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please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?

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A bunch drove through Death Valley this weekend (as they do most weekends), and I just can't fathom why these folks feel the need to be so flippin' loud. I am used to teenie-boppers with their farty cars and booming sound systems, and at least with them I can understand their hormone- and peer-driven angst of inadequacy, and similarly the middle-aged guys with the jacked-up trucks that they never drive off-road, but the folks on Harleys tend to be *usually* seem to be past middle age, and I would have thought to be beyond these petty psychoses. What gives?

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Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
This is just my opinion, but I think most Harley riders, whether consciously or subconsciously want people to know they are on a Harley, (nothing wrong with being proud of owning one). With so many Japanese copies out there it is sometimes hard for people to tell which is which, but when you put fairly loud pipes on a Harley it is very easy to distinguish it from the rest of the pack. I am not saying there is no validity to loud pipes save lives, I have no opinion on that subject. I do believe that even if someone does buy into that theory, it is still the secondary reason for installing loud pipes. But seriously, us motocross guys are just as guilty, we will go buy a $1000 exhaust system knowing damn well it won't make a real difference in performance...but it will sound cool as hell. Also on another note, many newer Harley's do seem to run hot until you install a less restrictive exhaust, all of which are pretty loud.
 
Answer by TheSmarsch
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
I know what you mean about noise, but the desire for noise seems to be universal whether it's an old timer on a HD, a teenager on a sport bike, in a Japanese car or playing their rap so loud that everyone in a ten block radius can hear it. If the like rap, that's fine but that doesn't mean I want to hear it. Having wrenched on every type of engine for decades, I can appreciate the exhaust note of some engines. Probably the most impressive sounding engines I've heard are the P-51 Mustang airplane and the old V6, turbocharged diesel engine in the Russian made Belarus farm tractors. I too can appreciate the sound of a good running Harley, but I know for a fact that what sounds good at the end of a 5 mile trip can be hure hell at the end of a 500 mile day. With Harley riders, I think a lot of it is because that's how they think a Harley should sound. My four long haul touring buddies all have louder, non-stock pipes on their HDs. They're all near 60 years old, are retired English teachers and certainly aren't out trying to impress anyone, but they all have told me "That's how a Harley is supposed to sound." I guess the rider's expectation is the source. Incidently, I've extensively modified my bike's exhaust to make it quieter.
 
Answer by moster
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
So idiot cagers who are preoccupied with their cell phone or something else can hear them. People who say "there's no evidence loud pipes save lives" are FOS. I have an aftermarket exhaust on my bike and I can tell you for sure that I've scared deer from running in front of me. If I'd of had a sewing machine exhaust I probably wouldn't be typing this now. You really need to find something else to complain about. Our current government would be a good place to start.
 
Answer by UnitDead
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
As a Harley mechanic have rarely heard a customer want loud pipes,just as a warning for other motorists. Usually they just think ,thats the way a Harley should sound. The asian bikes have louder custom pipes too, not just Harley's. Non riders just recognize the sound of a Harley,Mostly it is for performance.Most Harley riders are gearheads too,so they try to get the engine to breath free and run better. few of them realize that a well tuned exhaust doesn't have to be a LOUD exhaust.Harleys riders tend to have more group rides, so 100 Harleys are gonna make more noise then 10 sportbikes. Course I just happen to like the way my upswept, turnout, straight pipes blow the newspaper off the steering wheel of the cager in the right lane , making him spill hot coffee in his lap,and lose his electric razor under the seat,but that's just me!
 
Answer by Bbna
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
It's useful for the rider to be able to hear his engine, and its pleasurable, but extremely loud pipes don't do anything other than piss people off. I've never heard of a auto driver standing over a dead biker and saying, "Gee, I never even heard him". All those people with loud exhausts do is bring heat on all riders. Some people need to fit in the herd no matter how old they get. Insecurity, I guess. 25,000 miles isn't much experience. Some people do that in a year.
 
Answer by HoteNo
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
Multiple reasons. And I have 25,000 miles of experience on mine to know that my pipes have kept people from merging into my lane and most riders would agree, reluctantly or not, as well. And if you haven't been caught by surprise that a silent motorcycle is occupying the lane next to you, you haven't been driving very long. A minor reason: An open intake, open exhaust and a tune will significantly increase horsepower. For instance from a factory rated 60hp to approximately 80hp at the rear wheels. And why get used to it like other sources? From 20s to 60s, past middle age or not, they have the knowledge and attitude to have the pipes installed.
 
Answer by JohnWelsch
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
Didn't you know - louder = faster? Well, doesn't it? No? Oh well, go ask this question in the Psychology section.
 
Answer by harryraylane14
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
Harley Davidson the most efficient way to turn gasoline into noise, without the pesky side effect of horsepower. Each roar of a harley muffler is the whimper of a sad inner child crying to be noticed. If you think a loud muffler makes a motorcycle safer, just think what learning to ride it would do. Askrobab....Haha,,,25K? I put twice that on my first Triumph 35 years and 13 bikes ago. All quiet bikes let me add. Sure the cars are out to nail you, but with a loud muffler they are out to nail you and also think you are an annoying *** what southpark called you.
 
Answer by 8TBALL
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
Most of the time, It because of the modification, but honestly Harley's tend to be loud as it is, but as others have cited, A big reason is cause of Cars, Most people don't see a motorcycle, I can't count how many time I have ridden and damn near been ran off the road due to Miss Makeup-my-face-on-my way to work/school or some a schmuck who refuse to talk on his cell phone but sure as the sun shines will text and drive thinking it is safe to do so, but it could be because they just love the sound I know I do, but in all honesty most have them for their own safety cause people just don't seem to care about anyone on the road but themselves. If people were more attentive to their driving then to multi-tasking, then bikes wouldn't have to be so loud, so until that happens, Pipe will be loud, Riders will be proud, Live To Ride, Ride to live.
 
Answer by psheezybaby
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
Ever drive one? Ever have someone next to you so preoccupied with their texting, make-up application, that they push you to the shoulder? Ever have an SUV so crass as to try to drive you off the road? Most of the time, its for the effect. My daily driver is a Z28 with a 3" exhaust, part for the horsepower, and part for the pure sound it makes. It stops all cell phone conversation, the SUV attitude, the make-up, and the idiocy, and reminds them of two things - first, that I can bury them with pure horsepower. Second, that this sound is backed up by a guy not concerned about political correctness, about size, or about preoccupation with anything. It is a deterrent, a personal expression, and an attitude, much like BMW driving road-rage suits, 4" fart can Hondas, and jacked-up trucks. Those older guys in Harleys are looking for the respect and clearance that nobody gives them.
 
Answer by kevin
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
Allot of it is tradition, but a big part of it as mentioned above is better "visibility" created by other motorists that aren't paying enough attention hearing them, thus announcing the rider is there. Hard not to notice something making your mirrors rattle, Though it is seemingly easy to not notice that quiet bike that you can easily ignore. That's where the phrase "Loud pipes save lives" came from.
 
Answer by Kafabi
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
Yes I know, it's about as horrible as planes, trains and semi-trucks that pass, oh dear. I know for a fact that I've had a few opportunities to step on the clutch and twist the wick to get somebody to realize that their cage coming into my lane was more important than their conversation. Super bikes are loud too but I guess it's not fashionable to complain about them. So really, is your life filled with so much time that you feel the need to complain about everything that annoys you even if it's just a passing vehicle?
 
Answer by laughing
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
ive always heard that Motorcylces make such loud noises so that cars can hear them coming and wont hit them
 
Answer by BigBizzleShizzle
Question on : please explain why Harley drivers need to have such loud exhausts?
It's part of the gestalt. I mean, if you're not going to have a loud exhaust, why do you need a Harley?
 
Answer by jpetrucci05
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