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Finding ways to make your motorcycle appear cleaner and more modern can be difficult. You don’t want to do something to it that will make it look stupid, or worse, ruin some part of your motorcycle and have to replace it.
Many motorcyclists disagree about the need for motorcycle exhaust wrap. There really is no simple answer as to whether or not someone should use exhaust wrap, but it’s good to know the pros and cons to it before deciding to use it.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of motorcycle exhaust wrap? There are many benefits to using exhaust wrap for your motorcycle. They can lower your engine temperature, improve cosmetics, protect your feet, and make it easy to install. The cons include it looking bad if not installed right, that it’s not interchangeable, it can cause rusting, and that it smokes and smells after installation.
Exhaust wrap has been used dozens of times in my motorcycle restorations. I’ve been able to see what it’s like having them on a motorcycle and what it’s like going without. These are my pros and cons that I hope will help you make a decision.
The Pros and Con of the Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap
When I first started restoring motorcycles, I wasn’t very sure of what exhaust wrap was in the first place. Before I knew what it was, I had already restored several motorcycles. I used it for several of my restorations and was very pleased with the results.
The first benefit of exhaust wrap for a motorcycle is the fact that it reduces engine temperature. The more heat you can dissipate away from the engine the better and exhaust wrap keeps the heat in the pipe and assists with the exhaust pipe’s functionality of pushing out the smoke and heat.
The exhaust wrap must be placed on the exhaust pipes to prevent heat from escaping. This can lead to increased horsepower as a cooler engine works more efficiently.
The second pro of using exhaust wrap I’d like to point out is how well it can make the motorcycle look cosmetically if it is put on right. The constant heat the exhaust pipes are under can sometimes discolor them which doesn’t look very good. Exhaust wrap is a great way to cover up any blemishes and give your motorcycle that extra look people love.
Wrapping your motorcycle’s exhaust pipes with wrap can be an effective protection measure. While you’re out riding, your feet are close to those extremely hot pipes and it’s not unheard of to burn your feet or ankles or ruin a pair of boots. Although exhaust wrap can be hot to the touch when you are running, it can significantly reduce your chances of getting burned.
EXHAUST WALLROP is a great product. It can be easily installed in your garage. You can do it in less than an hour. There’s not a lot of tasks you can do to a motorcycle within that small amount of time that makes such a huge difference to the look of it.
Now that we’ve discussed the pros of using exhaust wrap, let’s talk about the cons and disadvantages of using it. The first one I’d like to point out is that applying the wrap to your motorcycle has to be done exactly right or it can look really bad or even a little trashy. Ultimately it can make your motorcycle look worse if it’s done wrong.
The second con I’d like to point out is that once you decide to put exhaust wrap on your motorcycle exhaust, you can’t really go back. What I mean is that once the wrap has cured, it’ll leave little checker marks on your pipes that comes from the fiber on that wraps that are permanent.
This is something you can’t do interchangeably. Though I have heard it does help spraying your pipes with some silicone beforehand, but I have never tried that and I’m not sure if that works or not.
If you don’t ride your motorcycle very often and water finds it’s way between the pipe and the wrap, it can cause your pipes to rust faster. Regular riding will help to reduce the amount of water that is absorbed. But for those who don’t ride very often, you’ll probably have to start up your motorcycle occasionally to get any residual water out from underneath the wraps. This can be quite annoying.
Exhaust wrap can be a problem on your motorcycle. After it is installed, it starts to smoke a lot and then smells awful for a while. This is normal and considered part of the curing process, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant. It usually takes a few hours of riding for that to resolve itself and there’s nothing you can do to initially stop it.
How to Install an Exhaust Wrap on Your Motorcycle
Header wrap is not something you can just put on your bike. This is not something that you can do by winging it. “wing” It’s that simple.
Exhaust wrap is something I’ve done many times, so I can help you. The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure your exhaust pipes are accessible with nothing in the way. You can temporarily remove any obstructions that might be in your way of installing the wrap correctly.
Next, you’ll need to wear some rubber gloves especially if you’re installing the fiberglass wraps. Otherwise you’ll likely get little sores on your hands and they’ll itch like crazy.
You can take the exhaust wrap off and soak it in water for several moments. This will help it stretch a little which will give it a tighter fit while you’re wrapping it. Once the exhaust wrap has soaked for a few minutes, you’re ready to wrap it around your motorcycle exhaust pipes.
The ends are a bit frayed. You’ll need to fold in the end about a half inch so the fray is not visible. Wrap it around the header tightly and overlap each wrap at least halfway. To fasten it, wrap it around the pipe all the way. You can now wrap the pipe down and attach another wire tie. Secure the wrap with a stainless steel zip tie at all ends.
If you’re wanting to prevent the wrap from staining the headers in case you want to take the wraps off in the future, you can try spraying your pipes with a high heat silicone coating before applying the wrap.
I created a whole video series on how to restore a bike. This series contains a detailed video about how to install motorcycle exhaust wrap. This series also contains detailed videos about how to complete a carb rebuild and body work (fixing sanding or painting). The tank and frame, and the electrical. I share dozens of tips and tricks you won’t be able to find anywhere else online. Click here for more info if you’re interested in building your dream motorcycle!
The Exhaust Wrap Cost
It’s easy to wrap the headers and it’s very affordable. That’s always a plus in my book when I’m trying to find ways to improve the look of my motorcycle.
Fiberglass wraps typically cost $20 per 50 foot roll. I generally like to get two rolls in case the first one goes out while I’m using it. It also depends on how tight you wrap your wrap around pipes. For a thicker look, you’ll need more wrap because you’re doing the binding a lot tighter and doing a lot of overlap.
You’ll also need stainless steal zip ties. A bundle, which will provide more than enough material for the project, can be purchased for $5 at an auto parts or home improvement shop. It will cost you around $15 to spray your pipes with silicone prior to applying the wrap. Altogether, this project shouldn’t cost more than $60.
What is the best exhaust wrap for a motorcycle?
There is much debate about whether or not exhaust wrap should be used on your motorcycle. Some people are unsure whether titanium wraps and fiberglass wraps work better. I personally find them both to work about the same, but the fiberglass wraps are a little less expensive so that’s what I usually go with.
Wraps such as the EZ Auto Wrap are a common choice. Click here to view the one that I recommend. This is a fiberglass wrap that I’ve used many times and have found that it works great with my motorcycles.
Although I can understand why some people may not like exhaust wraps on their bike, I find it attractive and worth the risk. This article should have helped you make a decision.
Do I need to paint my motorcycle wheels? It is possible to paint motorcycle wheels. If done correctly, it can last for many years. Although powder coating looks great, it can be more expensive and may cause changes to the molecular structure. For more information, see my article.
What if the exhaust wrap is fading? It’s somewhat common for exhaust wrap to fade in color, so painting the wrap is an option. It’s best to use a high heat silicone spray so it can withstand the heat the pipes are emitting. It will also start to smoke after it is applied.