Saigon bikers make their exhausts louder, rev up noise concerns

By Cong Nguyen-Doc Lap, Thanh Nien News

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One of the exhaust pipes that can make some motorbikes annoyingly noisy in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre One of the exhaust pipes that can make some motorbikes annoyingly noisy in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Frightened road users slowed down and stopped by the sidewalk as the motorbike behind them was making deafening sounds one afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City.
The young biker revved up the vehicle with loud exhaust, apparently to attract even more attention. 
One 54-year-old man panicked and crashed into another motorbike.
“It sounded like a bomb exploding. He would kill someone driving like that,” the man said, lifting his motorbike up. 
A number of young motorbike riders in Ho Chi Minh City have become public enemy after modifying their exhaust pipes or installing giant ones for noise amplification.
“You just need to install a fine pipe, twist the handle hard and it will roar. People will just move away and don’t need to honk. No matter how crowded the street can be, people will just stay away and give you all the space,” owner of a 1,000cc motorbike said while selecting a new pipe at a shop in the city.
People like him have all the supplies they need in the city.
A shop on Ung Van Khiem Street, said to be the most popular exhaust pipe shop in the city, sells many import products and also advertises them on the owner’s Facebook page.
Thanh Nien reporters visited another shop in an alley in Phu Nhuan District, where the owner said customers would have to pay VND2 million (US$92) for pipe modification and more for an import pipe.
Another shop offered a pipe which sounds like a machine gun. 
'Roosters"
One retailer said he imports expensive pipes from Malaysia for between VND3-7 million apiece for heavy bikes.
No matter how crowded the street can be, people will just stay away and give you all the space" - a Saigon motorist says of his powerful noisy pipe.
But he also has hand-made Vietnamese pipes of only VND200,000 for the popular, low-cost Dream or Wave scooters, whose drivers want to catch up with the trend.
According to the pipe shops, 90 percent of big-capacity motorbikes on the street have gone through their service.
“It’s like roosters competing with each other's crow,” a driver said anonymously.
Member of a Z1 Club, which includes owners of 1,000-cc Kawasaki Z1 bikes, said all members have to modify their pipes.
He said he spent VND12.5 million buying the import pipe and another VND12.5 million modifying the whole exhaust system.
“Now it sounds like Formula One.”
But what makes those motorists proud is the frustration of their community.
Le Anh Tai, a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver in Binh Thanh District, said he has seen those noisy bikes scaring people and he was very angry.
He recently saw a woman falling and suffering heavy injuries after six such bikes "scared the hell out of her."
“I would arrest all drivers of noisy bikes if I were a traffic cop.”
But traffic police said the heaviest punishment for a noisy exhaust pipe is only VND200,000.

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