Will and Harry with motorbike
Princes Harry and William prepare for a charity bike trek in 2008 (Reuters)

The Oxford English Dictionary has revised its current definition of bikers as "hairy" and wearing "dirty denim" after motorcyclists complained that the description does not do them justice.

Citing new figures, they claim that bikers are now more likely to be short-haired, clean shaven and tattoo-free.

They hold up motorcycling fans like David Beckham and Princes William and Harry as an example of how bikers have changed, and are not now typically, as the OED states, "a member of a gang: a long-haired biker in dirty denims."

According to a recent survey, less than 9 percent of bikers now have long hair, while 42 percent do not have any tattoos, piercings, facial hair or gang markings.

Ceding to pressure, the OED has changed its definition of "biker" to "a motorcyclist, especially one who is a member of a gang or group: a biker was involved in a collision with a car."

The data, compiled by specialist insurance firm Bennetts, found that 74 percent of bikers, believe the old definition was inaccurate, with 21 percent saying they were "outraged and offended" by it; 65 percent said that they spent most of their time riding alone, and not "as part of a gang".

Over half, 60 percent, believe the old definition is "dated and irrelevant", and just 2 percent say it was "correct and accurate", the poll of 524 bikers found.

Once bikers were typically regarded as Harley-Davidson riding, bar room brawling, freewheeling rebels, but the average biker in 2013 is a 35-year-old IT or telecoms professional who rides a Honda.

The controversy can be traced back to the dawn of motorcycling, when a media frenzy around a biker riot in Hollister, USA, in 1947 led the American Motorcycle Association to state that 99 percent of bikers were law abiding.

This in turn prompted motorcycle gangs to adopt a 1 percent arm patch, flaunting their affiliation with the criminal minority.

Bikers went on to achieve further notoriety in the 1950s, when newly formed gangs like the Hells Angels consolidated their reputation for hell-raising.

The image of the outlaw biker was reinforced by movies such as 1953's The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando.

Hannah Squirell of Bennetts said: "We are pleased the Oxford Dictionary definition has finally been updated.

"However, it's worth pointing out that not every person who rides a motorcycle describes themselves as a 'biker' and we're not all members of gangs - so there is still some way to go."

Nicola Burton, spokeswoman for Oxford University Press, which publishes the OED, told the Sunday Telegraph the change to the definition was made on 22 February.

She said: "This change has been made to reflect a minor shift in contemporary use of the word 'biker'.

"Our research suggests 'biker' is now more closely aligned with 'motorcyclist' than words such as 'hell's angel'.

"We also updated the usage example, which is intended to provide an illustration of how the word could be used in a sentence.

"Oxford Dictionaries definitions are based on evidence of language usage.

"They are not meant to prescribe how language should be used, but instead describe language as it is used by the majority of its speakers, based on our objective research."