Harley-Davidson Tries To Quiet Motorc...

Harley-Davidson Tries To Quiet Motorcycle Noise - Loud Pipes' Cost

There are 294 comments on the Automotive story from Jul 16, 2008, titled Harley-Davidson Tries To Quiet Motorcycle Noise - Loud Pipes' Cost. In it, Automotive reports that:

Jim McCaslin is President and CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. In a message entitled "Something We Never Want to Lose" on his company's website, Harley-Davidson Motor Company President and CEO Jim McCaslin ...

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Harley Noise is Pollution

Falmouth, MI

#26 Jul 21, 2008
Mark wrote:
Grow up, you just wish you had a Harley. I would expect this drivel from a Honda Cruiser. Do you also complain about the young studs that play their Rap music so loud you can't hear the Harley next to them?
Yah, I don't like that noise pollution either. And I don't want a Harley; too heavy, too loud, too much vibration, way over priced for the quality etc. The drivel about loud pipes saving lives is lame. If the noise was that important we would all be driving cars with straight pipes.
arich

New Lenox, IL

#29 Aug 10, 2008
I agree. I think the morons on these motorcycles and the wi**ers playing their loud cRAP "music" should be ticketed. Short of stringing piano wire across a frequented street maybe start off with a warning ticket of $100. Second offense $500. Third offense $1,000 plus towing. Fourth offense 5 year license suspension. I am sick of hearing those crappy bikes driven by these middle age fools who don't have any regard for the citiznes of their towns just like the rappers.

“I know where you are,”

Since: Jun 08

Right here under my thumb

#31 Aug 11, 2008
Harley Noise Pollution wrote:
The bikes may be one of the other brands that try to emulate the Harley Davidson Motorcycle, but the thunder culture of the loud Harley has inspired other manufacturers and bikers to modify the exhaust systems to make excessive noise. So the ďHarley NoiseĒ is justifiably labeled, regardless of the brand. Especially because the vast majority of the excessive noise makers are indeed Harleys.
When at Yellowstone we hiked Ĺ mile off the road to get away from other fisherman and tourist racket, we heard birds, the wind, the stream, and then distant Harley Noise about every ten minutes. We could not get away from it wherever we went. I call that noise pollution. We did not hear cars. We did not hear trucks. We heard the Harley Noise everywhere in Yellowstone National Park while trying to enjoy the solitude of such a beautiful place. What is it with the Harley culture that requires the excessive noise? The rider enjoys the rumble, but ignores the fact that everybody within a half mile hears it too. Most people donít like the noise. We donít hear any of the Fords or Toyotas which have bigger engines and better mufflers. Why must we listen the Harley Noise? On the trip I actually saw guys on Harleys pull out ear plugs at the gas station when they stopped. The irony of that goes without saying.
There are many other quiet motorcycles that we donít hear and that is normal and good. I have two motorcycles, including a big quiet Japanese cruiser. I ride often and would consider myself a biker. But I donít make noise pollution. At home in northern Michigan I live out the country far from town so that I can have peace and quiet. When I sleep at night with the window open I am disturbed only by the occasional whippoorwill, my rooster that crows in the morning, and the periodic Harley Noise out on the country road day and night. I donít hear the cars. I donít hear the trucks. The Harley Noise wake me up. This is noise pollution.
Now when I see the Bikers in public places with their leather and black t-shirts and tattoos and Harley Davidson gear, I do not see an American icon, or a rebel, or any fashion statement. I am not impressed because I see a noise polluter. I know that these folks with the helmet hair and the chaps are the ones who wake me up, and disturb my peace at the trout stream and cause me to roll up my windows on the road. My impression is that these Bikers do not have any respect for the harmony of people around them. While this may not be fair because some Bikers ride a Suzuki or BMW that is as quiet as my Pontiac, this remains my perception of the Bikers now; and I donít think I am alone with this. We do not want to hear the Harley Noise. Itís not cool any more. The Harley Noise pollution has gone too far, and it is my hope that the manufacturers, local communities , and law enforcement will take steps to reduce the nuisance noise that the majority of the public has been politely enduring, but wishes would end.
Again, let's start with the bumpin' car stereos and work our way down...I can start my bagger up at 5 AM and never wake up so much as a bird; however, given the 2,000 watts of a 120 db stereo in a Japanese POS and everybody ignores it. Go figure - double standards - again - and the biker pays for it.
Betsy

Everett, MA

#32 Aug 15, 2008
I hate motorcycles. I live in the very populated Northeast, and I can't understand why bikers think it's okay to use these aftermarket exhaust systems, when they know that they are affecting thousands of people in a half-mile radius whenever they drive. It really brings down our quality of life. At least it affects me for half the year. I drive a car, and I don't have A/C and I don't have a cell phone and I drive all summer long with the windows down. I feel nothing but ill will for these loud motorcyclists. I don't believe the "loud pipes save lives" response, at least not in New Hampshire, where bikers also insist they don't need to wear helmets. They must be really concerned about their safety.

Since: Jul 08

United States

#33 Aug 15, 2008
Betsy wrote:
I hate motorcycles. I live in the very populated Northeast, and I can't understand why bikers think it's okay to use these aftermarket exhaust systems, when they know that they are affecting thousands of people in a half-mile radius whenever they drive. It really brings down our quality of life. At least it affects me for half the year. I drive a car, and I don't have A/C and I don't have a cell phone and I drive all summer long with the windows down. I feel nothing but ill will for these loud motorcyclists. I don't believe the "loud pipes save lives" response, at least not in New Hampshire, where bikers also insist they don't need to wear helmets. They must be really concerned about their safety.
Betsy,
A Few responses:
-Not all "Biker's" have loud pipes.
-Not all bikers refuse to wear helmets.
-Consider the sounds coming from some of the "sports" cars that some drive. These are just as loud as some motorcycles.
-Is there really thousands of people in 1/2 mile radius in the Northeast? Seems like a stretch to me, but i have heard how overpopulated that area is.
-I also agree with you that loud pipes don't save lives, defensive riding does.

Please do not generalize about a group of people that prefer a different mode of travel than you do. And please do not judge a group of people by the actions of a few.
Stuck in PC

AOL

#34 Aug 15, 2008
Harley Noise Pollution wrote:
I recently vacationed in the West with my son in the Black Hills and Yellowstone areas. We drove our car and camped to visit as many of the natural wonders of this area as we could in nine days. We generally had a wonderful time, except for one ever-present annoyance; noise pollution from motorcycles.
During the course of our trip through five National Parks, we stopped at scenic overlooks, hiked, fly fished, and endeavored to appreciate the natural beauty of the West, but there was rarely a time when we did not hear the roar of the Harley Noise. We did not hear the cars. We did not hear the trucks. We heard the Harley Noise. Now I refer to the Harley Noise as ďvery loud motorcycle noiseĒ. The bikes may be one of the other brands that try to emulate the Harley Davidson Motorcycle, but the thunder culture of the loud Harley has inspired other manufacturers and bikers to modify the exhaust systems to make excessive noise. So the ďHarley NoiseĒ is justifiably labeled, regardless of the brand. Especially because the vast majority of the excessive noise makers are indeed Harleys.
When at Yellowstone we hiked Ĺ mile off the road to get away from other fisherman and tourist racket, we heard birds, the wind, the stream, and then distant Harley Noise about every ten minutes. We could not get away from it wherever we went. I call that noise pollution. We did not hear cars. We did not hear trucks. We heard the Harley Noise everywhere in Yellowstone National Park while trying to enjoy the solitude of such a beautiful place. What is it with the Harley culture that requires the excessive noise? The rider enjoys the rumble, but ignores the fact that everybody within a half mile hears it too. Most people donít like the noise. We donít hear any of the Fords or Toyotas which have bigger engines and better mufflers. Why must we listen the Harley Noise? On the trip I actually saw guys on Harleys pull out ear plugs at the gas station when they stopped. The irony of that goes without saying.
There are many other quiet motorcycles that we donít hear and that is normal and good. I have two motorcycles, including a big quiet Japanese cruiser. I ride often and would consider myself a biker. But I donít make noise pollution. At home in northern Michigan I live out the country far from town so that I can have peace and quiet. When I sleep at night with the window open I am disturbed only by the occasional whippoorwill, my rooster that crows in the morning, and the periodic Harley Noise out on the country road day and night. I donít hear the cars. I donít hear the trucks. The Harley Noise wake me up. This is noise pollution.
Now when I see the Bikers in public places with their leather and black t-shirts and tattoos and Harley Davidson gear, I do not see an American icon, or a rebel, or any fashion statement. I am not impressed because I see a noise polluter. I know that these folks with the helmet hair and the chaps are the ones who wake me up, and disturb my peace at the trout stream and cause me to roll up my windows on the road. My impression is that these Bikers do not have any respect for the harmony of people around them. While this may not be fair because some Bikers ride a Suzuki or BMW that is as quiet as my Pontiac, this remains my perception of the Bikers now; and I donít think I am alone with this. We do not want to hear the Harley Noise. Itís not cool any more. The Harley Noise pollution has gone too far, and it is my hope that the manufacturers, local communities , and law enforcement will take steps to reduce the nuisance noise that the majority of the public has been politely enduring, but wishes would end.
I am a licenced touring motorcyclist for 37 years and I agree with you 100%. The loud Harley thing has got to be stopped. Harley riders have RUINED motorcyclings image and destroyed the peace in our scenic areas. When I hear a Harley I shake my head in disgust.
Stuck in PC

AOL

#36 Aug 16, 2008
milwaukee69 wrote:
<quoted text>
Again, let's start with the bumpin' car stereos and work our way down...I can start my bagger up at 5 AM and never wake up so much as a bird; however, given the 2,000 watts of a 120 db stereo in a Japanese POS and everybody ignores it. Go figure - double standards - again - and the biker pays for it.
Poppycock! Mt next door neighbor cranks his Harley up at 5:30 am and we are nearly exchanging fists over him waking up everyone in my house.

“Live Free or Die”

Since: Dec 07

Hooksett, NH

#37 Aug 16, 2008
Fred wrote:
Loud pipes do not save lives. It's simply not true and there are not statistics to support the loud pipes save lives BS.
If you put yourself in a position where the cager has to notice you, and give a s***, you're already screwed.
Ever notice that most of the guys who claim that they have loud pipes to be noticed ride around in all black with no reflective gear on motorcycles that put them as low to the pavement as is practical? Did you note that they almost never have headlight modulators, taillight modulators, or upgraded horns? And they either have no helmet or some beanie-style "half-helmet". Yeah, they're all about safety. Sure they are.
As a bike rider - I sympathize with residents; however, I can tell you that the "stock" pipes that came on our Harley were very quickly replaced the 1st season thanks in large part to the number of careless drivers of cars! I can't tell you how many times in one season we were almost hit, pulled out in front of and once, ran off the road by someone driving a car that never saw or heard us.

No we weren't speeding, riding side by side with another bike; it was my husband and I out for a relaxing rider in broad daylight when 90+% of these incidents happened.

I bought the pipes for him for fatherís day so I could know that he would at least be a little safer traveling to and from work.

I think the issue has less to do with the "loud pipes" than it has with being a safe, responsible and courteous rider, meaning that there is NOT a need to "rev" while sitting at a light/ stop sign, nor is there need to "wind it up" late at night while traveling thru a residential neighborhood.

There was a study done on the theory "Loud Pipes Save Lives" which proves that stock pipes on most bikes can not be heard - article from " Bikernet.com "

"We discovered that the stock motorcycle could not be heard in the passing test unless the motorcycle was alongside a moving vehicle. If a radio was playing at 80 decibels within the vehicle, the motorcycle was nearly undetectable. A dangerous situation for a motorcycle taking up limited mirror viewing area. "

BTW - 80 decibels = vacuum cleaner or garbage disposal

The NH RSA for noise levels on vehicle, specifically motorcycles is:

266:59-a Motorcycle Noise Levels.Ė
No person shall operate a motorcycle which has a measured noise level of more than 106 decibels on the decibel meter when measured 20 inches from the exhaust pipe at a 45 degree angle while the engine is operating at 2,800 revolutions per minute for one and 2 cylinder motorcycles and 3,500 revolutions per minute for any motorcycle with 3 or more cylinders

Given THAT description, good luck to the PD's in the state being able to get an accurate decibel measurement, most are using a hand held sound meter that is picking up not only the bikes noise, but whatever surrounding noise as well.

“I know where you are,”

Since: Jun 08

Right here under my thumb

#38 Aug 18, 2008
Stuck in PC wrote:
<quoted text>
Poppycock! Mt next door neighbor cranks his Harley up at 5:30 am and we are nearly exchanging fists over him waking up everyone in my house.
Get a job and you wouldn't hear him at 5:30 AM...
Dino

Glendora, CA

#39 Aug 18, 2008
Something that "Stuck in PC" probably never even gave a thought to, is go over and actually talk to the guy, be polite, introduce yourself, and explain what the problem is you're having. Don't go over in a rage and acting like a clown. Be decent to the guy and it will probably help quiet things down in the morning.

I had a neighbor that did exactly that. I always tried to avoid waking the neighbors when starting my bike at 4:00 AM. One of them came over, did the intro thing, was polite and asked me to see what I could do about the noise. I now start my bike out on the street instead of my backyard and as soon as I have confidence that the oil is circulating (I just had my engine rebuilt to the tune of $3000.00 and I'm not going to be stupid with it) I get moving, slowly and as quietly as possible out of the neighborhood.

Its possible that all it would take is calm, polite conversation to end your problem at 5:30 AM...

“I know where you are,”

Since: Jun 08

Right here under my thumb

#40 Aug 18, 2008
Betsy wrote:
I hate motorcycles. I live in the very populated Northeast, and I can't understand why bikers think it's okay to use these aftermarket exhaust systems, when they know that they are affecting thousands of people in a half-mile radius whenever they drive. It really brings down our quality of life. At least it affects me for half the year. I drive a car, and I don't have A/C and I don't have a cell phone and I drive all summer long with the windows down. I feel nothing but ill will for these loud motorcyclists. I don't believe the "loud pipes save lives" response, at least not in New Hampshire, where bikers also insist they don't need to wear helmets. They must be really concerned about their safety.
So if you could afford to get your A/C fixed in your car all would be OK? Sounds like this is more of an issue with your plight than anything else. And if you don't think loud pipes save lives, then you've never been on a bike.

And what does helmet laws have to do with loud pipes on Harleys? Please 'splain yourself...
Steve

United States

#41 Aug 18, 2008
So how come you never see any comments about "helmets save lives" I skip the helmet when I can but lets be serious here, if your concerned with saving lives and all...

Anyway, I have a Road King, and am looking for some louder pipes, but I also have a bit of respect for those around me. While I can't control people being otherwise distracted in their cars and people playing music at annoying levels, I can control how I effect others. Nothing wrong with a louder set of pipes, but when you see the 6 year old in the car next to you at a stop light wincing in pain... maybe yours are too loud.

“I know where you are,”

Since: Jun 08

Right here under my thumb

#42 Aug 19, 2008
Steve wrote:
So how come you never see any comments about "helmets save lives" I skip the helmet when I can but lets be serious here, if your concerned with saving lives and all...
Anyway, I have a Road King, and am looking for some louder pipes, but I also have a bit of respect for those around me. While I can't control people being otherwise distracted in their cars and people playing music at annoying levels, I can control how I effect others. Nothing wrong with a louder set of pipes, but when you see the 6 year old in the car next to you at a stop light wincing in pain... maybe yours are too loud.
All good points, Steve...however, how many times have you rolled up on a woman driver putting on makeup in the rearview mirror, or some guy wolfing down an egg McMuffin or God help us all - someone talking on a cell phone? Try putting on makeup, eating or talking on a phone on a Harley - thank God for those loud pipes of mine - without them, these folks would remain in their own little world, without a traffic care in the world. If they outlaw loud pipes, then take away the cell phones, start writing tickets for only one hand on the wheel, and jail time for reading the Wall Street Journal and using the carpool lane - what's fair is fair.
Dino

Bellflower, CA

#43 Aug 19, 2008
Steve wrote:
So how come you never see any comments about "helmets save lives" I skip the helmet when I can but lets be serious here, if your concerned with saving lives and all...
Anyway, I have a Road King, and am looking for some louder pipes, but I also have a bit of respect for those around me. While I can't control people being otherwise distracted in their cars and people playing music at annoying levels, I can control how I effect others. Nothing wrong with a louder set of pipes, but when you see the 6 year old in the car next to you at a stop light wincing in pain... maybe yours are too loud.
You will see the statement "Helmets save lives". In some cases, its true. No quesion about it. But, that is an entirely different issue. In California, I am 50 years old, a U.S. Navy Veteran, I vote, I have 2 children, 2 grand-children, have had the same job since 1979, own my own home and have 100-percent health insurance.

What's my point? I've done well enough with my life to do and accumulate all that. But, according to my state, I'm not responsible enough to decide whether I want to wear a helmet or not.

A nice, low rumble and good breathing pipe would be a "Thunderheader". They make good power, look good and have a low, deep sound, not ear-bleeding loud...
Howard Sloan

Milwaukee, WI

#44 Aug 21, 2008
Loud pipes = small pecker..
beatlesinthebog

New Zealand

#46 Aug 22, 2008
milwaukee69 wrote:
<quoted text>
All good points, Steve...however, how many times have you rolled up on a woman driver putting on makeup in the rearview mirror, or some guy wolfing down an egg McMuffin or God help us all - someone talking on a cell phone? Try putting on makeup, eating or talking on a phone on a Harley - thank God for those loud pipes of mine - without them, these folks would remain in their own little world, without a traffic care in the world. If they outlaw loud pipes, then take away the cell phones, start writing tickets for only one hand on the wheel, and jail time for reading the Wall Street Journal and using the carpool lane - what's fair is fair.
Whattya mean you can't do your makeup while on your bike. Everyone I know can!!!!
silverback

Calgary, Canada

#47 Aug 22, 2008
I agree 100%, Harleys have gone too far. I recently drove through the mountains 300ft behind a harley. It was so loud I couldn't talk to the people in my car with the windows rolled up. If you think you are cool to be this loud you are truly overcompensating for something.

Now when I hear a loud Harley I always think of the short prince from Shrek that is overcompensating. It has actually become kind of a joke and those guys who think they are so cool make us laugh even more. They still annoy us though.

Any moron can have loud pipes, I could take the pipes off my very old Honda Civic and I would be as loud as a Harley. But why would I do something so stupid. I may as well walk around with a shirt that says, "I only do this because my penis is only 2 inches long". I think they should make those shirts with a Harley logo on the back.

Oh ya, when I did confront the biker who had such loud pipes, I asked him what the attraction was too loud pipes his reply was "what? and spoke in a very loud voice, can you say that again". Now that is cool alright.

“Live Free or Die”

Since: Dec 07

Hooksett, NH

#48 Aug 22, 2008
silverback wrote:
I agree 100%, Harleys have gone too far. I recently drove through the mountains 300ft behind a harley. It was so loud I couldn't talk to the people in my car with the windows rolled up. If you think you are cool to be this loud you are truly overcompensating for something.
Now when I hear a loud Harley I always think of the short prince from Shrek that is overcompensating. It has actually become kind of a joke and those guys who think they are so cool make us laugh even more. They still annoy us though.
Any moron can have loud pipes, I could take the pipes off my very old Honda Civic and I would be as loud as a Harley. But why would I do something so stupid. I may as well walk around with a shirt that says, "I only do this because my penis is only 2 inches long". I think they should make those shirts with a Harley logo on the back.
Oh ya, when I did confront the biker who had such loud pipes, I asked him what the attraction was too loud pipes his reply was "what? and spoke in a very loud voice, can you say that again". Now that is cool alright.
Enough already with the "I Hate Harley" chants - it's not just Harley's that have after market pipes - there are plenty of other bikes out there than can be just as loud and some that I have seen/heard that our louder than my Harley, most responsible Harley owners will go out of there way to replace their stock pipes with LEGAL louder pipes and be sonsiderate of their neighbors and other when traveling through residential neighborhoods....BTW - I am female - so I MUST be compensating for the fact I don't even have 2 inches....right?
Dino

Monrovia, CA

#50 Aug 23, 2008
MyLife wrote:
<quoted text>I doubt you can identify a Harley from 300 ft behind it.
I have to agree. There's a lot of other cruisers out there that resemble a HD from that distance. I ride HD and sometimes can't pick out the differences...

Now, if the guy didn't hear you when you "confronted" him, I've got to wonder, just exactly how you "confronted" him? Using that specific word begs some questions and comments all on its own.

Being a jerk gets you no where with anyone. Using some courtesy goes much further.

Did the rider still have their helmet on? If they did, they may have been wearing ear-plugs. Yeah, I know the argument on that. "Loud pipes! He wears earplugs because its so loud!". Nope...

The noise level while riding even a very quiet bike with a factory pipes is pretty loud. Well over the OSHA standards for what is considered acceptable. Even louder than a concert. There's a little 2007 bone-stock 500cc Kawasaki sitting next to my HD. While the bike is extremely quiet, I wear a 3/4 helmet with a flip-up face shield. There are lots of little places for the wind to make noise. It squeals and whistles sometimes so bad, I can't stand it.

So, I wear ear-plugs when I ride either bike...

Also have a little 50cc Yamaha Vino scooter. Don't wear ear-plugs with it. Won't do more than 30 mph. Wind noise isn't hardly noticeable...
lenny

Windber, PA

#51 Aug 23, 2008
mulderdog wrote:
Best new I've read in months.
get a life or use a gun

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