Motorcycle Backfiring? 3 Reasons Why This Is Happening


Ever hear a loud pop from your motorcycle or other bikes from time to time? You may think this is normal, but it is actually quite dangerous. What you are hearing is your bike backfiring on you. What is backfiring, you may ask? A backfire is a loud popping sound caused by uncombusted fuel in the exhaust pipe. This is dangerous because not only can this sound damage your ears, it can possibly start a fire, as some backfires emit flames from the exhaust pipes. This article will go over what causes your bike to backfire to help you identify why it may be happening to your bike.


Too Much Fuel: There needs to be a certain amount of air and fuel in the combustion process to take place successfully. If there is too much air or fuel, the combustion will be weak and has the ability to damage your engine. If there is too much fuel in the cylinder after the sparkplug ignites, then not all fuel will burn, and excess will be pushed out into the exhaust valve. The fuel will come into contact with atmospheric air and be surrounded by the exhaust. This results in combustion and creates a loud pop or bang sound. This happens as a result of a dirty carburetor. The best way to deal with this is to clean your carburetor to prevent further popping sounds.  


Too Little Fuel: The opposite of having too much fuel can still result in the same problem. This can be the result of individuals replacing their stock-airbox with cheaper air filters. Too little fuel in the cylinder and an excess amount of air can cause your bike to backfire. The combustion can be suppressed if too much air is present. Again, this issue can be fixed by making sure your carburetor jets are clean.


Short Exhaust Pipes: Some states have laws in place for exhaust pipes that are too long to prevent loud popping sounds. However, pipes that are 12 inches or shorter have a tendency to backfire on the rider. Short exhaust pipes usually don't have a built-in baffle. A baffle is a section in the exhaust that acts similarly to a muffler on a car. It converts the turbulent flow of the exhaust into a more laminar and quiet flow. A common way to fix this issue is to simply replace your exhaust pipes with pipes that are longer than 12 inches. 


A backfire doesn't affect your gas mileage, but it is definitely a sign that your bike is not converting fuel properly. The backfire is a symptom of the issue and it does not cause loss of gas mileage itself. The gas seeping into the exhaust pipe and creating the popping sound is what causes the loss of gas mileage. For more resources and articles, CLICK HERE.

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Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.