You are currently viewing Most Dangerous Motorcycle Clubs: The Notorious Baddies
Image Credit: Benjamin Suter / UnSplash

Most Dangerous Motorcycle Clubs: The Notorious Baddies

The Hells Angels, the Outlaws, the Bandidos, and others… They’re all just a bunch of good ol’ boys! Or are they the most dangerous motorcycle clubs in the world?

Motorcycle gang has long been a staple of American culture, from bikers-only bars and international drug rings to hair-raising rides and backroom politics. But for all their popularity, these groups are also shrouded in mystery.

There are complaints that several notorious biker groups are involved in crimes like money laundering, extortion, prostitution, drug dealing, and racketeering.

So what’s the truth behind these dangerous biker gangs in America? Are they just tight-knit groups of friends who like to ride bikes together? Or are they something more sinister? And how did they get that way?

5 Most Dangerous Motorcycle Clubs in the USA

The most dangerous motorcycle clubs are definitely not comprised of law-abiding citizens. They might not look like it, but these clans have a long, complicated history—and they ain’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Some of them run criminal enterprises and involved in organized criminal activities and violent acts. And all biker clubs are a hub for motorcycle enthusiasts who live by their own code of conduct.

Let’s look into a couple of the biggest names in this fascinating and dangerous world of biker gangs.

Sons of Silence

The Sons of Silence, or “SOS,” are known for their riveting patches.

While SOS is one of the more mysterious clubs on the scene today, Its history is relatively well-documented.

The club started in 1966 when an ex-US Navy from Colorado decided to found an organization dedicated to speeding down roads and doing things that would make God angry.

Well, I’m joking! But the club did make God angry by being involved in decade-long turf wars with the Outlaw bikers and other street gangs. The members have been charged with various criminal allegations and incidents throughout the club’s history.

  • Home Ground: Midwest and South
  • Number of Members: 250 – 500 (approximately)
  • Website: Sons of Silence

Hells Angels

Arguably the best-known motorcycle club globally, Hells Angels has undoubtedly come a long way from its founding in 1948.

The group now has over 467 chapters on six continents, with over 2,000 members worldwide.

The gang’s rivalries with other motorcycle clubs are infamous. The members are known to be violent and vicious during these conflicts—and they often find themselves battling Outlaw Motorcycle Club (or OMC).

Hells Angels is known for its “one-percenter” status, which is a declaration that they don’t follow the law or laws of society.

What Is 1%er or One-Percenter? The members of some outlaw motorcycle clubs wear the patch “1%” on their vest/jacket. The term comes from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). The association has said that 99 percent of bikers as law-abiding people, insinuating that the rest of one percent were not.

It’s also one of the biggest and most well-known motorcycle clubs worldwide—and that means it’s pretty hard to get into them. You have to be sponsored by a member and go through a rigorous initiation process known as prospecting.

  • Home Ground: All over the USA
  • Number of Members: 3,000 – 3,500 (approximately)
  • Website: Hells Angels

The Pagan’s

The Pagan’s, based out of Baltimore, Maryland, is all about controlling drug trafficking throughout the East Coast—specifically Philadelphia and New Jersey. It has been involved in pretty dramatic conflicts with other motorcycle clubs, including Hells Angels.

However, Lou Dobkin formed it in 1957 to profess his love for blue denim jackets and Triumphs. But the club took a U-turn to the criminal world under John “Satan” Marron in the 60s and 70s.

With ties to mafia and brotherhood gangs, the club is one of the largest outlaw motorcycle clubs in the USA.

  • Home Ground: Eastern Seaboard
  • Number of Members: 1000+
  • Website: N/A

Outlaws Motorcycle Club

With around 3,000 members in 176 chapters worldwide, the Outlaws Motorcycle Club is the Hells Angels’ biggest rival.

The club has massive influence over drug smuggling at the Canadian border and controls large swaths of the Great Lakes region. Its rap sheet also includes capital offenses across the nation.

The Illinois-based club was founded in 1935—making them arguably the world’s oldest outlaw motorcycle club. Its logo shows a skull with wings and crossed pistons.

  • Home Ground: Eastern and Central U.S.
  • Number of Members: 2,500 – 3,000 (approximately)
  • Website: Outlaws MC

SEE MORE: The Life of a Rider: Is It Worth It?

Bandidos Motorcycle Club

Based in Texas, Bandidos Motorcycle Club is the biggest one-percenter club. It deals with the international trafficking of arms, drugs, and human beings.

The club’s logo shows a man in a sombrero with a machete clenched in one hand and a revolver in the other. Yes—really!

The logo only confirms the members’ knack for violence; I mean, who can forget their involvement in the notorious Waco shootout where nine people were killed. And according to Waco police, the extremely violent brawl was triggered by a parking spot dispute.

In fact, the law-enforcing agencies in-home and outside consider it an organized crime syndicate.

  • Home Ground: The South, concentrated in Texas
  • Number of Members: 5,000+
  • Website: Bandidos MC

You were not wrong if you’d thought that these folks are all about riding and living the dream of life on the open road. But the lifestyle is not free from violence and criminal activities. These gangs are guilty to racketeering charges, distribution of methamphetamine, drive-by shootings, gun running, and various other crimes.

FAQs about the Most Dangerous Motorcycle Clubs

Why are some motorcycle clubs illegal?

Many motorcycle clubs participate in legal activities and identify as social clubs. However, some engage in extensive criminal enterprises and use their club name, patches and symbols to intimidate. Law enforcement labels such clubs as outlaw motorcycle gangs or criminal motorcycle groups.

What do motorcycle gang patches mean?

Motorcycle gang patches contain symbols that represent the club, convey messages to members and outsiders, and show affiliation, status and history. Common symbols include death heads, vicious animals and crowns. To outsiders, the patches signal that the biker is not to be taken lightly.

Do women join motorcycle gangs?

While motorcycle gangs were historically male-dominated, some now have full-patches female members. However, women in the gangs could face misogyny and risk of violence.

How are motorcycle gangs organized?

Motorcycle gangs operate based on a hierarchical structure with different levels and roles. Members rise up the ranks from prospect to full member to sergeant-at-arms to vice president and ultimately to president, who leads an entire chapter and reports to the overall gang leader.

What do motorcycle gang initiations entail?

Motorcycle gang initiations are usually secretive and intense rituals meant to test and build loyalty in prospective members. They may involve fighting club members, getting severely beaten, branded with hot irons, suspended from chains, performing difficult tasks or arranged criminal acts.

Leave a Reply