As the second-biggest motorcycle group in the United States, the Bandidos have built up quite the reputation down the years. But did you know that these notorious bikers are still expected to follow some particularly strict rules? With that in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at 20 of those regulations. So put on your helmets and hold on tight.
20. The hangaround period
It’s not always easy to earn a membership with certain clubs — you can’t just walk up and ask. Instead, you might have to prove yourself before they let you in. That’s definitely the case with the Bandidos. But the task isn’t as full-throttle as you’d probably expect given the group’s reputation.
In fact, it’s all about patience. Yes, if you want to earn your place with the Bandidos, you’ve got to complete a task known as “the hangaround period.” Simply put, you’re expected to spend time around a clubhouse, or “chapter,” until the the chapter’s president says you can join. So it might go on for a few days…or even months. Like we said, patience.
19. Public conduct
Let’s be honest — the mere sight of a Bandidos gang on the open road is enough to scare even the bravest person. No shame in that. Yet that’s not the bikers’ aim. The notorious club doesn’t want its representatives to terrify the public at large for a very simple reason.
The Bandidos really just want to have the public’s respect and approval. Surprising, right? On that note, the bikers are expected to be on their best behavior around regular citizens. If they’re provoked, though, those niceties will quickly disappear. So don’t give them a reason to get angry with you.
18. The screening process
To say that the Bandidos’ recruitment policy is thorough would be a massive understatement. You see, if a biker hopes to join, they must’ve been acquainted with one of the representatives for no less than five years. Strangers can’t just waltz in. But that’s only the start of this so-called “screening process.”
On top of that, the higher-ups at the club will dig into the person’s past, ahead of traveling to their place of residence. From there, they’ll quiz their relatives to back up the information. All of this is done to ensure that their prospective new member isn’t a cop. That’s some security check.
17. Can’t say no to human waste
When you join a club or fraternity, you might be expected to complete an initiation. Sure, it could provoke a minute or two of embarrassment, but the process rubber-stamps your membership. Then again, some of these inductions and traditions can be extremely brutal. For instance, few come close to the Bandidos’ ceremony.
You see, when a biker joins the Bandidos, his associates will deposit human waste onto his vest. So yes, that can range from vomit to urine and…well, we don’t need to tell you what else. It gets worse, though. After that, he’s got to wear the garment on the open road. Once it’s dried, he can finally remove it. Bleurgh!
16. Discussing club business
Like a lot of other clubs, the Bandidos are pretty private when it comes to talking about their internal affairs. Keeping that in mind, members are strongly advised to watch what they say in public. It’s fair to say that loose lips won’t be appreciated by the higher-ups.
One of the big no-nos is divulging club business to a person who’s not part of the Bandidos. And that includes friends and family. Meanwhile, any discussions of club matters are expected to be kept very quiet among the bikers if they’re in a public place. They’ve have to watch their surroundings very carefully.
15. The patches
As you’ve probably noticed, biker vests are often covered in special patches and stitchings. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Bandidos are no exception on that front. But what markers and badges are the members expected to wear on the road? Is there anything in particular?
Well, Bandidos bikers have to sport patches known as the “One Percent Diamond”, “Top and Bottom Rocker”, “MC” and the “Fat Mexican” on the back of their vests. The diamond insignia has to be stitched on the chest as well. Plus, each patch needs to be recognized from a distance of roughly 150 feet. Pretty specific, right?
14. The prospect period
The Bandidos’ recruitment policy is both time-consuming and taxing — to put it mildly. But if a biker makes it through the initial hangaround period and still wants to pursue membership in the club, they start the next phase. This is referred to as the “prospect period.” And things only get harder from there.
Why’s that? Well, over the course of the hangaround period, prospective members have to convince the Bandidos that they’re worthy to join them. So those individuals are usually lumbered with demeaning jobs or told to partake in the group’s “dirty work.” This spell lasts at least six months although it can go on for longer, though.
13. The pledge
When you pledge your allegiance to any kind of club, you take on certain responsibilities that have to be fulfilled. It’s no different with the Bandidos — but you’re not just signing yourself up to that way of life. Once you’ve been accepted to a clubhouse, you have to sign your motorbike’s ownership over to the group. That has to be tough.
And the commitment doesn’t end there. After a clubhouse takes you on, you’re not only a member of that specific group. In fact, you’re now part of the “Bandido Nation” as a whole. So whenever a major club affair is planned, you’re expected to be there come rain or shine.
12. “No Contact” status
It’s fair to say that people at a club can form deep bonds during their time together. And that friendship can endure for years, even if one of them departs the group for pastures new. But that’s not always possible with organizations like the Bandidos. Splits can get particularly messy.
As a result of that, the departing biker might be given a “No Contact” status. The name says it all — their former associates won’t be allowed to speak to them again. This extends beyond the one clubhouse too, so all Bandidos have to abide by the same instructions. Talk about cutting your ties!
Earning the right to call yourself a Bandido will push you to your physical and mental limits, yet that’s not all. Your wallet will take a substantial hit at the end as well! You see, bikers have to make a payment to finalize their place in the club — specifically, $550. No, that’s not a typo.
Half of that $550 goes towards a patch, while the rest is paid into a club trust. The money in that fund is used to pay for legal representation if a Bandido gets picked up by the authorities. It also helps pay for biker funerals. So you can’t accuse the group of being disorganized on that front. Some real forward planning there.
10. Bike rules
As the Bandidos are a motorcycle club, it shouldn’t be too surprising to hear that they’ve got some strict rules regarding bikes. For instance, prospective Bandidos need to have a Harley-Davidson — more than one if possible. And on top of that, the engine has to be at least 750cc.
If a Bandido is unlucky enough to lose their motorbike, though, they have to act fast. You see, each club member is allowed to spend up to 30 days without a ride every year. Even so, should they exceed that period and the situation hasn’t changed, their clubhouse will be forced to hand over $500 to the Bandidos Nation. Strict.
9. No lies or stealing
You all know the phrase “honesty is the best policy” right? Well, that’s especially true with the Bandidos. One of the club’s biggest mantras is a zero tolerance policy towards lying. So members have to watch what they say around their biking counterparts. But that’s not the only thing that gets frowned upon.
Stealing is also forbidden by the Bandido code. That’s a pretty admirable moral system for a club with such a fearsome reputation wouldn’t you say? Then again, past members from the 1960s and ’70s were well known for taking bikes that didn’t belong to them. So it’s hardly always been the case.
8. Club colors
Just as sports teams are recognized by their kits, Bandidos stand out thanks to their club colors. These items of clothing can say a lot about the person in question, identifying them as a club and a chapter member. Riders are also responsible for maintaining their garments from the moment they join the group.
Yet it goes beyond that. For example, if a Bandido is running low on money, they’re forbidden from putting their colors up for sale. And misplacing them can cause quite the hassle too, as new garments won’t be forthcoming. It could be argued that they’re just as vital as the bikes.
7. Funeral etiquette
While funerals are emotionally difficult events to get through, we all have to abide by the expected etiquette. Now with Bandido ceremonies, they’ve also got to follow their own set of rules, which includes their conduct on the road. To give you an example, each biker is expected to ride by themselves.
That way, their patches are on full display to mark the service for their fallen comrade. Plus, attendance is absolutely mandatory for those in the club. Skipping such an event is unthinkable. Mind you, not everyone gets a Bandido funeral. For instance, if a member takes their own life, they’re immediately ruled out.
6. Borrowing and returns
It’s safe to say that we’ve all borrowed something at some point in our lives. And on those occasions, we’ve had to ensure that the item gets back to its original owner in one piece. It would be a betrayal of trust if we failed to do so. The Bandidos have a very similar moral code.
Yes, the bikers are required to look after anything they might borrow from different clubhouses across the country. Vehicles, appliances, cash, you name it — it’s entirely up to them to take care of the items and return them once they’re done. So clearly manners still count for something — even in a notorious motorcycle club.
If you’re a woman and fancy becoming a Bandido, we’ve got some bad news for you. Ladies are forbidden from joining the club. Mind you, there are openings to take on “associate” positions. It’s not as glamorous as you might think — girls are occasionally mistreated while they carry out humdrum jobs for the group.
But women can also become a Bandido “Ol’ Lady,” or partner, should they choose to. When that happens, they’re advised to sport a “Property Patch” on their vest which highlights who they’re with. And much like other bikers in the club, these women aren’t allowed to discuss internal affairs with any outsiders.
4. Don’t ask for promotions
Rising up the ranks is a great feeling, whether it’s at your job or the local biker club. Then again, if you believe that a certain promotion should’ve been yours, you might bring the matter to the attention of your higher-ups. It can’t hurt right? With the Bandidos, though, discussions of that type are off-limits.
Bikers must accept their current status within the club and work towards their eventual goal. Asking for a “career” boost won’t get them anywhere, so they’ve got to put the time in. Also, Bandidos are strongly advised to encourage those who do nab a promotion — as painful as that might be.
3. Leaving the club
As our lives progress, plenty of things can change — whether it’s our job or living arrangements. But for the Bandidos, one aspect remains a constant. Their membership to the club is essentially a lifetime commitment, unless they get the green-light to leave on good terms. What happens to those that abandon the group, though?
Well, those individuals could suffer abuse from their old club colleagues, or be shunned altogether. Yet that’s not the worst part. Should they have received a Bandido tattoo in the past, that’s got to go. The biker needs to sort that out himself if he doesn’t want his ex-buddies to forcibly do the honors. Ow!
For motorcycle groups like the Bandidos, trust is everything. Without it, things can get dangerous very quickly. How so? Well, let’s use this as an example: if a member decided to go to the authorities about an incident that happened within the club, they’d be putting their lives at great risk.
You see, those who choose to side with the authorities against the Bandidos become targets of the group. It can even get to the stage where they may need to join the witness protection program to avoid future harm. So we weren’t exaggerating when we said it can get dicey!
1. The meetings
Let’s be honest here — work meetings aren’t exactly known for their excitement. But still, we power through them as best we can — they’re an unfortunate necessity. Now similar gatherings at a club may bring about those same feelings, yet they aren’t always compulsory. That’s not the case for the Bandidos, though.
Bandidos have to go to every meeting called by their local chapter.The only accepted valid reasons for missing a meeting are having to work, being ill or simply being unable to attend because you’re currently languishing in jail. Even so, should a member skip three gatherings without getting consent beforehand, are compelled to leave the group.