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Any tips or suggestions for aftermarket pipes for an '03 LowRider? I am a new rider, only 1000 miles under my belt so not very experienced but I am looking for something I can do myself to increase the sound level(but not to an absurd lvl). The stock pipes on my bike just seem too quiet. I've seen the arguments about only the people behind you here loud pipes but most of my commute to work is low speed 30-50mph dense traffic so being heard is necessary. Is it necessary to adjust the carb when changing out pipes? Or are there aftermarket pipes that don't require that? Again, I'm a noob so I'm looking for a DIY project that won't have me running to a mechanic after I f*#k it up.

Thanks for your thoughts on this!
 

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If you want loud pipes, that is your choice, but for whatever it's worth, IMHO if you think louder pipes will make any difference in your safety in traffic, you are placing confidence in a very dubious concept. Many riders do hold this belief, but many riders want loud pipes for reasons that have nothing to do with safety, and no safety study or expert that I know of agrees.

It's good to be looking for an edge, any way to increase your odds.
I personally don't think that is a very good one.

Study up on The Hurt Report, reduce or eliminate as many risk factors as possible.

http://www.harley-davidsonforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=23183&highlight=Hurt+report#post23183

I have 2 choices in which route I take in my commute, both are 42 miles, one is white knuckle high speed freeway in dense traffic, the other is a combination of 2 lane, and divided 4 lane with dozens of crossovers and intersections and hundreds if not thousands of private and commercial driveways to pull out of into my path. I am convinced that approaching cars that are going to cross my path are by far the biggest risk, and the Hurt results support that notion. Loud pipes may attract the attention of the people you pass or those behind you but I don't think they'll have any effect on the old lady trying to turm left in front of you, nor the Yuppie wearing the cellphone in his ear, nor the headbanger with the 100db stereo.

Because of this Hurt Report's focus on the risk of people turning left in front of me, pulling out in front of me, I have recently decided to take the white knuckle limited access freeway blast to work, specifically to avoid the thousands of opprotunities for people to cross my path.

Here are parts of this report that I think are the most important, and some of them are not supportive of loud pipes helping in any of the significant risk factors. I'll highlight the ones I like..


14. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.

I have to wonder how he knows how many people "wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets" were not involved in accidents? Wouldn't that be hard to count? Couldn't he also say wearing pink socks reduced accidents if there were no riders wearing pink socks?

17. The typical motorcycle pre-crash lines-of-sight to the traffic hazard portray no contribution of the limits of peripheral vision; more than three-fourths of all accident hazards are within 45deg of either side of straight ahead. (Doesn't seem likely loud pipes would help here...)

18. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is most critical for the frontal surfaces of the motorcycle and rider. (Doesn't seem likely loud pipes would help here...)

33. Any effect of motorcycle color on accident involvement is not determinable from these data, but is expected to be insignificant because the frontal surfaces are most often presented to the other vehicle involved in the collision.

For my money, the best motorcycle related equipment that might enhance safety are front pointing lights, a little brighter, I went with brighter AND larger 7" reflector instead of 5" which I personally consider a piss-poor excuse for a headlight. I'm working towards adding lights to the front forks for conspicuity as well. I believe driving lights mounted low and wide on crash bars would help as well. I don't like the aux lights that baggers wear used on bikes like mine and yours, but I do think they would help more than a little, and in an area where any improvement would be important.

here's what I consider a good smart and cost effective improvement in visibility by Spinedoc on the V-Rod forum. I'd have left my turnsignals mounted high and wide as well. He had mounts made but I think I have another, easier idea, stay tuned. Besides you and I don't have two calipers to mount to.



 

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Hey Nathang thanks for the info, that light idea is definately a must. I respect your opinion as I have no doubt you have a lot more experience on motorcycles then I do, hell the horse shit on my tire has more experience on a motorcycle then I do, but, and here it is, in the low speed traffic where I spend an unavoidable portion of my commute, the louder motorcycles are noticed. Sounds waves travel in a broad, ever increasing arc, and reverberate off of other vehicles. When the motorcycle is traveling approx 30-40mph you can hear them before you see them in the traffic, when they are moving faster then that they are already by you when you hear them or already past. Now again, I have zero relevant experience as a motorcycle rider, but I have a very significant amount of experience as a caged driver. On this same commute I have seen and almost had my own close calls with motorcycles as I try to negotiate traffic myself. I know that more then once I was able to make room for a motorcycle because I heard him without ever seeing him. You are absolutely right though that there are other safety mechanism that can reduce risk but personally I'de rather just get run over rather then wear 'pink socks'! Hahaha, again thanks for the info on the lights, I think that IS a great idea.
 

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My pet safety add-on to a LowRider, the 7" headlight, also on the V-Rod. I The bulb is 65/75 and doesn't annoy people at night so long as I don't forget to dim. Hard to believe what a difference it makes at night, I believe and hope it makes as much difference in the daytime for conspicuity.
Everybody gets the high beam in the daytime. I even think I see people react when I move into their sideview mirror range on the highway due the light.

A 7" lens has 38.5 inches of surface a 5" lens has 19.6
And the difference in the larger reflector's effectiveness seems to be even more than that.



 

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Thanks Nathang, that is very helpful and the next change to my bike without a doubt, hell I like your idea of putting a couple running lights down low on the engine guard as well.
 

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Yes yes, I'll explain, I thought maybe I'd be able to show you but one or another type of work keeps intruding on my play-time.

On both of my bikes, V-Rod and LowRider I will use a hollow substitute bolt on each side for one of the front fender mounting bolts, with a spacer that seats squarely in the bottom of the machined out recess in the slider as a solid 90 degree mounting post for a chrome bullet light just like the one in Spinedoc's installation. I can't find the hardware to show right now, I will later, but Dennis Kirk or J&P Cycles has a ready made hollow stainless bolt that is perfect for the V-Rod, that has the metric thread that fits the fender and a shoulder, then a 3/8" coarse thread stub that I have re-tapped the bullet light stem to fit.


On the LowRider I had my son use a drill press at work to drill lengthwise thru some 5/16" coarse thread allen head bolts, they are already a perfect fit in the bullet lights, so both mounts feed the wires thru the bolt to come out under the fender support bracket on the inside of the front slider. So my lights are higher mounted than his, don't use the caliper mounting bolts, not an option on single caliper LowRider anyway, the wires are hidden. The bulbs are MR16 12v bulbs, I can't decide what I will use, I have 20W 35W and 50W in yellow and clear in both wide flood and narrow spot beams. Since I'm not really focused on improving my headlights, my primary concern is conspicuity, I might tone the intensity or beam spread down, and use yellow, to be able to leave them on all the time. But then, I might find that they need to be really blinding bright at night in order to help as much as I want in daylight. I'm putting a set of relays inside the roomy housing that my 7" headlight housing conversion gives me, I'll run a heavy fused wire to the housing direct from the battery and use the smaller stock wires as relay controls. The circuitry varies in complexity, depending on my findings about the lights needing to be too bright to leave on at night when cars approach, dimming with brights, or show up enough during the daytime because of the unusual location with lower wattage bulbs, wide flood beam or yellow filter, to be able to leave then on all the time at night.

Frankly Lil, even after all my messing with this tricky, stylish design, if I go with engine guards, I think the guard mounted driving lights may beat this idea for conspicuity by brute force, being wider separated and brighter.

If it isn't apparent, I'm working on the premise that separated and oddly spaced lights may stand out in the clutter of glare and visual overload during daytime driving better than just brighter headlights. Same idea with intense yellow, paired lights mounted low, I hope it distinguishes them from a thousand points of glare.
 

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Thank you Nathan. I've come to the conclusion that your knowledge a machining is impressive. Your explanation provides a good picture of what you have done and it is stylish while staying functional.

Your thought about wider vs narrow separation may just have some merit due to the brains ability to better processing and thereby recognition of three points of light over one or two. The closer the sources the greater the potential for them to meld into one visual input.

What source will you be using for the driving light housing if you decide on mounting on the bars?
 

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I haven't researched that option yet.
Maybe just the HD guard mounted lights would be easiest.
...but there are many driving lights, bullet lights, etc with an attachment for a round bar.


Here is a mount for a 1" bar and the Lazer Star light that could go withh it, if the same size and format was desireable.
 

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I suspect it's the commonest driving light bulb, prolly an H3 55W, brutally bright. OK for daytime but useless at night for conspicuity, because anybody who can see them can't see anything else. They come up to 100w and lower too. To tell the truth, if Dr HeathenScum / Joe / aka Heavycycles wasn't so damned backed up all the time, I'm a pretty big believer in the LED array for visibility. My Heavycycles tail/brake lights, and linked tail/turnsignal/brake lights are so bright they are hard to look at. I sent him a message I wanted to order front turnsignals for both bikes, but I'll be surprised to hear from him.

"..your knowledge of machining is impressive.."
Nah, I'm a just rigger at best, if not for Mike's record of creating bikes I might have said fabricator, if not for Dave's skills and knowlege I might have said mechanic. Rigger.
 

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So the fog lights are that bright! I had no idea.

That is the line on Joe, isn't it. Somehow, once he is done making the lights in his spare time folks are very satisfied. That spare time may be narrowed even more so now because of his newly born daughter.

I hope you do hear from him.
 
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