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Article: Motorcycle Exhausts: The What, Why and Aftermarket

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Motorcycle Exhausts: The What, Why and Aftermarket

Ever wondered what’s inside that motorcycle exhaust of yours? Let us spell it out.


What is a motorcycle exhaust?

When an engine goes about doing its job, it converts potential energy into kinetic energy. During this translation, some of the energy is lost in the form of sound and heat energy. Furthermore, the process leaves behind a residue of gases that are burnt and need to be treated, before being expelled into the atmosphere.

This job is taken care of by a motorcycle exhaust.

Anatomy of a motorcycle exhaust

While an exhaust might look like a metal box from the outside, there are a lot of parts at work inside it that come together to do the above stated job. We’ll be looking at the three main parts which you will find in all motorcycles.

When the engine releases the burnt gases, they are expelled into the exhaust manifold. Its number depends on the number of cylinders in a motorcycle. If a motorcycle engine has one cylinder, it will have an exhaust manifold with only one tube and if a motorcycle has four cylinders, the number of tubes will be four. The job of the exhaust manifold is to gather the burnt gases and send them to the catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter is the second part of the puzzle. It takes the toxic mixture of gases and turns them into harmless gases. If the gas is expelled into the atmosphere without treatment from the catalytic converter, it is harmful for the environment as well as human beings.

Once the gases have gone through the catalytic converter, they reach the muffler. The job of a muffler is to -- quite literally -- muffle the sound. An engine makes a lot of noise and if you were subjected to all off it when riding, you’d go deaf soon. To stop that from happening, the muffler is designed to absorb quite a bit of the sound energy before it exits the exhaust system.

Why should you look for an aftermarket exhaust?

When a bike manufacturer designs an exhaust system, there are multiple aspects they have to keep in mind. The design of an exhaust system can have an impact on a motorcycle’s performance, fuel efficiency and the most important of all - the sound it makes.

An aftermarket exhaust allows you to customise these aspects individually. Take for example the aftermarket exhausts by Vance and Hines that manufactures slip-on exhausts as well as full exhaust systems for pretty much all models of Harley Davidson and India Scout motorcycles.

Slip-on exhausts allow you change the sound coming out the of tail pipe, by simply replacing the muffler section. If you are looking for performance gains, you are better off going for a full exhaust system overhaul.

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