The Noise Snare Photo System – Loud Pipes Beware

05/23/2011 @ 7:20 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

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!

Source: Gizmag; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • AC

    There are bigger road-related issues to tackle than the loudness of motorcycle exhausts. People chatting it up on their cell phones while driving their two ton SUV’s is something worth pursuing. There used to be a time when a great engine/exhaust sound turned heads in appreciation at the miracle of engineering. Let social influence determine what level of noise people will find acceptable, not laws.

    The lawmakers and agencies who are coming up with this regulatory crap can try to shout their concerns over the debaffled Termi’s on my SF.

  • DWolvin

    You just pointed out the problem: We already have chosen to step away from normal, polite society by riding a motorcycle. The problem is that the majorities do not ride, and the more we act the fool, the more laws will be pointed toward us. I don’t like a quiet bike, but straight pipes are rude enough to the neighbors that something has to happen…
    And ‘we’ have made it clear to the majority that we like loud pipes.

  • I am not a fan of adding more laws. But I won’t be disappointed if this goes through. Sick of rolling up my window when a hog rolls by with the lever on rabbit. I love motorcycles and it’s still annoying.

    A bad quality open pipe on a sportbike is just a little less annoying.

  • Keith

    heh, I’ll obey that law WHEN they start going after cage monkeys with a stero you hear a block a way or theiry little fart can exhaust that makes a straight pipe drag bike sound quiet. BUT my favorite revenge is…my motorcycles ARE loud and came from teh facotry that way. BUT there is nothing CARB or it’s sock puppet the EPA can do. Nor can any state fine me. Why? One is a GL1000 the other is a T-500. The grey beards here know what I’m talking about….you kids go back to your plastc fantastics and whine.

  • I’d love to see better enforcement of noise laws.

    Sure, there are higher priorities, in terms of impact on the safety of riders and all road users — cell phone use and texting (see: better testing and/or tiered licensing for example, or the risks presented by cops whose judgement has been impaired by the heavy use of steroids. But the existence of higher priorities doesn’t obviate all the lower ones.

    The other day, I was with my wife and she started to make a cell-phone call while we were standing on a street corner. This is a woman who rides motorbikes; motorcycles pay our #u@&ing rent. And some half-helmeted guy pulled up at a stop sign, and she looked up and muttered, “Oh $#!+” just automatically because she knew that her call would go through at the same moment he accelerated away from the stop sign, making more noise (and more irritating noise) than a locomotive. Forget even out abysmal safety record; most people, at some level understand that motorcyclists accept their personal risk and that that motorcycle use rarely endangers others. No, bnoxiously loud motorcycle exhausts are _the_ PR disaster for the motorcycle industry.

    Harley riders with straight pipes, who make an ear-splitting racket even riding at legal speeds; half-wit sport bike riders with two-inch wide chicken strips who think a stock literbike is totally underpowered unless it’s got a race can. WTF gives with these self-centered, entitled ego-moroniacs?

    There are noise level rules in the World Superbike Championship, for #u@&’s sake. Even Harley-Davidson has stopped selling straight pipes that used to be disingenuously labeled “For Racing Use Only.”

    Shut up, learn to ride, and the motorcycle industry will be that much closer to getting ahead of our challenges, instead of fighting one rearguard action after another.

  • hoyt

    agree to a point about loud pipes…a well-tuned bike with the right pipe (and ridden with discretion at the right places) IS part of motorcycle enjoyment. But, that fine line is doomed by the growing # of riders who don’t have proper taste, restraint, and discretion.

  • Spooner

    Sooo, glad I live in Edmonton. :(

  • Jesse

    I like the sound of loud mufflers. I don’t really care for straight pipes, but can most people tell the difference between a straight-pipe and a loud muffler? It’s pretty distinct. I think as long as it’s a straight-through glasspack, or a baffled straightpipe, it should be fine on most bikes.

    More of the problem is the way some bozos with poorly muffled exhausts think they have to constantly rev the thing at every stop. If it doesn’t idle right, take a break from polishing all that chrome and service your damn bike. . . Even a loud bike can be driven with some regard to the people around you.

  • Sean

    The City of Calgary is going to test this device and issue warnings during the interm. They are planning to target all loud vehicles, not just bikes. I am interested to see how this evolves since the whole program seems to be fueled by people from one neighbourhood complaining about the noise in their popular area of the city.

    Just to be clear, there are just as many sportbike riders that are reving the crap out of their aftermarket-piped bike as there are harley riders with “Loud pipes save lives” attitudes in the thick of this debate.

    Regardless or how this plays out, I think this will end up being a money grab for the city, just like their photo radar program. But I don’t think my radar detector will tell me where the noise camera is….

  • Kevin White

    What if I’m revving my totally stock motorcycle high and it hits the threshold? Surely a stock bike at high revs and more open throttle is louder than a modified back at cruising RPMs and small throttle openings, right?

  • Kevin White

    My next door neighbor complains about the sound from my stock 2007 Ninja 250 when I’m leaving for work at 6am.

  • DWolvin

    Kevin; that one would complain if you went to work on a ten speed, some people are just bitches.

    I do think it will be interesting to see how many cars get nailed by this system. I think motorcycle riders are (in general) more attenative on the road, and I know that i am rearly surprised but anything on the side, including speed traps (no detector). If you see a unit, coast by or at least go quiet and I bet you will be fine. I have a K1200r with a remus cone (not quiet) and I still sneak up on peds in the parking lot…

  • jb

    Kind of ironic that they are doing this even as there is other legislation in the works to require silent electric vehicles to have an external speaker that makes a “car” noise (or something similar).

    Do we want quieter vehicles or not?

    Also, this would actually be awesome if it gave tickets for all types of noise pollution (hello, giant subwoofer toting hatchback drivers!)

  • ohio

    Well said, Mark G. I would love to see noise regulations enforced (across ALL vehicles) both for my own peace of mind and for the image of motorcyclists everywhere.

    I live on a major throughway in San Francisco… open-piped Harleys are far and away the most obnoxious things to roll through. They are far louder than the worst stereo system or fart-can Civic, all of which are many many dB worse than even bumper to bumper rush hour traffic. If I had children who couldn’t sleep through the night because of this, I’d be through the roof. These riders are not endearing us to the public, which makes my daily moto commute that much more dangerous.

  • hoyt

    In the States, every “Red Light Camera” intersection has a posted sign leading up to the intersection, so will the same be true if this noise snare is adopted? If yes, social engineering at work…the louder-is-better crowd will simply cruise on by without the loud revs. And, in the end, is it really money well spent in solving the problem? You can’t have them on every light, so the riders will know when to ride loud and not…which is not addressing a more definitive solution. (unless these can be mounted in a police cruiser)

    The Red Light cameras are horrible….it changes driving habits for the worse. People either go too slow as they approach for fear of getting caught on camera or they gun it even faster than going through a normal yellow light. So, you are either on someone’s ass going through this intersection or someone is on your ass. Either way, absolutely stupid use of tax money. A camera does not stop someone from getting t-boned if the other driver isn’t paying attention & runs a red.

  • Isaac Chavira

    I think the EPA should stick to hugging trees and leave the police work to the cops. They are just another power hungry federal agency looking for more power. You have a problem with your neighboor, confront him. Don’t be a bicth and cry to the legistlature. Motorcycle laws are completley biased to non-riders.

    When are they going to make a cellphone that will not let you text or take calls (unless 911 is used) so idiot 16yr old girls and soccer moms wont kill us? They both have reaction times of concrete drying.

    It’s already been said in this thread that there are way bigger issues at hand than noise polution. Just goes to show you how corrupt or judicial system really is. If you put money in the right pockets shit gets done.

  • Tom

    This is not a hot button issue. Motorcyclists don’t care about the noise issue. Asshole Harley riders are shaking in their Chinese made credit card patriotism boots.

  • John Morrow

    Does this mean I have to remove the 150db air horn from my motorcycle? Which I might add, is incredibly useful at ensuring my safety?

  • hoyt

    Tom – I disagree. It is a hot button issue. The non-riding public is like a mother with a teenage son in the basement yelling at him to turn down the stereo. They will turn the volume down TOO low. Sound is part of the motorcycle experience (only until a cool electric with minimal sound comes out will the sound not be part of the experience).

  • Hamish

    Another knee jerk reaction to a problem that exists in Edmonton for, at most, six months a year. I live in Edmonton and there are far more important traffic issues than pipes on bikes. I commute by bike from the time the ice is off the roads until the snow flies. Sitting at lights and watching people texting, reading the newspaper, and even shaving or applying make up seems to be a greater safety issue than the occasional loud pipe. Mr. Nesdoly is a whingeing sanctimonious ass that garnered much attention in Edmonton when, on a slow newsday, he complained to the local press. Instant problem when the media decides that this is an issue. Mr Nesdoly happens to live near the ONLY twisty road in Edmonton. Ergo, he is going to hear EVERY bike in Edmonton at some juncture. As well as every little POS tuner car with the BOOMPAH stereo going. When are they going to start ticketing those egregious little asshats?