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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????

3034 Views 60 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  Tim.VROD
Or is it just an excuse for loud pipes:sinister:
21 - 40 of 61 Posts
I am voting with the "don't really help" camp. When I am in traffic, I spend lots of time watching the rear-views of the people in front of me. I can usually tell if they know I am around or not. Since I am usually going at least a few kph's faster than them, this is an important technique. I concede that when stuck in steady flows of traffic, where you don't have the option of wiggling around so people keep noticing you, loudness might be an advantage. But, I am an avid user of the horn (not to mention the one-finger-wave) when people start stupid maneuvers in front of me, and I have watched many more close calls with bikes in front of me than I have ever experienced myself. It's like driving a semi: you have to be on the ball steadily because some fool is bound to pull a bone head move in front of you. And I like a reasonably quiet bike. I would and will likely put up with some more noise for a noticeable increase in kick, but definitely not for the sake of just being loud.
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I don't know about saving my life, but last Sat. I was coming up on an idiot sitting at a stop sign who wasn't looking at me at all and started to pull out when he heard me coming. I could see he wasn't looking left at all, so I was ready for him and would have had time to stop, but I know it was the sound that stopped him, because he stopped first and then turned his head to look at me in surprise.

So, at least a no or low speeds where you can hear them, I think loud pipes have some benefit.
I read the link to the AMA site. I think that "excessive noise" is a term that is subject to individual perception. What I think is excessive and what you think is excessive is like trying to define what is obscene. No two people will have the same opinion. I installed my V-Mods for me because I like them. I don't think that they are too loud. If my neighbors don't like the noise I make coming and going, tough. I put up with thier dogs barking and thier kids screaming.

I would rather have the louder pipes and hope that the cager can here me than keep those stock mufflers and know that there is no way he can hear me.
John,

I agree that the V-Mods aren't excessive but they are borderline. The whole point of the article is that exercising your "right" to loud pipes can and will, at some point, cause the police to start enforcing existing noise ordinances. Take a look at Daytona Beach. As of bikeweek 2001 the police were instructed to begin enforcing their "loud pipes" ordinance. Because of that, thousands of people with excessively loud pipes (drag pipes, etc.) were ticketed. Added to the mix were people like you and me with modified pipes that are still far quieter than open pipes getting tickets because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time (I got off with a warning on my V-Mods).

Remember, even though you might not agree with what is excessive the letter of the law states that you cannot modify your pipes to emit more noise than the EPA mandated stock pipes. If they pull you over and you have anything other than the factory pipes they can write you a noise ticket. They don't have to break out a sound meter in most jurisdictions.

Non factory pipes + officer thinks their louder = ticket :(

Don't get me wrong, the first thing I changed was the pipes. What I don't want to see happen is the few who run open pipes ruin it for those of us looking for a bit more noise and a lot more performance.
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What's louder?

What's louder, the V-mods or the HD 16guage double barrels? How about quality of sound?

I like the looks of the 16g, as well as the stock mufflers. I don't want something that's too 'LOUD'. Just something that I can hear, and has a rich warm rumble.
V-Mods are louder than either the 16 ga or the V-Modded 16 ga. The V-Mods have a lower pitch than either 16 ga pipe but more volume. It sounds like (pun intended ;)) you would like the stock 16 ga sound.

You might also consider the V&H pipe. It has a unique sound that's really pretty good. A bit louder than the stock 16 ga.
I will agree the straight thru or drag pipes are typically too loud. I have a friend with an older HD with straight pipes. When he rides that bike HE has to wear ear plugs. He claims the reason is he gets ear aches with the clam shell helmet. One things for sure you can hear him coming and going.
Do loud pipes save lives..... I think it depends on how you use them.
In August I got hit by some twit as I came up on her right rear -- she pulled right into me. These days I don't believe there is such thing as being paranoid on a motorcycle. I trust no one.
A critical feature for me, concerning loud pipes, is when I'm overtaking a cager at the 4/8 o'clock position. I am not shy about juicing the thottle to get their attention. (V-Mods) I read these post -- quite frankly, in my final analysis, I personally could give a $hit what other people think. I'm the one on the bike that understands everytime I get on a motorcycle, I am making the decision to enter a dangerous arena. If I think lound pipes give me an edge to surviving -- I'll use them if I please.
What?...Can't Hear You!!

M~
I know, a little slow to respond. Was still enjoying the holiday.

My opinion - I think loud pipes are helpful, especially in keeping people attentive to your presence. Note, I did not say that I believe they necessarily save lives but they may. I find that to be difficult to prove either way because of other factors, including type of traffic you drive in, where you drive, etc. Also, I would think it is difficult to determine if the cause of a crash and subsequent fatality is related to the loudness of pipes. If someone with loud pipes dies in a motorcyle accident, does that mean the loud pipes did not help. Not necessarily. Also, if someone with quite pipes dies in a motorcycle accident does that mean if they had louder pipes they would be alive. No.

Reason I prefer loud pipes now - I rode my V-Rod with the stock pipes for a year, including about a 50 mile each way commute in Atlanta traffic. I had several cars pull over on me at 80 mph or so on GA400. I got out of the way each time because I am aware of Atlanta drivers and don't trust a single one of them. Because of this and the additional hp, I bought louder pipes (D&D 2 into 1 system). I have done the same commute more in the past 3 months then I did the entire first year and have yet to have anyone pull over on me. Additionally, all vehicles have maintained additional space between them and me, especially if they are on the phone, etc. Lastly, if I am gaining on someone they now tend to pull over out of the fast lane (an amazing thing in Atlanta) to let me pass because they DO hear me approaching. Note, that the D&D 2 into 1 system is very loud at rpm. Finally, the accidents such as someone pulling out in front of you will only be reduced by vigilance of the motorcycle rider. They ain't gonna see you, hear you, or care if they do sometimes. Don't trust any vehicle at a crossroads or similar situation.

Lastly - a comment about the AMA - I read the article related to loud pipes and their general position statement when they first put it out earlier this year. I was considering joining because I wanted someone that would protect the rights of all motorcyclists. That position statement helped me to decide that I would not join thier organization. I do realize that some people have an arrogant attitude about what they can and can't do; and somehow it is thier right to annoy the crap out of people around them. These people have the same attitude on many facets of life and ruin many things for everyone. However, I leave my house at 3:30 AM in the mornings so I can go to the gym. I have asked every neighbor if they have heard me leave. The answer for all is "no". I ride with the rpms as low as possible until I get out of my neighborhood and onto a major roadway. In other words, what I'm saying is that those with loud pipes - including me - can be respectful when in low noise areas but use the pipes to our advantage when surrounded by jerks like on Atlanta highways. To me it's the best of both worlds.

Y'all have a good day and remember this is just my opinion, do with it what you will. :2cents
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Sasquatch it's not the noise they here but they fall under your shadow when they get near you and slow down to see if it's an eclipse.:)
Little Mike,
You don't think they move out of your way because your Big as a House ,and Strong Enough to lift their car! :notworthy I fer one would move over if I saw you in my rear view just for the sake of"Man He's a Mammoth!;) "I feel sorry for the poor full that ever has to tango with you!
Back to the loud pipes thing.
Our pipes noise is very much directed out the back of the bike.Now I have not tested it but I'm pretty sure the DB Levels are quite different between a loud bike behind ,to the side,and passing!I road with the Sampson first and I doubt theres a More Obnoxiously loud pipe out there for Our bikes.It hurt my ears to the point they would be ringing for an hour after a ride.I do Not use any of my bikes for my normal transportation so You got me on that.If so I would like ever advantage possible.I won't ever be able to scare them out of the way like some you guy though.:(
Stay safe and post a pic for us please!:cool:
:hmm: Max, is this the same as an eclipse --> :moon
Kaz,
There is one picture of me in the picture post area. And several of the motorcycle. Not the best picture but it will do.
Sasquatch I meant that in the nicest way, I'm not in a habit of trying to upset people that if they stand still long enough this time of year that people try to hang Christmas lights on them. :)



Here you go Kaz

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Kaz,
I'm the cute one in the picture! :D
Max,
I give, you win. My son just tried that yesterday!! :goof
Well my 2 cents on this: Yes they are very helpful if you route the pipes over your shoulders and point them in front of you. I have yet to see anyone do this, but since most exhaust pipe are pointed towards the back of the bike, most everyone won't here you until you pass them. Best way to see this is to watch a police car come up on you at highway speed you'll see him a lot sooner than you’ll hear his siren. At highway speed, noise doesn't usually proceed the vehicle more than, a half of a car length - at best. Just ask on of the guys who work in law enforcement here on the board. Bottom line, if you like it good, but don't think at speed it's any real safety issue.

I think Albert someone discussed this in one of his theories. And of course the closer you get to the speed of sound the less you hear sound in front of you. As a matter of fact, at the speed of sound you can scream all you want and you'll never here yourself. So remember that when you have a talkative passenger.

But in order to check this out have a buddy in a car follow you and have them blow their horn at progressively higher speeds and you will find that the higher the speed the closer the car has to be in order for you to hear the horn. Or you can go to a railroad track and listen to a train pass, the horn will be very soft until it's almost on top of you. In addition trains make a heck of a lot of noise but yet that is not readily apparent until it is next to you or past you.

Sorry to say the same theory applies to your motorcycles, whether you like it or not. Plus there has been some studies done as to the hearing loss inflected due to prolonged exposure to noise. And that is the reason you are so tired after an airline flight is because the db levels are so high in an airliner, and your exposure over a long period of time. Try ear plugs the next time you fly and you find it does make a difference. So in the end your hearing will suffer and no one will really notice, if you like it good for you but don’t expect that it’s going to add safety, you still have to watch out.

Dave
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Sasquatch said:
Lastly - a comment about the AMA - I read the article related to loud pipes and their general position statement when they first put it out earlier this year. I was considering joining because I wanted someone that would protect the rights of all motorcyclists. That position statement helped me to decide that I would not join thier organization. I do realize that some people have an arrogant attitude about what they can and can't do; and somehow it is thier right to annoy the crap out of people around them. These people have the same attitude on many facets of life and ruin many things for everyone. However, I leave my house at 3:30 AM in the mornings so I can go to the gym. I have asked every neighbor if they have heard me leave. The answer for all is "no". I ride with the rpms as low as possible until I get out of my neighborhood and onto a major roadway. In other words, what I'm saying is that those with loud pipes - including me - can be respectful when in low noise areas but use the pipes to our advantage when surrounded by jerks like on Atlanta highways. To me it's the best of both worlds.

Y'all have a good day and remember this is just my opinion, do with it what you will. :2cents
I think their position on loud pipes and your consideration of your neighbors are in line with each other, not opposed. IMHO You're the poster child for responsible use of "loud" pipes. :)

As for fighting for our rights I think this parragraph speaks volumes.


Q: Why did the AMA suddenly issue this position statement?
A: The AMA has fought motorcycle bans in St. Louis, Detroit, Brockton, Massachusetts, and Springfield, Illinois. The foundation for each was tied to excessive noise. More recently we have confronted proposed motorcycle prohibitions in Chicago and New York City. Motorcycle noise, again, was the justification for these proposals.

In the past several years, the AMA has spent well over $100,000 defending lawsuits and confronting legislative prohibitions initiated by zealous legislators responding to their belief that motorcycles are too loud. In Europe, where road closures to stifle excessive noise are becoming almost commonplace, anti-tampering legislation and restrictive sound emission requirements are under serious consideration.

The position results from the Board's desire to avoid further restrictions on motorcycling. If the excessive noise problem is not addressed voluntarily, and in a timely fashion, these restrictions are inevitable. The Board agrees that failing to raise this warning, despite the potential negative reception by some, would be shirking their responsibility to AMA members and the motorcycling community.
Hey Monster Max (Robin) - You can chip in on this whenever you like. You were trying to get quieter pipes a while back as I remember....
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