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Old 08-30-2010, 11:57 AM   #1
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Exclamation Loud Pipes Save Lives....Myth Exposed

The age old argument of Loud pipes continues to be at the forefront of many two wheeled debates. As an opponent of the loud pipes saves lives argument, I've decided to take on this myth as objectively as possible, do some research, and let you see the facts.

With more than 30 years of riding, I've heard every side of this debate, and every imaginable point made.

So lets start with some facts, shall we?

In order to subscribe to the Loud Pipes theory, you must believe that the average car driver can hear your bike approaching while driving. After doing some exhausting (pun intended) research, I've found that the average interior sound level of a passenger car at 70 mph is around 72-75 db. I don't know about you, but I like to drive to my favorite music, so my stereo is generally turned to an enjoyable sound level (likely lower than some of you younger folks since I'm old ). Like most of you, I generally take a few calls while driving as well. Having 4 kids, there is also plenty of other sounds coming from the back seat. As you can see, there are plenty of noisy distractions that occur every time we get behind the wheel of our cages.

So it would be good to see some sound level readings to help us to see just how loud our vehicles are.

The average conversation is 60-70 db
Average 4 cylinder bike is 100 db
Loud Crying 95 db
Frequent level with music via head phones 100-105 db
Average ringtone 80db

Now you get an idea of just how loud it can become in your car. It would be a safe assumption that sound levels are easily around 95-105 db.

The Loud Pipes Theory says that by having an abnormally loud bike will help the cagers to better hear you, thus helping to potentially save your life. With aftermarket pipes ranging from 98-105 db, it's hardly imaginable that you will be heard. The sound of a bike exhaust is emitting from the rear, so it is impossible for a driver to hear you until you are next to, or in front of them. Car manufacturers have been trying to surpress outside noise levels for years with better insulation, and with the noises inside a car from your radio, phone, spouse, kids, and other things, it's easy to see how that argument just doesn't hold any water. Even race tracks have noise level restrictions.

Truth be told, loud pipes only attract unwanted outside attention from your local police, and sour the already negative perception of the general public to our wonderful sport. Even most exhaust manufacturers will stamp on their can "not for road use" when their sound levels go above the DOT allowed levels. So take it from me, or the facts above, whichever it is, put a cork in it fellows.



Links:
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/TableOf...sureLevels.htm
http://www.transportenvironment.org/...ay-pid-20.html
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/the-art-ofnoise/
http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...?article=37072
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:01 PM   #2
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Maybe the insulation sucks in my Impala, I hear bikes coming all the time. I need a better car.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:02 PM   #3
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Loud pipes = short . Ask Mudbug. He's running open pipes
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
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old news and nice to see something along this line again for the noobs... i am pretty annoyed with the exhaust i put on my bike. cops have pulled me over after getting on the freeway just cuz they heard me coming i'm like really mr popo and he laughed. i dont like the vacuum cleaner sound the stock one came with however what i have now is just too much.
yeah, after reading the psycho cop thread, I just had to
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:13 PM   #5
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Also worth noting is that the soundwaves from the exhaust are directed and concentrated rearward from the bike. If the bike is closing on the car at a reasonable speed difference, most drivers probably wouldn't notice anything until the rider's passing them anyway. +1 in regard to newer cars being well insulated from ambient sounds. I have many times had trouble hearing fire truck and police sirens untill they were very near, with the radio at a normal and reasonable level. There are certainly those who truly believe that it makes a big safety impact. I believe that there are far more that simply use it as a lame excuse to have a super loud exhaust and justify it as a necessity. I just can't help to notice that most friends, family and others who have preached this philosophy to me are the same ones who have no safety concerns about riding drunk or helmetless. Just man up and say it. "I have a loud exhaust because I think it sounds cool.". In the end, that's still 90% of the reason people buy loud pipes versus the marginal safety benefit.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:30 PM   #7
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hmmm though i've been riding for less than 2 years, i can say i've been driving for over 10, and have heard LOTS of bikes coming up from behind me.

but i;ll agree, the ppl we worry about are ALREADY distracted, with kids, phones, etc.

not sure there's anything that can be done to FORCE them to pay attention to ya. tis life
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:41 PM   #8
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:00 PM   #9
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My pipes aren't that loud but u take baffles out different story. I like the sound just like my race car loud and obnoxious. Waking up the police chief in my city priceless. I think has long as they follow the law do what u want to do its ur property. If its too loud ur too old I was told long time ago. If my bike and race car loud what do u think my 4 kicker 15 l7 and 4 Memphis 1500 Watt amps are. Its loud. Its r freedom to do whatever like isaid ifit within law requirements cops shouldn't b able to harass u.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godsuki View Post
The age old argument of Loud pipes continues to be at the forefront of many two wheeled debates. As an opponent of the loud pipes saves lives argument, I've decided to take on this myth as objectively as possible, do some research, and let you see the facts.

With more than 30 years of riding, I've heard every side of this debate, and every imaginable point made.

So lets start with some facts, shall we?

In order to subscribe to the Loud Pipes theory, you must believe that the average car driver can hear your bike approaching while driving. After doing some exhausting (pun intended) research, I've found that the average interior sound level of a passenger car at 70 mph is around 72-75 db. I don't know about you, but I like to drive to my favorite music, so my stereo is generally turned to an enjoyable sound level (likely lower than some of you younger folks since I'm old ). Like most of you, I generally take a few calls while driving as well. Having 4 kids, there is also plenty of other sounds coming from the back seat. As you can see, there are plenty of noisy distractions that occur every time we get behind the wheel of our cages.

So it would be good to see some sound level readings to help us to see just how loud our vehicles are.

The average conversation is 60-70 db
Average 4 cylinder bike is 100 db
Loud Crying 95 db
Frequent level with music via head phones 100-105 db
Average ringtone 80db

Now you get an idea of just how loud it can become in your car. It would be a safe assumption that sound levels are easily around 95-105 db.
The Loud Pipes Theory says that by having an abnormally loud bike will help the cagers to better hear you, thus helping to potentially save your life. With aftermarket pipes ranging from 98-105 db, it's hardly imaginable that you will be heard. The sound of a bike exhaust is emitting from the rear, so it is impossible for a driver to hear you until you are next to, or in front of them. Car manufacturers have been trying to surpress outside noise levels for years with better insulation, and with the noises inside a car from your radio, phone, spouse, kids, and other things, it's easy to see how that argument just doesn't hold any water. Even race tracks have noise level restrictions.

Truth be told, loud pipes only attract unwanted outside attention from your local police, and sour the already negative perception of the general public to our wonderful sport. Even most exhaust manufacturers will stamp on their can "not for road use" when their sound levels go above the DOT allowed levels. So take it from me, or the facts above, whichever it is, put a cork in it fellows.



Links:
http://www.sengpielaudio.com/TableOf...sureLevels.htm
http://www.transportenvironment.org/...ay-pid-20.html
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/loudness.html
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/the-art-ofnoise/
http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...?article=37072

it's not quite that high as far as i know. It can be with a loud stereo but not under "normal" conditions. the average human speech level is around 75-80dB. sound is not linear, 90dB is twice as loud as 85dB, and 4 times as loud as 80dB. the rule that we use in the construction industry is if you have to yell to be heard, it's too loud so you should have ear plugs. that is madated by osha at 90dB technically but at 85dB you have to have a hearing conservation program so you start wearing them at 85dB... but that's beside the point. When i was in college, I measured my exhaust to a 600cc sport bike with a vance and hines exhaust with no baffles. it measured 126dB 6 feet from the rear at redline (11K). it was 110dB at the front at redline. at 6K rpm 6 feet from the back i was at 115 dB and 95dB at the front. this is all standing still. i would estimate that a cars sound deadening technology easily cuts out 20dB or so, most good earplugs for instance have a noise reduction rating of 30-33dB. so at normal cruise on the bike coming up on the rear of the car, the car would have about 95dB on the outside, subtract 20dB for sound proofing and it would be hard to hear the bike. but if you rap it out as you pass, 110dB-20 still gives you 90dB and that would be heard. its not neccessarily when you are behind the car that loud pipes would tell the car you are there, it's when you are beside them and they don't check a blind spot before changing lanes
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Last edited by sbfuller; 08-30-2010 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:31 PM   #11
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For me:

Loud pipes on old bike = a couple of people merging into my lane.
DOT quiet pipes on new bike = a shitload of people merging into my lane.

Statistics are no substitute for judgment, in my personnal experience The louder the better. Loud pipes save lives.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:34 PM   #12
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:38 PM   #13
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It would be a safe assumption that sound levels are easily around 95-105 db.


lost me with this statement right here. no way a vehicle is running 105 decibles inside unless he is rattling the windows with music and going deaf at the same time. MOST vehicles are loads quieter than this.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:42 PM   #14
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:43 PM   #15
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I had a stock 250 and now a stock 600. Given that the 250 was always at 9k rpms at freeway speeds and I dont drive 100 miles a day, I've racked up maybe 5k miles on the bikes and have yet to be ran over. *knocks on wood*

I think good habits like 1. being aware of the cars around you and 2. knowing where to be at the right time (lane wise) could help as much as loud pipes.

EDIT: I also think that the sound of stock is plenty loud, esp on high RPMs.

Quote:
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him and them . i want loud pipes ON MY BIKE . .

how about we make cell phones , car radio's , yelling kids , TV's, gps, all illegal in cars where driver's can pay attention.
and you can make all cars one seaters... you know how other passengers can distract drivers.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:44 PM   #16
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If the interior of a car is 75 decibels and a motorcycle is 100 decibels that is like 10x louder. When I ride a Triumph America with a stock exhaust I always get people coming into my lane. ALWAYS. When I ride my sportbike with aftermarket exhaust. IT RARELY HAPPENS. This has been my experience for many many years so I would have to disagree. I personally feel that if my loud pipes keep one person from coming into my lane then it's worth it. I just want to make it home in one piece so if my loud pipes sour the image of the entire motorcycle community then the general public can **** up the ***** and ****** so ******* or ****** with a broomstick.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
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THEY CAN'T HEAR TRAIN HORNS or 18 wheeler air horns either ..so i think the problem is whats going on inside the cars ..not whats happening on the outside
i never had a problem with a 4 wheeler not hearing my 18 wheeler horns,lol. but yes, it isn't a hearing problem it's a distraction problem.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:49 PM   #18
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If the interior of a car is 75 decibels and a motorcycle is 100 decibels that is like 10x louder. When I ride a Triumph America with a stock exhaust I always get people coming into my lane. ALWAYS. When I ride my sportbike with aftermarket exhaust. IT RARELY HAPPENS. This has been my experience for many many years so I would have to disagree. I personally feel that if my loud pipes keep one person from coming into my lane then it's worth it. I just want to make it home in one piece so if my loud pipes sour the image of the entire motorcycle community then the general public can **** up the ***** and ****** so ******* or ****** with a broomstick.
yes, but you forget that a car's soundproofing may take away 20 - 25 dB of that so in all actuality, you're not THAT much louder then the exterior of their car and the road noise
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbfuller View Post
yes, but you forget that a car's soundproofing may take away 20 - 25 dB of that so in all actuality, you're not THAT much louder then the exterior of their car and the road noise
that will all vary from car to car. this is a very un-scientific article, especially since db's were all based on assumption and not hard readings from a db meter. my experience as a professional driver is this... many, MANY times a motorcycle was spared from his own stupidity by his loud pipes beside my 18 wheeler and beside my bus. the noise reverberates through the trailer and inside the bus. so much so that it would frequently me off because I would be in mid-lane change and it would scare this out of me. they hang out in blind spots and then accelerate and that is the only way I knew they were there. same goes true the other way around, I have people change lanes with me looking in the driver window, but when I put louder(not stupid loud either) that kind of stopped. say what you will, I KNOW for a fact that loud pipes can get the attention of a driver not paying attention.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
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that will all vary from car to car. this is a very un-scientific article, especially since db's were all based on assumption and not hard readings from a db meter. my experience as a professional driver is this... many, MANY times a motorcycle was spared from his own stupidity by his loud pipes beside my 18 wheeler and beside my bus. the noise reverberates through the trailer and inside the bus. so much so that it would frequently me off because I would be in mid-lane change and it would scare this out of me. they hang out in blind spots and then accelerate and that is the only way I knew they were there. same goes true the other way around, I have people change lanes with me looking in the driver window, but when I put louder(not stupid loud either) that kind of stopped. say what you will, I KNOW for a fact that loud pipes can get the attention of a driver not paying attention.
i know they can too, but the real question is this, "could the loud pipes be eliminated if riders were more aware of their surroundings?" i.e. don't ride in cars blind spots and always have an escape route?if that was the case, would loud pipes save more lives than responsible riding? I'm not saying that everyone should have silent pipes, but obnoxiously loud is just that, obnoxious.
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