Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes Buying Guide

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Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes Buying Guide

They are bright and shiny and the source of that sound that tells everyone that a motorcycle is on the road. Exhaust pipes are one of the easiest ways for riders to customise their motorcycles. The right set of exhaust pipes can add to the sound of a motorcycle and also improve its appearance and its performance. There are many reasons why a person might want to buy a new set of exhaust pipes for a motorcycle, and they are all valid. Some people may be restoring motorcycles and need replacement parts because their bikes have been in accidents. Others may just want to freshen up the look of their bikes.

Regardless of why a person is buying motorcycle exhaust pipes, the key to making a successful purchase is to make an informed purchase. Buyers who knows what they want and why they want it are the buyers who are most likely to get the results they want from their new exhaust pipes.

How the Exhaust System Works

The primary purpose of a motorcycle's exhaust system is to get combustion by-products out of the engine cylinders to make room for the incoming fuel-air charge so that combustion can continue. Exhaust systems also route hot exhaust gasses away from riders and reduce the sound of engines to acceptable levels. Finally, they contain the emission controls that reduce pollution levels to legal standards.

Understanding the Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe

Unlike a car exhaust system, the vast majority of motorcycle exhausts do not include a separate exhaust manifold, but mount directly onto the cylinder head. This means that the exhaust pipe also does the job of the manifold. It takes the exhaust from each cylinder and carefully distributes it into the pipe in such a way that the exhaust charges do not collide and produce back pressure, which would drive pressure back towards the cylinder. The pipe then feeds the hot exhaust gas back to the silencer and out.

Types of Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes

There are two basic types of motorcycle exhaust pipes as far as the consumer is concerned, the full system and the slip-on. The full system goes all the way from the engine to the end of the tailpipe and includes everything in between. In contrast, the slip-on is a partial system that just replaces the silencer and catalytic converter, leaving most of the pipe intact. While either system can be used on almost any motorcycle, a slip-on is most commonly used on off-road and some racing motorcycles because it can be easy to change out a racing exhaust for one that is legal for the road.

Choosing the Right Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes

The first thing any buyer should do when looking for a new motorcycle exhaust pipe is get to know the motorcycle. There is very little worse than riders spending large sums of money on new sets of pipes that would look awesome on their rides if they could only put them on. Every buyer needs to be able to determine whether a given set of pipes fits a particular motorcycle before making a purchase.

Reasons for Choosing New Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes

There are several different reasons why a person might want to buy a new set of exhaust pipes for his or her motorcycle, and those reasons range from desire to necessity. Some reasons even overlap since a person who has a legitimate need to replace a set of exhaust pipes may have additional priorities that cause them to look for something entirely different when selecting replacements. The following table outlines some of the most common reasons for buying new motorcycle exhaust pipes.




May be easier to replace pipes than to repair them

Necessity is probably the key motivator


New pipes can increase power by up to 10 per cent


New pipes can either reduce or change the sound of a motorcycle


New pipes are an easy way to customise a motorcycle's appearance

Desire is probably the key motivator

No matter which reasons apply to any given purchaser, the most important part of making the choice is understanding what is needed or desired and then determining the exhaust system that satisfies the requirements. This means matching the requirements of the motorcycle and the desires of the user to the exhaust system purchased.

Motorcycle Exhaust Pipe Purchase Options

In addition to the two basic types of exhaust pipes, there are other options that need to be considered when buying a replacement exhaust pipe for any motorcycle. Regardless of the motorcycle, buyers always have to consider if they want to buy new or used parts and if they want to buy factory original equipment or third-party alternatives. There is no wrong answer to these questions, but there is no single right answer to them either. The right choice for buyers depends on the intersection of their needs and their resources, and the same choice may not be right for everyone.

Factory Original or Third-Party Alternative Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes

One of the first choices to be made is whether to buy factory original exhaust pipes or third-party alternative pipes. Going with the original factory exhaust pipe is the safest and easiest choice since the pipes are guaranteed to fit and meet all legal requirements. What they do not offer is any opportunity to customise the ride. The other issue is budgetary. Depending on the production run and the age of the motorcycle, the factory exhaust pipes may be very expensive and hard to find.

Third-party alternatives are the other major option, and they provide the greatest range of options for various budgets and desires. These exhaust pipes range from the most budget friendly options available to the highest-priced performance exhaust pipes on the market. They offer almost infinite customisation options, and they often make a statement for everyone to see. The one issue with third-party alternatives is that because they are not produced by the same manufacturer as the motorcycle, they may not always fit as well. This means that installation may be more difficult, but for those who want the options they provide, it can be worth the hassle.

New or Used Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes

The other big purchasing question is whether to buy new or used exhaust pipes. New exhaust pipes come with a warranty and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that every new exhaust pipe is in prime condition and fully functional. New motorcycle exhaust pipes come without surprises, and if there is an issue, the pipes can be easily returned and replaced.

When it comes to used motorcycle exhaust pipes, the big thing to remember is that every pipe is unique. Each unit is the product of its own history, and there is likely no other exhaust pipe in exactly the same condition. That means that in addition to paying attention to the specifications, buyers should also pay attention to the specific condition of that particular exhaust pipe. Buying used requires more research, but it can be an excellent way for a buyer to stretch his or her budget.

Buying Motorcycle Exhaust Pipes on eBay

One of the best places to buy exhaust pipes for your motorcycle is eBay. The site provides a huge variety of exhaust pipes to fit all of your needs and your budget. All you need to do is put your requirements into the search box on any eBay page and wait for the results to appear. From there, you can use the filters to narrow down your results to just those exhaust pipes that fit your needs. You can filter by everything from price to manufacturer to seller location. After you have eliminated the listings that you do not think are suitable, you can use the sort function to put the remaining listings into one of several orders that you might find helpful.

Once you know which exhaust pipes you want, the next step is to determine if the seller is reputable and worthy of your business. The best way to do that is to check out his or her profile page, where you can see everything from the seller's location to his or her feedback rating. Some sellers may bundle exhaust pipes with other motorcycle parts and accessories. It may also be possible to pick up exhaust pipes in person and save on shipping if you can find a local seller.


Every motorcycle needs exhaust pipes. These pipes keep the rider from getting burned by the hot exhaust gases, and they help keep the sound and emissions at legal levels. They are as important to the motorcycle as the wheels, and it is impossible to ride without them. There are exhaust pipes for every need, whether it is simply to replace the existing pipes with as little harm to the budget as possible or to provide a personal touch of customisation. The right custom exhaust pipes can increase performance by up to 10 per cent or just add that little extra 'something' to the bike that the owner has always wanted. Those who want to keep their motorcycles exactly as they came from the factory can buy original equipment exhaust pipes.

Some buyers may replace the entire exhaust systems, while others may get slip-on exhausts that just replace the tail end. Slip-ons are excellent for those situations when someone might need different exhausts for different situations. All it takes is a little knowledge to find the ideal set of exhaust pipes for a motorcycle in need.

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