When folks think about bikers, they see a vision of burly, leather clad guys with long beards riding throughout the nation raising hell and starting barroom brawls. In reality, most bikers out there are actually law-abiding citizens who have jobs and are raising families.
The outlaw bikers that we first think about make up only 1% of all bikers. The remaining 99% of bikers live within the law’s boundaries. This is why biker gangs refer to themselves as “one percenters” and why virtually all of them wear a “1%” patch on their leather jackets.
Below we have listed the top 7 notorious motorcycle gangs that come from these “one percenters”.
The Vagos Motorcycle Club originated in San Bernardino, CA during the 1960’s. Club members usually wear green with a patch that shows the Norse god Loki on a motorcycle. Vagos has around 24 chapters throughout the western United States and also 3 chapters located in Mexico.
The Vagos have been investigated often by the ATF and the FBI for illegal activities such as distributing meth, money laundering, murder, and weapons violations. A significant investigation during March 2006 resulted in arrests of 25 Vagos along with their associates.
This biker gang was founded in San Antonio, TX in the year 1966. The Bandidos have long been among the most notorious of American biker Clubs. The Bandido patch displays an obese cartoon of a Mexican that is wearing a big sombrero, he has a machete in one hand and a pistol in his other hand. They recognize gold and red as their official colors because their founder is an ex-Vietnam Marine veteran.
The growth of the Bandidos has been amazing as they have about 90 chapters throughout the United States alone. In addition, they have even branched out to foreign countries such as Germany, Asia, and Australia.
The Bandidos gang has a long brutal rap sheet of illegal activity. For instance, a Bandido was arrested, tried and convicted for the 2006 murder of a popular flyweight boxer. And then Hell’s Angels member was shot as he left a restaurant during a celebration of The Bandidos 40th Anniversary.
The Warlocks gang started in year 1967 at Philadelphia, PA. They brought in a huge number of members when the Vietnam War ended and contains only white males. They have spread throughout Pennsylvania along with sizeable portion of the northeastern U.S., and now have chapters in southeast U.S. as well. The even have members in England and Germany.
Their declared red and white as their official club colors. They use the Greek mythological winged Harpy as insignia for their club.
During 2008, the President of the Bucks County, PA chapter got arrested on the suspicion of possessing 10 lbs of meth. After that, four Warlocks members were arrested for producing and selling meth within Montgomery and Berks Counties in Pennsylvania. It is believed that the Warlocks have sold over 500 pounds of meth which has valued at around $9 million.
The Outlaws are most definitely one of the oldest and most notorious gangs on this list. They began on old Route 66 in Matilda’s Bar located in McCook, IL in the year 1935. They actually use the insignia that was displayed on Marlon Brando’s leather jacket in the movie “The Wild Ones” as their inspiration. This resulted in the club adopting a skull with cross pistons as the official patch for the gang. And since the gang started over 70 years ago, their chapters have spread all throughout the United States, and their chapters are very well established in the countries of Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and South America.
Harry Joseph “Taco” Bowman, was the international president of The Outlaws Biker Club and ruled over 30 chapters throughout the United States and also 20 chapters from 4 other countries. His reign end when he was convicted of 3 murders in the year 1999. All over the world, The Outlaws have been arrested and convicted of numerous crimes ranging from prostitution, narcotic trafficking, dealing arms, stolen goods, and murder.
The Pagans biker gang first formed in Maryland during the year 1959 and had grown rapidly by the year 1965. Their patch displays the Norse fire giant Surtr as he sits on the sun holding a sword with the letters spelling out the word Pagans in blue, red, and white. Members have been seen to wear these patches on cut-off jean jackets as well. Their territory appears to located mostly throughout the east coast of the United States.
The Pagans have a violent history that documents a fierce rivalry with the Hell’s Angels. They have also been connected to several crimes that include arson, murder, drug smuggling and have even been linked to organized crime figures in northeast United States. In February 2002, 73 Pagans got arrested in Long Island, NY after extreme violence took place during a motorcycle and tattoo ball. The Pagans supposedly attended the event with the intent of confronting members of The Hell’s Angels. This melee resulted in 10 injured bikers and one dead Pagan. Then in 2005, a few Pagans supposedly killed the Vice-President of the Hell’s Angels Philadelphia Chapter.
The Mongols biker gang was created in the year 1969 in Montebello, California for Hispanic bikers who were not allowed into The Hell’s Angels because of race. Their official colors are white and black, and their insignia displays the name Mongols in huge black letters. Underneath these letter is a pony-tailed man on a motorcycle who is wearing a sunglasses and leather vest while holding a scimitar. Mongol biker gang chapters are mostly concentrated in the western U.S, but now chapters exist in Mexico, Canada, and Italy.
In the year 2008, the ATF orchestrated a sting against The Mongols where 4 of their agents infiltrated their club as they became fully patched members. This allowed them to gaining a huge surplus of club intelligence about the criminal activities of the gang. This sting resulted in a total of 38 arrests which included the president of the club, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos.
The Hell’s Angels are hands down the most well-known and popular American biker gang. They have a very long history of crime and violence on the highways of America. A lot of information about their beginning is very fuzzy because of the long-standing secrecy code they have enforced among their members. Many believe they were formed sometime during the 1940’s or the 1950’s in California. The insignia that they have always used is the famous “death’s head” logo which was actually copied from the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron and the 85th Fighter Squadron. Red lettering across backgrounds of white has always been the colors of the club. Because of their amazing popularity, Hell’s Angels chapters exist all over the United States, and in many foreign countries like Russia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, and Australia.
The Hell’s Angels received lots of notoriety throughout the United States because of their highly publicized brushes with not only the law, but also rival biker gangs. Perhaps the most well-known of these events took place during a free concert at the Altamont Speedway in December 1969 where supposedly The Rolling Stones paid The Hell’s Angels to establish law of order after violence broke out.
Another well publicized event took place in Laughlin, Nevada at a Harrah’s Casino. A violent confrontation erupted within the casino between the Hell’s Angels and their rival gang, the Mongols. This resulted in the death of one Mongol, and two dead Hell’s Angels members.