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I often found myself parked in my old vehicle or windows closed while driving backroads when I suddenly heard a thundering motorcycle approaching. Motorcycles have a louder voice, sometimes louder than other larger automobiles.

This makes you wonder, why are motorcycles so loud?

Motorbikes are noisy because of their internal combustion engines that produce thousands of explosions each second. Some motorbikes are extremely loud, and this is usually caused by owners modifying aftermarket parts, stock exhaust system or putting away their mufflers- the horns have less effect.

Why Do Motorcycles Sound Loud?

Before we dive deeper we must note that some bikes are noisy and have a very loud sound. There are many different models of motorcycles out there with different sounds. Some of these bikes are silent motorcycles, such as electric motorcycles.

why are motorcycles so loud? a girl hearing loud noise

In general, however, many consider the motorcycle louder than many other vehicles. We can examine the causes of this problem below:

  • Marketing Considerations

Another major factor is psychological or marketing consideration, based on a specific situation. Even though manufacturers could design quieter bike designs, some are still built for loud noises – and good reason.

It also explains how exhausting sound affects emotion and ultimately purchasing decisions. Motorcycling sounds are musical instruments for many riders. It’s loud enough. So manufacturers try and increase the volume of their bikes so they can be heard loudly.

If the bike meets all required noise regulations including loud exhaust, the motorcycle can enter mass manufacturing.

  • Small Mufflers And Short Exhaust Pipe

Similar to the motor, the exhaust pipe design can also affect the air filter design that exhaust gases. Motorcycles are also louder because their exhaust system is much lighter compared to that used on other vehicles such as cars.

Thanks to its large body, the car can have a long exhaust pipe that can fit in a large muffler or a catalytic converter eventually making a louder sound.

A motorcycle exhaust pipe

Several parts are hidden beneath cars. Moreover, these devices reduce engine sound effectively. These systems have major weaknesses such as being heavy and costly in operation. Motorcycle exhaust systems are much more complicated and much less efficient.

  • Different Engine Features

Motorcycles are loud and are specifically geared toward adrenalin thrills. Though you will see smaller motorcycle models that will generally serve you as commuting vehicles, most are designed for performance-minded buyers.

Many people just want better performance and an incredibly loud sound. In the past few years, the manufacturers have introduced many different engine designs.

Strangely, many remain silent. For example, a lot of lightweight bikes have a small engine which produces minimal noise.

  • Aftermarket Exhaust And Performance Modifications

Some motorcycle enthusiasts tend to modify aftermarket components by adding aftermarket pipes, aftermarket exhausts and aftermarket mufflers for many models.

A motorcycle rider can remove the exhaust on their bike in different ways, but they generally do so for many reasons one of them being their personal preference for a loud bike.

  • Aggressive Riding And Showing-off

Another reason people believe motorcycles can get louder than cars can be the attitude they display as a rider. Typically cars are used for “normal” transport, that is, drivers just want a comfortable trip to a point.

This explains their increased likelihood of obeying laws and avoiding reckless driving.

reckless driving style of motorist

Most motorcycles use bikes as passion pleasures and are not commuter bikes. Generally, they have driven aggressively, with high speed, reckless riding, and fast speed-to-race.

How Many Decibels Does A Motorcycle Produce?

Motorcycle noise has varied widely in its design. However, most motorcycle engines generate between 68 and 78 dB while driving in a low regenerative mode. If you’re cruising at 30mph, the maximum dB produced by a motorcycle engine will be 86-95 dB, but it could be 100-115 dB at full throttle.

Again they’re relatively normal numbers as motorcycling decibel levels vary greatly based on several different things. Most modern motorcycles are quieter due to lower restrictions on sound levels.

The standard vehicle decibel level varies from 35 dB when idling to 50-60 dB when traveling. The average lawnmowing output is approximately 90dB and jet aircraft generate around 145dB.

How Far Away Can You Hear A Motorcycle?

Motorcycles are annoying to many because the exhaust sounds sound so distant from one another. You can hear the motorcyclist more than 2 miles from you when its output exceeds 120dB. These loud pipes save lives and prevent motorcycle accidents at times.

In terms of quieter bicycles, you’ll hear 105 dB from an hour or a hundred yards away while you’re still able to hear 85fromn 500 – 600 meters. (Again remember that the distances are determined by many factors including topology, and weather conditions)

That’s the reason for the importance of sound levels in motorcycles.

Motorcycle Noise Laws

There are laws on pollution of motorbike traffic that restrict the use of motorized vehicles to break certain noise limits. In the US, most vehicles manufactured after 1984 must be at least 70 dB louder while standing and 80 dB at a speed of 35 mph.

person driving motorcycle on concrete road

In other words, manufacturers manufacture motorcycles to comply with this standard. The aftermarket company must meet this standard for auxiliary exhausts related to the date of production.

These regulations apply to motorcycles before 1986, mopeds, and off-road motorcycles. In the UK legal noise levels are 78 dB – 80 dB, with an additional 6 dB of mechanical noise permitted.

Aftermarket Exhaust System And Manufacturer Marketing

Motorcycles offer a great range of options for leisure rides and the motorcycling industry has an exciting lifestyle. This explains some of the time spent designing motorcycles. Sure some of the features are performance-based but the style has even bigger importance to most manufacturers.

Part of thinking processes also accounts for how motorcycles sound and many manufacturers deliberately produce a motorcycle that sounds good. Some of us recall the zip braw of a traditional Two-stroke, and the noise is synonymous with revolt, fun, and youth.

The Safety Factor

Safety on the road is a major issue when motorcycles are equipped with high exhaust. If a bike group contains more than one rider it is impossible to see all the riders visually. I find it difficult tracking 20+ bikes as well as tracking the cars surrounding you.

This structure serves to safeguard our country’s citizens. It is loud and lets you know what your bike is doing. If they start or decelerate then they can probably break out. They’ll be locked in. Reaction time can increase by 2 seconds when using bike sight.

The Science Behind Loud Motorcycle Exhausts

Most people think loud noises can attract attention. A British study found that the older the motorcycle is, the louder it is, the results were based on an analysis by the British Government.

The most likely explanation of the confusion came from an examination of a 90-cyl model which is the cheapest in the British market. High-end exhaust is indeed influenced by how high speed the motorcycle can handle. The higher the RPMs, the louder the bike is.

But Not All Loud Exhausts Are Created Equal!

Some will spend endless hours pondering about how to find the perfect bike for themselves. But we never gave much thought to the exhaust options that would best suit my brand-new car. We start comparing prices from all suppliers automatically.

In some cases, aftermarket accessories also come into view. There are many disadvantages to purchasing inexpensive exhaust; noise is among the major problems.

Cheaper emissions are generally annoyingly loud and have a very short amplitude range which can make the sounds very irritating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are New Motorcycles Quieter Than Older Motorcycles?

New motorcycles are quieter than old motorcycles as they also have more limitations not only regarding noise limits but regarding the emissions they may generate. Generally, emission reduction leads to lower noise levels.

A lot of older motorcycle models also have mufflers that break down when used and become very less efficient as a result compared to their new versions.

The motorcycles have the most sophisticated exhausts which can absorb the most incoming sound from a motorcycling system using the latest technologies.

Do Loud Motorcycles Save Lives?

I’m sure some people believe a strong pipe saves lives, but some riders swear by the thing. Safety riding is vital in the sense that constant visual inspection and a constant presence on the road will save you much longer from loud noise.

A common cause of an accident is a driver who is unaware of motorcycles. Your bike will likely never stop you from getting injured if you ride too loudly in the first place. The enclosed rooms have air conditioning installed with windows up.

Can Motorcycles Be Quiet?

Motorcycles designed for the European markets are usually quiet. Many motorcycle brands such as BMW have remained very quiet while certain models are also loud.

Are Motorcycles Designed To Be Loud?

The truth is, motorcycles aren’t designed for being loud. Motorcycle engines are generally quiet because of the efficient muffler in them.

The Final Word

Motorcycles are not so loud when manufactured. Riders often install aftermarket exhaust systems in their bike’s engine to enhance the volume of noise produced by the motorcycle.

The motorcycle manufacturers install a certain level of sound in the bikes to ensure unaware car drivers can hear them coming even if they cannot see them on the road. As the bike accelerates the volume of sound produced from the motorcycle also increases.

Cars are less noisier than motorbikes as their exhaust port is enclosed in the engine compartment encasing. While for motorcycle riders the exhaust port is located outside of their body producing pretty loud volumes of sound.

Some motorcycles which are light in weight make the motorcycle quieter. Older motorcycles tend to make loud noise more than newer motorcycles. There are local laws against loud motorcycles ensuring their engine noise does not violate noise pollution regulations. For more information, please refer here to understand why motorcycles are loud.

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