Do Motorcycles Have Catalytic Converters? (Answer)

Do Motorcycles Have Catalytic Converters

Calalysers are such a fantastic invention to reduce environmental impact. Yet do motorcycles have catalytic converters of their own?

Do motorcycles even need catalytic converters?

Motorbikes use less fuel than cars. So motorcycle engines shouldn’t cause much pollution.


Do Motorcycles Have Catalytic Converters

Yes, the vast majority of motorcycles do have catalyzers, but not all of them. Due to environmental legislation, motorcycles built after the late 2000s are now required to have catalytic converters. Yet, a lot of bikes built before catalyzers became mandatory are still in circulation.

That is the case for instance of my 2005 Yamaha Vstar.

Nothing filters the emissions that come out of this bike engine.

But let take a look at a more modern motorcycle that does have a catalyzer.

Where Is The Catalytic Converter Located On A Motorcycle

On most motorcycles, the catalytic converter is part of the exhaust muffler housing. Other bikes will have their catalyzer mounted somewhere along the exhaust line, similar to cars.

If the catalyzer is part of the muffler, it will be at the entrance of the housing.

Do Motorcycles Have Catalytic Converters

In the case of dual tail-pipes, the same principle applies. In that case, the motorcycle might have a catalyzer per exhaust line.

What Does A Motorcycle Catalytic Converter Do?

A catalytic converter is an emission regulator device. A catalyzer decreases pollutants and toxic gases generated from a combustion engine. In short, a bike catalyzer’s purpose is to reduce the negative environmental impacts of the motorcycle.

As your bike engine burns fuel, it will expulse the remaining gases into the exhaust system.

Your catalyzer will then capture these toxic fumes and ‘’cook them’’.

The air temperature inside the CAT becomes so hot that it cleanses the air into something less horrendous for our atmosphere.

A catalytic converter, or ‘’CAT’’ for short, is like a purifying oven for your nasty exhausts. 

These days, pretty much anything on wheels with a gasoline or diesel engine will have a catalytic converter.

It is a good thing too.

A study took the air quality around a big city today and compared it to a sample before catalyzers became mandatory on cars in the 70s.

Here is what the study concluded;

Without catalytic converters, our atmosphere would be degraded by an extra 70% of the ‘’damage’’ car already made.

Motorcycle smog

Talk about the beginning of an apocalyptic wasteland…Thank you so far, catalyzers.

With all the vehicles on earth right now, there is no way our planet would sustain life in the long run without CAT.

Do Motorcycles Need Catalytic Converters

New motorcycles must have catalytic converters due to emission regulations adopted in the late 2000s.

But are catalyzers necessary on motorcycles that don’t use much fuel compared to cars?

Yes, as much as cars do, if not more.

I remember a particular episode of the show Mythbuster.

It was episode 171 called ‘’Bikes and Bazookas’’ that aired in 2011.

The Mythbuster team got together with a bunch of scientists. Their goal was to test motorcycle emissions vs cars emissions.

If you only want the test results, go to the 12minutes mark.

Damm, I miss that show XD.

Anyways, the study concluded that motorcycles generate less volume of Co2 emission…

But for all the rest of the awful gases, bikes are ridiculously more polluting than a car!

Mind you, MythBuster data is on bikes that did not yet have catalytic converters.

Their result confirms that, yes, motorcycles should have and need catalyzers.

Without this emission device, motorbikes are awful for mother nature and us!

When Were Motorcycles Required To Have Catalytic Converters?

From 2005 to 2008, many emission regulations were implemented worldwide. This forced motorcycle manufacturers to meet stricter emissions standards. New motorcycles are now required to have catalytic converters installed.

In 1975 the car industry had similar regulations implemented for mandatory catalyzers.

How Much Are Motorcycle Catalytic Converters Worth?

Thieves desire Catalytic Converters for the precious metals that they contain. But catalyzers in motorcycles are worth far less. The same devices are much smaller than in a car and include less valuable resources. Usually, scrap yards won’t offer more than 15 to 50$ for a bike catalyzer.

Catalyzer robbers usually don’t find catalytic converters from motorcycles to be worth the trouble.

Does that mean that no bikes ever get their catalyzers stolen?

It sadly still happens.

If you got a garage, don’t leave your motorcycle outside to prevent that kind of thing.

Otherwise, a motorcycle cover is one of the best deterrents against thieves.

Motorcycle cover

Not knowing what model of bike is under the fabric will make most criminals choose an easier target.

It is far from perfect, but most thieves don’t want to take the risk of looking suspicious by peeking under the cover.

It would indeed be very Sus 🙂

If you would like a cover for your bike, you should check out this one.

Motorcycle Catalytic Converter Removal Pros and Cons

Removing the catalyzer on a motorcycle might improve the performance of the bike and alter the exhaust sound. Yet, tampering with a motorcycle exhaust system is prohibited in many parts of the world.

I mention that modern motorcycles should have catalyzers… that doesn’t mean it is still there.

Many bike owners remove them for two reasons.

  • Improving the motorcycle performances
  • Making the bike louder and sound better

Now it begs the question; is it even worth it to remove your motorcycle catalyzer?

  • You could get in trouble with law enforcement if you modify your exhaust
  • The power increases will most likely be minimal if not worse than the stock setup.

In logical thinking, a catalyzer is a bottleneck in your exhaust system. This extra part limits the amount of airflow to burn fuel efficiently.

So removing that part means more air and then more power!

Wrong! …most of the time.

Removing your Catalytic Converter for more Powoaaa!

The onboard computer that controls a motorcycle’s engine is tuned to work with a catalyzer in the engine system.

Removing your catalyzer will leave your bike out of tune, and your computer, aka ‘’ECU,’’ won’t know how to cope efficiently.

It could even reduce the power output instead of an increase in horsepower.

True, you might get lucky and get a power improvement.

But the proper way to mess around with that kind of thing is more complicated than that.

If you remove your catalytic converter, you only increase the exiting airflow.

To balance this out, you will have to augment the entering airflow.

Enter high flow air filters to let in more air to mix into your engine to burn more fuel.

Yet your ECU is still going to be out of tune. So you will need to install an ECU power commander and ask a shop for bike tuning.

Also, removing your catalyzer might not increase the backflow as you expected. A better bet is to install a high-flow exhaust system from the get-go.

Law Enforcement Issues for Removing Your Catalytic Converter

Here is the zero fun part of removing your catalytic converter; dealing with dha police!

Motorcycle Police

Removing any significant component of your motorcycle exhaust systems, such as the catalyzer, will make your bike louder… and illegal in many places.

Where I live in Quebec, Canada, police officers love to give trouble to a motorcycle rider with a loud bike.

In the eye of the law, you should not temper with your motorcycle’s stock exhaust in any way.

Not going to lie; I used to be a ‘’loud motorcycle pirate’’.

But I got my fill of ”loud” fun, and I got back to stock set-up before I got busted. 🙂

I also respect that silence is a blessing, especially these days for many people, including myself.

Also, I would like future generations to have a breathable atmosphere, so please leave your catalyzer as it is.

In Conclusion, Do Motorcycles Have Catalytic Converters?

Is there a catalyzer in motorcycles?

Yes, there is a catalytic converter in most motorcycles these days.

Are motorcycle catalyzers necessary?

For how douchebags bike’s raw emissions are to the environment; yes, catalyzer in motorcycles are a blessing.

Should you remove or tamper with your motorcycle catalyzer?

Unless you are building a track or race motorcycle project, leave your CAT alone.

Catalyzers are doing an excellent job for our planet’s health. Until all vehicles are electric, we need such devices in motorcycles.

Imagine talking about it to a person from the future…’’ Catalyzer? was is that a sort of insect? Are they extinct?’’ XD

Take care. Ride safe.