Growing up I had friends that thought the noisier the exhaust, the higher the horsepower.
For a time I bought into this way of thinking and removed the exhaust silencer from my 1981 Kawasaki KM100 then ran the woods around my Grandmother’s home like Evel Knievel.
I loved how it sounded and used to pretend I had a jet pack strapped to the back of my motorcycle. Unfortunately that’s how the neighbors described the noise to my Grandmother too.
At eleven years old, my mechanical knowledge on the subject was fairly limited. It wasn’t until my friend who was a bit older helped me figure out that most engines need a little back pressure to build power.
He managed to help me revert the silencer back into the stock exhaust, which helped me get the performance I wanted and also allowed me to tear up the trails without attracting negative attention.
Looking back I think the educational gaps aren’t that much different between riders then and riders today. I often see young riders at the local OHV trails that still think louder means faster.
All a loud pipe means is that for future generations the trails will be recognized as a nuisance filled area, which will simply create problems for the riding community.
It is possible to get more performance out of an aftermarket exhaust without it deafening the community or rattling the windows of the home around where you ride.
Detractors of our sport are always looking for ways to bring it down. So we need to understand and pass onto our kids that the noise made by loud aftermarket pipes today can be silenced by our government tomorrow.
If we want to have a place to ride in the future, we have to respect our surroundings today and noise levels is a good place to start.