"Loud pipes save lives" is a catchphrase often used by motorcyclists who advocate the school of thought that a loud motorcycle that grabs attention is safer than a quiet one. Often, motorcycle exhausts are louder than the horn the bikes are equipped with! Due to manufacturing guidelines and emissions mandates, though, motorcycles do not come from the factory this way. Rather, a loud exhaust tone is usually due to tinkering and customisation by the motorcycle's owner. Making your motorcycle's exhaust is a task you can undertake at home using everyday household tools.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Basic socket set
- Power drill
- Metal-cutting drill bit
- Drill bit extension
Examine your motorcycle and determine how the exhaust is attached. You will need to remove it to perform this procedure. Most motorcycle exhausts are attached to the bike at the cylinder head and at a single mount on the rear of the frame. Refer to your owner's manual or service manual for detailed instructions for your specific model.
Remove the exhaust system from the motorcycle. Cover the motorcycle or stuff a clean rag into each cylinder head port to keep debris out of the engine internals while you are working on the exhaust.
Wrap one of the exhaust pipes in a towel or rag and clamp it in a vice tightly so it won't move while you're working. Be careful not to dent or ding the chrome exterior of the pipe.
Attach a metal cutting drill bit to a drill bit extension, then connect the extension to your power drill. Insert the drill bit into the end of the exhaust pipe and locate the first baffle. Drill through the baffle carefully.
Push the drill bit further into the exhaust pipe to locate the second baffle. Drill through this baffle as well, then remove the drill from the end of the exhaust and unclamp the exhaust from the vice. Hold the exhaust with the baffles down, and tap the exhaust lightly to extract any metal bits or shavings left behind from drilling.
Reattach the exhaust to the motorcycle as described in your owner's manual or service manual. Start the bike up and take it for a test ride. Listen for a louder tone from your newly drilled out exhaust.
Tips and warnings
- Most motorcycle exhaust systems have three or four baffles within them. Always leave at least one baffle intact when drilling out an exhaust system to provide the engine the back pressure necessary to run.
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