Upgrading our bikes is a big part of the enthusiast experience. We want to make that bike ours, and we want to make it perfect. With any luck, we’ll just get close. For many, the factory exhaust system is the first target. After all, what other component has this much influence? A motorcycle exhaust affects both the look and the sound, and upgrading it can provide the bike a completely new image. However, upgrading the exhaust is a big step, so here are a handful of points to consider before taking it.
1. There is a stunning amount of diversity in aftermarket exhaust systems. Enter the process prepared by knowing exactly what you want. What is my budget? Do aesthetics rank supreme? How loud? What type of tone? How much power do we want? Does fuel performance matter? Do whatever research necessary to answer those questions.
2. Pay particular attention to the specific needs of your bike because unless you are prepared to do customization, the exhaust system must fit and accommodate the needs of the bike perfectly. Some models are more demanding than others are and impose serious limitations. Be aware of them.
3. Armed with this knowledge, you should have the selection field narrowed to something manageable. You can narrow it further by considering material and accounting for weight. The common options are aluminum, carbon fiber, stainless steel, and titanium. Don’t simply rely on looks. Consider how the weight will alter the ride of your bike.
4. Almost all of us want our bikes to be loud. A motorcycle should demand attention. However, remember that the onus is on you to make the bike street legal. Before buying the loudest unit you can find, investigate the laws in your area. If you’re unsure, speak to a motorcycle mechanic. You can probably get the info for free right over the phone.
5. Finally, know that a full system is not the only option. In fact, many enthusiasts can achieve what they want simply using a muffler upgrade the slips or bolts onto the existing header pipes. This provides both a performance and style upgrade, and does it at a cost that is far less than a full exhaust system.