Why is Motorcycle Noise so Loud? Here’s Your Full Explanation

✓ SAVINGS TIP Check out whether you are paying too much for your motorcycle insurance

Comparing quotes can help you save money.

Enter your zip to get started.


Whether you ride a motorcycle or you’re simply curious about their functionality, you may be wondering why motorcycles are louder than other types of vehicles. It is a curious thing because motorcycles are smaller so it sometimes doesn’t make sense that they make more noise.

Why are motorcycles so loud Motorcycles are loud due to the large mufflers most motorcycles have, the length and location of the exhaust pipes, and because the engine is open and airy with no compartment to encase and suppress the sound.

I’ve been riding motorcycles for a while and have taken many of them apart and put them back together. I’ve been able to see how motorcycles are made and can give you an exact explanation as to why they can be so loud.

Why motorcycles are so loud

Before I started riding motorcycles I noticed that it was easy to see a motorcycle behind me when driving down the road. Even while sat in my car, the radio was still on.

I often get the question from riders and non-riders alike about why they’re so loud and if motorcyclists do that on purpose. The answer is easy, but it’s worth a detailed explanation.

When you think of a car and how silent they can be, it’s no wonder people think about why motorcycles are louder. You should remember that motorcycles have a muffler that is larger than the one in cars. It’s actually about 3-4 times bigger than a motorcycle’s muffler. The muffler reduces the engine’s sound through the exhaust.

Motorcycle mufflers tend to be much smaller and are usually only a few inches long. This is why motorcycles are louder than other vehicles. Motorcycles just don’t have the room for a bigger muffler.

Motorcycles are also loud due to their exhaust pipes. The distance from the exhaust port of the engine to the end of the exhaust on most vehicles, like a car, is 10 – 15 feet long whereas on a motorcycle it is only about 3 feet.

The sound and the air rushing out of the engine doesn’t have as much residence time inside the pipe to slow down, bounce off the internal walls, and lose some of it’s energy and velocity. The exhaust pipes on motorcycles are shorter, so there is more exhaust and air out, which results in a louder sound.

Third, motorcycles can be loud because they are open to the air and atmosphere. The pistons moving up and down within the engine make it very noisy. Most people don’t realize that the these processes that go on inside any type of engine can be extremely loud. It is important to keep in mind that there are thousands upon thousands of explosions per minute within them.

Some vehicles have an engine that’s enclosed in an engine compartment, so much of the sound is muffled. A motorcycle obviously doesn’t have that encasing so it’s completely open for any close by ears to easily hear.

Why are newer motorcycles quieter than older models?

Older motorcycles are often louder than the newer models. A lot of people assume that is because older motorcycles were made during a time where it was a fad to have a loud motorcycle whereas nowadays that’s not really so.

There’s actually a lot more to it than that. Older motorcycles’ mufflers are less efficient and have suffered from wear over time. The muffler is just like any other vehicle component. It will eventually become worn out from constant usage and exposure to air. The gradual breakdown of the muffler is often not noticed by people and it can be difficult to fix.

In the last few years, the technology behind muffles has greatly improved. Modern motorcycles have mufflers that use the latest technology, which make them quieter for longer periods of time.

Over the years, technology has advanced significantly in motorcycle engine technology. As time goes on, engines are made with better efficiency which also means they aren’t near as loud as the engines that are on older motorcycles.

Many people have difficulty getting their hands on the right tools. “short pipes” They basically remove the muffler entirely, which makes their exhaust pipes shorter. These are extremely loud and are usually done on older motorcycles, which makes them appear louder than older motorcycles.

Why Riders Love Loud Motorcycles

If you’re not the type who likes loud motorcycles, it’s easy to wonder how a rider could like riding a motorcycle that is so loud and not be impacted by it. It can often be annoying for those around them that don’t appreciate it.

Two main reasons motorcyclists enjoy a loud bike are: The reason they love loud sounds is the first. I can’t give a scientific explanation for that, but some people really do just like hearing how loud their motorcycle can be.

I personally don’t love having extremely loud motorcycles, but I don’t mind the rumble an older motorcycle has. People love motorcycles that are so loud because they can show off their ride. People will look for you in the noise.

Safety is perhaps the most important reason that motorcycle riders love loud motorcycles. Many people will argue that a loud motorcycle is safer than none, but any motorcyclist who can get attention from other drivers is worth it.

Other drivers will notice motorcycles that are louder than they are. As I mentioned, I can always tell when a motorcyclist is near me by how loud they are. This makes me more alert and allows me to drive accordingly.

Motorcyclist accidents are often caused by unaware drivers. According to HG.org “The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.”

It’s no wonder that motorcyclists want to be loud so they’re more noticeable on the road. There are many uninformed drivers out there. Having a loud motorbike can make it seem legitimate, as injury is more likely to occur to the rider in an accident.

Motorcycles And Noise Ordinances

Although there are legitimate reasons for a motorcycle to be loud, there are some downsides. A bike that is too loud can lead to serious legal problems.

The U.S. has many laws regarding noise ordinances. There is a federal law which applies to all motorcycles manufactured after 1983. This is known as the Noise Control Act and it regulates how manufacturers make their motorcycles to ensure they don’t make them too loud.

To make a motorcycle louder, someone would have to check with the local laws. You will find laws that specify what decibels are acceptable for roads in certain cities. It’s totally fine to make the alterations you want on your motorcycle, a rider just needs to be aware to not make it too loud.

If you are riding a loud motorcycle, or if it is exceeding the limits of city ordinances you may be pulled over and issued a ticket. You may be an easy target because you aren’t necessarily hard to spot and citizens could easily call you in.

Similar Questions

What are the noise limitations for motorcycles Every state and city has its own laws. A lot of this depends on the speed of your motorcycle. However, in general motorcycles (or any type of vehicle) should not exceed 80-85 decibels.

Is it possible to tow a bike with your car? You can easily tow a motorcycle and a car. First you’ll need to find out your car’s towing capacity, install the appropriate hitch, find the right trailer, and understand the laws and safety precautions. See my article here for more information.

Leave a Comment