How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

How To -


How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

Loud pipes may not save lives, but many of us are drawn to aftermarket exhausts for reasons other than peace-disturbing decibels. Weight reduction, mass centralization, or – ahem the pursuit of more horsepower – can lead many of us to more attractive, less restrictive exhausts. Read on to learn how to fit something a little lighter, and a little nicer. Here’s how to install an aftermarket exhaust.

Photos by Aaron Berg

What You’ll Need:

5mm Allen key
10mm Socket or wrench
12mm socket or wrench
Microfiber Cloth
A friend (optional)

What To Do:

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

First, get your bike on a level surface in a secure position. Nothing is worse than wrecking your bike when you’re trying to improve it. Use a rear stand and strap the bike down if you’re flying solo.

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

Start by removing any plastics or fairings that might interfere. On my Street Triple R, that meant removing three 5mm Allen bolts and the small piece used to finish the exhaust.

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

Next, loosen the exhaust fasteners, but don’t start removing them all yet. You want to make sure you won’t damage any parts, and pulling out every bolt can lead to a disaster if you need to return the bike to stock condition for resale later on. Remove fasteners and parts methodically and keep track of everything.

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

For this particular bike, I started by removing the exhaust clamp, and then worked my way back to the hanger bolts.

Fit the exhaust pipe to the stock flange, then snug up the exhaust clamp without fully tightening it. This will give you some room to wiggle the exhaust pipe into place on the hanger bracket.

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

Next, fit the hanger bracket bolt through the hanger and bracket on your new exhaust pipe. Snug down and torque to specification. Then, snug down your exhaust flange to specification.

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

Be sure to wipe down your exhaust with WD-40 and a clean microfiber cloth to keep fingerprints and smudges from baking into the finish before you start your bike. If you have a baffle that can be installed after, enjoy your bike at full song, then stop being a jerk and put the baffle in.

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

At this point, it’s worth mentioning that your bike should receive either a dealer flash or the appropriate aftermarket tune for the modifications you’ve just made. Correct fuel mapping will improve fueling, reduce maintenance, and ensure that your upgrade actually improves the performance of your machine.

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

How To Install An Aftermarket Exhaust

  • zedro

    Do EFI bikes always need a flash or do some ECUs adapt?

    • Aaron Kirkland

      “Most” EFI bikes require a reflash because the oxygen sensors are usually narrow band, and are only capable of making minor changes. Although, the standard rule of thumb is if you change JUST the exhaust or JUST the intake, you “should” be fine. But that can change from bike to bike. If you change both, it is most certainly needed.

      The problem is, if you are changing exhaust and don’t get a reflash, you are leaving already horsepower on the table.

    • William Connor

      No not all EFI bikes “need” a flash. Most benefit from a fueling change but it is not an absolute. I had a GSXR 750 that had absolutely spot on fueling and air fuel ratio with an aftermarket exhaust and the stock ECU. I do take the time to validate all performance modifications like this with a pull on a dyno measuring the air fuel ratio however. Then I decide if I need to change anything. FYI the A/F runs locally run about $50 which is a lot cheaper than a Power Commander or other add on.

    • Braden

      Definitely down to a bike-by-bike basis. My SV650 was much smoother and had better low speed fueling with just an aftermarket exhaust and no other modifications. The Guzzi and the Ducati ran slightly worse with only exhausts but improved massively after correcting the fueling.

  • Justin McClintock

    I’ve been tempted many times to swap out the exhaust on my SV1K. For one, I know a Leo Vince system sounds AMAZING on it. For two, the stock exhaust is HEAVY. And the system for the SV1K aren’t that expensive either. I don’t really care about more power as it has enough for me, but oh man, that SOUND! But what keeps stopping me, other than I don’t NEED to spend the money, is that I commute on my bike…meaning I fire it up at 6:45 in the morning. And while that Leo Vince system does sound good, it’s also rather loud. Keeping the peace with my neighbors thus far has proven to be of greater priority.

    • BigHank53

      I used to live down the street from a guy with a Sportster with nearly-open pipes. He worked second shift and would hook second gear right outside my window at 11:40 every night. If anyone had ever tried to steal his bike, I’d have helped them load it. Asshole.

      When I bought my SV650 it had a full M4 system on it. The thing was stupid loud. I’m all for a nice exhaust note but the cops don’t need to hear me from half a mile away. Everyone’s happier with the stock one back on.

    • eviladrian

      I’ve seen some car exhausts that have a butterfly-valve that can be opened or closed to control the volume electronically. I guess it could work on a bike, but the size and weight might be a problem.

  • Braden

    Great how-to and nice choice of exhaust Curtis. I got the same for my Monster a few months ago and couldn’t be happier. Better sound, notably lighter, and much cheaper than the laughably overpriced Termignonis. Bet that triple motor purrs now.

    • Curtis

      Thanks Braden. It really, really does. Spring can’t come soon enough!

  • Jack Meoph

    “then stop being a jerk and put the baffle in”

    Thank You.

    • Curtis

      I’ve had enough people ride past my house (busy street) with open pipes in first gear to appreciate a baffle and an upshift or two.

  • El Isbani

    I see you rocking that Deth Killers cap

  • Ulysses Araujo

    How to annoy everyone and look like an idiot:

    1: Go through all the steps until the removal of the stock pipe; (photo nº 5)
    2: Done!

  • Oddturkout

    I got the ’13 675R with that exhaust, it melted my boot! It’s a little better with quiet insert but if you were doing serious track days or racing the 675R be aware. Street riding is fine, But if you are hanging off and cornering at high rpms, the engine dumps a lot of heat. The way the exhaust points up is right at my right heel if i am hanging while turning right.

  • ThinkingInImages

    There’s a lot of mighty unattractive mufflers out there. Even if they were great, they’re just an aesthetic nightmare. The stock muffler on my CBR250R is a chunky thing – but I’ve grown used to it. Crazy enough, I found that I like that it’s a quiet setup. The problem I’m having is I just can’t justify the cost for aesthetics, weight saving, and maybe a little more power. If I was doing a full rebuild for power, including the intake and ECU, then I’d go for it.

    Oddly, the stock system on my ex-Shadow RS was too loud. It was also too big, too heavy, had one too many mufflers, and was generally in the way.

    I do have fond memories of the look and sound of a nice Supertrapp disk system.

  • Potreroduc

    Appreciate the article guys. But could you PLEASE do a follow-up feature that covers the laws that apply to aftermarket exhausts? Especially in California? When brought up with a certain SF Ducati dealer, they state that they will not install aftermarket exhausts on new bikes unless you first buy the bike, ride it away, THEN TRAILER IT BACK TO THE SHOP. I suppose that keeps them in the clear because technically they are doing work on a “track only” bike. People continue to buy and install pipes, but what’s the real story and the real risk? Do police even care?