Extremely loud pipes are annoying, such as many Crotch Rockets as well, and Harleys take the brunt of the rap even though many bikes of different makes are loud. But, weed trimmers are loud, a lot of cars are loud, plain old traffic noise is loud, garbage trucks are loud, trains are loud. And on the tidbit or trains when passing through town they blast the horn. And why do the blast the very loud horns? To get the attention of drivers so they will see the train and save lives. Get the picture.
I've heard and read arguments that having your lights on will make it easier for us to be seen on our bikes, reflectors make you more visible. Okay sure, from on coming traffic ONLY and cars still pull out in front of us on a dailey basis. Now how about the quiet bike coming along or in traffic beside a car and the driver does not look well before changing lanes or pulling out. How well did that headlite and reflectors get the drivers attention? The driver didn't see us because the headlite was not glaring down on them from in front coming towards them. Use your horn many say. Most motorcycle horns are no more than a little blep in loud city or interstate traffic and even less effective when the car driver is on the phone, yelling at kids in the back seat or simply having the music up so loud they can't even hear themselves think.
Why do all these people complain about loud pipes as they zero in on you while you are on the road with them? They get home and say "Some asshole was beside me in traffic with loud pipes, so annoying. So I gave him the stare down." Or, "Damn, on the way to work this morning I was so tired and this idiot on a motorcycle with loud pipes comes along, it was all I could do to hear the conversation on my cell phone. The ass thinks he's a big tough guy with his Harley and loud pipes. Then there was another on a crotch rocket just as I was beginning to turn into the parking lot"
Or "now that warmer weather is here all those annoyingly loud motorcycles will be out on the raod yet again. Have you seen these guys with their loud bikes?"
Get the point I'm making here? All these people complaining about loud pipes had your attention didn't they. They saw you and they heard you. Never once did they say the headlite or reflectors caught their eyes and especially not if you are beside them in the next lane. Moderatly loud pipes are better than super loud but hell, your riding along or past these people and won't be there for long. And if the person in the car is hard of hearing anyway, then the loud pipes got there attention and they saw you.
Do loud pipes save lives? Let those dead guys on the quiet motorcycles be the judge of that.