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Do Loud Pipes Save Lives?

  • Yes, they do have a big effect on rider safety.

    Votes: 63 48.8%
  • No, it's a crock, they just sound better!

    Votes: 28 21.7%
  • Sort of, maybe a bit. They don't hurt.

    Votes: 38 29.5%

Do Loud Pipes Save Lives????

3035 Views 60 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  Tim.VROD
Or is it just an excuse for loud pipes:sinister:
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There is no doubt that if your loud your liable to get noticed when someone is beside you.

AMEN BROTHER ......:notworthy :notworthy :notworthy :notworthy
I can vouch and say first hand that LOUD pipes WILL get the attention of just about any incoherent drivers.

I commute in Heavy NY Traffic. It aint Kansas here ya know and I can part 2 lanes of cars like moses when I come screamin up a lane.

:diablo: :1268:
I know that there have been a couple times when I have been up beside a cage and you'd think "No way they can't know I'm here" but over they come anyway. I just think that if I had a decent rumble happening that is not going to happen, not ear bleeding or obnoxious, just not the stealth machine I have now. The stock pipes sound fine when you give it some, but cruising around they are whisper quiet.
Karl Scott I mean this is in the best way but the stock pipes sux. Screaming eagle slip ons like I have are not loud but they are three times louder then the stock pipes. I want to find a set of V-5's for mine. I like the fact that they make decent HP numbers, they are not ear bleeders, they retain the two into one system and they are much lighter then the stock exhaust.
Yeah, I know Max. I know....

I thought, from all the postings I have seen that the V Modded SE slip ons are best for sound and power if you want to keep the stock pipes.

Thats what I want to do.
I personally don't buy into the "loud pipes save lives" mantra. The physics don't bear it out. How many times have you been tooling down the road and been surprised by an ambulance or fire truck on your tail? You tend ot notice the lights rather than hear the sound when you are both traveling in the same direction and they are coming up from behind you.

In the situation where you're in traffic and someone is beside you then yes, loud pipes will increase your chances of being noticed by the brain dead cager talking in the cell phone that's about to pull into your lane. Problem is that these aren't the types of incidents that usually cause fatal problems for us. It's usually some fool who turns in front of you and claims they didn't see you. Ask any amulance drive how many times someone has cut them off or turned in front of them, you'll be surprised at the answer and their sirens are 10 times louder than our bikes could ever be and the sound is being radiated in front of the vehicle.

Don't get me wrong, I love loud pipes but I'm not going to use an excuse that's never been scientificaly proven to justify them. If I like them then they go on the bike, period.

My :2cents:
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Good comments mjw930 - I totally agree.
Don't get me wrong Karl, cuz I can justify almost anything ;) , however to be honest I too don't buy into this whole saving lives stuff. If you want them, buy them.
I almost took out a BMW K1200RS. He was in my blind spot and I neglected to turn my head and used only my mirror (something I never do on the bike). Luckly it was slow traffic and he easily braked and I whipped back in my own lane. As I ride, I was totally embarassed. I sware I would have heard him if he had louder pipes.

My SE 16 guage are probably about right for sound. Not too loud, but you can make them howl at higher RPMS.

Max: What's a V-5? Am I missing something?

I recently stopped a cager from turning RIGHT in front of me. He was just about to do so, and I puled in the clutch and reved the shit out of my V-Mods, and he stopped in his tracts. I watched him hit his brakes as I startled him with decibels. IF I had stock pipes, I would have been a different story! F#ck physics this was reality.

John, would hitting the horn have had the same effect?
mjw930 said:
I personally don't buy into the "loud pipes save lives" mantra. The physics don't bear it out.
I also must agree 100%. The vast majority of the noise goes directly behind the bike - an area where a tiny fraction of motorcycle accidents occur.

More importantly, in the vast majority of situations, loud pipes are going to cause you far more problems than they will ever prevent. And I'm not just talking about unwanted discussions with the traffic police. Unless you happen to be a hermit, or live in a community for the deaf, you are probably going to piss off your neighbors every time you pull into or out of your driveway. And frankly, I'm not so selfish as to think that my pleasure at owning a noisy machine outweighs my fellow humans' right to an undisturbed night's sleep.
I tend to always hit my left turn signal instead of the horn....
DrHeathenScum said:
I tend to always hit my left turn signal instead of the horn....
Me too and that can be f**king dangerous in the UK.

Of course loud pipes tend to further piss people already experiencing road rage. There are mentals out there that will run someone off the road with loud pipes.

I have seen the Doppler Effect cited as the reason for loud pipes having little effect on safety.

Doppler was an Austrian physicist and mathematician who first enunciated the principle known as the Doppler effect in 1842.

Doppler effect
A change in the observed frequency of a wave, as of sound or light, occurring when the source and observer are in motion relative to each other, with the frequency increasing when the source and observer approach each other and decreasing when they move apart. The motion of the source causes a real shift in frequency of the wave, while the motion of the observer produces only an apparent shift in frequency. Also called Doppler shift.

OK, I'm no scientist, but this looks like it has questionable applicability to the VOLUME, as perceived by the observer, of a sound, as they move together. There is also the issue of windows up, radio on, exhaust pointed backwards, not forward, which side of the bike the exhaust is on etc. Is the Doppler Effect really the primary issue here anyway?:confused:
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You're right, it's not the Doppler effect that's at question, it's the volume. Since the sound is emitted behind the bike the relative volume in front of the bike is very much lower.

Does it add a degree of safety, yes. Does it save lives? The few studies that have been done don't come to that conclusion.

Another example of something that seems obvious not being reality because all of the variables aren't factored in. Scientists spend entire careers attempting to prove hypothesis that make perfect sense on paper.

There's a very good position paper on "excessive noise" published by the AMA. Read it completely before you dismiss it, it makes some very valid points. Especially regarding how your future rights might be reduced due to the actions of a few.

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