The Art of Custom Motorcycle Exhaust Installation


Shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a place to buy a set of custom exhaust pipes for my motorcycle. That’s what I thought until I saw all the alternatives. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual bike owner; after all, isn’t that the whole point of riding a bike? The independence to choose your path and express your unique personality. It’s not just because of “Loud Pipes Save Lives” that you cruise with your windows down with your music blaring. This item demands attention and demands it loudly. Here, I am independent and at liberty to pursue my interests. When upgrading from the factory system, you have many options for the exhaust itself. Baffled or unbaffled, straight drag pipes, Y pipes, and 2 into-1 system. There

appear to be hundreds of brands available and many more producers than I realized. Dual-function tailpipes that pay homage to the look of vintage Street-Rods. Your engine will have that traditional “I mean business” look with the 2″ head pipes, which are contoured from 16 gauge steel and wrapped around it.

The intent behind the design of these pipes was to convey a strong message. This gorgeous exhaust will improve the look and sound of any custom chopper. They look and perform just like they do in the name: sleek and sophisticated with straight drag pipes and top-tier performance. They provide a deep, rumbling noise that will wake the sleeping next-door neighbors. Torque cones are essential for optimal performance when using straight pipes. The increased exhaust gas velocity provided by torque cones results in more power. Exhaust backpressure is another issue torque cones assist in solving. Easy setup doesn’t call for any significant adjustments on your part. Perfect for systems without baffles that rely on back pressure to function correctly.

Exhaust wrap is a popular choice for some. Wrapping your exhaust system in exhaust wrap will enhance your horsepower and decrease the heat radiating onto your legs. Keeping the exhaust system wrapped keeps the gases within it hotter for longer, reduces their density so they can escape the system more quickly, and ultimately results in more power.

Putting in new pipes should be easy, right? It only requires unscrewing a few bolts and reinstalling. Installing a new exhaust pipe on a motorcycle is not difficult, but there are a few things you should be aware of first.

To switch out pipes, you need to use standard hand tools. Most of the work can be accomplished with standard combination wrenches and an accompanying socket set (in either metric or standard sizes). You could also benefit from having an Allen wrench or two on hand. Check the original equipment manufacturer’s exhaust first. Do you need to remove anything significant or just the exhaust system? Most likely not, but on cruisers that use liquid cooling, the radiator may need to be removed or loosened to reach the head pipe for the front cylinder. Examine the exhaust system to see if it needs to be taken apart or if it can be removed in one piece. Verify that the tool heads are compatible with the fastening sizes. Having your 13mm socket round off a 12mm bolt head is annoying. Checking for things like the 8mm Allen socket you borrowed from your friend before you start dismantling the exhaust is preferable to discovering this after you’re halfway through and realize the last bolt anchoring the old pipe to the bike needs an 8mm Allen socket.

First, loosen the exhaust system’s fasteners without completely removing them. Reducing the head pipe is unnecessary if you are merely installing a slip-on muffler. You may remove parts when everything is loose, starting with the damper. Especially if the bike has seen some use and heat and rust have done their dirty job, this may be easier said than done. To remove a stuck muffler, spray the joint with a rust remover, wait a few minutes, and then attempt to twist the muffler while pulling it backward. Put a block of wood against the mounting bracket and give it a few good whacks with a hammer if it still won’t budge. Get a helping hand to pull and twist the muffler while you pound on it. Although the finished product might not appear impressive, this technique effectively releases even the most stubborn muffler.

The head pipes can be taken out after the muffler has been removed. These may require some juggling, and a savvy man will use some old towels or rags to shield any painted objects from potential damage. On some versions, a crossover tube makes it more difficult to remove the head pipes. They can be removed collectively with some muscle (pulling and prying). However, in rare instances, the crossover tube must be disconnected.

One-piece exhaust systems are used on several motorcycles.

The removal process for such systems is typically more straightforward. Once the nuts and bolts are loosened, you can use a friend, jack, twine, or wire to prop up the system. Unbolt the exhaust system and carefully remove it in one piece. Don’t drop this on freshly painted surfaces; it can be cumbersome.

Inspect the exhaust ports for any loose carbon that could prevent the new pipes from sitting correctly, and if necessary, remove the old exhaust gaskets (if they haven’t already fallen out). Get new gaskets and put them in. Add some anti-seize or lubricant to help keep them in place. The next step is to secure the head pipes by gluing anti-seize paste into the threads of the studs or bolts and then snugging the retaining collars. Apply some anti-seize compound to the pipe’s open end, then attach the collector (Y-pipe) or muffler. Each component should snap into place with no effort. If you need a sledgehammer to assemble any portion of the exhaust system, you should probably back up and figure out what’s causing the problem. Don’t try to push everything to fit together; doing so will strain the exhaust system. Tension and vibration will eventually cause the mounting bracket to break or the exhaust pipe to shatter after only a short distance. Instead of riding home with your freshly fitted exhaust dragging over the pavement, spending an hour filing, shimming, or doing whatever is necessary immediately to get a correct fit is preferable.

Tighten everything down, beginning with the cylinder head, once it has been mounted and checked for alignment. First, tighten the head pipe to ensure it sits properly in the port and forms a good gasket seal. Once the collar bolts are secure, draw each subsequent piece of hardware individually, beginning with the muffler and moving backward. Any extraneous parts you took out should be put back in at this point.

Turn up the volume and enjoy the mood created by the sound. To paraphrase: alert the neighborhood!

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