Motorcycling - Gear/Equipment

Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap - Why, When and How to Use

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Motorcycle exhaust pipes heat up to extreme levels every single time we take the bike for a ride. When it comes to motorcycle pipes, over a period of time maintenance issues like rusting, spitting-sounds, wear & tear, etc. show up. To avoid such issues, using a motorcycle exhaust wrap is a simple and easy solution. This is, in fact, one of the cheapest and highly recommended solutions.

Exhaust wrapping, however, does not alter or improvise the performance of the bikes or the pipe itself to a great extent. Their use on any bike is a mere ‘looks-enhancing’ and/or a maintenance endeavor. This is why many custom bikes go for exhaust wrapping to enhance the bike looks. There is a fair share of advantages and disadvantages of using a motorcycle exhaust wrap. Accelerate ahead to know more!

Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap- When and How to Use It
Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap Close Up

Benefits of Using Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap

May it be your sports bike, your rat bike, or your cruiser bike, wrapping the motorcycle exhaust is always going to reward you with numerous advantages.

  • Safety: The biggest advantage of an exhaust wrap is it’s heat resisting ability. It keeps you safe from the hot pipes by protecting you from getting burned, if you accidentally happen to touch it. This proves to be the foremost benefit of wrapping the motorcycle exhaust from the safety standpoint.
Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap- When and How to Use It
Benefits of Motorcycle Exhaust Wraps
  • Temperature Control: As exhaust wraps are heat resistant, they not only increase the overall density of gases coming out of the exhaust but also help the bike lose its overall high temperature. Which in turn keeps the heat from radiating back to the engine.
  • Looks: The exact retro look you always wanted as a rider can be assured to you by such wrapping of the exhaust! Getting the perfect exhaust wrap for your motorcycle in terms of graphics and precision can enhance your bike’s looks to an unimaginable extent, thereby giving your bike the appearance that you always wished for!

How to Install Exhaust Wraps

Before you start with the installation process, you must get your measurements right. The procedure is simple and quite easy in itself but it can get tricky with tight budgets. To begin with, we suggest you consider obtaining an approximate measurement by loosely wrapping your pipe once and holding it in place manually. Then counting a 1/4th inch of overlap, you can measure the number of loops required to cover the pipe completely. You can also keep it longer than that as an extra backup in case of any glitches in the wrapping procedure. Exhaust wrapping just demands a few hours out of your routine, your valuable patience, and a little tutorial help to pull-off a flawless exhaust wrap on your motorcycle pipes.

Given below are the step by step instructions to wrap the exhaust –

  1. Removal of the exhaust pipe

    Remove the exhaust from the motorcycle’s engine using a compatible wrench. Also, remove a couple of nuts from the muffler seal using a nut driver.

  2. Cleaning the muffler pipe

    Clean the entire surface of your motorcycle’s muffler pipe using warm soap-water and a soft cloth or towel. Let it dry for at least half an hour before you proceed further.

  3. Clamping the muffler in place

    Using a pair of clamps, clamp the muffler pipe firmly in place and position it in such a way that you don’t have to move it too much to reach around its diameter.

  4. Priming the Pipe

    Spray the entire muffler pipe’s area with a heat-resistant paint primer with emphasis laid upon the area where you’re going to install your motorcycle exhaust wrap. Allow the muffler pipe to dry-up and only then go ahead with the further steps.

  5. Soaking the Exhaust Wrap

    It is highly recommended that you soak the exhaust wrap in water for around 20 minutes. This gives more flexibility to the wrap and also makes it easier for you to work with it.

  6. Installing the Exhaust Wrap

    This step is obviously very crucial for the best possible outcome. Start wrapping the exhaust pipe’s exterior entirely and make sure you overlap any previously wrapped section by 3 to 4 inches. Your wrap should be as tight as possible in order to avoid any air bubbles.

    Start by loosely wrapping the material around the pipe. Slightly fold the initial end of the wrap diagonally to turn it into a neatly folded end-spot. Let the end be underneath the fold. One complete revolution around the folded section is required to move ahead with the wrapping comfortably. Begin wrapping.

    Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap- When and How to Use It
    Installing the Exhaust Wrap

    After finishing with the wrapping closely cut off the remaining wrap material with scissors such that it’s clean on the edges. Fold over the corners to make the end pointed. Once you’re done with this step, leave the wrap alone for around 15 minutes.

  7. Reattachment

    Ensure that the muffler pipe is perfectly in place. Dry the wrapping further by starting your engine and letting the heat cast its magic upon your finely implemented motorcycle exhaust wrapping!

The Risks

Wrapping your motorcycle exhaust imposes potential risks like the failure of engines due to leaning out or damages to the pipe or the header. As a rider, you must be aware of every probable risk.

Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap- When and How to Use It
Risks of Motorcycle Wraps

Leaning Out

The exhaust’s high temperature can sometimes cause leaning out of fuel mixture from the engine which can also cause engine failure in extreme cases. You must re-jet your bike after the exhaust-wrap process is completed. This is a mandatory step and should not be avoided.

Damage

Exhaust wrapping creates a tremendous amount of heat inside the exhaust which can damage the pipe and the header. Cracking and splitting of exhausts have also been reported due to the same reason.

How the Exhaust Wraps are Manufactured

Generally, exhaust wraps are made out of pulverized lava rocks or certain glass fibers. Wraps made out of glass fibers require a silicone coating on it. This is to protect it from dirt, grease, and other unwanted particles. Quite opposite to that, wraps made from pulverized lava rocks naturally repel all the unwanted and contaminated particles. More often than not, glass fiber wraps are preferred over pulverized lava rock wraps. This is because the glass fibers bring a better appearance than the pale-golden color of the pulverized lava rock wraps.

Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap- When and How to Use It
Type of Exhaust Heat Wrap

Apart from the appearance, the thermal protection ability is also considered. This differs immensely among the different materials of motorcycle exhaust wraps. Glass fibers offer around 1200° Fahrenheit thermal capacity whereas wraps made from pulverized lava rock provide a whopping 1800° Fahrenheit. Although, as a matter of fact, it’s important to note that colored silicone coatings will not bond efficiently with the pulverized lava rock wraps.

Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap- When and How to Use It
Type of Exhaust Heat Wrap

You can purchase a complete exhaust wrap kit for around $50. It consists of two rolls of wrap, stainless steel ties, and silicone spray.

You should use motorcycle exhaust wrap, but only after reading up on all the advantages and potential problems. Do a research on your bike brand and check if anyone else has faced any problems because of it. If your motorcycle’s pipes are exteriorly damaged or scratched by the looks of it, but still there’s no deterioration in their performance, then you can cut down on superfluous expenses caused by buying new equipment and instead consider this low-cost solution to suit your needs as decently as it would have been with the high-cost solutions.

If you’re using an exhaust wrap on your bike, do share your experience here with our readers!

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