One of the common questions that every motorcycle enthusiast faces on a daily basis is about the sound their bikes make. People unfamiliar with the fine technicalities of bikes are often curious about the characteristic loud noises that most of them produce.
Many hardcore motorcycle riders often get questioned by the non-riders about why their motorcycles are so loud, if they do it on purpose and whether the aftermarket mufflers are even legal.
The answer is never simple, as it is often an amalgamation of personal choice and mechanical features of the bike, and people also mostly do not have the time or patience to hear the full explanation.
This is where this blog factors in. In this blog, we will take a look at the various factors that can cause loud noises in a bike, and also we will try to decode the obsession of bikers with loud exhausts.
Whether you are a hardcore biker or just a casual onlooker, this blog will tell you everything you need to know about bike exhaust sounds.
Why Are Bikes & Motorcycles So Loud?
As we switch to a more electric future, cars on average are getting quieter which then raises all eyebrows towards motorcycles and their ever-noisy nature. There are three main reasons for a motorcycle to be louder on average.
Motorcycles have smaller mufflers -The motorcycle mufflers are designed to reduce the noise coming from the engine via the exhaust. They are usually several inches shorter than their four-wheeled counterparts. Therefore they are also much louder.
Shorter exhaust pipes -Lack of space forces motorcycles to have shorter exhaust pipes. Shorter pipes mean a higher force of air coming out of the exhaust pipes, making a louder sound.
Open engine design -A motorcycle’s engine is open to the atmosphere and air. Nothing is shielding the sound coming from the engine pistons going up and down inside the bike’s engine. Thousands of mini-explosions happen every minute inside motorcycle engines, which can get extremely loud. Without engine encasing, it’s evident that motorcycles become pretty loud for anyone to hear.
The Science Behind Loud Exhausts
A lot of people think that loud exhausts are just a way to attract attention.
A study conducted in Britain made this assumption, which made people from the West assume that the older the motorcycle was, the louder it would be.
The main reason for that misconception was because the study only looked at 90cc motorcycles, which are the cheapest models in the British market.
In reality, loud exhausts have a lot to do with how much RPM the motor engine can handle. The higher the RPM, the more noise a motorcycle makes. When an engine is revved too high, exhaust gases get forced outside the cylinder in a pressure-driven effect called ‘squealing’. This noise is generated by the motor as it pushes the exhaust valve closed and forces air into the cylinder.
But why do bikers like loud exhausts?
Modern bikes typically have the ability to fire off 100+ decibels (dB) of noise. This is by no means very loud, but compared to the 50+ dB of a standard motorcycle, a modern V-twin cruiser draws attention.
Most bike riders love to hear a nice loud exhaust sound and some are drawn to what is often considered as a defining characteristic of the bike.
Before now, people simply didn’t know the reasons behind why it was so important to have a powerful engine. But for most modern superbikes, the loud exhaust is an essential part of the motorcycle’s design.
But Not All Loud Exhausts are Created Equal!
Many of us will spend countless hours pondering over the perfect bike for us, the one that will match our personality, be the envy of our rider buddies as well as get us recognition on social media. But when it comes to choosing the ideal exhaust for our brand new motorcycle, we never spare a moment of thought. Our minds automatically go to look at the cheapest available exhaust. An aftermarket accessory is often an afterthought as well.
There are several disadvantages of getting a cheap exhaust, the sound being one of the key disadvantages. Cheap exhausts are mostly annoyingly loud, having a very narrow frequency range, the sounds they produce often end up being just irritating.
You don’t want your brand new shiny motorcycle to having an annoying sound every time you turn it on right?
That’s why at Barrel Exhaust all our exhausts are carefully calibrated to ensure they sound thrilling, not annoying. Barrel Exhaust clearly draws a line between annoyingly loud and pleasingly loud.
We want to make exhausts that will enhance the sound experience for the biker and not just simply make loud noises. At Barrel Exhaust, we always want to Create Happy Bikers
The safety factor
Safety when riding on the road is one of the biggest reasons motorcycle riders like to have loud exhaust systems.
When you are in a large formation of bikes you cannot visually keep track of everybody. It’s information overload trying to track 20+ bikes plus keep track of the cars around you, keep your place. The formation itself is a safety feature.
The loud pipes allow you to know what bikes ahead of you which you cannot see are doing. If they are accelerating, decelerating or if they go quiet you know they clutched in and are probably breaking.
This gives you up to 2 seconds more reaction time than if you are relying just on the bikes you can see.
You also know without looking where the bikes beside you are and can make evasive maneuvers without even having to look to see where they are because you know from the sound of their bike.
How To Make Your Motorcycle Louder?
In the last segment of this blog, we will take a quick look at a couple of ways that you can use to make your motorcycle even louder:
- Aftermarket Exhausts - this is the easiest way to turn your motorcycle into a sound beast. Custom exhausts are made to serve specific needs. You can get Aftermarket Exhausts build with the highest quality, best performing, and best sounding exhausts. Our easy-fit designs ensure that you can install our exhausts and be all done in just a few minutes. If you are a hardcore motorcycle enthusiast, we guarantee you will fall in love with our products.
- Aftermarket Mufflers - the right aftermarket muffler for your bike will not only increase your bike’s loudness. It will also improve the quality of the sound. Because states have different laws and requirements, consult your local police department, motorcycle shop experts, or inspection station to ensure that you get started on “how to make my exhaust louder” on the right footing.
While it seems like an obvious statement to say that people who own loud motorcycles tend to be more interesting people, it’s just as important to consider that if a person owns loud pipes, then chances are they enjoy riding their bike in a loud manner.
Both the science and the anecdotal evidence clearly indicate that loud exhausts enhance the overall biking experience. In fact, if you are looking to improve the quality of your life in more ways than one, then there’s no better way to do it than by enjoying a thrilling motorcycle riding experience.
Only the most passionate of bikers make it this far in the blog, give yourself a pat on the back if you are one of them, and while you are at it consider checking out the rest of Barrel Exhaust’s Website for some incredible exhausts, mufflers, and bike handlebars. Keep riding, and keep being awesome!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q. Why is motorcycle exhaust so loud?
A. Motorcycles are so loud because of the size of the muffler most of them have, the length of the exhaust pipes, and the lack of residence time the air and exhaust have to slow down, and because the engine is open to air and atmosphere with no engine compartment encasing and stifling the sound.
Q. What is louder 2.5 or 3-inch exhaust?
A. 3" should be louder than 2.5" if all parts are the same. If the muffler is raspy, you'll hear more rasp at 3".
Q. What is the point of a loud exhaust?
A. The louder the sound, the greater the thrill. They know their vehicle is standing out. The engine noise also gives them something to play with and feel sporty even if they're just driving through traffic.