Some Harley bikes louder than others

Bill, in some states/municipalities there are maximum db levels allowed from bikes (@ specific rpms). Some areas even enforce it strictly. In NH, there is a maximum legal level, and if a cop has any question they may bring in the test gear. If you take a loud bike (or radio) down the coastal road you WILL get stopped. Milford NH posts signs in the summer warning motorcycles that the law is strictly enforced.

I agree that the (many) Harley’s are way too loud. I can understand their wanting other motorists to realize they are there, but they do not have to be quite that loud.
My experiences of them passing me and the noise almost puncturing my ear drums is beyond reason. Sometimes I get the window up in time to muffle the sound, but not always.

And @Marnet brings up my other pet peeve. Those loud boom boxes in the cars. At a stop light I want to jump out and tear the thing out by the wires.

We have a few around here that you can hear them a mile away. Boom boom…boom…boom boom. I’d rather listen to a radio turned way up and static, than this boom boom boom, crap.
I’ve actually experienced a few that you could feel the vibration in your chest.

Why they don’t enforce the noise pollution of these things is beyond me. They could never hear a siren approaching.


Noise regs used to be enforced a lot more than they are now. A bike with open pipes was a cop magnet in the '70s.

‘Loud to be heard’ is BS, in my opinion. Just an excuse.

Two of the bike owners I mentioned are very considerate of all us neighbors and are never a problem. The third, the one with the loudest bike, is a total jerk who speeds past throttle wide open at top speed. The two good bikers are some of the harshest critics of the jerk.

There is an endless variety of aftermarket pipes available for American and metric bikes.
Sounds range from average to Whoa Nelly!

Bike riders tend to tinker and modify weather for performance reasons or to personalize their bikes. I know I did.

Milford NH posts signs in the summer warning motorcycles that the law is strictly enforced.

Guaranteed that law is NOT enforced at Loudon Fathers-Day weekend…aka Bike Week.

A side-effect of all this open exhaust noise is that Harley riders and their poor passengers end up being stone deaf by the time they are 35 or 40…You only have to listen to it for a few seconds…They have to listen to it all the time and it gets old real quick…

@Crusty XII

the noise level of harleys seems to be in direct proportion to the size of the rider, in my casual survey…

I believe it would be more accurate to say “in direct proportion to the size of character and not stature of the rider”.

Other riders sometimes ask why I haven’t yet bothered to modify the exhaust on my bike. I usually say “because I want my neighbors to use all five fingers when they wave at me”.

Harleys are not built to go fast; they’re made to be high torque, loafing along at low RPM highway cruisers.

How much of the venom directed at Harley riders would be uttered at a place such as Sturgis, Loudon, or Daytona or to the face of say a Bandido or Mongol…

OK an interesting question, almost as much significance as do you ride to the event or tow it in a trailer

because they are freaking jerks.

loud boombox in a cheap ricers + fart can mufflers, raised trucks that never go off-road and loud motorcycles, are there to compensate for the drivers who are severely lacking in a certain part of their anatomy.

If you ever get a chance to hear even a small gasoline engine running – like a 1600 cc – without any exhaust system at all, it will be clear how a person could easily adjust the sound level out the tailpipe by adjusting the muffler.

We don’t realize it driving down the street b/c our cars are well muffled for the most part, but when even a small amount of gasoline and air are compressed to 180 pounds to square inch, ignited, and explode, it makes a whale of a big noise.

How much of the venom directed at Harley riders would be uttered at a place such as Sturgis, Loudon, or Daytona or to the face of say a Bandido or Mongol............

Being big and intimidating does not change the fact that loud exhaust systems and maximum drama arrivals and departures are mostly just obnoxious.
I stay away from the local R.O.T. rally because the crowd there represents everything that embarrasses me about the motorcycling community.
I often attend the Luchenbach Harvest Rally because the crowd there represents everything that makes me proud of the motorcycling community.

While the noise on the street or behind a noisy motorcycle is loud, is it as loud ON the bike? All that noise is being blown out behind the rider. No?

Then again, I was passed by a Harley this evening on the way home. I was doing 65 in a 60, and he was going considerably faster than me, probably 75 or so. I HEARD him well before he passed me on the left, then cut in front of me and made the exit ramp on my right.

Since cars have had catalytic converters since 1975, I think those with bad mufflers are not as loud as they used to be. The cat has to abate the noise of the engine somewhat. When was the last time you heard of someone getting a ticket for loud pipes on a car?

OK I never had or wanted a Harley but when I was 15 I had a moped complete with pedals. Back then it was mainly Cushman or Hondas. When I’d go for a drive in the country (real country, gravel roads and no one around), I’d pull the baffle out of the muffler. I don’t remember why, if I just liked the sound or if I got more power out of it. Never did it in town though. Top speed about 28 mph with the windshield on in the winter.


Please check your private message inbox for a related but off topic question. Thank you, sir.

The Bikers are a fraternity all their own,it is good they have their own rallys.Anything with 2 cylinders has a unique sound,the real origins of the motorcycle gangs are a bit obscure.I think Hollywood had a lot to do with it.

Yes, there are laws, but I’ve never seen them enforced. I suspect that it’s too much trouble to call for the equipment. I know that in the NH town I live in, I can frequently hear loud motorcycles going by.

Be interesting to know where the equipment is located (does every town have a set plus a trained operator?) and the time to get it to a location.