• "Pipe Dreams"


    reprinted from BB.com , February 2004
    copyright owned by author



    Welcome to February's edition of Customarily Minded. Winter will be drawing near to a close so in the meantime let's warm things up with a hot topic from the customizing field: Pipes.

    First off you'll want to decide on slip on mufflers or a complete system. If you're just looking for a new style and a different sound, slip-on mufflers are the way to go (assuming of course it's feasible to use them on your bike, check your stock pipes first and see if the mufflers can be unbolted or if they're welded on to the headpipes). But if you want both style and sound as well as some performance gains, the full system is what you're after. For optimum performance gains look for an exhaust system that features muffler bodies, meaning the muffler portion is of a wider diameter than the head pipe. Straight or drag pipes won't offer the same results as a muffler bodied pipe, since the baffles of a drag pipe actually restrict the airflow (the baffle diameter is smaller than the headpipe diameter). The baffles in a muffler body are typically the same diameter as the headpipe, sometimes larger, and this doesn't restrict the air flow like a baffle in the drag pipe would. Removing the baffles is a heavily debated topic, and while this will serve to open up that airflow on the straight/drag pipe you also lose back pressure and performance. Simply put, the drag pipes should only be considered more for looks and sound than performance, as most people's opinion rests with the mindset that the drag pipes not only offer the most clean and smooth looks but offer the sound that cruiser enthusiasts love. As far as sportbike systems or mufflers go, for the most part this won't be an issue as most of the aftermarket companies offer mufflers and systems with a full sized end can.

    A highly debated topic concerning exhaust is whether or not to rejet the carb(s). Some say yes others say no. Most exhaust manufacturers will recommend rejetting the carb(s). In my eyes, if you're simply swapping out the exhaust you don't need to rejet, although it is highly recommended for optimum performance gains. Recommendations are just that, remember when you were in the market for that beginner bike the salesperson recommended the big 1800cc Maxi-model? At the very least, the pilot jet(s) should be adjusted to compensate for the new airflow, which doesn't require a full teardownlike a rejet. One thing to keep in mind, if you change or alter the air intake a rejet is a must, so if you swap out pipes and a new air kit the rejetting is definitely in order, but if you swap out only pipes or mufflers and want to purchase an air kit later on down the road it's wise to hold off on the rejetting and simply adjust the pilot jet(s), or else you'll be rejetting twice.

    One final item I'd like to point out is research. Don't buy the first style of pipes/mufflers you run across. You'll want to delve into this end of the exhaust mods before committing yourself. Ultimately the exhaust system you opt for will define the overall "personality" of your customized bike. In other words, a mean and nasty set of growlers won't compliment a bike with luggage, backrest, and windshield, nor will a mellow sounding system do much for a hot rod either. Hit the dealerships frequently and hunt down identical model motorcycles with aftermarket exhaust already installed. Check the parking lots, used bike area, and the service areas for such machines, and when located get the owner, sales person, service writer or tech to fire it up for a live demo. If the bike is in the service bay make sure you realize that it will sound differently in the confined area due to the echo effect, so it's best to sample these exhaust sounds outside if possible. Wait until you've sampled as many systems as you're interested in so you can choose the one that both looks and sounds the best. Because nothing is worse than investing $400+ into an exhaust system and having someone pull alongside you at a stop light with pipes that you end up liking better.

    Until next time, keep those exhaust notes flowing.




    When Shadow Shack isn't blowing smoke out of his end can, he answers email sent via his profile

    "Customarily Minded Machine of the Month"



    "Stacked Spirit"

    This particular bike is the epitome of pipe dreams. The owner has managed to stick with a less is more theme to keep things clean and simple, but I don't have to tell you that you aren't looking at that aspect right away. Nope, without a doubt the first thing your attention is drawn towards is that healthy set of one-off upswept tubes. And yet the arguement stands that pipes won't get you noticed...
    This article was originally published in forum thread: "Pipe Dreams" started by Shadow Shack View original post
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