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The manufacturers are in a bind. Increasingly strict noise standards forces the exhaust system to have more muffler volume to squelch the sound. So many street bike mufflers today are pretty UGLY (like the Kawasaki Z1000 !). Shoving more of the muffler underneath the engine makes the visible part more acceptable (like this year's Honda CB1000F, I think that looks decent for what they had to do).

As far as sound goes.. I personally don't like the sound of single cylinder motors (!). I'd prefer to keep mine as quiet as it came from the factory. Those motards running around with pipes just don't sound nice to me...
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