Is it possible to powder coat an exhaust on a motorcycle?

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Modifications to a motorcycle’s performance or visual appeal can have an impact on its performance, but few bikes can do both. The best way to increase the performance of your motorcycle’s engine is to manage the heat produced by the cylinders. Your engine will lose less power if it is capable of dispersing heat more efficiently. ‘heat soak’.

A coated exhaust tube is a great way to control heat. There are a lot of ways to manage the heat from an exhaust pipe, and some options are better than others, so it’s important to know the difference.

Can you powder coat an exhaust from a motorcycle? It is possible to powder coat a motorcycle exhaust, though it’s a different process. The correct coatings will be available at a powder coating shop to help manage heat generated by exhaust. But the coating recommended for use in the field is not a powder coating, but a high heat ceramic coating.

Ceramic coatings on exhaust can be the best of both. It’s a great way to restore or protect the exhaust while at the same time becoming a stunning visual addition. In this article we’ll look at the different ways that you can protect a bike, and the pros and cons that come from a powder coat.

The Best Type Of Powder Coating

As I said earlier, powder coating exhaust is different from powder coating other parts of the engine like the valve covers.

With a normal powder coating method, the part that is being painted is prepped and then covered in the desired color’s powder. The powder is then placed on the part and left to dry in an oven for around 40 minutes. The heat makes the powder coating stick to the metal and gives it a glossy, smooth finish. The downsides of using a general purpose powder are numerous.

The most important difference between ceramic and powder coating is their ability to withstand low temperatures. With regular powder, the heat that it can withstand usually isn’t more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

That sounds like a lot. Sometimes your exhaust can reach temperatures exceeding 1200 degrees.. This means that, if you used regular powder on your exhaust, it would melt and burn off at normal operating temperatures.

Powder coatings can be used to treat high-temperature products. Ceramic coatings are a broad category of these.. The term ‘ceramic coatings’ is used in the automotive world relating to several different products, so it’s best to know which one you are talking about.

One type can be used to apply wax on painted surfaces. The one that goes on the exhaust or on other high-heat metals is often simply referred to as “high-heat ceramic coatings.”  Luckily, there are a lot of options out there that can help fit your needs, but it can all get pretty confusing and you’ll want to make sure that you get it done right.

In just about every city around the country you’re going to be able to find a professional powder coater to help you. Every professional powdercoater you meet will know how to coat your motorcycle in detailThey will likely have done it many times before.

Pros Of Powder Coating Motorcycle Exhaust

Powder coating an exhaust has many benefits. It is not just about heat management. It also improves the performance of other heat-treated coatings.

Every engine produces heat. Let’s talk a bit about how efficient heat management can benefit you. The piston compresses the air-fuel, then explodes down. Heat is created and released through the exhaust pipe. The exhaust then sends the exploded gasses to the end of the tailpipe.

While standard exhaust can be efficient and productive, some of the materials they are made from are susceptible to heat soaking. The exhaust heats up and can not transfer heat efficiently out of the tailpipe.

This means that the engine’s components will become hotter due to heat coming from the exhaust pipes. Maybe it’ll be the intake air temperature or the inside of the cylinders, or sometimes the catalytic converter. As these components get hot, they aren’t able to work as well and you’ll be able to notice a power decrease as the heat climbs too high.

What ceramic coatings offer is an effective way to ensure that the exhausts pipe don’t get too hot and in return don’t overheat other components of the engine.

A ceramic powder coating has the added benefit of being resistant to dirt and rust. You can extend the life expectancy of your exhaust by properly coating it. Exhausts become more dirty as they age. This is a major problem with other aftermarket exhaust coatings as they don’t protect against rust in the same way. Wraps can trap dirt and moisture in ways that could accelerate the rusting process if they are not properly installed.

There are negative aspects to be aware of, just like any modification to a bike.

Pros and Cons of Powder Coating Motorcycle Exhaust

The cost of coating a motorcycle can be a major obstacle. As I mentioned already, it’s best to consult a professional when you want to get the work done correctly. The cost of hiring a professional can add up. Sometimes shops charge rates that are around 80 – 100 dollars an hour, and there aren’t a lot of DIY options when it comes to ceramic coatings.

Heat treating requires temperatures of 700 degrees. Tools to do this are usually only available in shops. This is why professionals are paid to get it right the first and only time. There are several ways to lower the cost. It is possible to have the part taken out before you arrive at the shop and to have it prepared so that it takes less time for the shop to complete it.

Every shop may charge something different, so it’s wise to shop around and see which one will provide you with the best bang for your buck. You might find a shop that is skilled in motorcycle and car coatings. With any project, costs can really start to get out of hand if you’re not ready. You can save money by doing some research so you can find a high-quality product. A mediocre job could mean another pricey trip to a professional because it didn’t last.

Powder Coating Alternatives

There are many options, but the most important thing is to choose which look you want. Exhaust wraps are the best alternative to powder coatings.

An exhaust wrap involves wrapping high-temperature fabric around the motorcycle’s exhaust. This type of exhaust wrap is most often found on chopper bikes. It’s not as effective of a heat management method, but on the bikes that it will be found on, it’s used as an accented aesthetic piece. You can also click here to read my article on the pros and cons associated with exhaust wrap.

And there’s always the option to simply paint your exhaust by using high heat spray paint. This can work and is much more budget friendly, but it doesn’t look as good and will certainly not last near as long as a ceramic coating.

No matter what motorcycle you own or your goals, there is a heat management solution that will work for you. When deciding on what heat management method to use, make sure you balance cost and effectiveness.

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