These letters printed as sent, without edits or corrections. Ed.

I just read an archive issue by Pat Hahn on loud pipes. I was so disappointed with his reasoning.

He stated that do to physics the epicenter of a sound wave cab be directed and do to this the noise that loud pipes make is only truly heard by the rear motorist and the motorist beside you.

This is true of course, the rear motorist and the motorist next to you will get the blunt of the noise but it is obvious by the turning around of the kids of a vehicle in front of you that you are heard by the vehicles in front of you.

Anyone who has ever ridden a motorcycle with loud pipes has seen this at some point.Therefore, do load pipes warn a drive that you are coming? Obviously it does. He also claims for the noise to be heard it will have to be reflected off other vehicles, buildings and signs. As far as I know, that is what I want! If I had the road to my self with no vehicles around me no buildings to cover me coming around the bend and no signs to cover my approach. I WOULDN’T NEED THE LOUD PIPES but the fact is that motorcycles ride in traffic, around buildings and signs so if the sound uses them to tell a vehicle that a motorcycle is near by then the pipes are doing there JOB! Much like a police or ambulance siren does.

Loud pipes do save lives! Are they annoying to some yes. Do they save lives better than a HORN absolutely! If you ride a motorcycle you know how coordinated you have to be, I mean you are shifting gears watching the road for any danger cracks, cars, water, BUGS you are balancing and if you have to use the breaks, you have to USE your foot and hand to do it! This usually includes down shifting so all your limbs are in use.

Know you are telling me with all that a motorcyclist is already doing! you prefer that he beep the horn in a life and death emergency while he uses is right arm to apply the front break, he right foot to apply the rear break, his left hand to hold the clutch, his left foot to down shift and his body and head to prepare to change lanes! Still you want to add his thumb to find the horn and beep it!

The truth is a horn works very well, when you see the potential danger and you can blow it as a warning before the danger occurs but the fact is that loud pipes are already doing that for you! It is as Pat Hahn says reflecting off ever vehicle surrounding you and letting them know you are there! It is a pre-warning before any potential danger occurs without adding any extra pressure to an already extreme situation.

So do load pipes draw attention? YES! And thank God, they do!

I think it foolish that riders are worried about pissing people off more then there safety!The fact is people get pissed off a load pipes because they are not educated. Most people who do not ride think load pipes are more of a rebellious statement then a safety precaution. If they understood this, they would be more tolerant to the noise, after all the put up with worse, garbage trucks in the A.M. eighteen wheelers and down shifting, diesel engines, two trucks, music and construction equipment! Why are they so tolerant to those things? It is because they believe they serve a purpose, that they have a reason! Most drivers do not think this about loud pipes; they think it is all about the style, the look or the attitude, the self-indulgence. They are unaware that the noise they hear helps the motorcyclist; it lets surrounding vehicles now that they are in the mist of a motorcycle, a vehicle that is highly threatened by the CARS blind spots! Yea it might not warn the car half a mile in front of you, but who cares! Your not near that car it not a potential threat yet! Your worry about the cars surrounding your because as Pat Hahn put it most accidents occur on the eleven o’clock side of your motorcycle, which means to me the vehicle is with in hearing distance not a half a mile in front of me. In addition, I really want to know, if most accidents occur at the eleven o’clock side of my motorcycle, how a reflective vest is going to help! It is not as if the vest will reflect of the vehicles around me and let him the car cutting into my lane that I might be in his blind spot! I mean the only way it would work is if he sees me! Moreover, if he sees me the truth is it does not matter what I wear, HE SEE ME! Might help in the dark to see me better but seeing is seeing, either you do or you do not!

I used this example because any other way of having an eleven o’clock accident most likely means a head on collision and if a car is heading to you head on, it usually means you are screwed! HORN, PIPES, VEST the person is either out of control or drunk and nothing but God can save your from that!

Unsigned via e-mail

Dear John/Jane Doe,

We hate to break it to you but loud pipes are not the equivalent of a Level 2 Elven Cloak of Invincibility. Loud pipes may magically shield while riding through Mordor but provide little to no protection against SUV-driving Orcs and cell phone-gabbing Wraiths. Even riders of average ability can easily multitask all the motorcycle’s controls while riding.

If you feel overwhelmed in such situations may we suggest taking an Experienced Rider Course? The ERC is neither wizardry nor alchemy. You’ll learn effective riding techniques that you can use everyday. You and your friends will find it more fun than an afternoon spent playing World of Warcraft in your parents’ basements.

If you do take an ERC, and for any reason do not feel that you learned anything of benefit, send us your Course Completion Card and we’ll cheerfully refund the fee.

Standing offer.


Dear Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly folks,   Well, it sure seems like every time I read any cycle rag, there just full of screw-ups. Today I was reading your August 1999 test of the Yamaha Vision (a mighty fine bike, I might add) and here we go again. Paragraph two starts off talking about the Vision’s “transverse mounted motor” being “like a Harley” and I’m going “what’d he say…?”. First off, it’s not transverse mounted—it’s in line. Neither is a Harley for that matter. A moto-guzzi or one of them Honda 500 jap bikes is transverse mounted so they go sideways. So is that one Indian ridden by that old-time dude in the West-Bank Cycle Club, but I don’t know his name or what bike he rides. It might be Tom. Or Tim. Anyways, you might want to have someone proof-read your rag better. If you don’t know how to right about your test of a bike, your in the wrong business.   Nick Puzak—the Twin Towns infamous dog-man via e-mail

Hi Nick,

It’s always great to hear from our notorious lover of canines. Evidently in your quest for public office you never earned your online degree from the Motorcycle Institute of Poughkeepsie.

Had you graduated you would know that on transverse motors, the crankshaft spins perpendicular to the bike’s frame. Transverse motors include the Yamaha Vision, all late-model H-D twins and Honda Magnas/Sabres. In longitudinal motors, the crankshaft spins parallel to the frame. Examples include BMW Boxers, Honda ST-1100/1300s and the mighty Ural.

Sorry you never got that DFL endorsement. Don’t be a stranger.


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