Top 6 Ways to Make a Motorcycle Exhaust Quieter


Some riders love having a super loud motorcycle. Not me, and not my readers though. If you too are a quiet atmosphere connoisseur you will want to make your motorcycle exhaust quieter. Here’s a quick rundown of the main methods:

There are two ways to make the exhaust quieter. First method involves sealing any excess gaps that amplify noise. The second method is to install noise-reducing parts. This can be an exhaust silencer, full-case muffler or it can involve wrapping the pipes with a thick wrap that can resist heat. Getting new pipes is another sure way to improve the quietness of the exhaust system.

I’ve seen many articles on this subject, but they are lacking the step-by-step DIY instructions to actually implement the said methods. I’ve decided to correct this problem. So here are 6 proven ways to make a motorcycle exhaust quieter along with step-by-step instructions.

1. Check For And Seal Leaks And Gaps

One most common cause of noise in motorcycle exhausts is the presence of holes. This is because even the smallest holes contribute to loud noise and may easily make your ride unpleasant.

Take a few minutes before every ride to inspect your exhaust for presence of leaks. You can also do this in between rides in order to monitor and identify the actual cause of the variations in noise you continue to get in between the rides. Once a leak is identified, make sure the system is cold enough before you begin repair.

Seal Smaller Gaps

Tiny leaks can be caused by rust on the exhaust pipe. Good news is that you can much easily get these gaps sealed by yourself and greatly save on the costs. You just need an exhaust tape and you will be all smiles through this process.

Seal Bigger Holes

Smaller holes easily graduate into bigger ones if not sealed in good time. This means your motorcycle will get louder with bigger holes. Fortunately, as with smaller holes, this is a DIY task and you will just need some kind of a patch and motorcycle specific epoxy (aff link) to complete the process. Let’s look at the two easy step by step methods to seal exhaust gaps:

Method 1: Seal the leak with Epoxy or exhaust tape

  1. Scrub the surrounding of the leak using a wire brush. Make sure you have adequate eye protection so that debris do not enter your eye in the process.
  2. Finish the scrub with a piece of sand paper. This also helps to create micro abrasions on the surface so that epoxy can bind much easily. If you intend to use a tape, ensure you scrub the pipe with sand paper all round.
  3. Using acetone (aff link), wipe the surface you just sanded so as to clean it for better binding.
  4. Establish whether the hole is small or large. Smaller holes will not need a patch because they can be easily sealed using epoxy or just the tape.
  5. If the hole is small enough, use a wooden dowel to mix the two parts of epoxy and apply it to the leak immediately. Spread it using the wooden dowel and leave a thick layer over and around the area. This may take from a few minutes to a few hours to cure.
  6. If the hole is larger, wrap at least two layers of the tape around the pipe. Read the instructions carefully before using the tape in order to establish whether it requires to e applied in wet condition or in a hot exhaust.

Method 2: Seal the gap using a patch

  1. Determine the extent of the hole and size of patch needed. You can purchase an exhaust patch kit but an aluminum can works equally perfect when cut and used as patch. Make sure you cut at least half an inch extra to ensure the hole is properly covered.
  2. Cover the area around the gap with epoxy as described in method 1. The area should be equal to that of the patch you want to apply.
  3. Place the patch over the area you want to cover and secure the edges with epoxy.
  4. If you use a large patch, you can clamp it in place using hose clamps.

2. Get A Bullet Muffler

This is yet another proven method of sound proofing a motorcycle exhaust. There are generally two types of mufflers – regular and slip-on mufflers. Apart from being simple and easier to install, slip-on mufflers are preferred for their ability to cool down as well as dampen sound in order to reduce noise.

Mufflers are made in the form of perforate tubes. Utilizing the perforations, the tubes reflect sound waves that the motorcycle engine produces and suppresses the noise that leaves it.

If you are using a second-hand motorbike, there are high chances the first owner made some modifications on bike which could even include removal of the mufflers.

Bullet mufflers that come with your motorcycle may be appealing but much louder. Did you know you can still get a quieter one without sacrificing its aesthetic value?

There is a great deal of mufflers (aff link) with vibrant reputation for being both silent and aesthetic. Louvered mufflers are good for noise proofing due to the materials they are made of, including louvered and fiberglass. However, chambered mufflers are much better as the chambers can absorb unpleasant sounds.

3. Get A Full-Case Muffler

Replacing mufflers and pipes is among the better options in sound proofing a motorcycle. Good thing is that these mufflers are readily available in the local market and are quite affordable.

Getting a full case muffler is a good move towards reducing the noise your bike makes on the road. You however have two options:

  • Single chamber: as the name suggests, this muffler type is wrapped by a one-unit chamber. In many cases, it is paired with baffles – up of stainless steel that is perforated with holes.
  • Dual chambered: in this type of muffler, the whole system is divided into two chambers that effectively contribute to the reduction of noise.

4. Install a Customized Sound Silencer

There has been a rise in the number of riders that prefer silent exhaust systems. This change in market demand is therefore quickly moving manufacturers into designing motorcycle exhausts silencers that do exactly what they are designed for.

There is also an increased market presence of custom-made sound deadeners specifically designed for the exhaust system. These custom exhaust silencer mufflers (aff link) are also called Resonator mufflers. They are designed to reduce motorcycle noise and will give you wonderful results.

The diameter of exhaust silencer should be considered before purchasing a new exhaust pipe. This will ensure the installation process is easy and less messy. Preference is generally given to silencers whose outer diameter is much smaller than the inner diameter of the pipe.

Typical silencers are made of fiberglass wraps that soundproofs the exhaust while narrowing the hole for better, quieter rides.

You should take note that replacing a motorcycle silencer is easy. In addition, the muffler is made from a stainless still with a longer lifespan. This advantage however comes with a higher cost.

5. Get New Pipes

If any of the previous methods never seem to work for you, it could be the right time to get new pipes. This will help you get rid of the noise even faster and more easily.

Depending on the type of exhaust system your bike has, there are a number of different pipes that have been designed to match every other unique system.

In case you have a bike with dual exhaust system, you should consider buying cross pipes. Custom pipes come in different shapes. Depending on your preference, you could either get a y pipe or h pipe. Any of these will help you to silence the exhaust system.

Apart from silencing your motorcycle, custom exhausts also improve your motorcycle appeal by making it possible to adjust the type of sound you prefer your exhaust should make, which makes your bike even more classy. Follow the following step by step guide to achieve this elegance without paying large expert costs:

  1. Take the new customized exhaust, try it by pre-fitting it on the bike before installation just to be sure it will be a perfect fit in all other parts of the bike. Just make sure that the new pipe does not block key parts of the bike that are designed to remain accessible.
  2. Look out for enough clearance from areas such as under the seat. Remember exhausts give off a lot of heat and may make the bike uncomfortable to use if it makes the seat too hot. It should also not be closer to tires or even the wire harness.
  3. Loosen the bolts by help of a wrench. Be sure to use the right wrench in order not to strip the bolts. Remember the bolts will be prone to strip one they are stripped in the first case. Someone should help you support the exhaust you are removing to protect it just in case you may need to reinstate it in future.
  4. Detach the muffler together with its other components and brackets. If the muffler is hard to remove, apply some lubricant to help remove it faster and safely.
  5. Remove the pipes followed by the old gasket and inspect them for defects.
  6. Follow the diagram on installation that comes with your new exhaust by laying every part or attachment where you see them in the diagram. Size the parts up on to the frame and fit the pipes on the motorcycle. Test the fit.
  7. Put back the gaskets together with the head pipes gently and tighten using your hand. Slide back the muffler in place. Tighten all the other parts including the head bolt to the exhaust.

Once the new pipes are installed, proper bike maintenance should be done to reduce deterioration of the exhaust sound quality. Follow the guide below:

  • Regularly wash and clean the motorcycle parts and remove rust from exhaust system
  • Regularly change the motorcycle engine oil. This will help improve your engine performance and greatly contribute to a smooth quieter ride. A smooth ride reduces vibrations and makes an exhaust quieter.
  • Service the bike regularly and tighten loose nuts any time they are observed. A loose exhaust contributes to a louder ride. Use the right wrench (aff link) to tighten these nuts in order to make the exhaust pipe properly tight.

6. Wrap The Pipes

Wrapping your motorcycle exhaust pipes brings in a number of benefits to the exhausts system. Did you know this measure also improves the noise reduction ability of the exhaust? Well, the choice of wrapping material must be well considered and the pattern of wrapping that ensures complete sealing for better results.

Good quality wraps like SunPlus wrap (aff link) which is motorcycle specific can greatly help you in reducing vibrations and frequency. This is the mechanism by which the wrapping material helps to silence your motorcycle exhaust system.

Because the materials are generally made from long lasting materials with a good example being titanium, they can withstand very high temperatures and will therefore not be easily affected by the heat on the exhaust system. In addition, they also withstand rough riding conditions and are very conducive for off road riding too!

Good news is that these materials are not highly priced and are therefore very affordable. And, you don’t need an expert to do the wrapping for you. Simply follow the self-guide and wrap your exhausts pipes like a pro.

  1. Before you tear your bike down, you should be very certain that wrapping is the best thing you want to do in order to silence your exhaust.
  2. Order the right materials. You will need pipe wrap, a wire brush, wire, hose clamps (aff link) or better anchor, a bucket and exhaust gaskets. Remember to wear protective gloves before you start the process. And because you will need to soak the pipe wrap in water, a pair of latex or rubber gloves is preferred for the job.
  3. Disassemble the exhaust system: before you begin the process, you will need to remove the exhaust system form the bike. Once you remove it, inspect it for holes before the wrap is placed. Ensure the holes are properly sealed and the pipes are repaired or replaced.
  4. Clean the system using a wire brush. Be sure to remove all rust from the pipe and seal gaps that may have developed on the system as a result of the rust.
  5. Soak the pipe wrap in a bucket of water. This helps to keep fiberglass particles in tact while making the wrap more pliable.
  6. Wrap the pipe: before you begin, secure one end of the wrap on the pipe using a wire or anchor. Work down the pipe overlapping every revolution tightly by at least half an inch to ensure you are not leaving any gap. Also, remember to wrap the pipe from front to the back. This will ensure the overlaps face backwards and do not cause air locks in the system when riding. Wrap bolt areas tightly using an x pattern.
  7. At the end of the pipe, use a wire or aftermarket anchors to clamp the end of the wrap in place. This should be made as tight as possible to avoid air locking in the system.
  8. Reinstall the exhaust system by simply bolting the pipes in place. Be sure to make the bolts tighter as a tightly fixed exhaust can better withstand vibrations and contribute to it being much quieter.

Conclusion

My advice is to first try and fix any obvious holes that are leaking the noise. This is the easiest and most affordable method. If this isn’t an issue or it’s simply not enough for the results you’re after, invest in some of the mentioned parts since they can seriously ward against excess exhaust noise. Hope this helps!

Luka Baron

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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