I believe agency adoption of the SAE J1287 20-inch sound test @ 96dBA for OHVs is the single most important factor in the land-use equation as it relates to sustainable motorized recreation on public lands.

As a member of the 2002 California State Park OHV Sound Working Group, I commend that diverse interest group (which included representatives from the OHV Industry, motorized organizations, environmental groups, land agencies, and the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division) that came together to address the number one user complaint which, at the time, was excessively loud OHVs.

That collaborative effort laid the foundation for eventual enactment of the 2003 California Sound Law which adopted the SAE J1287 20-inch sound test @ 96dBA for OHVs.

While working the sound/spark arrestor tech station at the 2016 Fools Gold Enduro, I discussed the progress made over the last 13 years on the “sound issue” with AMA District 36’s sound guru, Ed Santin.

Both of us agreed the OHV community has largely embraced a “quiet ethic” when operating a motorized vehicle on State Park, Forest Service, and BLM lands in California.  This has resulted in the “loud OHV” complaint being reduced to a non-issue in California and other states that have adopted a reasonable sound law.

Our collective success can be attributed to the following factors; OEMs producing high quality sound compliant exhaust systems, outreach by land management agencies, peer pressure, law enforcement, OHV sound education/tech at events, training of certified personnel, and availability of sound compliant aftermarket mufflers.

In closing, I must give credit to Chris Real who is the go-to-guy when it comes to OHV sound technology and who also certifies both civilian and agency personnel to administer the SAE J1287 Sound Test.

I also want to thank the dedicated trail advocates, FS, BLM, and State Park staff that I have had the privilege to work with over the last 18 years on sound compliance issues and application of the SAE J1287 Sound Test.


Lastly, I want to thank all my sponsors and supporters who have helped me develop my skill-set in the field of OHV sound.  I think the OHV community has a lot to be proud of.  The work we have done to address what once was the number one complaint against OHV is a major factor in helping create a positive future for motorized recreation in the 21st Century.

Don Amador is President of Quiet Warrior Racing/Consulting.  Don is also a contractor to the BlueRibbon Coalition and serves as their Western Representative.  Don writes from his office in Oakley, CA.  Don may be reached via email at: damador@cwo.com

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