Tips For Cooling Motorcycle Exhausts

Lyle Ellerbee

Motorcycles are not like cars and while someone can drive a car without knowing much about the engine it is recommended that anyone who owns or rides a motorcycle should have a basic understanding of the engine and how to perform minor and temporary repairs. The simple point behind this is that motorcycle engines will fail and being stuck on the side of the road is never much fun. Motorcycles tend to break down more often than cars and most bikers will tinker with their engine anyway to make custom adjustments and install performance parts. Knowing the basics of your motorcycle engine can lead to a quick or temporary fix to get you moving until you can find a trusted mechanic to perform a more thorough repair job.

Because of the job an exhaust does there are a number of problems that can occur with the part and the entire exhaust system. Remember, the exhaust is basically the trash chute for your bike’s reaction exhaust gasses and the insides and outsides of an exhaust can get extremely hot when riding. Your exhaust and drag pipes can experience a number of common problems including overheating which will cause a “bluing” effect on the tips of the pipes. Even with polished chrome finishes over time the heat will cause a bluish or black color on the pipes. Though this may appear to be only a cosmetic issue over time the excessive heat can cause parts to deteriorate which can lead to harmful gasses being released in every direction.

Since heat is your major concern consider the different ways you can maintain the temperature in the exhaust so it doesn’t overheat and what you can do should the system suffer deterioration or even punctures from excessive heat. One option for preparing bikes in advance is to install high quality chrome plated heat shields. Often double or triple-chrome plated heat shields are designed to fit most standard motorcycle drag pipes and come complete with clips for mounting. Heat shields will provide an extra few layers of protection to lessen the damaging effects from the heat and reduce bluing. Heat shields not only protect the exhaust system but also add a shiny chrome finish to your bike’s exterior.

Another tip for preserving the exhaust on your motorcycle is to periodically rotate the pipes if you have twin pipes. Gas doesn’t always distribute evenly and if you did a custom install with an aftermarket exhaust it is recommended that you rotate the exhaust pipes so if there is an excess of heat to one side you can moderate the effect it has on your pipes. You should check all motorcycle engine parts on a regular basis to achieve optimum performance but regulating the heat in the engine is your primary concern.

Other ideas for cooling a motorcycle exhaust are to install cooling clamps and to use either a liquid or air cooling system in the engine. You may also want to consider using a carbon fiber exhaust system with a carbon fiber exhaust cover since this material heats up much slower than metal.

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