9 Ways To Quiet a Motorcycle Exhaust



An exhaust system is the main source of a motorcycle’s noise, and it can get pretty loud!

There are various methods to lessen the noise from your motorcycle. Some are cheap and easy, while others are expensive and time-consuming. 

In this article, we will discuss nine ways you can reduce motorcycle exhaust noise. 

1. Inspect your exhaust pipe for damages

Motorcycle exhaust leaks are one of the major causes of noise from your bike. It will either make a popping noise or will emit fumes with a strong smell. 

Read more about motorcycle backfires.

If you notice a leak, you have to determine its cause first. It might be your exhaust pipe that has a leak or loose bolts on the brackets. You should first check and tighten all the bolts. If the sound and the smell persist, you may need to check for small holes in the system and patch them up.

Repairing the leaks

Small leaks are most often caused by rust. Fortunately, exhausts with smaller leaks are easier to soundproof since they don’t require extensive repairs.

The first thing to do is to remove the rust from the affected area. Next, simply use exhaust tape to seal the holes.

2. Consider changing the mufflers

Motorcycle mufflers are designed to muffle the noise that comes from the engine of a motorcycle. They also protect your motorcycle’s engine and other vital components by cooling and slowing down the exhaust gases, reducing the chances of damaged valves and plastics overheating.

Many second-hand bikes undergo modifications made by the previous owner, including the removal of mufflers. Additionally, many motorcycles come with standard mufflers that can be especially loud. Read why are motorcycles so loud?

You can add an aftermarket muffler with higher performance.

Here are the different types of mufflers that will help dampen the noise from the exhaust system:

Bullet mufflers

Your first option is to install bullet mufflers that are renowned for suppressing the noise. Getting either a chambered, a perforated, or a louvered bullet muffler is your best bet. 

  • Perforated bullet mufflers: Feature holes with a glass packing material to trap or deaden sound.
  • Louvered bullet mufflers: Have louvers at the entrance, which reduce sound levels because they make less volume and are packed with fiberglass. These mufflers also have a reduced flow of exhaust gases.
  • Chambered mufflers: Have internal chambers and will produce a lower tone as the noise gets absorbed.

Full case mufflers

It’s worth considering a full-case muffler as they’re often quieter and more effective than traditional ones. They come in single and dual chamber options.

A single-chambered, full-case muffler comes with a single chamber and baffles that provide structural sound absorption and reduce motorcycle exhaust noise through holes. 

Alternatively, dual-chambered mufflers have two divisions inside the exhaust, which are aimed at canceling the exhaust sound. They’re more effective than bullet mufflers in cutting down noise without compromising on the performance of the engine. 

Resonator muffler

Thanks to its fiberglass interior, a Resonator muffler will reduce the noise by half or more once installed. It acts as the first line of defense before the sound reaches the muffler chambers. Also, the stainless steel construction means it will last longer without rusting. 

3. Change the pipes and tips

Exhaust tip

One of the most effective ways of reducing exhaust noise is by replacing the exhaust pipes.

There are different exhaust pipes to choose from based on your bike’s setup. For example, dual exhaust systems offer the choice of cross pipes which do a great job of reducing noise levels. With a cap smaller than the circumference of the new pipes, you can further dampen the sound. 

Supplementing an existing exhaust pipe with a tip is a good idea to reduce the noise further. Exhaust tips provide additional protection by adding layers like fiberglass.  A lot of these tips are slanted, which means the air will flow downward.

4. Use exhaust wraps

Exhaust wrap

Exhaust wraps can be an excellent way to dampen the noise of your bike’s exhaust.

While they are not explicitly made for noise reduction but rather to cool down the engine temperature, their titanium material can quiet down a howling exhaust with high frequencies.

The best part is that they can be easily installed by anyone and don’t cost a fortune.  

5. Upgrade the catalytic converter

The basic function of a catalytic converter is to help limit toxic emissions. It works by converting poisonous gases like carbon monoxide into more harmless ones.

You can make your motorcycle run more quietly by upgrading the catalytic converter to the most recent generation.

This will allow you to reduce the vibration and increase insulation. Some converters come with glass packing, which further helps in deadening the noise.

6. Add a silencer to the exhaust system

motorcycle exhaust silencer

You can use a muffler-silencing device to reduce the noise level from your muffler. Compared to standard mufflers, a silencer can reduce the noise a great deal.

The silencer reduces the exhaust’s hole size, thus decreasing the motorbike noise but still allowing gas to come out of the engine. You can mostly find it from a dealer of dirt bike parts. 

However, you need to ensure that the silencer fits properly on your exhaust system. The outer diameter of the silencer should not be bigger than the inner side of your motorcycle’s exhaust pipes. If you’d like to install it yourself, always remember to let your bike cool off first after a ride to avoid burns. 

7. Improve the baffle

Motorbike baffle

Motorcycle baffles are small inserts placed in exhaust pipes to reduce noise. These baffles can be made of metal, fiberglass, or plastic.

They are inserted into the exhaust pipe before the muffler and form a barrier that reflects most of the noise. With time, these baffles lose their effectiveness resulting in more noise coming from the exhaust. 

To counter this, you can take out the baffle and install a new one or even add sound-deadening materials like fiberglass.

If removing baffles seems difficult, you can opt for slip-in baffles. They are easy to install, effective for reducing sound and provide a general cooling system as well. 

8. Clean up the exhaust

As we ride, dirt catches the exhaust and clogs up the exhaust pipes. This will result in the bike releasing dark smoke and consequently increasing the noise.

The best way to counter this is to keep your exhaust system clean on a weekly basis. If you ride off-road, then clean it as often as possible since debris and dirt can pile up pretty quickly. A dirty exhaust will also rust quicker, leading to more leaks. 

9. Stick with stock exhaust 

Stock exhaust systems are generally quieter than aftermarket options. They don’t go past 80 decibels, whereas aftermarket exhausts can range between 90 to 120 decibels, making them significantly louder.

Final thoughts

The noise coming from the exhaust on motorcycles can be reduced in several ways. For quick solutions, inspect the exhaust system for any leaks and keep them clean and free from dirt.

You may have to explore different strategies like upgrading to better mufflers or getting new pipes if you want more significant results.

Also read our guide to the quietest motorcycles available now.