What Do Baffles Do on a Motorcycle
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What Do Baffles Do on a Motorcycle: Performance Boosters Or Clingy Pieces of Metal?

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Loud pipes save lives!

Loud pipes save lives!

Look, I get it. You don’t have to say it a third time. 

Loud pipes…

Seriously?

To be honest, I love sexy, loud motorcycle noises just as much as the next guy. But I also love not going deaf sooner than I have to. 

There is a point where loud pipes NO LONGER sound wicked and just become obnoxious.

Motorcycles exhaust baffles are GREAT pieces of noise-damping-performance-boosting-metal chambers, filled with all kinds of holes and layers, on your motorcycle.

You’ll NEVER reach that obnoxious point with exhaust baffles. Period!

Motorcycle Exhaust Performance — With and Without Baffles

Do I really have to point out how motorcycles perform without baffles? 

I mean, it’s STUPID! Of course motorcycle exhaust baffles affect the performance. It’s going to be sluggish and poor. 

My Editor: “ Yes, John, you have to! Remember, there are many beginner riders out there that have an illusion that loud pipes save lives. We have to prove them wrong and save them from Fix-It police tickets”

Fine, fine. I’ll do it! (**Writing this segment while being deaf in my right ear. Don’t ask me why, though.**)               

So… 

Motorcycle exhaust performance with baffles: where do I start? 

  • They affect low and mid-end torque

    Low and mid-end torque is a starting power of your motorcycle when you go from a dead start. It goes noticed when you have a pillion on your bike or you have a lot of luggage. All that weight needs to be pulled all at once. 

    Without baffles, you won’t be able to do that.

    Huhh, then I guess I could say GOODBYE to motorcycle camping without baffles?
  • They save you a TON of fuel money

    No way!?

    For real! 

    Keeping your baffles prevents your engine from being a DEVOURING fuel beast. 

    With baffles, your air/fuel mixture gets gridlocked within proper settings. We all know what GARGANTUAN pain in the butt it is to properly adjust them. 
What Do Baffles Do on a Motorcycle - motorbike with exhaust pipe baffles
  • It keeps your motorcycle within the legal exhaust noise limit

     #NoisePollution

    (I got spooked when the legal part started!)

    Anything over 84 dB is street illegal. States throughout the US have their own specific motorcycle exhaust noise limits. 

    So, yes, motorcycle exhaust baffles are necessary on your bike.

    But you decide what’s better: keeping your baffles on or spending a day in a precinct? 
  • They prevent your motorcycle from being a dirty-coal-burning-thermo plant

    #CO2Pollution

    (**Violation of every CO2 emission regulation goes through the roof!**)

    Your bike has to fulfill a STRICT set of emission laws to pass as a vehicle. With baffles, your motorcycle does NOT pump out too much CO2, NO2, and every other gas that has a number 2 in its combination. 

Motorcycle exhaust performance without baffles? 

  • Exhausts without baffles a.k.a loud pipes increase accidents

    They are POTENTIAL evokers of road rage. Nobody likes rolling, two-wheeled, screaming-like-hell machines, right next to them.

    With some people, loud pipes will scare the c***p out them.

    You don’t want a soccer mom in her SUV over-correcting her drive path, causing an accident or hitting another rider?

    So, is “loud as hell” REALLY worth it?
  • Stressing your exhaust valves with cold air

    Letting off the throttle, without baffles and with straight pipes, causes cold air to be sucked in.

    Anything that’s PIPING hot doesn’t like a sudden intro of cold air.

    It’s like giving your exhaust valves a hard-ass slap. Only multiple times. It’s that kind of slap when the hand starts from your hip.

     (**Imagining a picture of cold air slapping the valves in a Batman-Robin meme style**)

    Do I have to list what amount of trouble you’ll go through when an exhaust valve gets bent? 

    #MotorcycleRepairBankrupt
silver metal motorcycle
  • Straight pipes are awarding at a specific RPM

    Hitting that RPM in the street is mission IMPOSSIBRU! There is more chance to end up being as loud as an air-strike siren than making use of RPMs with straight pipes. 

    You sacrifice a chunk of your motorcycle power to only hope you use it once in a while.

    Does it pay the effort?
  • Rejetting the air/fuel nozzles

    Did I mention your bike becomes a fuel devouring beast without baffles?

    Well, why is that?

    Without baffles, you’re introducing more air into your engine. Plus, your engine doesn’t fully combust fuel. Part of it gets burned in your baffles.

    Removing those metal chambers of fuel combustion, you DISRUPT the balance of air and fuel. 

    (**Writing this while remembering Avatar: the Last Airbender cartoon**)
  • It gets HOT in here!

    This one is a follow-up to the air/fuel mixture.

    Without baffles, you’re running on a lean mixture. 

    Lean mixture = more air than fuel. More air = higher burning temperatures. Higher temperatures = DIRE times for the engine. 

    Dire times for the engine = . 

    Well, you get the doom-cycle?
motorcycle exhaust gas inversion
  • Exhaust gas inversion

    Inversion what now?

    Exhaust gas inversion is when those nitty-gritty pollution clouds partially fill the combustion chamber. 

    Instead of burning fresh, finally-tuned-to-the-perfection, hand-picked by the professionals, air-fuel mixture, your engine burns… well… smoke.

    How does it manifest?

    When in the middle of a ride, your engine will begin to stumble. It’s usually in the midrange power. 

    And it feels like *put your desired curse-word here*.
  • Last but not least – Back pressure goes EXTINCT

    Your engine spits out gases within a pulsation-like mode. That pulsation results in back pressure.

    For now, take it as a form of vacuum that sucks the bad stuff from the engine and brings in the BEAUTIFUL air/fuel mixture. The vacuum helps the other vacuum, created by the cylinder. 

    Without baffles, back pressure disappears like the Dodo bird from Madagascar island. 

    Again, with the stupid analogy man? I mean come on?! (**Self-doubt activated**)

    Fine, never mind!

    Just remember that no baffles = no backpressure. No backpressure = garbage like torque and performance.

    Still think removing your exhaust baffles from your motorcycle is a good idea? 

Motorcycle Baffles Secrets — Stuff They Don’t Tell You

moto exhaust baffles

Now, I have deliberately talked you away from removing your moto exhaust baffles. 

Excellent! (**Said in Mr. Burns style**)

It’s time to bore you to death with moto exhaust baffles. Buahahahah – huhhugh- hughghu 

(**Evil laughter turns into fight-for-breath caught**)

Just kidding. I’m not gonna bore you to death. But this info is HANDY to know about baffles. It’ll make you a wiser rider.

Plus, some noob out there can’t tell you gibberish about exhaust baffles when you know these facts!

So, why are baffles engineered that way?

Why so many shapes and sizes?

Why not have a universal motorcycle exhaust baffle and be done with it? 

Why do some have a glass wool wrapped around them, some funny-looking, perforated holes, and some are tiny, simple cylinders? 

Did you know?

  • Smaller, shorter baffles create a louder sound. 

    Why? 

    It’s because they don’t have enough sound-wave damping ability. Another part is plain physics. 

    Smaller, shorter pipes with NO baffles create high frequencies! 

    That’s a lot of buzz, if you ask me. Wink, wink. (**Punchline drum sound plays**)
  • A big, long, glass wool wrapped baffle is going to sound like heaven.

    It’s going to have a low-rev-chopper sound at the starting RPMs. It’s SUPER silent and it’s sexy just listening to it. Resisting that sound is futile.

    But how does it have such an awesome sound? 

    Long, big pipes create low frequencies! Plus, you have steel wool and all the teeny-tiny holes throughout the chamber to damper that engine noise. 

    Did I mention they are big, like DAMN-big? And heavy, too!
motorbike with long big pipes
  • A funny-looking, somewhere in the middle, baffle is the mix of both. 

    They don’t have glass wool, but that’s why they have those funny holes. They are somewhere in the middle with length, so NO high frequencies. 

    And they are wayyyy lighter than the previous ones. A perfect combo.

So, you get why there is no universal motorcycle exhaust baffle? 

Each of those three are specific for their purpose, damping abilities and back pressures. They affect motorcycle engines differently, in their own mysterious ways. 

And…

Fitting one instead of the other would only make a Frankenstein of your motorcycle exhaust. An abomination you and ONLY you would dare to ride!

EDIT: I have a little Frankenstein plush toy riding a plushy motorcycle. It’s custom made, super cute and I love him so much. #Weirdo

Here’s a quick comparison table between the three bafflers mentioned above:

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS 
ISTUNT Exhaust DB Killer Silencer Muffler Baffle Noise Eliminator Universal Fit 51mm Joint Motorcycle 3.3 inch in Length
Short Baffle
ISTUNT Exhaust Pipe DB Killer
  • Creates louder sound.
Vance & Hines Competition Baffle for Pro Pipe Chrome 2 into 1 Exhaust System
Baffle with Glass Wool
Vance & Hines 2 into 1 Exhaust System
  • Create low frequencies.
XMMT 1-3/4' X 8' Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe DB Killer Muffler Insert Baffle Silencer for Harley H-onda Yamaha 2' OD
Funny-Looking Baffle
XMMT Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe DB Killer
  • Somewhere in the middle with length compared to the first two, so NO high frequencies!

Motorcycle Baffles — Summary

Don’t remove them unless you want one of these three wishes: 

  1. You really want to piss off your neighbors
  2. You have an excess amount of money you want to spend on a Noise ticket. 

    There are better ways of spending money instead of paying for tickets. 

    You could donate it to me. 

    That way I could afford a REAL motorcycle baffle, rather than having a Fanta can attached to my exhaust pipe.
  3. You want to experiment with your engine sound and beat the life out of it.

Related post: What Does a Motorcycle Rectifier Do: Solving the Mystery of Motorcycle Electronics

Last update on 2021-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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