Dear Bruce,

I would like to compliment you on your ‘From the Hip’ in the June 2011 Issue, I agree on SO many levels.  It never ceases to amaze me the idiot thinking that LOUD PIPES save lives.  I invite everyone to take a moment and listen, as I often do, I will intentionally pay attention when I see a motorcycle coming as to when I can ‘hear’ them, which is typically not until they are right next to me.  I mean come on, really people?  Unless your righteously loud pipes are pointed forward they are not going to help anyone notice you, car drivers are too often drinking their frappafufu Latte BS, talking on the phone and doing everything else instead of paying attention including listening to the radio with the windows rolled up.  Do you REALLY think they can hear your righteous loud pipes? No they can’t unless your sitting beside them being a total idiot revving the crap out of your ‘look at me I’m righteous’ male penis enhancer…

I agree there are many things that sound great loud, a V-8 with headers, many different sounds to the different styles, there is nothing like the sound of a V-8 at full song.  The WISSOTA modified I drive sounds awesome too, World of Outlaws sprint cars!  or an Indy car!  even a F1 car.  There are few sweeter sounds than a 80” shovel head with drag pipes, it has a very distinct and pretty sound… or 2 stroke GP bikes are one of my personal favorites, then throw in Kenny Roberts TZ750, oh yeah baby!  But my favorite motorcycle sound I’ve ever heard, was back in the 80’s, Daytona International Speedway, back when they ran the old BOTT races, Battle of The Twins.  Somewhere between 40-60 2 cylinder bikes on the starting grid, with Gene Church riding the HOG sponsored ‘lucifers hammer’ tuned by the great Don Tilley from North Carolina. standing behind the ‘pit’ wall where the starting grid is and hearing those monsters start there. Ah sweet music!

Praise God and God Bless the USA we all do have the freedom to write and read what we want, speak our mind.  Even if you want to break the law…  but there are consequeces.  Which brings me to MY point…  I don’t like loud pipes… on the street.  They are annoying, and serve no real purpose.  Really loud pipes usually take away performance too, so don’t tell me that your bike is faster with them. A true performance exhaust for bikes are not always the loudest, in fact in our research a few years ago we found just the reverse was true, a good 2-1 system with a muffler made more power than ‘righteously loud’ pipes.  The part that is most annoying to me is that people that complain about ‘loud pipes’ never seem to complain to the people that CAN do something about it…  Call your local law enforcement, call the county sherriff or whom ever would be appropriate for your area.  Tell them to enforce the noise laws on the books already.  There is no reason to ‘create new laws’. We have enough liberals in the government trying to do that already.

If you have loud pipes and don’t want to be ‘harrassed’ by the man, then put mufflers on or at least be smart.  Be loud where it is acceptable, be quiet where respectable.

But shut up about them saving lives. You want to have something save your life, take the advanced riding course and install a loud horn.

Brett Donahue
Donahue Harley-Davidson Inc.



Dear Bruce,

I was jolted out of bed this morning at 2 am by the thunderous roar of a motorcycle.  I live in an apartment building on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.  It is important to note that my unit is toward the back of the building–nearest the alley–or furtherest from Grand Avenue.  The distance from the street provided no buffer from this decibel onslaught.  The ear splitting noise lifted me right out of bed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good, throaty engine sound.  I own a 2001 Kawasaki W650.  But for the love of God, Bruce, I wasn’t singing “God Bless America” in my head in the wee dawn hours. My view is that loud pipes should be treated like second hand smoke–you can do your thing so long as it doesn’t impact others in a significant way.

Keep up the good work with the Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly.  I am sure it is labor of love.  I regularly support one of your advertisers, Blue Cat Motors.

Todd Kolod
St. Paul

P.S.  …and motorcycle riders who don’t wear helmets
should pay higher medical premiums!



Good for you, Bruce, for shooting down the myth that noisy bikes make for safe riding.  You make a strong case that good gear and safe riding, not missing mufflers, saves our skins.

I’ve have to disagree, though, when you say “To those who hate loud pipes – get over it.  This is America.  We’ve got choices.”  Being Americans doesn’t mean disturbing the peace of others.  It’s said “Your freedom ends where mine begins” and that goes for loud bikes, loud cars, jake braking, loud subwoofers & bottle rockets.  If your noise wakes me up, stops a conversation or forces your music into my ears you’re trespassing on my freedom, not exercising yours.  I understand the adrenaline rush – I remember clearly pulling the mufflers off my ’59 Duo Glide one afternoon.  My brother heard me coming back out of Rosemount 2.5 miles away!  But I was kind enough to my neighbors to put the mufflers back on that same day.

You want loud bikes and loud cars?  Take ‘em to the track where they belong.

Imagine caring for a young patient who’s just come home from the hospital.  She’s gotten precious little sleep for over a week but is finally sleeping like a baby in her own bed until, about 5 AM (and on and off again until after midnight) motorcyclists exercising their freedoms rip past the apartment and startle her awake.  Really happened – not a what-if.  Or spend a few minutes with a 90-something aunt who refuses to use central air – she wants fresh air in her home.  She doesn’t hear all that well anyway and speaks softly – but that’s aggravated because her window opens onto Robert Street in West St. Paul and it’s summer.  Every 90 seconds or so another biker exercising his freedom roars up the road and drowns out all conversation.  After 15 minutes of frustration we part in hopes that someday next winter we might get to really visit.  Really happened – didn’t make that up.  Last one:  I’m walking downtown between walls of brick and glass & reflexively plug my ears when a motorcycle with missing mufflers cranks up his noise level while rolling by at 7 MPH.  (I plug my ears for ambulance passes in that echo chamber too – it hurts not to.)  Only this rider, unlike the ambulance drivers, lifts his middle finger at me in passing.  (You got it – this one’s not hypothetical either.)  Now my ears are bleeding plus I’m pissed off!  I shake my head & wonder if maybe that last rider speaks for too many folks with illegal pipes:  “F… you – this is all about ME!”

David Bipes,
Robbinsdale, MN


In response –

I appreciate all the letters and kind words. I will continue to enjoy loud pipes but I do need to let you all know that I am respectful of my neighbors and try to always be concious of the environment I’m riding in. I don’t twist my throttle to get a reaction but I sure like the sound of an old hot rod or big V-twin rolling down the highway.

Bruce Mike



Keep the Letters coming folks! It’s good to know people are still reading the printed page. We will not print profanity or threats, so you can keep that to yourself. If you don’t see your letter appear immediately, keep looking for it. There is always a chance it could appear in a later issue or it may not, that’s our decision. If you don’t want your letter to appear, please let us know when you submit it.


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