Testing your motorcycle: What you need to know

Due to the amendments that City Council made to the Noise Bylaw earlier this year, members of our Traffic Unit are conducting decibel testing to ensure motorcycles fall within the designated parameters.

The process is a simple one and takes roughly 3 minutes of your time. Here’s how it works:

The equipment is set-up based on the position of the exhaust pipe. The decibel reader is positioned at a 45 degree angle, 20 inches away from the exhaust. The reader and exhaust are also level.

         dB Testing 1          db Testing 3

After the equipment is in place, we ask the rider to make sure the bike is in neutral, and if it is, to start it up. We let it settle into idle and begin the first test. Section 5.1(c) of the Noise Bylaw states that the sound emitted cannot exceed 92 dB when idling. However, we’re giving people plenty of grace in allowing a + 2 dB points. So if you’re bike was 94.1, it would fail the test.

Motor Vehicle Noise Prohibition

The second part of the testing is done when the bike is revved. We test two-cylinder bikes, 3 times, at 2000 RPM’s. Again, we take the lowest reading. And then we take the lowest reading of those three to determine whether the bike passes or fails.

And that’s it! If your motorcycle exceeds the limits, it’s your choice to make the necessary adjustments before the 2015 riding season. Because, as you’re all aware, the remainder of 2014 is an amnesty period and no tickets will be written!


The video below illustrates the testing of a two-cylinder bike at idle. You can see in the video that the decibel reader fluctuates. We take the lowest reading that we see appear. What was the lowest reading you saw?

Testing of Motorcycle at Idle

For a listing of upcoming testing clinics, click here.

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2 Responses to Testing your motorcycle: What you need to know

  1. dennis says:

    So if you guys pass me then at some point i get pulled over for having a loud bike and get a ticket and nothing has changed on the bike, how is this going to turn out? And different people will put the equipment and take the readings differntly. Some people may also not have the time to
    Sit around and wait for someone to get there and take the test. This whole thing is getting out if control.

    • We offered many opportunities both this year and last, giving people a chance to have their motorcycles tested for compliance without any penalty. The test that is performed will be done the exact same every single time, no matter who the officer is. If there have been no modifications to the motorcycle, the bike will pass the test.

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