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Why Are Motorcycles So Loud?

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If you are a motorcyclist, chances are, the roaring sound of a bike is music to your ears.

If you’re not, however, there’s a good chance you might find the noise a little bit, well, annoying. We’re not here to take sides. Okay, sure we might be a little biased toward the riders out there, but we also get why people might be bothered by all that noise.

But whether you love or hate the booming sound of a motorcycle, you might be wondering just where all that sound is coming from.

After all, bikes are much smaller than the larger vehicles out there that seem to be quieter.

We’ll take a look at all the different factors that could be contributing to why motorcycles are so loud and what you can do if you want to tone down your bike’s roar, or you know, make it louder.

Why Are Motorcycles Loud?

Motorcycles are naturally loud because of their combustion engines.

A motorcycle’s engine has fewer cylinders than a car or truck, meaning it must work harder to generate power. This extra effort creates higher exhaust pressures, which in turn cause the engine to make louder noises. 

Additionally, there is less insulation between the rider and the exhaust system on a motorcycle compared to larger vehicles, allowing more noise to travel directly to the rider’s ears.

As a result, motorcycles can produce sound levels of up to 100 decibels (dB), which is equivalent to the noise produced at a live rock concert.

There are also other factors that can contribute to how loud a motorcycle is.

Tires and wheel size can affect a bike’s overall sound levels; larger tires create more friction against the road and result in greater noise production while smaller tires lead to quieter rides.

Also, different types of mufflers will also give off varying sound levels; some mufflers are designed specifically for quieter rides while others are created with louder volumes in mind. 

Are Older Motorcycles Louder than New Bikes?

Older bikes are generally louder than newer ones, mainly because of the engine design and material used.

Older motorcycles typically use carburetors for fuel delivery, which causes engines to produce more noise than their modern-day counterparts that use advanced computerized systems.

Additionally, older bikes have even less insulation between the exhaust system and the rider which can also lead to louder sound levels. 

Bike Mods for More Sound

People might be quick to judge motorcycles for being too loud, but really, most bikes aren’t really all that loud.

However, many people like to accentuate the sounds of their bikes by modding them for amplification and spectacular noises. Some of these mods include:

  • Replacing the exhaust system with a higher performance one. 
  • Adding an aftermarket muffler for more sound.
  • Installing air intake systems to increase engine performance. 
  • Removing any silencers or baffles from the exhaust.

These modifications can help generate larger and louder noises, but it is important to remember that these changes may not be legal in certain areas, so be sure to check before making any major changes to your bike.

Silencing Your Bike

So, not every rider wants the entire neighborhood to know that they are out on their bike.

If you want to quiet down your ride, consider these tips:

  • Install a factory muffler or exhaust designed to be quieter.
  • Replace your current tires with smaller ones; this will reduce the amount of road friction and the resulting sound. 
  • Use a foam-lined baffle to reduce noise levels in the exhaust pipe. 
  • Look for aftermarket silencers that can help keep engine noise down.

Just keep in mind that you don’t want to be too quiet. One way for car drivers to know you are sharing the road with them is for them to hear your bike. As long as you aren’t overly loud, you (and your ears) should be fine.