Can You Ride a Motorcycle Without a Muffler? (Explained!)

Motorcycle Muffler - worn out

Removing the muffler from the motorcycle is a fad for decades. The exhaust looks great and believe it or not, many bike riders think the loud sound is cool.

So, can you ride a motorcycle without a muffler? It is not recommended to ride a motorcycle without a muffler. The noise levels will be too high and can even violate noise and emission standards set in place.

Also, if the exhaust modification is not right while removing the muffler, there can be exhaust overheating and performance dip.

Many motorcycle riders remove the muffler in their motorcycles for aesthetics and to make their motorcycles louder. But the cons outweigh the pros here.

Role of a muffler in the motorcycle

Motorcycle Muffler with back tire

The primary function of the muffler is to reduce the loud noise and make the motorcycle quieter.

The muffler, also known as a silencer, reduces the motorcycle noise levels and keeps it under a sound volume of 90dB (decibels).

If you ever run your motorcycle without a muffler, the motorcycle will be too noisy. You will hate the noise unless you are one of those high decibel ear-shattering noise lovers.

To know more, here is our post on the muffler’s function in a motorcycle as well as on types of mufflers.

A good muffler not only reduces the sound levels but also ensures the output sound from the exhaust is bearable by adjusting the sound frequencies as well.

Can you ride a motorcycle without a muffler?

It is not advisable to ride a motorcycle without a muffler. But you technically can and many people do ride without a muffler.

But, there are problems associated with no muffler in the motorcycle.

First and foremost, without a muffler to reduce the decibels, the motorcycle noise levels will be too high.

This is irritating for sure. But also can be problematic depending on the area you live in.

This brings us to the second point, you might be violating the emission and noise standards set in your locality.

In short, it is not a great idea to ride your motorcycle without the muffler.

Reasons to NOT ride without a muffler

Motorcycle Muffler

Now, let’s discuss the reasons why you should not ride your motorcycle without a muffler in detail.

#1: High noise level

This is the obvious reason. We discussed this in the previous section as well.

A muffler reduces the noise level of the motorcycle, mainly of the engine. Without a muffler to reduce the decibel levels, the motorcycle will start giving out unpleasant riding sounds, beating your eardrums.

Sure. Few bike riders love this unhinged high-pitched noise coming from their motorcycles. But the vast majority would rather stay away from it.

You also need to keep in mind the neighborhood. Most neighbors and the people on the road do not appreciate such deafening sounds from a motorcycle.

Besides, once the novelty wears off, you yourself won’t like the annoyingly loud sound.

#2: Risk of violating regulations

High noise levels also run the risk of violating emission and noise standards set in your area.

The muffler lowers the motorcycle noise below a decibel of 90dB usually.

But without the muffler in your motorcycle, the decibel levels are bound to be high. This runs the risk of violating the noise and emission standards set in your locality.

While the exact decibel range varies according to the region, the Motor Vehicle (MV) rule book specifies that the maximum sound permissible for motorcycles ranges from 80-91dB. 

If you remove the muffler from your motorcycle, there is a high chance the decibel levels of the sound coming from your motorcycle will violate the standards.

The noise output can cross 120-130dB in machines with modified or illegal free-flow exhaust with no mufflers.

So, it is better to not remove the muffler at all.

#3: Exhaust overheating and performance problems

Removing the muffler from a motorcycle also requires modifications to the exhaust.

Exhaust systems are not just bolt-on or afterthought products in modern motorcycles. They are customized for each model. This is in contrast to a few decades ago when the one-size-fits-all strategy was used across models by manufacturers.

Things get even more complicated and risky in the case of multi-cylinder motorcycles with advanced fuel injectors and catalytic converters.

Most likely, the exhaust modifications lead to it becoming a free-flow exhaust. If coupled with some malfunction in ECU measuring the back pressure in the exhaust, you will easily start noticing problems like exhaust overheating, backfiring, and performance dip.

Will no muffler hurt the engine?

Motorcycle muffler

Running the motorcycle without a muffler will not hurt the engine. And will not improve the engine performance as well.

The muffler has little to no impact on the engine performance.

But, there are some longe term performance influences that might take place.

Most automobile engines function well with robust exhaust systems. Since the muffler is a vital part of the exhaust system, its absence can have some indirect effects.

The exhaust system will have issues without a muffler definitely. Once you remove the muffler unit, the exhaust system becomes a free-flowing type, this can actually decrease the specified output of the motorcycle.

Custom bike makers tend to modify the exhaust pipe from the manifold end. They may increase the inner diameter of the pipe, cut it short or lengthen it. Whatever is done, the motorcycle’s performance figures get altered permanently.

Then, why do people remove mufflers?


The main charm is the aesthetics and the sound.

Removing the muffler from the motorcycle gives you two things:

  • Improves the aesthetics
  • Good for riders loving loud and roaring sounds

Once you remove the muffler and have your exhaust as a straight pipe exhaust, you got to admit, looks cool for a motorcycle. And therein lasts the main advantage of no muffler.

For bike riders who love loud roaring sounds coming out of their motorcycles, riding without a muffler feels good for them.

Apart from these two, there aren’t many advantages of removing the muffler from a motorcycle. Few may argue the resulting low weight and improved performance due to muffler removal, but there is no clear evidence or research backing this claim.