Why Motorcycles Are Loud: Here’s What You Need To Know

Have you ever passed by or driven near a motorcycle? Ever wondered why they’re too noisy despite being smaller than cars? If this question has been bothering you for some time, then read on to know why motorcycles are loud.

There are a couple of reasons why bikes are so loud. The main reasons are because of their exposed engine and the length of the exhaust pipes. There’s also no insulated compartment to deaden the noise. Plus, the exhaust and muffler aren’t long enough to slow the air and exhaust down. This results in that loud sound while coming out.

In today’s blog, we’ll look at the different factors that can cause loud noises in a motorcycle. Whether you’re a hardcore rider or regular onlooker, we’ll tell you what you need to know about bike exhaust sounds.

The Real Reasons Why Motorcycles are Loud

When you think how silent a car can be, it’s only normal to wonder why a motorcycle is so loud. Are motorcyclists just doing it on purpose? Well, there are some things you should first understand to have an exact explanation as to why they’re too loud.

The biggest reason why bikes are louder than other vehicles is their muffler. Mufflers are the ones that deaden the sound coming out of the engine through the exhaust. Bike mufflers are only several inches long, while cars have much larger mufflers that are around 3-4 times bigger. Motorcycles don’t have the room for a bigger muffler, which then results in their loud sound.

The second is because of the length of their exhaust pipes. The distance from the exhaust port of the engine to the exhaust on motorcycles is only about three feet. For cars, however, it is 10-15 feet long. The sound and the air rushing out the engine don’t have enough time in the pipe to slow down.

It also doesn’t have much time to bounce off the internal walls and lose some of its energy and velocity. Therefore, since the exhaust pipes are shorter on motorcycles, there’s a higher force of exhaust and air coming out. This is another reason why motorcycles make a louder sound.

Lastly, motorcycles are loud because their engine is open to the air and atmosphere. Many people don’t realize that the processes that go inside any engine can be very loud. Other vehicles have their engines enclosed in a compartment to deaden the sound, but bikes don’t have that. Motorcycle engines are completely open that’s why anyone can easily hear if a motorcycle is nearby.

Why Motorcycles are Loud: The Louder, The Better?

Some people don’t like the sound of loud motorcycles. If you’re one of those, it’s easy to wonder why many prefer them and why they’re not bothered by the noise.

There are two main reasons why many riders like having a loud motorcycle. The first is because they probably enjoy the loud noise. We can’t give a scientific reason for that, but some people simply prefer their motorcycles as loud as possible.

Maybe they also want to show off their ride—because people will certainly look once they hear that sound.

However, the second yet more important reason is safety. Some people may argue that the loud sounds of a motorcycle barely do anything for other motorists to notice bikers. Still, anything a motorcyclist can do to make others notice them is better than nothing.

Additionally, this article shows that unaware car drivers are the major cause of motorcycle accidents. It’s no wonder why riders like to be as loud as they can to be more noticeable on the road. Motorcyclists are more prone to injuries during an accident. With lots of unaware drivers out there, having a loud motorcycle seems forgivable.

Why are Older Motorcycles Louder than Newer Motorcycles?

You may think that older motorcycles are louder since they were made when having a loud motorcycle was a fad. While this is slightly true, there’s more to this than that alone.

Older motorcycles have mufflers that have broken down with time and thus, have become less effective. However, muffler technology has greatly improved in the past few years. Newer motorcycles have mufflers using this new technology, allowing them to be much quiet for a longer period.

Moreover, motorcycle engine technology has improved over the years as well. Modern engines now have better efficiency, which means they’re not as loud as the engines found in older motorcycles.

Older motorcycles usually had “short pipes” or where you remove the muffler to make the exhaust pipes shorter. This leads to incredibly loud noise and is also one of the reasons why older motorcycles seem noisier.

Why Motorcycles are Loud: How Loud is Too Loud?

Believe it or not, there’s a limit on how loud a motorcycle (or any vehicle) can be on the road. The EPA set the limit to 83 dB for motorcycles made in 1983 and 80 dB for motorcycles manufactured in 1986 or after.

Excessively loud motorcycles are also the result of any modifications made to a motorcycle. Some riders like to replace their exhaust system with an aftermarket exhaust that’s not EPA-compliant. This makes the motorcycle a lot louder and can easily increase the noise emission to more than 100 dB.

Having a very loud motorcycle can get you in trouble with the law. If you plan to alter your motorcycle to make it louder, check beforehand to see how loud you can go. Different states have different rules on what they consider too high on the road. While it’s fine to make some alterations on your motorcycle, make sure you’re aware to not make it too loud.

Never risk making changes beyond what your city ordinance considers legal. Not following the rules means you will be pulled over and given a ticket. You’ll be an easy target, too, since it won’t be hard to spot you and people can easily call you in.


Why motorcycles are loud is probably the first question non-motorcycle riders have for motorcycle owners. We hope this article answered it to help end this never-ending question.

Happy shopping and stay safe on the road!

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