How to make a motorcycle exhaust

Written by steve smith
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Building your own motorcycle exhaust is a project that takes some specialised tools, like a pipe bender, steel bender or welder and if you want chrome, you have to do the plating yourself, or take your pipes to a metal shop where they will plate your pipes for a fee. We will look at how to build the basic exhaust, but how you paint it is up to you.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Steel pipe
  • Paper or poster board
  • Pipe bended and heat source
  • Muffler
  • Hardware and attachments

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  1. 1

    Measure your bike from the head pipe connection on the engine down to the foot pegs and then to the rear. Now sketch out a basic shape for your exhaust, using these measurements as a guide.

  2. 2

    Build a full size template for your exhaust system on poster board, cardboard or plywood. Use a heavy marker, and be very precise with your measurements. Have a friend hold the template steady, and match it up several times. Be sure it works on both sides, if you are building exhaust on both sides, since each side of the bike is different.

  3. 3

    Figure out how many welds you will need to make, if any, then purchase the tubes for your exhaust. Buy them to the full length of the system, which you should have measured using a flexible tape measure, or tailor's measure. Measure the outside edge of each side for the most accurate measurement and take the larger one and add a foot or so.

  4. 4

    Mark the location of each bend with a magic marker at the start of the bend. Allow for an extra half foot at the head pipe section so you can fit the tube in the bender.

  5. 5

    Heat and bend the pipe at each mark. Make your bends fast but be accurate and do not over bend the pipe. You don't want to have to bend the pipe backwards again.

  6. 6

    Finish your bending, then attach the muffler. It should slide right on to your pipes.

  7. 7

    Attach the hardware for the exhaust to your bike. This might have to be custom made as well. Then be sure the exhaust fits all the attachments, including the head pipes and rear braces.

  8. 8

    Attach your new exhaust and pat yourself on the back. You made your own motorcycle exhaust.

Tips and warnings

  • A steel bender is the best way to bend your pipes. Heat your pipes until they bend very easily with out cuffing in.
  • Avoid very sharp bends because when bending a tube it will buckle, and retard the flow of the exhaust.

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