Since I got my licence in 2005 I've had two Suzuki DL650 V-Stroms (V-Twin), a Honda Pan European (1300cc V4 Tourer), a Yamaha XJR1300 (air-cooled straight four) and a Suzuki Bandit 650 (water-cooled straight four).
Not one of these in my view made any remotely objectionable noise; the XJR did when I first bought it because it had a legal aftermarket can on, but I soon refitted the factory one.
All of those bikes had a catalytic converter from new and all of have been fun to ride and much quicker than most cars on the road. Travel around on normal roads (i.e. not summer Sunday hotspots) and that kind of bike is predominant. I don't run a car, my motorbike is how I get about when cycling isn't a practical option.
One of the best-selling bikes of late has been the Honda NC700 (now 750) range; half a Honda Jazz engine, built for reliability and economy.
There really is no need for bikes to be noisy, and ironically on a fast bike you leave most of the noise behind you anyway!
Something I honestly don't understand is how cyclists going about their legal business are treated as scum, yet motorcyclists (of which I am one) seem to avoid the same kind of treatment apart from in a handful of locations such as Brent (http://www.visordown.com/motorcycle-news--general-news/brent-councils-motorcycle-ban-not-working/23563.html
). What's happened here is that illegal riding (stunts, racing etc) and noise at night has led to ALL motorcycles being banned from the road, even though a motorcycle is a legitimate mode of transport and ridden sensibly not particularly dangerous. An example of how a minority group can suffer discrimination through the actions of a small subset of individuals. Sound familiar?