The next hot-button issue concerning the EPA and motorcycles is not gas and particle pollution like you might expect, but instead simply noise. There’s always been a battle between the straight-pipe running motorcycle contingency (you know who you are), whose loud pipes have been an earsore for both regular citizens and motorcyclists alike. With the EPA cracking down at a federal level, and states like California adopting similar provisions, it would seem the day of the straight-pipe are going the way of the dodo, but the issue doesn’t stop there.
Take the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R, the would-be superbike of 2011 (if Kawasaki ever sends us one from the press fleet), which boasted an astonishing 207hp at the crank with ram-air. Motorcycle enthusiasts of the United States were disappointed when the machine arrived on American soil, and learned that the new ZX-10R had been de-tuned to meet EPA standards. Losing roughly 10hp, the presumption was that the 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R had failed to meet emission standards, but the reality is that Kawasaki had to de-tune the bike in order to make it quieter.
Shortening the rev range by 750 RPM, Kawasaki basically gamed the system on how the EPA measures sound, which is based off a percentage of the total rev range. Perhaps the first to comply with this new standard, American motorcyclists can look forward to different performance spec-sheets on sport bikes from those found abroad in the soon-to-come future. Of course as is the case with the Kawasaki ZX-10R, bypassing the changes made to meet EPA compliance is a simple matter of modifying the electronics package, and then Bob’s your uncle. However would-be tinkerers may want to think twice, as a new device known as the Noise Snare is set to make its debut on catching overly-loud motor vehicles.
Until now, it’s been relatively difficult for municipalities and other government entities to enforce noise standards for vehicles. Usually such a citation comes about from a traffic stop for some other offense or violation, though we have heard of police checkpoints for non-DOT approved modifications. This got Mark Nesdoly thinking, after a motorcycle woke up his daughter at his Edmonton, Canada home. If cameras can catch speeders and red-light runners, then why can’t the same be true for noise violators? And the Noise Snare was born.
The principle is pretty simple, as the Noise Snare can easily be fitted to a vehicle (though we don’t see why it can’t be attached to light posts, traffic signals, etc as well), left to monitor the sound levels of vehicles as they pass. If a car or motorcycle goes over the limit, it’s photo gets taken, and a ticket shows up in the mail. With local governments looking for extra ways to line their pockets from traffic violations, Nesdoly seems to have a winner on his hands.
The City of Edmonton is set to try his system out, which doesn’t bode well for our brothers in arms to the north. Though, we are curious how accurate this device can be, considering that the noise provisions here in the United States are very specific about the distance and angle a microphone must be from a vehicle to get an accurate reading. We doubt it’ll take long to circumvent that regulatory hiccup though. Thanks for the tip Jackie!