Do Motorcycles Have Catalytic Converters?

It’s the 21st Century, and the environment is taking a huge hit due to air pollution. Experts say that the major cause of concern is the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide produced by transport vehicles such as ships, airplanes, and road vehicles.

To counter the harmful effects of pollution, scientists and engineers have been working on several new ideas. One such idea is the catalytic converter. This small component neutralizes the lethal gases produced by engines and converts them to environment-friendly gases.

Although motorcycles are owned by a small number of people, they are still a large part of the pollution equation. According to research by the California Air Resources Board, a motorbike is ten times more harmful to the environment than any SUV, truck, or sedan.

They consume less fuel but produce more lethal gases. Therefore, just like cars, motorbikes also have catalytic converters.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter is a small yet effective emissions control component that reduces the effect of harmful gases and makes the engine output more acceptable for the environment. In other words, a catalytic converter works as a filter.

It is a necessary device that must be in every vehicle whether it is a car or a motorcycle. Without it, global carbon production will skyrocket, and the environment will suffer.

You might ask: Are catalytic converters really necessary for motorbikes? Let’s answer that and a few more questions you might have.

Are catalytic converters required on motorcycles?   

Yes, absolutely! Anything that has an engine, produces carbon waste and motorbikes are no different. Therefore, a bike must have a catalytic converter installed.

Moreover, as we have discussed above, two-wheelers are responsible for making more emissions compared to larger vehicles. Therefore, there is a bigger requirement for motorcycles to have catalytic converters.

When Did Motorcycles Get Catalytic Converters?

The crackdowns against motorbikes are not new. The relevant authorities have been working to control motorcycle emissions for a long time, but the law formally started taking effect in 2008.

Back then, only 20% of motorbikes had catalytic converters, but the number has steadily risen, and now almost all the bikes in the market have one.

In the United States, you cannot ride a motorcycle without a cat converter or without passing the emission safety test. In Europe, the rule is a bit stricter, especially after the introduction of Euro 4 emission standards.

How much is a motorcycle catalytic converter worth?

An average motorcycle catalytic converter costs around $100. The price can increase or decrease depending on the quality and materials used. However, you can find a good deal if you are searching at a scrapyard. Used cat-converters are easy to find, and they do not cost a fortune.

Sometimes, you can even get a catalytic converter for around $50 or less. However, the price you get can vary depending on the cost of raw materials like Rhodium, Platinum, and Palladium that are found inside.

What does a catalytic converter do on a motorcycle?

The catalytic converter is not found in the same place as it is in cars. In motorcycles, the cat-converter is installed near the headers. You won’t find it in the same place as cars since the beauty of the exhaust is a big selling point in the bike industry.

It works by restricting the number of toxic gases from reaching the atmosphere. The cat-converter uses redox reactions to mitigate the number of harmful gases. A reduction catalyst, which is made of Rhodium and Platinum, is used.

It helps by lessen nitrogen oxides from the gases. The catalyst does that by removing nitrogen atoms from nitrogen oxide molecules. As a result, pure oxygen is formed and released.

On the other hand, another process is working. The other catalyst adds more oxygen to the carbon monoxide molecules turning them into carbon dioxide. We know that carbon dioxide is much less harmful than carbon monoxide, so you are getting the better of the two.

Are they effective?

Catalytic converters are extremely effective in reducing the harmful effects on the environment. A simple two-way cat-converter can cut the emissions in half, and if you opt for a three-way catalytic converter, the number drops even further.


We have established that catalytic converters are a necessity, and they are useful as well. However, as a bike rider, you might feel a bit agitated at these facts. After all, you want to ride unrestricted, and a cat converter hampers your bike’s performance.

If you don’t have one installed, you will be harming the environment, but you will get more power out of your engine. That is a trade-off you have to make. Would you like to have fun or protect the environment? The choice is yours!

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