The Get-Back Whip: Gangster Weapon or Plain Accessory?

Ever walked along a row of parked bikes and noticed tassels dangling from the clutch lever of some motorcycles? Or seen one of them streaming in the wind on a passing rider's handlebars?

These long, braided leather or metal cords can almost reach the pavement when parked, and is more common among old-school big bikers than modern ones. Called a “get-back whip”, it is still a popular biker sub-culture, especially in North America.

From informative, to merely decorative, several manufacturers still make the get-back whip and here is a list of companies offering them and their bit of history behind these tassels.


1. Chilhowee Motorcycle Leather
These Oregon-based leather specialists in custom biking gear explain that the whips were primarily used in the past to display club colours, and vaguely alludes to its use as a weapon amongst gang members, saying that it also comes in handy “in case of an emergency".

Handcrafted from premium American cowhide, theirs are braided around a thick nylon core for that distinctive, old-school club affiliation look.

2. Jarhead Paracord
These guys claim that modern bikers are simply reincarnations of olden day cowboys. Riders wearing leather chaps and in leather saddles, and saddle bags completing the metal horse.

The get-back whip is their modern version of the rope used to tie the horse. Handweaved for each customer, Jarhead Paracords uses horse tack panic snap to release the whip immediately for those… “emergency situations”.

3. Iron Braid Inc.
This New York based company claims further that the get-back whip is an added safety measure, as it attracts driver attention and alerts other drivers to your presence. A dubious claim but nevertheless, Iron Braid also makes these whips from pure metal if you prefer the extra-modern shiny look.

They offer three standard lengths of 24”, 36” and 48” but can also customise the length on demand.

4. Cactus Leather
The guys over at Cactus are a little more open about today's get-back whips, freely admitting that these accessories can “add to your individual style”. With a focus on fashion and style, Cactus Leather get-back whips is a pronounced fashion statement.