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How to Change Your Bike's Exhaust

How to Change Your Bike's Exhaust

As the owner of a bike, you probably take great pride in updating your ride to perform the way you want. A lot of riders are known for tricking out their bike in all sorts of ways to meet their preferences from the grips to a particular set of tires. When it comes to the exhaust, this is a great way to upgrade a bike with little effort. Let’s take a look at how to change your bike’s exhaust and why you should consider it in the first place.

What Does the Exhaust Do?

Before we get into how to change your bike’s exhaust, you should probably understand what it does in general. An exhaust does three basic things for your bike:

  • Muffles noise. An exhaust is also called a muffler because it helps to muffle sounds produced by the bike. A bike without an exhaust is usually so loud that it definitely annoys the neighbors and maybe even violates some local noise ordinances with every ride. No one wants to listen to your overly noisy bike so an exhaust is just good manners in terms of noise.
  • Moves exhaust (gases) away. An exhaust isn’t just good for other people’s ears, it also helps you breathe better because the exhaust moves gas away from the rider and passenger. You don’t want to swallow a bunch of carbon monoxide when you start your bike up and the exhaust pushes it away from the bike, so you don’t have to.
  • Helps with engine performance. Without the exhaust, all those fumes will stay in your engine and make it harder for the bike to breathe so to speak. The exhaust helps keep the engine cleaner for a better performance any rider can appreciate.

Why Change the Exhaust?

You may be thinking that your bike already has an exhaust so that should do it, but there are a few reasons to consider changing it. For starters, the manufacturer wanted to turn a profit when they made the bike and the exhaust is often one of the easier places to skimp and still maintain their reputation. The exhaust may also have been influenced by weight or gas emission standards when the manufacturer chose it for the model. This is an easy way to upgrade to a higher quality muffler if this happens to the case on your bike.

There are a few other reasons to change the exhaust aside from possibly upgrading the quality. Some factory issued exhausts are still a bit noisy so if you just want a quieter bike then this is the only answer. Another great benefit is that you can make your bike your own! Switching the exhaust from the factory issued option to something you pick out for yourself is a great way to customize your bike and make it exactly what you want. It is also one of the more affordable areas to customize on a bike so you can still make the bike your own without going broke in the process. While there are some pricey exhausts on the market, it is still giving you the trifecta of changing function, appearance, and sound all at once in a way few other aftermarket parts can so it’s a great value.

It is also a good way to keep up with changing noise ordinances in your area. If the noise ordinances have changed in your usual riding location, you may need to change to a quieter exhaust to avoid getting a ticket. There are plenty of options on the market targeting the noise aspect of the bike so you can fix it if ordinances have changed in your area.

How to Change

When it comes to how to change your bike’s exhaust, there are two options on the market. There are slip on options and then there are full system options. The full system will include the muffler/exhaust pipe, fuel controller, and is a much bigger job. Since you will need to remove and replace fuel management components, this job is usually done by a mechanic rather than in your garage, unless you are really hands-on and already experienced at things like rebuilding engines.

The more common option most bike owners opt for is the slip on exhaust. This is usually sold as a kit with all the hardware needed to change out the factory exhaust. For this option, you aren’t going inside any of the heads or fuel system, but rather slipping on a different exhaust pipe to the manifold. To attach the new exhaust, most kits will have pre-drilled holes and/or a bracket/gasket to add extra security in the hold. If you buy just the exhaust itself not as part of a kit, you will need to find these little extras on your own. You should buy them new rather than use whatever you have on hand if its used. A used gasket or bracket usually isn’t as strong and old nuts can strip over time.

Once you have installed the new exhaust, you should fire it up and take it for a test ride. It is important to keep in mind that there are legal noise ordinances in most places so make sure it is properly installed before heading out for the ride.