If there’s one thing bike owners love as much as riding, it’s fantasizing about customizing their ride with an aftermarket upgrade or two. One of the easiest and most obvious ways to alter your motorcycle is with a new exhaust system. Before you start researching your newest upgrade, it’s important to determine if your aftermarket exhaust pipes are simply a cosmetic alteration to make your bike look (and sound) cooler, or if there are performance upgrades to consider. Read on to help you get a sense of where to start.
Aftermarket Exhaust Upgrades Explained
Your bike’s appearance will almost definitely improve with an upgrade, but to get benefits like better horsepower and weight reduction, you’ll need to go the extra mile. There are two types of aftermarket exhaust upgrades to consider: slip-on and full exhaust systems. To understand how they impact the exhaust system, keep in mind that there are three main components: the header, the mid-pipe, and the muffler. The header connects to the engine and collects exhaust, the mid-pipe takes the fumes to the back of the bike, while the muffler controls the sound and certain aspects of airflow.
A slip-on exhaust, as the name suggests, is a replacement that literally slips on to where the stock muffler was. The biggest benefit from a slip-on is how it affects your bike’s sound, so it’s important to find one that gives you the sound and look that you’re going for. So, yes, upgrading to an aftermarket exhaust system has a certain level of badassery involved. Another benefit to a slip-on exhaust is that it’s relatively inexpensive and you can perform the upgrade yourself with minimal tools. This won’t change the performance of your bike much, but if you want a better sounding and looking bike, a slip-on exhaust is a cheap, easy way to upgrade.
Full System Replacements
If you’re looking for a complete overhaul of your ride and want to improve its performance, a full system replacement swaps out all three aspects of your exhaust for a completely new system. You’ll not only get a better sound and look, but you can also expect a massive weight change and a big boost in horsepower due to materials like titanium, stainless steel, and carbon fiber.
Keep in mind that a full system replacement will drastically alter how your bike handles. Besides being lighter and having better horsepower, your bike’s lean angle can be impacted and some things like foot pedals might have to be moved to accommodate your new pipes. You will also want to talk to your mechanic about installing a jet kit or fuel controller to make sure that your engine and exhaust are working in harmony.
As you look at which upgrades you just can’t do without, it ultimately boils down to whether you want your bike to run lighter and better or if you’re just looking for that loud, guttural sound that lets people know you’re coming. Don’t forget that you have many options, and do your homework before jumping in headfirst.