Buying custom exhaust for my bike should be easy right? That's what I thought until I started looking around at all the different styles. But it ultimately comes down to owner choice, after all isn't that what biking is all about? The freedom to make your own decisions an be who you want to be. That loud rumble when you go cruising isn't simply because "Loud pipes Save Lives". It screams look at me! I'm free, doing my own thing.
There are so many choices to make when replacing a stock exhaust system. 2 into 1 systems, Santee Y pipes, Straight drag pipes, baffled or unbaffled. I found so many name brands, there seems to be hundreds of manufacturers out there these days. Harley-Davidson, Screaming Eagle, Big Growl, Ultima, Cycle Shack, Paughco, Samson, Hooker Headers, RevTech, Santee, and Arlen Ness, just to name a few.
Two-in-One pipes, styled after the classic Street-Rod side pipes, 2" head pipes constructed of 16 gauge steel contour around your engine in classic I mean business appearance. Taper into 1 pipe with a 5" outlet. These pipes were created to make a statement and make it with authority.
Demon's wave exhaust, uniquely stepped "wave" design delivers excellent power for high-performance. This stunning looking exhaust will compliment any custom chopper and it sounds as wild as it looks. Straight drag pipes, classic lines and premium performance are exactly what they sound like drag pipes. Loud low rumble that will surely wake the neighbors.
When using straight pipes torque cones are a must for performance. Torque cones improve power by increasing the exhaust gas velocity, they also help to reduce exhaust reversion. Simple installation requires no permanent modifications. Great for use with unbaffled exhaust that require some type of back pressure to run right. Also some people like exhaust wrap, it helps to retain heat in your exhaust system, which increases horsepower while reducing radiant heat against your leg. By wrapping the exhaust system it maintains hotter exhaust gases,
decreases the density, and allows the exhaust gas to exit the system faster, that equals more horsepower!
Now installing your new pipes, simple right? Just unbolt an replace. It's not hard, but there are a few things to know before you try to mount that new exhaust pipe on your motorcycle.
Common hand tools are all you'll need to perform a pipe change. A few common combination wrenches and a matching socket set (metric or functional sizes) will cover most of it. In some cases you may also need an Allen wrench or two.
Start by giving the OEM exhaust the quick once-over.
Will you need to remove any major components other than the exhaust itself? Probably not, but on some liquid-cooled cruisers, the radiator may have to be removed or loosened to gain access to the front cylinder's head pipe.
Try to determine if the exhaust will need dismantling or if it can come off in one big chunk. It's also a good idea to compare the head sizes of the fasteners to your tools. It sucks when your 13mm socket rounds off that 12mm bolt head. Now is also the best time to find out if you've forgotten anything, like that 8mm Allen socket you lent your buddy, as opposed to when the exhaust is half off and you realize the last bolt holding the old pipe to the bike requires an 8mm Allen socket.
Start by loosening, but not removing, all of the nuts and bolts that attach the exhaust system. If you're only replacing the muffler with a slip-on, there is probably no need to loosen the head pipe. Once everything is slack, remove the bolts holding each component, then remove the components, starting with the muffler. This may be easier said than done, particularly if the bike has some miles on it and heat and corrosion have done their dirty work. If the muffler is just stuck, spray some sort of rust-busting lubricant, into the muffler joint, let it stand for a few minutes and then try twisting the muffler slightly as you pull backward. If it simply won't budge, place a block of wood against the mounting bracket and give it a few good raps with a hammer. If you have a helper handy, have him (or her) pull and twist the muffler as you pound on it. In most cases this method will free up the most recalcitrant muffler, though it may not look like much when you're done.
Once the muffler is off, you can remove the head pipes. These may take some juggling, and a wise man will protect any nearby painted pieces with some old towels or rags.
Removing the head pipes may be complicated by a crossover tube on some models. A little physical exertion (a.k.a. pulling and prying) will usually get them off as a unit. In some cases, though, the crossover tube will have to be removed.
Some bikes use one-piece exhaust systems.
These systems are usually a bit easier to remove. Once the bolts are loose, support the system with the aid of a friend, a small jack or a few pieces of strategically placed twine or wire. Remove the bolts and carefully lift out the exhaust system as a unit. This can be a bit heavy and unwieldy, so take care not to drop it on any painted parts!
Remove the old exhaust gaskets (if they haven't fallen out already), take a good look in the ports and excavate any loose carbon that might prevent the new pipes from seating properly. Install the new gaskets. A dab of grease or antiseize will help hold them in place. Next, place the head pipes into position, put a smear of antiseize on the studs or bolts and tighten the retaining collars just enough to keep the pipes from flopping around. Give the open end of the pipe a light coat of antiseize and slip on the collector (Y-pipe) or muffler as the case may be.
All the pieces should fit together with a minimum of force. If you need a sledgehammer to pound any part of the exhaust system together, stop and find out what's gumming up the works before proceeding. Resist the temptation to force everything together, since all that will do is preload the exhaust system. After a few miles the tension will combine with the vibration to snap off the mounting bracket or crack the exhaust pipe. Better to spend an hour filing, shimming or doing whatever you need to do now to achieve a proper fit, than to ride home with your recently installed exhaust dragging along the pavement.
After everything has been properly installed and correctly aligned, you can tighten it all up, starting at the cylinder head. By tightening the head pipe first, you ensure it seats correctly in the port and seals properly against the gasket.
After the collar bolts are snug, proceed to tighten the rest of the hardware in turn, working your way backward toward the muffler. Reinstall any ancillary components removed during this process.
Fire that baby up, basking in the aural ambiance. In other word wake up the neighbors!