[NPC Clearinghouse]

"Good Neighbors Keep Their Noise To Themselves"





This packet contains information for the use of government purchasing officers and other officials in purchasing quieter Motorcycles. It is a companion document to the Guide to Purchasing Quieter Products and Services1 which describes in general terms how noise considerations can be incorporated into purchasing decisions. Together, these documents and others available through the Quiet Product Data Bank maintained by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) can help you develop a "Buy Quiet" Program for your government.

1. Issued by NIGP, May 1980.

Section 1. Description of the Product
Section 2. Noise Level Output Information
Section 3. Preparation of the Product Specification
Section 4. A Suggested Method of Award
A.List of Manufacturers
B.Buy Quiet Experience
C.Sources of Additional Information


The "Buy Quiet" Program is a new concept in which governments cooperate with each other to buy quiet models of equipment. It is being extended with the help of the National Institute of Governmental purchasing, the National League of Cities, other national organizations and various local and state agencies. This type of local noise control:

Surveys have shown that noise is the most frequently identified undesirable neighborhood condition in urban areas. Scientists and the medical profession now tell us that noise is no longer a mere irritant, but that in fact it has a very adverse impact on our health and well being. You as a purchasing officer can reduce noise in your community by purchasing quieter products. State and local governments and large private organizations spend billions of dollars each year on equipment such as compactors, chain saws, typewriters, lawnmowers, trucks, motorcycles, pneumatic drills, and buses. If these governments can become more selective so as to purchase quieter products, cities and neighborhoods will be quieter.


For the purposes of this supplement there are two broad categories of motorcycles: street motorcycles and off-road and off-road motorcycles.


"Street" motorcycles are defined as all motorcycles which are designed and marketed for on-road operation. This category includes street and highway motorcycles, on-road/off-road combination motorcycles, Enduro motorcycles intended for limited street operation, minicycles intended for street operation, and motor-driven cycles.

This street motorcycle category encompasses vehicles having the following characteristics:

  1. Approximately 50 to 100 c.c. engines, developing from 1 to 100 horsepower.
  2. Two-stroke, four-stroke, and rotary engines.
  3. One to six cylinders.
  4. Liquid, fan and air cooling systems.
  5. Two and three wheels.
  6. Light and heavy weight.
  7. Shaft and chain drive.
  8. Manual and hydraulic torque converter automatic transmission.


"Off-road" motorcycles are defined as all motorcycles which are designed and marketed for off-road recreational and off-road competition use, with the exception of motorcycles designed and marketed solely for use in closed-course competition events.

This off-road category encompasses vehicles having the following characteristics:

  1. 50 to 500 C.c. engines.
  2. Two-stroke and four-stroke engines.
  3. Single cylinder.
  4. Air cooled.
  5. Two and three wheels.
  6. Light weight.
  7. Chain drive.
  8. Manual, centrifugal clutch and continuously variable (belt) automatic transmission.


Definitions of Terms

NOISE: Any undesired sound.

SOUND LEVEL METER: An instrument, consisting of a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter, and frequency-weighted networks, that is used for the measurement of sound levels, in a specified manner.

DECIBEL:The intensity of a sound often abbreviated dB. The decibel scale was devised to measure the smallest difference in sound which is detectable by the human ear. Its graduations move up not in a simple arithmetic progression but in a multiple progression based on logarithmic calculations, This means that each increase of one decibel represents a much larger change of intensity than might be expected. Because of the logarithmic progression of the decibel scale, an increase of ten decibels, for example, reflects a ten-fold increase in sound energy, but is perceived as being approximately twice as loud. Thus a sound which is measured at 80 dB contains ten times the sound output and is perceived as being twice as loud as a sound that is measured at 70 dB.

dBA: An expression of sound level taking into account the response of the human ear to sound.

Noise level information is given in Table 1. When using it, please note:

1) the noise level range given for commercially available models of the product is for use as a guide only. It is not a definitive statement of noise measurements taken on all models currently available. Lower noise levels, for some models, are likely to be found.

2) when making comparisons among the noise levels of different products, it is very important that a single noise measurement method1 is used. If this is not adhered to, very different noise levels will result and comparisons which are made may not be meaningful. Thus, in the chart the range of noise levels is expressed using one method from the known ones that are listed, to insure consistency when comparing noise level information. Selection of that particular method in no way constitutes NIGP endorsement of that method.

3) the table implies nothing in terms of product pricing. A quieter product does not necessarily cost more; in many cases, it may be less.

Measurement Procedures

Sound level measurement procedures generally prescribe instrumentation (e.g., the type of sound level meter to be used, other devices required), a description of the test site and measurement zone, a description of equipment operation (e.g. traveling on stationary mode, rpm setting), how measurements are to be made (e.g., setting of sound level meter, height and location of microphones), and general requirements (e.g., such as who should select testing equipment and conduct the tests).

1. See discussion in Section 3.

Street Motorcycles(1) - 1) U.S. EPA Motorcycle Noise Measurement Methodology1

2) SAE J-331a2

3) CHP Variation of J-331a3

4) SAE J-986a4

5) SAE J475
50cc - 99cc 65 dBA - 82 dBA
100cc - 169cc 78 dBA - 88 dBA
170cc - 349cc 77 dBA - 97 dBA
350cc - 749cc 73 dBA - 89 dBA
750cc and over 74 dBA - 93 dBA
Off Road Motorcycles(2) -
50cc - 99cc 75 dBA - 81 dBA
100cc - 169cc 78 dBA - 100 dBA
170cc - 349cc 79 dBA - 100 dBA
350cc - 749cc 88 dBA - 95 dBA
750cc and over -

1. The U.S. EPA will soon issue maximum levels (using the EPA motorcycle noise measurement methodology) that manufacturers will be required to meet which will lower the upper limits for commercially available motorcycles of each type. The EPA motorcycle noise measurement method is slightly different than SAE 331a.

2. Most commonly used method in U.S. as of 1979;

3. Used by California highway patrol;

4. Used in Canada;

5. Slightly different than SAE J-331a


A good specification for any product will identify minimum performance and design requirements; list the reproducible test methods that may be used to determine compliance with these requirements; allow competitive bidding; permit an equitable contract award at the lowest possible evaluated price.

Therefore, a government seeking to purchase a quieter product should be sure that its specification describes a product that can be bid at a reasonable price by at least two, and preferably, three or more suppliers.

Noise Level Specification
The noise level portion of the product specification should contain the following three elements.

  1. A maximum noise level referenced to a single measurement methodology.
  2. A verification requirement, and
  3. An incentive for offering products quieter than the maximum level established.

Maximum Noise Level
The maximum level should be low enough to disqualify the noisiest models on the market but high enough to insure competition among 2 or more suppliers.

In the absence of a firmly established specification, the buyer is encouraged to contact NIGP for a recommended maximum level based on an updated Table 1.

Including Sound Level Measurement Procedures in the Specifications
A buyer must reference a reproducible sound level measurement procedure whenever it specifies a noise level requirement or any other performance requirement. For example, the noise level requirement in a specification for a quieter motorcycle might say:

NOISE LEVEL: Noise level shall not exceed - decibels (A Scale) when measured in accordance with the U.S. EPA Motorcycle Noise Methodology.

A copy of the complete specification will be available in the near future from NIGP.

Verifying Compliance With Specifications

There are at least two ways that governments can assure themselves that they have been offered or sold products which conform to specified requirements. One involves laboratory and field testing. The other involves vendor submission of "certified" test data.

In some instances, it may be necessary for the government or its agent (e.g., a commercial laboratory) to actually test items when they are submitted for evaluation or when received after purchase. In most instances, however, it is more practical for the government to ask a vendor to submit, with his bid, an approved third-party's written certification that the vendor's product conforms with a specified requirement. There are hundreds of private sector laboratories which could be approved to perform testing and certification services for manufacturers.

If a buyer must actually test the noise levels of product models offered in response to a "noise-conscious" invitation for bids, he or she should contact the Buy Quiet Program director at the NIGP national office for assistance, who may be able to arrange for essential testing through various cooperative programs.



NIGP has developed an optimal method of contract award which allows a buyer to encourage a bidder to offer a product that is even quieter than required by the specification. In effect, it tells the bidder: "For each decibel1 that your product is quieter than the loudest product bid (in conformance with the specification), we will subtract a fixed percentage of the average actual bid price from your actual bid price. The difference will be your evaluated bid price."

Evaluated bid prices, rather than actual bid prices, are compared in the selection of the contract recipient. As in Life Cycle Costing, the bidder with the lowest actual bid price may not necessarily be the bidder with the lowest "evaluated" bid price.

To insure against paying an excessive premium for increased quietness, buyers using this optimal method of contract award can state: the purchaser will not pay a contract price more than X percent in total above the average of the actual bid prices.2 This amount represents the maximum additional amount that the government is willing to pay above the average actual bid price, for each quieter product.

1. Usually (but not always) A scale. A few product methodologies may use the C scale.

2. Not to be confused with the per decibel incentive in the formula.

Formula For Determining Evaluated Bid Price

The formula for determining the Evaluated Bid Price (EBP) is:

EBP = P - Y% (PAV) (NN-N) where:

EBP = Evaluated Bid Price

P = Actual Bid Price

Y% = The percentage weight designated by the purchasing activity to "reward" the bidder for each decibel that his model is quieter than the noisier model bids.

PAV = Average (actual) bid price of all models bid in response to the IFB

NN = The noise level (in decibels) of the noisiest model bid in response to the IFB

N = The noise level (in decibels) of the model whose ESP is being determined

Sample Bid Tabulations

In order to illustrate the working of the formula, the bid tabulations for a purchase of quieter product X might look like this:


Bidder Actual Bid Price Noise Level (dBA) (EBP) Evaluated Bid Price
(A) Smith Co. $145.00 76 $145.00
(B) Robert Co. $154.00 75 $151.02
(C) Jones Co. $147.00 72 $135.08
(D) Watkins Co. $150.00 71 $135.10

Calculation of Evaluated Bid Price (EBP)

Assuming that the Purchasing Activity used a 2% "reward" factor for each decibel of increased quietness, the EBP for each bidder would be determined as follows:

(A) Smith Co.
EBP = $145. - .02 ($149) (76-76)
= $145. - $2.98 (0)
= $145.

(B) Roberts Co.
EBP = $154. - .02 ($149) (76-75)
= $154. - $2.98 (1)
= $151.02

(C) Jones Co.
EBP = $147. - .02 ($149) (76-72)
= $147. - 2.98 (4)
= $147. - $11.92 = $135.08

(D) Watkins Co.
EBP = $150. - .02 ($149)(76-71)
= $150. - $2.98 (5)
= $150. - $14.90
= $135.10

Contract Award

Based on an evaluated bid price (EBP) of $135.08, the contract should be awarded to Jones Co. (bidder "C") at its actual price of $147 per unit for furnishing quieter product X with a (maximum) noise level of 72 decibels (A Scale).


Mr. Hideo Sugiura
Managing Director
Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
6-27-8, Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku
Tokyo, 150, Japan
Mr. C.L. Hale, Assistant Director
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
100 W. Alondra Boulevard
Gardena, CA 90247
Mr. Yuhei Chijiiwa
General Manager
Asaka R&D Center
Honda R&D Co., Ltd.
2177, Hizaori Asaka-Shi
Saitama, 351, Japan
Mr. Tadao Kobayashi
Staff Engineer
Center for Environmental and Safety Activities
Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
1-4-1, Chuo, Wako-Shi
Saitama, 351, Japan
Mr. Itaru Aono, Director
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.
1-1, Kawasaki-Cho.
Mr. Roger Hagie
Kawasaki Motors Corporation, USA
2009 E. Edinger St.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Mr. Seiichi Inagawa, Director
Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd.
P.O. Box Hamamatsu-NISHI
432-91 Hamamatsu
Mr. John B. Walsh, Supervisor
Sound Level Research
Safety and Legislative Dept.
US Suzuki Motor Corp.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Mr. Takehiko Hasegawa, Director
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
2500 Shingai Iwata-Shi
P.O. Box 1 Iwata
Mr. Kenneth K. Ito, Manager
Governmental Affairs Dept.
Engineering Division
Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA
P.O. Box 6620
6600 Orangethorpe
Buena Park, CA 90620
Mr. Bernd Anderson
BMW Motorrad GmbH
Postfach 40 03 60
8000 Munchen 40
West Germany
Mr. Karl-Heinz Ziwica
Manager Safety Engineering
BMW of North America
Montvale, NJ 07645

Butler & Smith
Walnut St. & Hudson Ave.
Norwood., NJ 07648
Mr. George Riess
Nurnberger Hurecules-Werke GmbH
Nopitschasse 70
Postfach 1805
8500 Nurnberg
West Germany
Sachs Motor Corp. of USA
909 Crocker Road
Westlake, OH 44145
Ingenieur Hanns Hilber
Kreidler Werke GmbH
West Germany
Kreidler Import Corp.
2132 Cathedral Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Mr. A. Morawetz
Chief Engineer
Kronreif & Trunkenpolz
5230 Mattighofen
KTM Imports, USA
9825 Mason Avenue
Chatsworth, CA 91311

Mr. Don Rosine, Manager
KTM America, Inc.
1906 Broadway
Lorain, OH 44052 `
(Maico) Maico Motorcycles, Inc.
109 Electric Avenue
Lewistown, PA 17044
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. tech.
Peter E. Resele
Chief Engineer, R&D
Moped/Motorcycle Division
Werke Graz
A-8011 Graz
Steyr-Daimler-puch of America Corporation
Greenwich Office Park
Box 7777
Greenwich, CT 06830

Mr. Leonard A. Fink
Suite 880
1700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20006
Dipl.-Ing. Karl-Heinz Menzl
Leiter der Technichen Entwicklung
Zundapp-Werke GmbH
Anzinger Str. 1-3
8000 Munchen 8
West Germany
Mr. J. Chalamanch
P.O. Box 31
San Andrian de Besos
Barcelona, Spain
Mr. John Grace
Bultaco International, Ltd.
5447 Greenwich Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Mr. J. Canellas Monset
Executive Director
Montesa Motorcycles
Av. Virgen de la Paloma, 21
Esplugues de Llobregat
Barcelona, Spain
Viva Distributing Co.
10625 Vanowen
Burbank, CA 91505
Mr. Eduardo Giro Barella
General Manager
Maquinara Cinematografica SA
Poligona Industrial - Zona Franca
Calle B - Sector B
Barcelona - 4, Spain
OSSA Sales Corporation
2910 Cambell Avenue
Schenectady, NY 12301
Ing. Benso Marelli
G.I. Agrati-Garelli S.p.A.
22 068 Monticello Brianza (Co)
American Garelli
1211 Cadsden St.
Columbia, SC 29201
Mr. Guido Ranalli
F'illi Benelli, S.p.A.
Viale Mamili, 22
Pesaro, Italy

Ing. Enrico Santoro
Ducati Meccanica S.p.A.
Via A.C. Ducati, 3-40100
Bologna (Borgo Panigale)
Mr. Lawrence Wise
Cosmopolitan Motors, Inc.
Jacksonville and Meadowbrook Rd.
Hatboro, PA 19040
Mr. Giovanni Floci
Fantic Motor S.p.A.
Via Statale, 1-22061
Barzago (Co.)
Dr. Ing. A. Columbo
Via Pitteri 81
20100 Milano, Italy
(Italjet) Italjet USA
7471 Greenbush Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91605
(Lambretta) International Sportcycles, Inc.
4000 Kennedy Boulevard
Union CIty, NJ 07087
(Laverda) Yankee Corporation
P.O. Box 36
Schenectady, NY 12301
M.d.L. Umberto Todero
Capo Servizio Disegno Prodotti
SEIMM - Moto Guzzi
Via E.V. Parodi 57, 22054
Mandello Lario (Como)
Mr. Michael Berliner
Berliner Motor Corp.
Railroad St. and Plant Rd.
Hasbrouk Heights, NJ 07604
2910 Cambell Avenue
Mr. Paolo Zaghi
Moto Morini
Via A. Bergami, 7-40133
Bologna, Italy
Mr. Herman Baver
Herdan Corp.
Route 61
Port Clinton, PA 19549
Mr. Tiziano Matteini
Motori Minarelli
Via S. Vitalino, 19-40012
Calderara di Reno (Bologna)
Ing. Giuseppe Bocchi
M.V. Agusta S.p.A.
Viale Adriatico, 50-21010
Verghera (Varese)
Garyville Corporation
200 Clearbrook Road
Elmsford, NY 10523
Ing. Roberto Castelli
Off. Mecc. Lafranconi S.p.A.
via C. Baltisti, 19-22054
Mandello Lario (Como)
Ing. Giovanni Batoni
Piagglo & C.S.p.A.
56025 Pontedera (Pisa)
Mr. Bruno Poratti
Vespa of American Corp.
322 E. Grand Avenue
So. San Francisco, CA 94080
Mr. W.B. Colqhoun
Managing Director
NVT Motorcycles, Ltd.
Lynn Lane, Shenstone
Lichfield, West Midlands WS14 OEA
Mr. Roger Strange
NVT America, Inc.
1261 S. State College Pkwy.
Anaheim, CA 92806
Reliant Motor Company, Ltd.
Tamworth Staffordshire B77 1HN
(Rickman) Target Products
(see exhaust system manufacturers)
(Triumph Motorcycles) Ms. Brenda Price
Triumph Motorcycles America, Inc.
P.O. Box 1060
Placentia, CA 92670
Mr. Rubin Helmin
Mr. Tommy Malm
Engine Product Division
Husqvarna A B
Huskvarna, Sweden S-56101
Mr. Nils-Arne Nilsson
Husqvarna Motorcycle Co., Inc.
4935 Mercury Street
San Diego, CA 92111
Mr. David Price
Mr. Robert Fisher
Bombardier, Ltd./Can-Am
Valcourt, Quebec
Mr. Warren Daoust
Bombardier Corporation
Can-Am Division
4505 W. Superior
Duluth, MN 55806
(CCM) CCM Imports America, Inc.
4452 West Idyl Dell Road
McHenry, IL 60050
(MZ) East Europe Import/Export
440 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016
(JAWA/CZ) American Jawa, Ltd.
185 Express Street
Plainview, Long Island, NY 11803
(PANTHER) Kowasho International, Inc.
1543 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(Gemini) Fun Center Distributors
Route 2, Box 68 BD
Ozark, MO 65721
(Carabela) Carabela Motorcycle Corp.
781 Factory Road
Xenia, OH 45385
(Tomos) United Trade Representatives
1459 West Evans
Florence, SC 29503
(Velosolex) Mr. Sid Schwartz
Velosolex America, Inc.
86 Orchard Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Mr. W. Thomas York
AMF Incorporated
World Headquarters
777 Westchester Ave.
White Plains, NY 10604
Mr. Roger Bascom
Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc.
3700 West Juneau Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Mr. Laimonis T. Embrekts
Director, Environmental Control and Energy Resource Planning
AMF, Incorporated
777 Westchester Avenue
White Plains, NY 10640
Mr. Mark Hamilton
Rokon, Inc.
160 Emerald Street
Keene, NH 03431
Mr. Don Jones
Apache Ltd.
20872 Currier Road
Walnut, CA 91789
Arco E-Z Rider
123 South Newman Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Mr. Jim Hoverson
Chapparal Motorcycles
Imex, Inc.
P.O. Box 645
Highway 210 East
Brainerd, MN 56401
The Charger
Auranthetic Corp.
828 No. Lake Street
Burbank, CA 91502
Mr. Fred Rolloff
Cheetah Motorcycles
Rec. Technology Inc.
1000 South Fifth
Milwaukee, WI 53204
Commuter Ind.
P.O. Box 309
Cascade, IA 52033
Dragon Fly Motorcycles
P.O. Box 131
Sterling, VA 22170
Eagle Motorcycles
Galaxy Wholesale
12811 Main Street
Garden Grove, CA 92640
Explorer International
Owosso, MI 48867
Flandiria Motorcycles
Pan Commercial
108 Grove Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Mr. Scott W. Grafft
Fox Corporation
1111 West Racine St.
Janesville, WI 54545
Mr. Ken Fox
Gem Products
496 E. St. Charles Rd.
Carol Stream, IL 60187
Mr. Karl Heald
Heald, Incorporated
Box 1148
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Holder Motorcycles
Westam Corporation
P.O. Box 15971
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
HPE Muskin
225 Acacia Street
Colton, CA 92324
Husky Dunecycle Corp.
266 Pacific Park Drive
Whittier, CA 90601
Toyoda America, Inc.
13924 Bettencourt St.
Cerritos, CA 90701
Mr. L.H. Shuck
Lorenco International
Box 1055
Danville, IL 61832
Motion Development Inc.
101 S. Main Street
Almont, MI 48003
Nero Equipment, Inc.
1370 County Road 8
Box C-51
Canadaigua, NY 14424
MTD Products
5389 W. 130th St.
Cleveland, OH 44111
Number One Motorcycles
Track & Trail Motors
3845 Ste, Catherine St.
Montreal, Quebec
Otis Elevator Company
Material Handling Division
8000 Baker Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
Mr. R.H. Lincoln
Outboard Marine Corp.
P.O. Box 663
Milwaukee, WI 53201
P.O. Box 327
Athena, OR 97813
Pacesetter Enterprise
Highway 151
Cascade, IA 52033
Power Dyne Vehicles Inc.
100 Jenckes Hill Road
Lincoln, RI 02865
Promark Products of Ohio, Inc.
P.O. Box 738
15 Franklin Street
Norwalk, OH 44857
Simplex Manufacturing
4000 Toulouse Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
Stihl Oil Inc./Malaguti
Sayner, WI 54560
Suitcase Cycle
3013 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405
2114 West Ball Street
Anaheim, CA 92804
Tri Rod Motorcycles
BGW Industries, Inc.
150 Distl Avenue
Mansfield, OH 44903
Mr. M.R. Bader
Westcoaster Co.
Box 8600
Stockton, CA 95204
Mr. Mark Enochs
Xenoah Company
24144 Sumac Drive
Golden, CO 80401


Governments Known to Have Had Buy Quiet Experiences With Motorcycles

The Buy Quiet concept is new and the program is just starting. It should not be surprising, therefore, that the NIGP Data Bank, as yet, has no experience to report for these products. When experiences become known to us, the governments will be listed in this section.


Sources of Additional Information

Buy Quiet Program
National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc.
1001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 922
Washington, DC 20036

For additional information on technical and programmatic matters relating to product noise, you may wish to contact your local or state noise control official.