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Opinion: Time to remove our loud pipes

Published: 24 June 2009

MCN columnist Kevin Ash stirred up a hornets’ nest when he said motorcyclists should give up on loud exhausts. Here are the edited highlights of his comments – MCN would be interested in what you think...

The pressure on police forces and councils around the country to ‘do something’ about motorcycles doesn’t come from accident rates, and is little to do with historic prejudice against rockers and the like: it’s the bloody racket they make.  

Okay, not all of them, but we all know what I’m talking about. It’s howling 600 fours with track-only Akrapovics and booming big twins setting off car alarms. Where I live in Warwickshire, not so far from several major bike focal points, the sound of these things wailing up and down the bypass drives me mad some Sunday afternoons, so imagine how a typical bike-unfriendly resident feels.

I’m not going to preach that you shouldn’t have these pipes, that’d be hypocritical from a man who took the baffles out of his AP50 20 minutes after buying it, and who once ran a bevel-drive Ducati with Contis that registered on the Richter scale. But... times were different then, and I do feel I can point out what’s happening when you fit a loud pipe – after that, it’s up to you.

Mostly, rather than impressing anyone, you’re annoying them to the point where they’ll call the police or complain to the council, and in many cases these are organisations that need little excuse to clamp down on bikes. You’re annoying lots of people all at once too, which is the worse you can do if you’d like to keep what few freedoms we still have. 

Ride like an idiot and you’ll upset the people on the road at the same time as you. Ride with a loud pipe and you’ll also upset them, plus at the same time annoy everyone living within half a mile of the route you’re taking. That’s a hell of a lot of enemies. Like we need any more...

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