“We decided then and there that we would make an EPA/CARB-approved muffler. It’s not easy to come up with something that really makes the limits. Once we had something we thought would work, we bought a brand new bike and started testing with CARB, with an 80dBA product. We came up with a system that meets the limits, sounds like a motorcycle (not a washing machine) and we made 11 percent more torque and horsepower."
Then comes SB435.
"As with the earlier EPA rules, you had people who just wanted to whitewash the problem," Manning told me. "I again met with CARB to get a clearer understanding of the rules. Initially, it was an emissions rule; the sound issue was slipped in later. They also wanted to make the rule retroactive. We explained to them that you cannot buy a stock muffler for many older bikes, [and] we were able to convince them to make the rule effective Jan. 1, 2013.”
"It's nice to sound like a motorcycle, but it doesn't have to be an overwhelming presence."
-- Denis Manning
Manning went on to explain that when you’re dealing with California Air Resources Board, you have to be aware that its staff bounces from project to project -- they might be focusing on marine one month and heavy haulers the next. “They don’t know the whole depth of their ruling," Manning said. "They wanted to make all mufflers correspond to a certain level, and they don’t understand how a non-compliant muffler built in, say, Portland is sold to a guy in Milwaukee who sells it to another guy in Berkeley who installs it on his bike.”
EPA and CARB "made a rule. I built a product that works and performs and makes emission and sound levels. We’ve had it tested on consumer bikes, from the guys with lots of tattoos to guys who’d wear a three-piece set of leathers if they could, and everyone has been happy with sound and performance, plus they don’t burn holes in the pipe and blue the chrome,” Manning said.
“It's nice to sound like a motorcycle, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming presence. Unfortunately, you can’t legislate common sense; it’s all up to the rider and his right hand,” he added.
“Everyone lost their breath when we were told we had to wear seatbelts," he continued. "You seldom hear anyone complain about that, anymore. The pipe issue will eventually be resolved."
According to our notes, three companies currently have SB435-compliant pipes available: BUB with 24 SKUs, Cycle Shack, and Vance and Hines.
“This will separate the men from the boys in the aftermarket business, because you all have to go through certification, and it’s not easy and it’s not cheap,” Manning said.