Motorcycle Noise. Limit Your Exhaust Decibels. Not Performance.

You are an EPA exhaust regulations abiding citizen or disagree with the philosophy that “Loud pipes Save Lives”. Either way, as one of my readers commented in my Blog a few days ago, EPA pressure for even stricter motorcycle noise regulations is going to push exhaust manufacturers to be creative.

Currently law has decibels capped at 83 decibels for motorcycles built since 1983. So Kenny Price, the man leading Samson Exhaust is now offering a 4″ x 30″ length “Decibel Killer Muffler” with removable baffles and end caps for all Harley touring bikes from 1995 to 2010 (Dresser or Road King models.)

Decibels level is reduced to 84 db without any loss in performance. Patented muffler design creates negative pressure that scavenges exhaust gases for increased horsepower, torque and fuel mileage. Awesome deep tone is pulled off by separating and controlling low-pressure power robbing atmospheric pressure. Hear how your bike will sound by watching the video below.  Samson Exhaust.

23 Responses to “Motorcycle Noise. Limit Your Exhaust Decibels. Not Performance.”

  1. 1 Michael Jul 3rd, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Are we going to help EPA now?

  2. 2 Winterman Jul 3rd, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Money talks, bullshit walks

  3. 3 jatinder pal Jul 4th, 2010 at 2:13 am

    i always love pipes with bit growl and good back pressure, loud pipes r only for show bikes not for road bikes.

  4. 4 Doc Robinson Jul 4th, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Looks like a good idea to me. Laws are either tightening everywhere or else being enforced as they never have been before in certain jurisdictions. It will only get worse, not better. And within reason, the old saying “Loud pipes save lives” is certainly true and I can attest this from personal experience. In traffic, another horn sounding means nothing much to the person cutting you off, but a quick rev of the throttle will make them look around for the motorcycle they haven’t yet spotted. So pipes which have baffles we can pull out when we want to be loud and fast but pop back in when the occasion calls for it has to be much better than swapping whole mufflers on and off.

  5. 5 Greybeard Jul 4th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Initially I think they’d do well to go after those with NO muffler at all.

    Open pipes have no place on the street and are relatively easy for LEO’s to identify
    without the need for expensive testing equipment.

    Plenty of “silencers” out there that can cruise through town and by citizens without raising an eyebrow but then sound off in the upper rev range if you can’t reach the horn button.

  6. 6 Rogue Jul 4th, 2010 at 7:38 am

    This just came in from Jan with BOLT.
    BOLT has been very involved with the hearings in California which are trying to pass SB 435

    Dennis from B.O.L.T. of California just turned us on to the noise law fiction and fact page you (and or your friends) did. Terrific job!

    B.O.L.T. is gearing up to have our national thinktank of pro se strategists develop ways to help bikers prepare to combat OEM pipe stamp ordinances in the courts, using preemption, non-applicability, misinterpretation, and other arguments, similar to the way we have dealt with helmet laws.

    I’m the B.O.L.T. Information Systems lead person and the librarian for the B.O.L.T. LIBRARY. I just finished constructing the library last week, so it is brand new, and I just began loading files such as case law document into it within the past week. I write summary pages to let people know where they can find the files, and a basic summary of what the document is and where it originated and when.

    I would like to get your info on noise laws into the library. I expect I’d create a .pdf copy of it, so the entire page would be retrieved intact as a file. I would also like to preface it with information giving you credit for your work at putting this together, and the first date of publication if you remember it, and also put a link to the original source on the net (your web page for it, if you like). If you want to be anonymous, we understand anonymity if you’re in the MC world or any other privacy reason. Folks would probably like to see at least your roadname. That would also be helpful as more documents begin to be published on the same subject, so that we’d say the _(roadname)__ noise laws fiction and fact page, and who to credit it to.

    If you aren’t familiar with the work of B.O.L.T., please see Friends of B.O.L.T. If you’ve been involved in biker rights for a long time, you are probably most familiar with the protests in Madison Wisconsin or the work of B.O.L.T. of California, and the site which was also the home site of B.O.L.T. and the Helmet Law Defense League when Richard Quigley was alive, and battles within the past few years against helmet laws and checkpoints in North Carolina, and a B.O.L.T. member in Nevada recently helping an MC get 56 helmet tickets dismissed. We recently formed a chapter in Massachusetts, where Paul Cote and Bill Gannon and folks are leading the way in doing battle against the OEM pipe with EPA stamp ordinance in Boston.

    You are more than welcome to be a registered user at one or both the B.O.L.T. Library and Friends of B.O.L.T.

    Thanks for your time, and again, great job on the document.


  7. 7 Mike Greenwald Jul 4th, 2010 at 7:58 am

    The EPA tagging of motorcycle exhaust systems is a tax scheme. The companies that manufacture these systems are being coerced by Federal, State and or local government to play along. Agreement to these tax stamp pipes may initially provide a sales and marketing advantage. In the long run, the motorcycle industry will have opened themselves to regulation, taxation and punitive fines. Further, the end user will be subject to investigation for more than an EPA tax stamp.

    This idea of taxation and regulation of motorcycles and motorcyclists is an ill founded power grab by Federal government with the intents an purposes that are two fold. A tax that may or may not enrich the government. An implied permission to any and all law enforcement to stop, detain and/or impound any motorcycle for investigative purpose or determination of compliance.

    This scheme is wrong minded and meant to curtail motorcycling.

  8. 8 Jim Compton Jul 4th, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I attended the Transportation Committee hearing at the California state capitol June 28, 2010 when the vote was taken on S.B. 435. What I personally witnessed was a travesty.
    California state senator Fran Pavley was there as originator of the bill and Bonnie Lowenthal was the committee chairperson. What I witnessed was a “scripted” performance by them both. It mattered not that the witness for the bill’s passage out right lied about the contribution of motorcycles to pollution. It did not matter that there were almost 38,000 signatures in opposition to this bill presented. It seemed to make no impact that the seats were full with bikers who protested passage of the bill. It did not matter that the report from New York was presented to the committee that pointed out without doubt that using the Title 40 EPA regulation was futile as it had never been enforced.
    What did matter were that Pavley and Lowenthal had already decided that the bill would pass. That was so obvious it was painful. The committee members who did have questions were overturned by the obvious spectre of partisan politics.
    Now with the news coming down the pipes that the Feds are going to jump on the noise legislation band wagon by reviewing the original Title 40, well, the direction this is going is obvious. Since states cannot use the existing Title 40 as justification of any noise legislation then obviously the Feds will come up with a new regulation that they can.
    Short term solutions to this would be all the MRO’s use their lobbyists to fight new regulation. Long term AND a final solution would be to vote out current federal and state legislators who have proven themselves to be anti-motorcycle.
    This I see as the most pressing issue before bikers today. Get out and vote and vote out those who have shown prejudice agaisnt the motorcycling public.
    ALL bikers need to realize this and join forces. Cruiser, Sport Bike, Dirt Bikers, Beemer Riders, any and everyone that enjoys motorcycling will be effected by this attempt at increased regulation. If we form a unified front against these attempts, they will go away!

  9. 9 janbolt Jul 4th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Letter to California Senator Pavley from B.O.L.T. of NC

    Dear Senator Pavley,

    Bikers of Lesser Tolerance (B.O.L.T.) is a motorcyclist rights collective that is national and has chapters in California, North Carolina, and other states.

    B.O.L.T. of North Carolina strongly opposes SB 435. When motorists from North Carolina travel to California as tourists or on business, we do not want to be subjected to bad laws which we cannot comply with, and which would punish us for our choice of borrowed or rental vehicle registered in California when exercising our fundamental and necessary right to travel freely. SB 435 would also set bad precedence for other states to adopt similar faulty legislation.

    This bill wrongly puts the responsibility on consumers rather than manufacturers, to comply with existing federal EPA labeling/stamping guidelines of motorcycles and exhaust pipes. Consumers do not label or stamp. That is done by the manufacturers. Manufacturers of motorcycles and aftermarket motorcycle exhaust pipes have failed to comply with federal laws. A survey conducted in 2008 in NYC showed that of 76 exhaust pipes on brand new motorcycles, 0 fully complied with EPA labeling requirements. State laws which would have the effect of transferring the penalty for compliance from manufacturers to consumers, assigning fault downstream, is beyond the control of consumers.

    The citizens of the State would be better served by simply drafting a resolution to the EPA in which the State suggests the EPA do a better job at enforcing existing federal laws in order to reduce the number of faulty exhaust systems introduced to the market. It would keep the responsibility for manufacturing according to federal standards on the manufacturers. Consumers cannot take the manufacturers responsibility unto ourselves, and must respectfully refuse.

    The stated intent of Senator Pavley and supporters of SB 435 is to reduce motorcycle noise and motorcycle exhaust by stopping consumers from modifying motorcycle exhaust systems. It is absurd to suggest the absence or presence of a label or stamp is evidence of modification. You would leave motorcyclists with no other choice than to join forces and seek judicial relief if this bad bill becomes law. That would result in an unnecessary use of funds for both the citizens and the state.

    This is a formal request to add B.O.L.T. of North Carolina to your published analysis of Opposition. We are UNANIMOUSLY OPPOSED and ask you to withdraw Senate Bill 435.

  10. 10 martin Jul 4th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    The sadest part of this is if everyone respected private home owners and their sleep,by not blasting down there street we wouldn’t be having this disscussion………………….

  11. 11 Vintage Bobbers Jul 4th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Load Pipes Saves Lives!!!! No Better Way To Put It!!! The EPA Needs To Worry About Our Gulf Coast!!! However When You Do Go Though A Quiet Neigborhood you Should Have Respect For The People I Run Open Pipes On All My Bikes Highway Or No Highway Oh An They Are Show Bikes!

  12. 12 Rogue Jul 4th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    The sadest part of this is if everyone respected private home owners and their sleep,by not blasting down there street we wouldn’t be having this disscussion

    So you want everyone to be punished for the actions of a few?
    There are already plenty of laws on the books that cover noise.
    There is no need for new laws.

    Noise ordiance should be equal for ALL Vehicles operating on the road way and motorcyclist should not be singled out.

  13. 13 Jim Compton Jul 5th, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Thanks janbolt for your letter to Pavley!

  14. 14 rucnred Jul 5th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Go to…. to see EPA’s 2003 ten-page report entitled, “In-Depth Information for Motorcycle Owners on EPA’s New Emission Standards for Highway Motorcycles.” This includes info on the Tier 2 standards that will take effect in the 2010 model year. Keep an eye on the EPA highway motorcycle Web page ( for more information and any developments. For further information, please contact the Assessment and Standards Division at:
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Office of Transportation and Air Quality
    2000 Traverwood Drive
    Ann Arbor, MI 48105
    Voicemail: (734) 214-4636

  15. 15 Wolfman Jul 6th, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Whenever new laws regarding motorcycles are introduced I often wonder if it is really just another nail in the coffin of motorcycling in general. The authorities will not be happy until ALL two wheeled vehicles are off the road ( or we are all riding solar powered scooters! ) and then the car drivers can have the highways to themselves to sit in endless traffic jams without having to glare with envy and hatred at the motorcyclists who zip by enjoying the wind in their faces.
    Where I live, laws seem to be introduced for the sole purpose of wringing more money in exorbitant fines from road users. The local Plod also have weekly quotas to fill and will always pull over a motorcycle even when ALL traffic is moving at speeds over the limit.

  16. 16 fatman819 Jul 6th, 2010 at 7:55 am

    you will have to recall the politicians, do not let them serve there full terms.

  17. 17 Gary Hilderbrand Jul 6th, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I quote, ” We hold these truths to be self-veident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it s the Right of the People to alter or abolish it,and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principals and organizating its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes: But when a long train of abuses and usurptations, pursuing invariably the same Objective evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    The EPA, California Senator Pavley, and her ridiculous Senate Bill 435 are fine examples of what was intended above. It is time to take our government back.


  18. 18 Betty Jul 6th, 2010 at 10:32 am

    “‘Loud pipes save lives’ is certainly true and I can attest this from personal experience.”

    Anyone who took any type of research class in school knows that personal experience is the absolute worst way to prove something is true.

    So, if personal experience proves things are always true, how about the time a guy with load pipes came up behind me and I didn’t hear him till he was right next to me (because your ears don’t hear things very far behind you, especially when the noise is also being projected backwards), causing me to be startled and jerk the wheel almost hitting him? See there, I just proved beyond a doubt that loud pipes are actually dangerous just by recalling a personal experience. Stick to the stats, people … you look like idiots when you start spouting “facts” from your ass.

  19. 19 Vintage Bobbers Jul 7th, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I Had A Bike With Stock Pipes, I was On my way home ,Going past The Hospital,about 11pm when There was a little Old Lady Pulling Out From A Right Turn Only Parking lot Exit,Well She Went Straight Across The Street And Right In Front Of Me Where I Ran Right Into Her With Lockinng Up My Brakes still Crashing Into Her…. Almost lost my Leg..Dislocated My Shoulder Busted up my hands and Ankles… She Didn’t See Me HOWEVER If I Had Straight Pipes She Would’ve Heard Me!!!!!! This Was 10 Years Ago Im Still In Alot Of Pain from It!! Letme Speek From Experince!!!!!!!! I Love The Way You People Pull “Facts” From Your Ass!!!!! But Thanks For Bringing That Up Betty And If It was Someone Else Besidese Me Riding It Would’ve been Way Worse!!!!!!!!

  20. 20 Kenny Price Jul 9th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    hello everyone. we at Samson are trying to keep up with the times and we have so many requests for something just over the stock exhaust note. we have achieved our goal without giving up performance. we still make the majority of our product with either a moderate sound level using baffles or you can still order the straight pipes if you want them. we did cooperate with the EPA for the reason that if we do not cooperate, meaning all exhaust manufacturers, and indicate the hardships we would endure and the jobs being lost and such then they will just do whatever they please and come down on every one of us in a bad way. we are trying our best to help get the legal decibel level at 96db. that would be at idle 20″ away from the exhaust at a 45 degree angle. this is the test that can be used in the field for the cops without them having to look for a DOT stamp on our pipes and fining the crap out of us or having our bikes taken away. we are and have always been on the side of freedom of choice. some people want straight pipes and others want a more mild tone. if showing the EPA that we are trying to educate them it is to all our best interest as motorcyclists. the patented decibel killer mufflers are just a small step in our way to try to keep the sound police off our asses. many people have to push their bike out of the neighbors hearing area to be able to keep peace. my opinion has always been that we have enough laws restricting what us motorcyclists can and can not do. i have been riding since 1963 and bought my first harley, a 65 pan, in 1969 and i still own that bike today. i am a lifetime biker and will continue to be until i die. its my life. please dont take my words as offensive but as information only. please also keep in mind i am for us, not against us. i am amazed at the many comments made on this post and appreciate them all. i just wish i read the blog sooner. by the way i put those db killer mufflers on my bike and it was like i woke it up. my top speed increased by 5 mph and the torque was pulling me off the bike getting on the freeway. i ride a 2007 road king with just ignition and our pipes.
    ride on,
    Kenny Price
    Samson Exhaust

  21. 21 Rogue Jul 9th, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I do agree that testing is going to be a viable solution.

    Any testing must be the same for All Vehicles on the roadway and not single out motorcycles.

    The testing should be done with a decibel meter. We can not leave this to people’s hearing.

    Speed is check by radar for the same reason, not leaving it to a person’s interpretation.

    Because the sounds of all vehicles vary with conditions such as acceleration, deceleration and cruising speed the test should be with a decibel meter and the vehicle at cruising speed.

    The person operating the meter must be certified in its operation and the meter must be checked and calibrated at regular intervals.

    The person and the machine would have to be stationary on the side of the road and road conditions documented.

    A vehicle passing that position would then have to have a higher decibel reading as prescribed by law than the background noise.

    Numbers that I have seen thrown around seem to be from 88 decibels to over 100.

    Since those who have come out in support have asked for 88 decibels I do not feel they can go lower. If we say we want 100 they will object. Somewhere in the middle could be acceptable.

    Yes some will see this as a victory for those pushing for these regulations and know they will try to lower them in the future.

    It should be Noted that since there are already laws on the books to cover noise this is not a compromise what we are looking at is trying to keep the laws from lowering the numbers and Not have prejudicial legislation that singles out a specific vehicle –Motorcycles.

    The compromise would be if laws are allowed for only motorcycles and not all vehicles sharing the roadway.

    This may make the cop have to do a little work and cost the municipality some money for the equipment BUT it will definitely take it out of just making a fast buck off motorcyclist.

    If they want the money they should have to work for it like everyone else.

    Most Important Being Not Allowing Prejudicial Legislation Against Motorcycles.

  22. 22 Kenny Price Jul 9th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    what the EPA testing that we are trying to get approved will have to be at idle. you just cant have someone stick their head out a window with all the road noise and tire noise and wind noise at 65 mph with echos to get an accurate reading. to make things fair for all the new proposed law will be 20″ away from the exhaust at a 45degree angle from the exhaust outlet at idle. any other test would require either a tachometer which not all bikes have. a ride by test will always be subject to outside noise which will result in an inaccurate reading as well. this was proposed and found to be impossible to do. i have sat in every MIC meeting about sound and even teleconferencing to try to come to a realistic number that is reasonable. for a v-twin 96 db and for a 4 cylinder 100 db. this is an easy way to test in the field and not very costly for law enforcement agencies. at this time this has been proposed to the EPA and has been under consideration for a few years now. making exhaust is my only business which i keep on top of on a regular basis. let me add that the testing will have to be done in an area without outside sound influence that will make a drastic change in the db level. indoors is out of the question. noise pollution is going to be cut into pieces for the right application. i think cars are going to have the same sound level as a v-twin motorcycle but big rig trucks will be in their own category. i have worked with Californias Air Quality Management Department as well and have been to several meetings and i get every news letter they send out whether it be for buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles and stationary power supplies. i hope this helps out for you all.
    Kenny Price

  23. 23 Ray Nov 23rd, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Mr. Price,. Your products do not comply to the EPA regulations, CFR 40-205. They are illegal for street use. They are notoriously loud. Not putting the required labels of compliance in readily visible places is a violation of the regulations. Straight pipes are illegal. Removable baffles are illegal. The pipes must are not just required to be quiet at idle. The EPA only approves of CFR 40-205, not your proposed “Samson Approved” test to circumvent the regulations. You and your competitors are opening yourselves to law suits and enforcement action by the EPA. It’s only a matter of time before this comes your way. This is only the beginning of the movement to hold the motorcycle special interests accountable for their disregard for the law. The events in California is just one small step and all the B.O.LT. chapters in the country will not be able to stop it, for they advocate for the continued violation of the law. That law is against you and on the side of all the citizens in the USA fed up with all that illegal noise making. Time to quiet down. If you don’t do it and comply with the law, you will be forced to. That process has already begun.

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Cyril Huze