Do Motorcycle Exhaust Need Baffles? (Baffle Know-how)

If you’re new to the world of motorcycles, you’re probably wondering about the tubes on your motorcycle’s exhaust. Maybe you’re thinking about removing them but aren’t sure if that’s a good idea; luckily, I can answer your concerns. 

The quick answer is yes. Removing the baffle from your motorcycle can cause the engine to run at higher temperatures. Plus, a motorcycle with its baffles removed can lose torque and will be much louder, which may damage your hearing.

What Are Motorcycle Baffles? 

Motorcycle Baffle

Baffles are tubes inserted and attached to the exhaust pipe. The sides are usually punctured, allowing sound waves to escape. While baffles come in a wide range of shapes, materials, and sizes, they are only used for two purposes. 

The main reason is to reduce noise emissions, while the second is to create back pressure on the exhaust. Below, we discuss in further detail how important these two factors are and how motorcycle baffles help in these aspects. 

Noise Reduction 

Depending on where you live, there are different ordinances on noise that need to be observed. Throughout the country, you can expect noise limits to be around 72 to 100 dB. 

The amount of loud noise that a baffle can reduce will depend on its design. There are baffles that come wrapped in fiberglass to dampen noise further, while others will have more chambers inside. 

It’s important to note that longer baffles will provide better noise reduction compared to ones that are shorter. While baffles won’t make your motorcycle completely noise-free, they can help to reduce noise by as much as 7 dB.

Having stock baffles will help you suppress higher-pitched noises and will instead give you a deeper rumble. 

Back Pressure

People think that back pressure doesn’t have a big effect on their motorcycle engines, but it does play an important role. After all, a change in back pressure can affect the air-to-fuel mixture, which contributes towards a healthy running engine. 

A baffle can create back pressure but will depend on how the motorcycle is tuned and the kind of baffle. Plus, a baffle can also improve your engine’s performance — even if only slightly — while helping to prolong its life. 

While many baffles will come with straight pipes, some will come with an end cap. This end cap serves to stop fumes and sound waves from traveling down your exhaust pipe. These kinds of baffles are great for generating bigger amounts of back pressure. 

Excellent video on understanding what a baffle is and how it works!

What Happens When You Remove Baffles From a Motorcycle? 

While today’s motorcycles are different from the ones made 20 to 50 years ago, not all have undergone changes. However, once you remove the baffles on your motorcycle, you may get to experience these big changes. 

Below are just a few things that could happen if you remove the baffles from your motorcycle.

Louder Noises

As mentioned, removing the baffles from your motorcycle will make it around 3 to 7 dB louder. You might break the noise limit, depending on where you live as well as the motorcycle you ride. 

If your goal is to have a loud motorcycle, check on the noise ordinances in your area regarding motors first. Make sure that you’re within legal limits and measure the dB on your motorcycle while it’s running and idle.

This isn’t a problem for your motorcycle, but you may run into police since they’ll want to stop noisy vehicles. You could also damage your hearing, which is worse because once it’s gone, it won’t come back. 

Homemade motorcycle exhaust silencers can help lower exhaust sounds and a motor’s overall noise level. You can try making your own DIY motorcycle exhaust systems using stock mufflers or a new muffler. 

Pick up tools from your local hardware store to ensure that your motorcycle exhaust quieter while emitting less exhaust gasses. There are various homemade options to choose from — choosing the right exhaust muffler can help you reduce noise pollution.

Lower Back Pressure

Removing a baffle could mean that you lose low-end power in exchange for a small amount of high-end power. Removing baffles from a motorcycle will result in a leaner air-to-fuel mix, so you’ll need to tune up the engine. 

Having a leaner mixture will also tend to burn hotter, which is why you may experience higher engine temperatures. However, not every rider will notice the difference since this will depend on how they ride. 

Cold Air Suction

Unfortunately, removing the baffle from the exhaust may lead to the possibility that it could suck in cold air. Changes in temperature due to hot gasses could cause cold air to be pushed inside, damaging exhaust valves over time. 

You’ll be stuck with a huge repair bill as a motorcycle owner, so it’s better to keep your baffles to lower your cost. Remember that both two-stroke and four-stroke motorcycles need back pressure to ensure the engine is running well. Having a straight pipe may damage both types of engines, so there’s nothing to gain from removing your baffles. 

Should You Remove Your Motorcycle’s Baffles? 

No, we don’t recommend that you remove the baffles on your motorcycle, especially if it came installed brand new. Baffles are installed for a reason, and it will only help your motorcycle run within law regulations and more smoothly. 

The best way for your motorcycle to stay in top shape is to remove baffles for maintenance and replacement only. Removing baffles is a bad idea and only leads to a  loud exhaust, low-end torque, and no performance benefit. 

Can Baffles Be Reinstalled Once It’s Removed? 

You may regret it if you’ve already removed your baffles. The good news is that baffles are easy to work with; they can be removed or reinstalled as you, please. 

Once you’ve reinstalled the baffle, your motorcycle can go back to the way it previously worked. If you cut out the baffle after welding it, you’ll need to buy a new baffle and exhaust pipe. 

Is Removing Baffles Illegal? 

This depends on where you ride — while some places won’t mind, other areas may charge you a big fine. Some places won’t allow modifications to exhausts, including the removal of various parts; check laws and regulations in your area. 

If the motorcycle came with a new baffle, use it as is. Doing otherwise will lead to an obvious disadvantage. Not everyone will know if your motorcycle is running above dB limits, but people will check if you’re following the rules. 

Even if these laws and rules aren’t aggressively enforced, you don’t want to be pulled over for breaking the law. 

Wrapping Up 

Now you should have enough information on motorcycle exhaust baffles to know whether or not to remove them. While it’s not the best idea to remove them, a removable baffle can be reinstalled easily. 

A lack of baffles will only lead to trouble; there’s no good reason to remove your baffles at all. Keeping them won’t just keep you away from fines, but you’ll be doing your ears and your neighbors a favor.

Photo of author


Mike, the motorcycle enthusiast behind SuperBike Newbie, fell in love with superbikes during his college years. He owns a diverse range of motorcycles and offers valuable insights into motorcycling advice, maintenance, safety gear, and laws. Despite two decades of riding experience, he continues to learn and shares his knowledge on his website. Mike also has a keen interest in motorcycle club culture. While not a club member, he aspires to be one someday.

Leave a Comment