Car tuner fined for pop-and-bang tuning maps - is this bad news for bikers?

It’s a move that could have big ramifications across the two and four-wheel automotive industry

Kawasaki exhaust

In recent years a trend in the car scene has emerged in which owners of cars would intentionally tune their engines and exhausts to achieve a rally car-style pop and bag noise on the overrun.

The practice has become so commonplace, in fact, that a whole industry has evolved, solely around the act of making hot hatches and other performance cars louder. One such tuner is AET Motorsport, based in Wakefield, which has just been fined a reported £7,234 for performing such a tune on a (wait for it) Ford Fiesta. At least it was the ST model. 

The tuner is reported to have fitted the device with a straight-through exhaust and an ECU re-map that allowed fuel to continue to flow even on a closed throttle. The result is that unburnt fuel makes its way through the engine, igniting once it hits the hot exhaust and creating the signature popping and banging effect.

A statement from the DVSA described it as “the first case of its kind”, and confirmed that AET was convicted for “fitting an unsuitable vehicle part to a vehicle which would make it illegal to be used on the road”. It highlighted that the alterations made to the car were done solely for the purpose of increasing the noise level of the vehicle.

While this is the first case of its kind in the UK, and relating to cars, not bikes, the same situation could easily arise in the two-wheeled world, and as the ‘Loud Pipes Save Lives’ era seems a long time ago, the authorities could now begin clamping down on what are perceived to be noisy motorcycles too. With a recent survey in the UK finding that more than half of UK motorists think noise cameras are a good idea, we'd expect to see bikers, and bike tuning companies coming under the spotlight in the coming months and years.

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