Motorcycle clubs come in just about every shape and size imaginable. Some are locally based, others have a global presence. Some are more associated with crime than motorcycles, while others are made up of decent, upstanding folk with regular jobs and regular lives. Regardless of what the club members get up to in their spare time, the one thing that unites all motorcycle clubs is their love for the open road and all two things two-wheeled. If you’ve ever wanted to know which motorcycle clubs are the biggest, the oldest, the baddest, or maybe just the most philanthropic, find out now as take a look at the top 20 motorcycle clubs in the world.
20. The Harley Owners Group (HOG)
The Harley Owners Group (HOG) was founded in 1983 and is largely credited with helping reverse Harley Davidson’s failing fortunes in the mid-80s. It now ranks as the largest manufacturer-backed riding club in the world. Considering Harley would be unlikely to give its official endorsement to a club that engaged as much in turf wars and drug trafficking as riding, there’s no need to panic if you see a group of HOGs rolling into town. Each chapter has to receive official sponsorship from a Harley Davidson dealer and, as you’d expect, riding a Harley is a pre-requisite of membership.
19. Ducati Owners Club of Victoria
Harley Davidson has its own dedicated group of MC followers. So does BMW. So it’s only fitting, then, that Ducati does too. As one of the most popular motorcycle manufacturers in the world, Ducati certainly isn’t short of fans. Few, however, are quite so ardent as the members of the Ducati Owners Club of Victoria. It might not have as many members as some of the other clubs to make our list, but its history as one of the oldest MCs in the world guarantees its inclusion.
18. Women in the Wind
In 1979, Ohio resident Becky Brown decided she was tired of the boys having all the fun. Determined to create a group where women could benefit from the same companionship and sense of solidarity as male motorcyclists had been enjoying for years, she placed an ad in her local paper. 10 women answered the initial ad, and soon after, the Women in the Wind Motorcycle Club was formed. Today, it has over 1200 members spread across 100 chapters around the world. As well as working to promote the rights of women motorcyclists, the club also serves to educate both its members and the public on motorcycle safety and maintenance.
17. Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club
As Wikipedia writes, Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club is a one-percenter motorcycle club (i.e. a club that operates outside the rules and regulations of the American Motorcycle Association) that was founded by navy veteran Bruce Gale “The Dude” Richardson in Niwot, Colorado in the United States in 1966. Since forming, Sons of Silence has grown into one of the largest outlaw MCs in the US, with chapters in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. In 1998, it began expanding internationally with its first chapter in Germany.
16. The Vagos Motorcycle Club
When you think of big, bad, and dangerous to know motorcycle clubs, the Vagos are probably what you’re imagining. Formed in 1965 in San Bernardino, California, the outlaw group has a notorious reputation for drug trafficking, money laundering, and violence. It now has around 4000 members in the US spread across chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Missouri. It also boasts chapters in Mexico, Canada, Sweden, and Australia.
15. Hamsters Motorcycle Club
As Motorcycle Crusier writes, the Hamsters Motorcycle Club was born as a tongue-in-cheek response to the hard-core biker image of the ’70s. Determined to show that a group of riders could have a good time without it ending in violence, the group’s founders set about creating a club that neither pandered to nor celebrated the stereotypes. Although rumors have abounded about the group for years (including speculation that they clean their boots with $100 bills, that they collectively own 67% of Lawrence County, South Dakota, and that they all own helicopters), there’s actually no stipulation that you have to be a millionaire to join.
14. BMW Motorcycle Owners Of America
If you love BMW motorcycles, there’s one club, in particular, that has your name all over it – the BMW Motorcycle Owners Of America. Founded by five motorbike enthusiasts in Chicago in 1972, the club has its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Today, it has around 40,000 members spread across the world and regularly hosts rallies and other events.
13.The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club
The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club is a black motorcycle club named after the historic African-American United States Army regiments known as Buffalo Soldiers. Founded in 1993 with the aim of encouraging members to come together to ride in honor of the Black Americans who fought against slavery in the civil war, the club engages in numerous charitable and community-focused events. With over 140 chapters and more than 5000 members across the US, it ranks as one of the biggest Black motorcycle clubs in the USA.
12. Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA)
There are some motorcycle clubs that perpetuate the stereotype of the hard-drinking, hard-partying biker without even trying. And then there are some that couldn’t be further away from the image if they tried. Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) fall into the second category. Founded in 1995 by clinical child social worker and lifelong motorcycle lover, John Paul Lilly, the group works alongside local authorities to provide support to abused children. Once they receive a referral, the BACA allocates a member from the chapter nearest to the child’s home. The member then provides a source of psychological support to the child, and will even accompany them to court where needed. Since its foundation, the club has grown to cover 47 states in the US and 12 countries internationally.
11. The Mongols
If Bikers Against Child Abuse is the kind of motorcycle club you’d encourage your kids to join, the Mongols are the exact opposite. Founded in 1969, the Mongols have been linked to all kinds of bad behavior since their earliest days. In 2008, their activities sparked an undercover FBI operation named Operation Black Rain. After the investigation turned up numerous illicit activities, 38 Mongols were arrested. Although they have their main base in Southern California, they’ve also expanded internationally, with their Geman chapter proving just as notorious as their US ones.
10. The Pagans
In the late 1950s, thirteen motorcycle enthusiasts teamed up to form the Pagans. At first, they were an orderly group of law-abiding citizens who just happened to love motorcycles. Over the years, things began to change, with the result that the Pagans are now one of the most infamous of the outlaw MCs. Today, they’re characterized by their mandatory denim jackets, their powerful Harley Davidsons, and their passion for making mischief.
While the US is known for having some of the biggest and baddest motorcycle clubs in the world, Germany isn’t too far behind. Its most notorious MC is Gremium. Formed in 1972, the club quickly developed a reputation for acting outside the law. These days, it’s still causing trouble, although now it’s doing it as much in Asia and the rest of Europe as it is in its homeland. Some of the least salubrious activities it’s been accused of include illegal prostitution, human trafficking, drugs, weapons trafficking, and other forms of organized crime.
8. The Mad Dog Motorcycle Club
In 1994, a former executive at the pharmaceutical firm Wyeth Philippines decided to take his love of motorcycles to the next level by forming his very own MC. After starting life in Leber’s garage, the Mad Dog Motorcycle Club (as he decided to christen his new club) rapidly began to expand across Asia. Today, it has chapters in Fukuoka, Tokyo, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Beijing, along with certain areas of the US and Europe. Joining can be tricky: not only will you need to receive a personal invitation first, but you’ll also need to demonstrate your fealty to the club’s principles of diversity, camaraderie, and brotherhood by consuming vast amounts of alcohol, puffing your way through as many packets of cigarettes as humanly possible, and undergoing various initiations over the initial 6 month trial period.
7. Iron Order Motorcycle Club
The Iron Order Motorcycle Club was founded in 2004 by a group of military, police officers, prison guards, and other government employees who decided to prove once and for all that not all bikers are baddies. Unfortunately, they haven’t completely succeeded. Whenever a member gets caught up in any criminal naughtiness, the club has been quick to distance itself. However, over the years, the number of incidents has increased, dealing the club’s family-friendly reputation a hefty blow. As Hot Cars notes, while they’re not technically a one-percenter, there’s no doubt they embrace some of their traditions, including wearing patches and getting caught up in deadly rivalries. While the police are largely tolerant of the group, the military has adopted a less kindly attitude. Not only have they labeled them a gang, but they’ve also threatened anyone who joins with expulsion from the military.
6. The Outlaws
The Outlaws are one of the most notorious motorcycle clubs in the world. Founded in 1935, they’re one of the few clubs that have been mad, bad, and dangerous to know from the very beginning. Today, the club is a member of the “Big Four” outlaw motorcycle clubs, a position that means the FBI, police, and anyone else with a respect for the law have one eye on them at all times. Originally formed in Illinois, it’s since gone global, and now has around 200 chapters scattered around the world. Although it’s happy to get into a spat with almost any other MC you care to mention, it reserves most of its hostilities for the Hells Angels.
5. Christians Motorcycle Association
Less of a club and more of a mission, the Christians Motorcycle Association has been spreading the good news since 1975. The leathers and denims may be the same, but this MC is as different to clubs like the Hells Angels and Pagans as chalk and cheese. Founded in 1972 when an Arkansas pastor by the name of Herb Shreve decided to bridge the generation gap by buying both himself and his son a motorcycle, the Christians Motorcycle Association is now the biggest, and quite possibly only, evangelical Christian MC in the world. Through events, rallies, and various philanthropic activities, it aims to turn the world onto Christ and bikes like never before.
4. American Motorcycle Association
As per Motorcycle Island, the American Motorcycle Association ranks as the largest motorcycle club in the world. With membership in the millions, the AMA not only fights for the rights of riders, but also sponsors the most motorcycle competitions in the world. During the 1970s, it unwittingly gave rise to ‘one percenter’ outlaw clubs when it issued the statement that 99% of riders at their events were law-abiding.
3. Antique Motorcycle Club of America
As Hot Cars writes, bikers who own a classic motorbike will always find a home at the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Established in 1954 in New England, the club has grown into one of the largest clubs dedicated to antique motorcycles in the world. Today, it has over 11000 members across the United States, Canada, and Europe, all of whom are dedicated to upholding the organization’s central mission statement of preserving, restoring, and operating motorbikes that are at least 35 years old.
2. The Bandidos Motorcycle Club
Considered one of the Big Four Outlaw MCs, the Bandidos Motorcycle Club is one of the most infamous clubs in the world. Founded in Texas in 1966, it now has chapters in 20 countries around the world. With a membership that consists of exactly the kind of people your parents warned you about (in fact, that’s its mantra), think twice about joining its ranks if you have any interest in staying on the right side of the law.
1. The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club
As harleyliberty.com notes, the Hells Angels is the world’s largest biker motorcycle club with chapters spread across all four corners of the globe. Like the Outlaws MC, Mongols MC, and Bandidos MC, the Hells Angels is a member of the Big Four outlaw biker clubs, and it has a reputation to match. Ever since the beginning, it’s had a reputation for trouble, with drug trafficking, violence, and organized crime being just a few of its favorite pastimes. Obviously, not all Hells Angels members are trouble, but enough are to make you think twice before crossing paths with one.