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The Shame Among Us

59873 Views 260 Replies 146 Participants Last post by  silentgrayfellow
I wonder what will happen if I poke this bear with this sharp stick...
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Amen Fred !! I am one of the very few that ride a Harley with stock pipes. (I guess that makes me a 1%er ) And those stock pipes will remain as long as I own this bike.

I think the main problem with enforcing existing noise laws is that they require the use of a calibrated decibel meter by the police. And the measurement has to be taken under controlled conditions - it must be a certain distance from buildings and other noise reflecting objects, there cannot be above a certain level of ambient noise, etc. Also the engine must be rev'ed to a certain rpm to take the measurement, and what if the bike being tested doesn't have a tach? Finally each officer performing the test must be certified to use the db meter (as dumb as that sounds) or else the ticket won't stand up in traffic court.

So yeah, laws exist, it's just that enforcing them is more difficult than meets the eye.
Right On!!!

I have been riding for 35 years and all the good will I try to generate is instantly destroyed by some motor-cyclist wan-a-be that substituted loud pipes for training wheels.
If loud pipes are outlawed only outlaws will have loud pipes

What will happen is - straight pipes will become illegal or all cops will start carrying decibel meters. I have a very nice can (don't believe my wife) which is civilized until ~6K and then begins a nice low roar. Micron.
Noise, music. The difference is in the ear of the beholder. Where the line is, I have no idea. There are days when I just love to hear the rumble of a herd of pigs lumbering down the highway. Other times, loud pipes just ***** me off. Sorta like rap, except that rap never sounds good to me. I imagine time and place have a great deal to do with it. Many folk walk/ride around with their heads up their arses, unaware or uncaring of their impact on others. I guess we need to respond when irritated and, from time to time, yank our own heads from our own arses. Maybe a class in music appreciation would help too.
Re: If loud pipes are outlawed only outlaws will have loud pipes

Your 'nice sounding' can is still illegal. You get a ticket with the rest.
Thank you for writing an editorial that speaks to the common good. The issue of "rights" commonly arises when people want to defend behavior that is evidently anti-social but otherwise pleasurable. I think the reason the discussion often becomes contentious is that it is taking place with too limited a vocabulary. The matter is not one of "rights" but a question of liberty. Rights are absolute. But liberty is the expression of freewill in a social environment where the absolute needs to be restricted when it conflicts with that of other people. Loud pipes create "negative externalities" -- things that are nauxious to others. Big televisions, by comparison, have no negative externalities. The reason that the discussion of rights becomes so aggressive, and often mean, is that it tries to argue absolute rights in a world where social compromise based on liberty is always needed. We need to be respectful of the liberties of others, otherwise we have no right to demand it for ourselves.

The people at the cafe weren't just annoyed, they were angry. They were angry because they felt violated and disrespected. If it had been a thunderclap, the children might also have cried, but the reaction could not have been caustic. There is a reason why.

Besides, we want pipes that sound COOL. Loud does not equal cool. The carbons on the Ducati aren't louder. But they sure are cool. . .
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Everyone gets to enjoy the fine day. No one gets to prevent others from doing so. It's really pretty simple.

It doesn't matter if it's just one minute of distraction or one week. Can I poke a stick in your eye if I promise to only do it for a few seconds?

The idea that "As long as I'm happy you can all go to hell" is rude, selfish, and obnoxious. It needs to be stopped.
Noise is a lot like speeding. If you know when and where to do it, there really isn't a problem. It ain't the pipes as much as it is the moron twisting the throttle. At Daytona one year I had some idiot at the hotel I was staying at get up every morning and start his bike in the lot and rev the ***** out of it for a half hour and then he would go back to the room for a few hours. Why the hell he did that was beyond me. Made a hell of a racket, and what the purpose was I still can't figure out. I have about 100 bikes go past my house every weekend, some trying to be annoying and others that have loud pipes that are just cruising through, and that doesn't just go for Harleys. Sportbikes that have aftermarket pipes that you guys think sound so good are just as annoying. The only difference between annoying and acceptable lies with the rider. By the way, I still have the stock pipes on my Busa and Electra-Glide. Thinking about a pipe for the Busa though. Need to ***** off a few people on the block.
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Re: Loud Pipes Externalize Costs - Tax 'em!

I think V-Strom is onto something interesting.

Pricing "negative externalities" (like polution) is a very cutting edge subject in economics, and no one has a good general solution for this problem yet. Here's one of the problems with this proposal in this circumstance. How do you directly compensate the people who suffer from the irritation of the loud noises especially since it's so highly subjective?

Furthermore show me the actual cost to fix the problem for the injured party. Earplugs are cheap! Therefor the cost to fix this negative externality is quite low. (I know I'm oversimplifying, but you get the idea, you have to price the externality based upon the cost imposed upon the outside party.)

Also, I'm afraid that this proposal would end up just being a tax grab for some local government, and it would do nothing to solve the problem. Those folks in Church would still hear loud bikes roaring by on Sunday morning.

I'm afraid the only thing to do is enforce the existing laws (or strengthen them and enforce them.)

Perhaps as a motorcycle community, we should encourage the police (and local governments) to enforce the existing laws....
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I have a 1500 Vulcan -- with aftermarket pipes. The stock pipes on this model are awful in every way, they sound bad and steal much of what little power the bike makes.

I first bought some Cobra slashcuts for it. They were way too loud. I then bought some Vance and Hines Classic II's, the saleperson told me they were the quietest aftermarket pipes available for my bike. They were still too loud. V & H makes some optional quieter baffles for these pipes so I bought those and found a workable solution. It's a little louder than stock with a good tone and can breath fairly well. I've asked my neighbors what they think and no one has a problem with it.

It can be done, living as a symbiotic member of society is all about compromise and respecting others.
Re: Loud Pipes Externalize Costs - Tax 'em!

Sorry, not V-Strom, I mean DC Dave.
Re: 60 miles!

How about you do a story for MO on your big ride to Sturgis? I bet Ashley would be up for it. I'm sure all the MO faithful would love to see you and your bike. I know I would. Why the hell would you want to go there to begin with?? It's just a bunch of Harley guys (which you hate), and really nothing to do but party. That's the whole point of the thing. If you aren't going to party and you hate Harleys, then why go? That is a serious question.
Hear, hear! I am dismayed that you let the 'straight pipe' crowd off so easily. I have my share of stories as well, the point is these people have somehow decided that once they get on a motorcycle the usual rules of common courtesy no longer apply. I know many otherwise well-adjusted, productive members of society that think nothing of hopping on their unmuffled V-twin on Sunday morning and gallivanting around town making their presence heard.

Let's figure out a way to organize some active way to show our displeasure!

So who should fund the purchase of the dB meters, fund the training on how to use them, etc.?

What will eventually happen is that riders of bikes with STOCK exhausts are going to be ticketed in an "enforcement" frenzy, and it will be up to the individual rider (good luck) to fight it in court. Burden of proof will be on the rider.

It will probably come to this! The Pirates and The Squids don't get that they're responsible for their actions. (Oh, and they'll also be the first to moan about the fact that THEY eventually got a ticket!)
To be noticed by other vehicles, you need frontal visibility. Try a reflective vest or an orange bicycle flag.

Skip the whole "image" thing; that chick on the side of the road ain't gonna love you any more just for being on two wheels.


Yamaha Seca II

Portland, OR
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Illegal as I wanna be

I can keep the revs down for the Man, and I generally do. It just sounds nice when I don't.
Bah... they wouldn't have heard him. And it had nothing to do w/ the volume of their exhaust.
Sound increases 10 times for every 10 dB you go up. A 3 dB drop (checks the calculator on my computer) is indeed equal to cutting the sound output in half.
Very nice article that puts into perspective what folks have to put up with who are not riding loud bikes. I'm not against loud pipes, but there is a limit to which my ears will put up with and I can understand communities puting an end to the noise pollution in their respective environments.

We had some discussion at work recently about how nice it would be to have pipes that could be made quiet or loud, which I understand are called cutouts which are supposedly illegal -- but the point would be that loud bikes wouldn't have to be loud all the time.

One thing I enjoy about my V-Star is that she purrs most of the time and roars when I put the the spurs to her and delay shift. I can start her up at 4am in our cul-de-sac and not wake up anyone. Now if I had the earth shattering pipes I might get some LEOs coming to visit I would suspect...

Loud is good, but too loud is too loud.


Nicely written article!

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