One of our employees just showed me the column in the Sentinel. I wish someone would have contacted the ONLY local motorcycle exhaust manufacturer about this topic for comment. As a manufacturer of modified exhausts, we understand that noise is a huge issue—from good to bad. We feel that there are small percentages of riders out there that ruin it for the majority. I, like all of the employees, run modified exhausts. It is a muffled high performance exhaust that can be very loud. Though the company does make quiet options for its pipes, most people chose to go with the louder muffler insert as they do provide additional power. However, if the rider is respectful and isn’t speeding or rapping the throttle intentionally to make noise, typically other people will not be upset. For instance, since I know that my bike can be loud, I come home very mellow and at slow speeds so I don’t upset my neighbors. I feel it is the same with any kind of unnecessary noise (radio, yelling, TV, guns [yes, I hear guns from my home]).
So for the folks out there with overly loud pipes…I say, have a little respect. Save the noise for the freeways or the motorcycle rallies. With changes with the EPA and with sound ordinances changing, more and more cruising riders are opting to leave their exhaust stock on their bikes. That is fine with me if it is a CHOICE. I feel as many bikers out there do, that our rights and freedom is always in jeopardy. I don’t want to have anyone state that I can or can’t make changes to my motorcycle which reflects my personality. But, with the general population being pissed off by the noise, things will change—like it or not. No one at our (motorcycle) shop has ever had a ticket for overly loud pipes because we ride with respect and we keep the bikes quiet when we are around town and people.
Now, onto the “loud pipes save lives” comment that many of the people talked about in the column; anyone that rides a bike knows the fear of a car hitting them or trying to share lanes with them on the road. Anything that increases the awareness of a bike will help save lives. That includes reflective vests, avoiding blind spots, and louder exhausts. The reports out there that show louder pipes don’t save lives are biased. They are looking at the deaths and the bikes the person was riding. They (DMV) have not done a research on the number of near hits or collisions. That is where the pipes are helping out. I for one have had countless encounters with cars in the Bay Area of California start to come over into my lane (or my leg) and since my hand is on the throttle, it is second nature to twist it and make a little more noise. Sure I could hit my horn but when I am in the fast lane and the car is coming at me from the right they are not going to hear my lil’ beep-beep. They do hear my pipes and I HAVE YET TO BE HIT.
Now the reason that I am writing this now is because the police in my area are now breaking the federal law. The Oakland, California police department has now started using modified exhaust pipes on their bikes to….get this….help prevent being hit! It was said that the department decided to increase the noise output due to a police officer getting hit. When the person that hit the officer was questioned….they said, “I did not know the officer was there.” Great, eh? Hopefully this will shed some light on the loud pipes issue. The bikes are now at 93 dbs, significantly louder than federally mandated noise ordinances.
If you have any comments or what to read about anything in particular, please send me a note. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ride safe and make a little noise.