Motorcycles are the fast and furious friends you need on your adventure trips. The ability to go places where your heart wants is what makes them your first choice. However, a common question we all ask is why do motorcycles make so much noise while riding.
Motorcycle make so much noise while riding can be both by design as well as maintenance problems. The engine, transmission and exhaust pipe noises are by design and are normal noises while riding. However, poor maintenance and operating conditions can also cause too much noise in bikes.
If you are someone who love motorcycles, most of the times, these noise won’t bother you. But it does not take away the fact that even the most expensive and in-tune motorcycles are noisy. The noise does not resemble any flaw but is a part of their design and power system.
Here, we learn the causes for noise as well as the maintenance facts to ensure the noise from your bike is indeed natural.
Factors Leading to Motorcycle Noise
Any vehicle’s noise factor will consist of 3 main reasons: design, maintenance, and breakdown. The same stands true for your motorcycle and the noise it makes. While improving technology takes care of a few, most of these factors are unavoidable for motorcycle riders!
Design Noise of Motorcycles
The motorcycle design consists of factors dealing with power production and handling of exhaust. These parameters are beyond your control during a long day of riding. While the latest manufacturers account for the changing trends, the size limitations tie their hands too.
Their focus is to make these machines lean but powerful to suit your needs. Higher power gives you more speed and acceleration but often comes with side factors. You can see in the engine design why the power requirement brings more noise.
#1: Engine Design
Old motorcycles such as the makers of YAMAHA have popular traditional designs of 2-stroke engines. These engines are notoriously famous for making more noise due to piston-cylinder wear.
Moreover, the higher power-torque ratio also means higher vibration while the power and exhaust strokes. It is why the vintage motorcycles have a noisier engine than the latest ones.
However, with the rise of the 4-stroke design, the cylinder speeds are double than the previous versions. It reduces the noise present due to the engine losses and vibration with smoother movement.
But the higher revolutions need a damping effect to lower the noises from their mechanical factors. Unlike cars, motorcycles have an open engine without casing protection or dampers. It means no accompanying body is present to absorb the sound from their work.
Hence, all the engine sound from the motorcycle comes out in the open. The engine positions right below you, because of which you can hear these noises for the lower-cost motorcycles.
#2: Exhaust Piping and Silencer
The main factor for why do motorcycles make so much noise is their exhaust and silencer system. Any combustion engine works based on using air and fuel mixture for combustion. The flue gas coming out of your engine is the exhaust that has no use.
The outlet of this exhaust brings an inherent sound coming from the expansion of these gases. Hence, the longer silencers allow a higher volume increase over the period. It results in lower noise effects.
Motorcycles have a smaller diameter of piping at the immediate section after the engine. Moreover, your motorcycle silencers are shorter in size by a long margin than the 4-wheel drives.
The length of a traditional motorcycle varies between 4 to 5.5 feet. It means your motorbike’s exhaust pipe ranges between 2.5 to 3.5 feet. It is almost 1/4th of a car or any bigger vehicle’s exhaust line.
The shorter pipe also means the exhaust from your motorcycle comes out at a higher velocity. It creates a popping effect, much like shaken soda coming out from a tight lid bottle. The lack of damping and higher popping gives the maximum sound or noise for a motorcycle.
Many of you also use modification techniques to change the size of these pipes. It might add a better look but will mostly not match the specifications of your engine. It also creates higher noise than the usual design-friendly silencer from the start.
#3: Shock-Up and Transmission Noises
Your motorcycle has spring or hydraulic shock absorbers for damping the road shocks. While the hydraulic ones are rare, the typical spring designs have a higher noise factor. This noise also increases over time as the tension goes loose and the spring material loses its property.
The transmission drive of your motorcycle depends on the chain-gear relation for power transfer. It means there is no significant shaft and coupling assembly within the design. It increases the noise factor due to the chain beating effect.
Over time, as the clutch and coupling go loose, the noise level amplifies. The chain links also tend to have increasing clearance, leading to slackness.
All such transmission sounds are generally low when you get the motorcycle from the showroom. Hence, these factors are more dependent on the age of your motorbike and its usage. These are time-dependent factors for understanding why do motorcycles make so much noise.
Maintenance Noises for Motorcycles
Your maintenance regularity also plays a big part in reducing the noises coming from your motorcycle. The open design exposes all the elements to weather and atmosphere during usage or standstill. It means rusting and de-lubrication of the parts are there for you to see.
Such parts create a lot of unnecessary sounds when the motorcycle comes into use. It includes the linkages, nut-bolt, side stand, and other similar accessories.
Moreover, if you leave the engine without maintenance for a long time, it creates problems too. The lubricating oil starts losing its properties, creating higher engine sounds while running.
Hence, your maintenance habits are essential for the health of your motorcycle. The period between such maintenance routines will indirectly create noise problems.
Operational and Conditioning Noises
Unlike cars, motorcycles have much rougher utility during their lives. Your entire idea of purchasing one is either dependent on adventure or tight traffic conditions usage.
It means all the utility parts such as the clutch, gear, etc. are frequent for operations. The more you use these parts, the more vibrations, noise, and disturbance will arise.
Unlike these, cars and multi-utility vehicles have longer cruise drives. Running at a steady speed not only reduces the mechanical damages but the thermal stresses on the engine too. This helps you to maintain them better in comparison to the motorcycles.
The rough terrain usage for adventure biking also takes a heavy toll on your machines. However, the inherent nature of these motorcycles means you cannot overlook such working conditions.
Solutions for Motorcycle Noises
Now that you know why do motorcycles make so much noise, the next question is about reducing them. While the design factors cannot find many solutions, the maintenance factors do have some. It needs careful understanding and awareness on your behalf to make sure the situation stays good.
#1: Regular Service Checks and Tuning
As you can see, maintenance makes sure a lot of your noise troubles stay away. It includes the tune-up routines you give your motorcycles during their major overhaul. It allows each part to go under thorough observation and cleaning of the essentials.
The servicing factor also handles parts like the shock-up, engine parts, and drive assembly. It prevents your motorcycle from getting any worse from the daily running condition.
The moving parts, pivots, and joints need regular lubrication by you. It also includes the greasing of the chain and the other parts every month. The lubrication makes sure your motorcycle parts do not rust and stay clear of abrasive particles too.
This allows smoother movement without rubbing the metal surfaces. Moreover, regular changes of engine oil also do the same for the internals of the engine.
The wear down of the piston rings will become slow with good lubrication. This ensures good clearance while running for minimum engine sound.
#3: Combustion and Exhaust Factors
Changes in the exhaust and piping system are strictly avoidable to handle noise problems. This includes avoiding the afterburning of fuel to avoid the cracking sound in the silencers. Moreover, it will also help you to maintain fuel efficiency for your motorcycle.
Any loose edges or holes in the exhaust piping lead to higher noise. Hence, maintaining the passage and keeping it clean also reduces the noise effect.
The above design and maintenance factors explain to you why do motorcycles make so much noise. While you can easily focus on the maintenance part, the design factors are independent. Owing to the space-friendly and high-power requirements, you cannot expect significant changes either.
Moreover, the simplicity of engine and exhaust parts also makes the noise factor steady. The latest motorcycles give you a comparatively smooth running and reduce the sounds too.
But as a traditional rider, the essence of motorcycle driving is in the grinning sound! The sound of the engine whirling and the power flowing through gives you the feel of a lifetime. Make sure these sounds remain soothing enough with regular maintenance and do not become a problem!