Custom crafting DIY exhaust pipes is a rite of passage among home builders. Until you've done a set for your scoot, you're either running someone else's idea of what's cool, or you're rolling stock. Neither compromise is a good one.
Kits are available that make pipe building super easy, and anyone with a welder and a hacksaw can cobble a set of straight pipes on a saturday afternoon.
Aftermarket tips are another way to dress up your custom pipes. If you're handy on a lathe, you can spin a set like the stylish brass tips shown below in a couple hours.
More exotic bends, flares and shapes demand greater fabricating skill, but hey—it's only metal. If you completely screw it up, grab another length of 1-3/4-inch muffler tubing and start over. The most important thing you must bring to the work bench is a little patience and a lot of creativity.
Everyone's heard the joke about only giving her the tip, so we won't repeat it. Brass tips on ScotchBrite raw steel look great
Faux mufflers can be accomplished by either necking down the large O.D. tubing or flaring out the smaller sections to mate at the joint. Diligent hammering and massaging will create a joint that can be welded, flap disked and polished to form a sexy external butt. These bulged sections look great
This 2-into-1 exhaust assembly leads into a cocktail shaker with plenty of patina to match the rest of his machine
More views of flared and swedged tube shapes. Subtle treatments like these are always cheaper and usually more stylish and satisfying than any factory-made pipe dressing you can buy
Lots of work went into these twin fish tips. Their shape and detailing are appropriate in the context of the other decorative metalwork and accessories on this machine
Handy with a mill? Bust out some billet alloy and go to town. These fluted and ventillated lake pipe baffles might look over the top on your garage-built chopper, but their detailing can not be denied
Speaking of knuckleheads, don't put your dreamsicle in that saddle bag or the con trail from cylinder one will melt it
Balogna cuts aren't just for looks. The wind that whistles by these openings actually creates a scavenging effect to pull exhaust gases out of the pipe. It's a trick dreamed up by internal-combustion pioneers a century ago, but it still works today
Cocktail shakers are a classic Brit bike affectation, but look right at home on this late-model Sportster. Ditto the heat shields above the passenger pegs. Style doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, and if it's done right, it doesn't have to burn a leg, either
More tips for your consideration. Choose wisely and your bike will look and sound great
P-clamps around the end section on these pipes are mandatory. Ideally, every exhaust pipe needs two fastening points: the head and the tip. If you've got slide-on mufflers or super-long pipes, a third mount at the midpoint never hurts