How to Make the Motorcycle Exhaust Quieter? (6 Methods)

Motorcycle exhaust too loud

Motorcycles are louder when compared to passenger cars. Many riders make exhaust modifications to make it even louder. But, there are others including me who want their motorcycle quieter.

So, how do you make the motorcycle exhaust quieter? Installing baffles in the exhaust is the best way to make the motorcycle quieter. Checking for any exhaust leaks is the first thing to do though. Any leaks should be addressed first.

Apart from that, a slip-on muffler (also called a can muffler) on the exhaust helps as well.

There are a few other options too. Let’s dive into them one by one.

#1. Install baffles

Baffles are porous tube inserts that go inside the muffler.

In cars, baffles are more chambered. In motorcycles, they come in tube shapes. Either way, they help in reducing exhaust sound levels.

Now aftermarket baffles come in different types and forms.

There are small baffles, large baffles, fiberglass baffles, and center baffles. You can choose whichever you want. Or the muffler wants.

Fiberglass baffles are the best at reducing noise levels. The motorcycle will be far quiet. But, fiberglass baffles are large. Go for them only if you think the modification is possible in your motorcycle exhaust.

Small baffles are useful when you don’t want to make too many modifications. And you are happy with a slight decrease in exhaust sound.

While choosing the baffle, keep in mind the baffle should fit in the muffler. Ensure that the baffle is not larger in diameter than the muffler itself. Too small in dia is a headache too.

To install the baffler, measure the exhaust outlet size first. Then buy a suitable baffle. You can easily find a universal dB killer baffle online. Place the baffler inside the exhaust outlet and drill a hole. Lastly, screw the hole to clamp the baffler to the exhaust. You are done.

Installing a baffle will reduce the sound levels by around 10dB depending on the baffle type and how loud the motorcycle was before.

#2. Go for longer mufflers

Motorcycle exhaust

Longer and larger mufflers result in quieter exhaust noise levels.

This is because longer mufflers typically have a longer time to absorb and cancel out the sound waves. The resulting sound levels coming from the exhaust will be lower when compared to that of a shorter exhaust.

If the muffler unit is not long on your motorcycle, you can try going for a longer muffler. Another option is to go for a slip-on muffler (see point #5 below).

If you want to go a little more crazy, you can go for a two-into-one exhaust.

You are basically removing the muffler and replacing it with two muffler units connecting to a single exhaust mid-pipe. This will increase the muffler volume and hence, results in reduced exhaust sound.

#3. Try sound-dampening exhaust wrap

Motorcycle engine and the exhaust wrapped

Exhaust wrapping is the least effective method for reducing exhaust sound. But this is also the easiest method out of all the others listed.

Exhaust wrapping by method does not reduce the noise levels in your motorcycle. Exhaust wraps are primarily used to protect from overheating and for aesthetics.

However, if you use a good sound-dampening wrap for your motorcycle exhaust, there will be noise reduction.

One key thing to note though. Exhaust wrapping is easy. But, removing the wrap is damn difficult. Be absolutely sure before going for exhaust wrapping.

A good sound-dampening wrap on your motorcycle exhaust can reduce the noise levels by around 5 dB. It ain’t much, but it’s honest work. 😉

#4. Check for exhaust leaks

Motorcycle Exhaust

Before going crazy with all these exhaust modifications, check for any exhaust leaks.

Higher noise levels are one of the major symptoms of an exhaust leak. (To check out all symptoms of an exhaust leak, here is our detailed post).

To identify the leakage, look for scorch marks along the exhaust. The scorch marks combined with a burning smell around that area are a clear indication of an exhaust leak.

Most commonly the leaks will be in the connections. Try checking the connections first. Mufflers to head pipes, head pipes to exhaust manifolds.

You can also look at the color. If the exhaust is bluing due to overheating, check where the color intensity is high.

Once you have located the leak, address it. If it is in the connections, fix them. But if it is on the pipe, consider replacing the part.

#5. Change the exhaust pipe material

Straight Pipe Motorcycle Exhaust

There are different exhaust pipe materials that you can use for your motorcycle.

The different exhaust pipe materials are:

  • Stainless steel
  • Mild steel
  • Aluminum (with carbon fiber)
  • Ceramic coated steel
  • Titanium

Mild steel and stainless steel exhausts are low-cost. They do their job. But not the best exhaust pipe materials out there. They overheat quickly and do not help in suppressing noise. Also not the most durable pipes.

Aluminum is not the best material for exhaust pipes since they have low strength. They are usually mixed with carbon fiber to increase strength.

Still, aluminum is only suitable for mufflers. Or as the second material in combination with another.

Titanium and ceramic-coated steel exhaust pipes are high-performance exhaust pipes. They have high durability, strength, and better resistance to heat. They help in suppressing noise far better than stainless steel pipes.

If your exhaust pipe is old and is not performing better, consider changing them to a different material pipe. Preferably a titanium or a ceramic-coated one.

#6. Go for slip-on exhaust

Muffler on motorcycle exhaust

Slip-on exhausts are exactly what the name suggests – a slip-on or a can muffler replaces the system muffler provided by OEM.

All you need to do is remove the system muffler and slip the slip-on muffler or the mid-pipe. And clamp it down. That’s it.

Plus, slip-on mufflers look cool too. Here is our explainer on slip-on exhausts if you want to know more.

Not all slip-on mufflers (also called can mufflers) suppress noise heavily. There are too many designs and you have to pick the one that reduces the exhaust sound the most.

The range of bolt-on or slip-on exhaust kits is too many. So pick the simplest one that acts as a good muffler and suppresses the exhaust sound well.

Ranking these modifications

Not all of these modifications are easy. And not all easy ones are effective. In order to choose and pick which exhaust modifications to go for, here is a table we have compiled.

The table ranks each of these exhaust modifications (high, medium, low) based on their effectiveness in noise reduction, the cost involved, and the effort required.

ModificationEffectiveness in reducing soundCostEffort needed
Longer mufflersHighHighHigh
Exhaust wrapLowLowLow
Addressing exhaust leaks (if exists)HighMediumMedium
Pipe material changeMediumHighHigh
Slip-on exhaustMediumMediumMedium


While you can go for modifications whichever you think is better, here is our recommendation and order of preference.

  1. Addressing exhaust leaks: this should be your first step. No point going for all flashy exhaust modifications when the problem is something else. Check for any leaks and address them first. In most cases, this should be more than enough to reduce the exhaust sound to lower levels.
  2. Install baffles: this is the most popular alternative and a useful one. The noise reduction in the exhaust will be to the effect of 10dB down. Go for universal baffles (dB killer or suppressor) and install it in the muffler.
  3. Slip-on exhaust: try this only in the rare event the above two methods are still failing to reduce the exhaust sound levels to manageable ones. Even within the slip-on mufflers, there is a wide variety. Choose the muffler that is good for sound cancelation.

That’s it. These modifications should reduce your motorcycle exhaust sound drastically. Other methods have their merits too depending on your motorcycle’s condition.

For example, if your exhaust is old and overheats fast and you plan to change it anyways, going for a longer pipe and different material makes sense.

Another alternative is to try earplugs. Addressing our ears rather than our motorcycle exhaust. It is worth a try. You don’t have to go through all these exhaust modification hassles.


Why are motorcycle exhausts so loud?

Motorcycle exhausts are loud because of the exhaust gas sound waves. The muffler design is simpler in motorcycles when compared to cars. In addition, many riders go for aftermarket modifications to make it even louder.

Do baffles make the exhaust quieter?

Yes, baffles make the motorcycle exhaust quieter. They make the sound waves bounce. The waves collide with each other and cancel out due to destructive interference. In addition, few baffles come with absorbing material that absorbs the sound waves.

What is too loud for a motorcycle?

The regulation on how loud is too loud for motorcycles vary from region to region. As a thumb rule, if the motorcycle noise level is above 90dB, then it is non-compliant in most places.