Motorcycle Exhaust Systems - What You Need To Know

Motorcycle exhaust systems play a vital role in a motorcycle's performance, so most riders opt for different exhausts systems that may increase their motorcycle's efficiency.

motorcycle exhaust system

Understanding what an exhaust does and how it affects the performance of a motorcycle will help you know whether switching your stock exhaust is necessary.


What does an exhaust do?

Modern motorcycles have four-stroke engines, and the motorcycle exhaust for them is quite different from older motorcycles which now frequently use a catalytic converter which is an exhaust emission control device that contain catalysts – chemicals which speed up the process of chemical reactions, which by themselves won’t happen normally.

Catalysts break down the harmful exhaust gases coming from the engine by separating the atoms which make up these molecules. For competition use Catalytic converters do partially limit maximum achievable engine performance as well as add a lot of extra weight and bulk. Also they get much hotter than the rest of the exhaust system a problem experienced by many Ducati owners.

Modern mufflers are much larger these days for the purpose of making exhaust gases spend more time in the exhaust via redirection baffle plates taking the exhaust gases over the longest possible path so to give more time for absorbing sound. Typically the more powerful the engine the larger and heavier the muffler which also restrains engine performance.

Increase engine performance

The right exhaust system can improve the motorcycle's engine performance by removing excess weight and restriction.  

Why replace a motorcycle exhaust?

All motorcycles have a factory-fitted exhaust system. However, many riders opt to remove the existing exhaust system even when it hasn't developed a fault for the following reasons.

Improved Hp & Torque

The motorcycle manufacturer usually works to regulatory emission requirements for each and every country which means some performance is to be sacrificed for compliance. So by opting for an aftermarket exhaust some of this lost performance can be restored. 

Weight reduction

When you replace an OEM exhaust system with an aftermarket titanium exhaust you can reduce the exhaust weight by as much as 2/3. This may be about 5% reduction in motorcycles total weight.

The weight reduction aids better handling performance, faster acceleration later braking & improves suspension response. 

Depending on the type of exhaust system installed and your motorcycle type, you can significantly improve your motorcycle sound making you much more noticeable to other road users.


How do aftermarket performance exhausts improve performance?

After your engine has spent the power stroke and it is time to expel this waste exhaust charge some use can be made of this waste high speed pressure wave which a properly engineered exhaust can help the intake stroke draw in the incoming air/ fuel charge during that very brief period when the inlet and exhaust valves are open at the same time.

This helps to improve cylinder volumetric efficiency through extraction which intern makes for a better bang in laymen terms.  


What type of aftermarket motorcycle exhaust should I get?

The type of exhaust suitable for your motorcycle depends on certain factors, such as the riding you carry out. For example, the type of exhaust suitable for you if you carry heavy camping gear is different from an exhaust needs if you only drive on lightweight.

The most common exhaust systems include:

  • Muffler-only also called bolt-on or slip-on system.
  • The full system exhaust used to replace from the head to the back of the motorcycle exhaust system

For many slip-on exhaust systems, only the mufflers will be changed. It causes a performance boost but not a significant one. However, its installation is easy and costs less with a great sound

Installing a full system frequently requires adjustment of the fuel management system, including the fuel controller for a fuel-injected motorcycle and jet kit for a carbureted bike. Installation of this system is more complex but causes higher power gains and enhances the motorcycle's look.


What should I know before I order?

Before you order your exhaust system and other motorcycle spare parts, here are some things to note.

  • Know the right model, year and make to avoid getting the wrong order
  • Although re-using gaskets is  possible, it is not always suitable, so you may want to order new flange gaskets as the exhaust is not supplied with them

If you have any other questions about motorcycle exhaust systems, please get in touch with us today. 

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