General Question

monsoon's avatar

How can I tell by a motorcycle's specs if its loud?

Asked by monsoon (2510points) August 3rd, 2009

I’ve never owned or ridden a motorcycle, but am interested in getting one. I’ve been doing a little research, and I definitely don’t want a sport bike; I’d rather a cruiser. But from what I’ve seen, they tend to be loud, which I hate.

So I’m wondering, when reading a bike’s specs, what indicates how loud it will be?

Also, if I have a motorcycle I decide to get that is loud, what could I alter on it to make it less loud?

Right now I’m thinking of a Yamaha V-Star Custom, just for reference. It’s big for a first bike, but I’m interested in commuting 80 miles a day on the freeway, and I couldn’t find anything smaller that would still cut it and that didn’t look silly.


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8 Answers

dUc0N's avatar

You can tell by the fact that it’s a motorcycle. By design, motorcycles are loud, since being seen and, in this case, heard, is what allows a motorcyclist to navigate through traffic filled with SUVs with the windows, AC, and stereo all the way up, and still arrive in one piece.

If you’re wanting to alter it, then the first thing you’ll want is some sort of muffler for the exhaust… but I’m not entirely sure they even make those. In a collision between motorcycle and car, car almost always wins, and so most motorcycles will be very loud, even at the cost of seeming like “that noisy jerk.”

DrBill's avatar

If it says Harley-Davidson it is tremendously loud, and your neighbors will hate you.

If it says Honda, it is so quite you can hardly hear it.

All others fall somewhere in between.

samanthabarnum's avatar

It’s a motorcycle. Motorcycles are loud. You’ll be hard pressed to find one that isn’t louder than a car, and as @dUc0N said, for damn good reason. If it’s too loud for you, get a bike and learn to pedal really hard. Or just deal with a car.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

My brother has a Yamaha V Star, it is louder than his Honda Shadfow was, but not as annoying loud as one of those over-priced Harleys. You can always fit a motorcycle with different pipes, as it is the pipes (or mufflers) that regulate how loud the bike is. Loudness depends simply on preference.

The first rule of thumb for any motorcycle rider is to assume nobody can see you and that every other driver around you is drunk or stoned. Most people barely pay attention to their surroundings, and many of them simply do not ‘see’ motorcycles. This is the main reason keeping me from buying a bike.

That said, you can get special lights for the rear of your bike that flash and flutter for when you brake to make your tail end more visible.

DrBill's avatar

I have a SUV and a Honda, with them running side by side, you cannot hear the bike unless you turn off the SUV. (they are both stock from the factory)

monsoon's avatar

Thanks @evelyns_pet_zebra, for the only actual answer to my question. Motorcycles are not just loud, why should a motorcycle, by nature, be any louder than a car? Maybe I don’t want a motorcycle just because it’s loud and obnoxious, what a thought.

Zendo's avatar

You can’t tell from the specs how loud the bike is. You must kick it over and rev it up to hear for yourself.
Not all motorcycles are loud. Many are actually very quiet, with excellent muffled pipes.
Harleys are made to be loud on purpose.
I wouldn’t get anything smaller than a 500 for your daily 80 mile commute, and would preer a 750 or an 800 or bigger (It is nice to be able to get out of the trouble you can get into out there, and smaller engines are asking for trouble).

mrrich724's avatar

Motorcycles are in fact “by nature” loud… louder than a car… the reason that it is so, “by nature” is because on a car you have a motor and then 8 feet behind it you have an exhaust pipe. In between you have a huge muffler, a catalytic converter and whatever else is under there that lessens the sound before it gets to the tail end.

On a bike, you have a motor and you have a pipe. If you have a HUGE pipe, it might be a 3–4 feet long with all the bends, but odds are, it’s even shorter. So the noise from the motor comes straight out, without having anything “in the way” to “baffle” the sound…


If you are still interested in a bike (I see this is an ‘09 question, but it just popped up), or just in case anyone is curious, you can manage the sound of any motorcycle by changing the stock baffles in the pipes to “quietening” baffles which are designed to disperse as much noise as possible (depending on what you purchase for your specific noise preference).

So don’t limit your bike choices by this… or by anything really… Almost EVERYTHING on a bike is customizable and easy to do (mostly plug ‘n play), including the sound!

Hope this helps someone in the future…

And any other bike-related questions, ask me!

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