicle pulls out of a junction without seeing the rider.

TCS - Traction Control System. An electronically controlled system which senses wheel spin and reduces engine speed accordingly.

TDC - Top Dead Centre denotes that the piston is at its highest point in the cylinder.

Thread locking compund - Solution applied to fastener threads to prevent slackening. Select type to suit application.

Thumper - A single-cylinder, four-stroke motorcycle engine.

Timing chain - see cam chain.

Timing light - Stroboscopic lamp for carrying out ignition timing checks with the engine running.

Ton-up - Refers to a motorcycle being ridden at 100 mph or over.

Top-end - A description of an engine's cylinder block, head and valve gear components.

Torque - Twisting rotational force in a shaft, can be measured to show at what point an engine develops most torque.

Torque setting - A prescribed tightness specified by the motorcycle manufacturer to ensure that the bolt or nut is secured correctly. Undertightening can result in the bolt ot not coming loose or a surface not being sealed. Overtightening can result in stripped threads, distortion or damage to the component being retained.

Torx key - A six-point wrench.

Trackday - Organised event where joe public can ride around a race circuit, subject to certain conditions.

Trumpy - Common term used for a Triumph motorcycle.

Turbocharger - A centrifugal device, driven by exhaust gases, that pressurises the intake air. Normally used to increase the power output.

TWI - Abbreviation for Tyre Wear Indicator. Indicates the location of the tread depth indicator bars on tyres.