Why Are Motorcycles So Much Louder Than Cars or Buses?

If you live anywhere where motorcycles are common, you’ve likely noticed the fact that bikes are often a lot louder than pretty much any vehicle on the road. This doesn’t really seem like it would make much sense; after all, motorcycles have smaller engines than basically every other vehicle, so shouldn’t they be quieter as well?

As it turns out, there are several aspects of a motorcycle’s design that make them louder than other vehicles, as well as several reasons why motorcycles are permitted to be so loud to begin with. Today, we’ll explain all of these aspects and reasons in detail.

What Makes Motorcycles So Loud?

Ever wondered why motorcycles seem to be louder than anything else on the road? We answer that question here.

As we’ve mentioned, it seems kind of counterintuitive that motorcycles are louder than cars, since motorcycle engines are usually a lot smaller than car engines and generally make less power. However, it’s the way motorcycle engines are built and the way they are used in motorcycles that makes them louder.

The main reason motorcycle engines are so loud is that they almost always have shorter and less restrictive exhaust systems than cars do. The exhaust system on an average commuter car is usually not shorter than 8-10 feet, whereas the exhaust system on a motorcycle typically isn’t longer than about 3 feet.

Because of the short length of the exhaust system, motorcycles usually have smaller mufflers than cars. Having a larger muffler makes a huge difference when it comes to sound deadening.

The final main reason why motorcycles are so much louder than cars has to do with engine packaging. In a car, the engine is buried deep in the engine compartment, which deadens much of the sound to begin with. Depending on the manufacturer, they might also add extra sound-insulating material in the engine bay to make their car even quieter.

Motorcycles obviously don’t have engine bays, so there’s very little to shield the sound that the engine makes. At most, the engine might be covered by the bike’s fairing, but this likely won’t do much.

Why Are Motorcycles Allowed to Be So Loud?

Motorcycles are inherently louder than cars because of their design, but they are still subject to laws concerning vehicle noise. There is a federal law stating that modern motorcycles can’t be louder than 80 decibels, although many states and cities have their own laws concerning motorcycle noise levels.

There are also different limits depending on how old your motorcycle is. Older motorcycles (such as ones from the 1980s and earlier) have less strict laws concerning noise and are allowed to operate at louder volumes than modern motorcycles.

Despite the fact that these laws exist, it’s pretty tricky to actually enforce them. Measuring decibel levels accurately requires the use of a sound meter, which isn’t something that most police officers have easy access to. These sound meters also have to be calibrated correctly to give an accurate decibel reading, which is an additional challenge.

Because it can be so tricky to enforce noise laws, it’s not too uncommon for police to just ignore bikes that are too loud, unless the rider is also doing something else illegal.

Which Came First, Cars or Motorcycles?

This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on your definition of what a motorcycle is. The car wasn’t the first gas-powered vehicle to be invented, but the actual first vehicle wasn’t quite a motorcycle either. As it turns out, the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. We answer the question of whether motorcycles or cars came first, and give you a brief history of the motorcycle.

Is it True that Cars Can Go Quicker Than Motorcycles on Turns?

All else being relatively equal, it is true that a car can go quicker than a motorcycle in turns. On average, motorcycles have better acceleration and can easily pass highway traffic made up of slower-moving cars that simply cannot keep up with a motorcycle. So why would it be the case that cars can be quicker on turns?

What are Some Differences Between Cars and Motorcycles?

Ever wonder about the important differences between cars and motorcycles? Find out all you need to know! Other than the obvious motorcycles have 2 wheels and cars have 4 wheels, there are plenty of differences between the two. Let’s go over them.

What Is the Difference Between a Motorcycle and a Scooter?

Have you been wondering what the difference between a motorcycle and a scooter is? We explain the differences here. Indeed, both of these vehicles have two wheels, a twist throttle, and space for one or two people to ride on.