There would be no summer without howling quadruplets, rumbling twins, and howling triplets rolling across the land.

But as authorities crack down on noise pollution, those who choose to drive with overly large exhaust pipes are coming under increasing pressure from police, disgruntled community groups and even state law.

Noise is also a problem for motorcycle venues, and some are facing issues. “We’ve had quite a bit of pushback from locals in the village, some of whom are very vocal and don’t like bikes,” said Paul Frick, owner of Roomies in Westmeon, Hampshire. “Of course, we are trying to talk to the locals about this and put up signs to warn people about the noise, and do everything possible.

Paul and his team were happy to hear from residents, adding, “Unfortunately, it’s a very small minority and it’s causing a huge problem for all of us.”

Back in April 2022, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced it would test noise cameras in the UK to crack down on drivers who rev their engines and use illegal exhaust systems.

Great Yarmouth Borough Municipal Councilor Penny Carpenter said: “The impact of anti-social behavior on our residents and the tourism economy is something we are very passionate about, so we are very supportive of this new initiative and hope that the process will continue. I hope it will be successful,” he said. “Cameras may give us another tool in trying to do what is best for our community.”

Carpenter also spoke out during trials in Bradford, Bristol and Birmingham. It started in Keighley, Bradford on 18th October 2022 and, after spending several weeks at each of the four locations, finished on 1st February 2023 in Lebury, Birmingham.

Although the exam he completed more than two months ago, a DfT representative confirmed to his MCN that the exam results are still being analyzed and no specific release date for the results has been set. bottom.

Elsewhere, Sussex Police have launched Operation Downways, inviting locals to participate in online surveys and highlighting areas where bicycle noise and speeding are a problem.

In a statement posted on Facebook in late March, the unit said: “Each weekend from April to September, police officers from across the unit will participate in special operations to ensure a prominent presence on the Sussex road network. We will secure it and take crackdown measures,” he said. as needed. ”

Despite this pressure, 69.5% of his 1,578 MCN readers who took a quick survey agreed that his road bikes still have loud exhaust systems. .Berkshire resident reader James Staff said: “I glue end cans to every bike I get. One aspect of this for me is personalization. I ride a Triumph Tiger 900 so not exactly a race machine. , the sound is great, a little more ripples and bark. It’s not that disgusting.

“I do notice when you’re filtering through traffic that it makes people notice you and less likely to do stupid things like pull out in front of you.”

On the flipside, Peter Allitt argued: “I used to like noisy exhausts when I was a lot younger. These days I prefer stealth mode. If you’re making a lot of noise the cops are going to be looking out for you. The standard exhaust on my BMW R1200RS sounds great. If you’re giving it some you can hear it, taking it steady it’s very quiet.”

MCN also approached the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) for their take, with Director of Campaigns and Political Engagement, Colin Brown saying: “MAG supports use of aftermarket exhausts that meet current noise regs. There are many reasons why riders want to change their exhaust system. We oppose all anti-tampering legislation.”

Brown continued: “Aftermarket systems have many benefits. For example, they enable the repair of older motorcycles, thus keeping them on the road in cases where the factory system is obsolete. Without the wider aftermarket industry, many vehicles would be needlessly off the road because parts are beyond the financial reach of most owners who can ill afford to purchase a newer vehicle. The greenest vehicle is the one already on the road.”

What the law says

Under Euro5 rules, when big bikes leave the factory they need to meet a ride-by noise limit of 77dB(A) when measured at 50kmh +/- 1kmh. The Government says: “It’s illegal to modify the exhaust system to make a vehicle noisier after it has been ‘type approved’.”

They add that the police can act if your silencer does not work correctly or you are riding in a way that creates excessive noise. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (Section 42) the penalty for not complying with these rules is a £50 on the spot fine

Getting an MOT

If you have an aftermarket exhausy, what about the annual MoT test? Well, this is where things get a little vague…

In practice, there is no maximum volume that an exhaust system must adhere to. Instead, it’s left to the tester’s discretion. However, those marked “not for road use” will not pass the test.

According to the government’s own statement to the examiner, “If possible, the engine should be run to about half the maximum engine speed to assess exhaust noise.” Make sure the engine is warm before performing this check.

Exhaust systems and mufflers must be of such a condition or type that the noise emitted by the motorcycle clearly exceeds the level to be expected from a similar motorcycle with a standard muffler in average condition. yeah.”