Until now the fire bike has been wearing its original but battered exhaust system but it had got to the stage where the silencers were well and truly rusted out. It looks like the right hand silencer has been repaired before and then rechromed.
I took the whole system off to have a look at what I’ve got. Some of the clamps just fell apart and heat was needed to separate the silencers from the crossover pipe. The pitting on the header pipes also meant there wasn’t actually a lot of chrome about.
The decision was made to replace the lot. This also meant that whatever I bought should all fit together without any serious issues. I trawled the internet and found that, at a price, I might be able to find an original style set up. However there were import hassles to consider and I knew I could get a visually correct stainless set up from Armour Ltd here in the UK. I held my wallet tight and ordered a complete system with crossover pipe. You can get a system without one. The lot was with me inside a couple of weeks and is very nicely made. I compared each piece of the system to check bends. mounting points and lengths and all seemed fine. I never expect any after-market replacement to be entirely straight-forward. The tubing on these stainless pipes is slightly bigger than the originals but looks better for it.
The silencers are of a different construction. The originals had offset baffles but these are an seem to be an absorption type that you can see right through. The outlet at the tail end is also larger. The originals were a tiny 22mm diameter. These are about 30mm. The system doesn’t use the usual exhaust clamps but has pinch bolts instead. I have heard that some people have cut these off and reverted to clamps but I’ll try them as supplied first.
I had a set of seals for the exhaust ports but found they were too small to fit on the tubes. I offered the pipes up to the exhaust ports in the heads and reassured myself they would fit before filing a bit off the pipes till the exhaust rings would push on.
The next hurdle was fitting the header sleeve nuts onto the new pipes. Being a very slightly larger diameter I predicted they might be hard to fit around the curves and this proved to be the case. I considered grinding out a small amount from the insides of the nuts but noticed the issue was that the pipes were slightly oval at the tightest part of the curve.
The complete system was then test fitted to the bike. It all lined up really well although the pipes ran very close to the pivot bolt for the side stand. I looked at the old pipe and could see where this had rubbed.
In this rather gloomy photo you can see there’s much more clearance now.
I decided that I would go back to the original flip up side stand the bike came with. In my early days with the bike I made a modification so that it would stay down. I struggled to hold the bike with my damaged wrist, lean the bike over and keep my foot on the stand at the same time. I had to get off to use it. I reasoned that I’m more used to my dodgy wrist now and would be alright.
I moved the bike to poke the smelly end out of the garage door and started it up. In the process I realised that I would need to go back to the non flip-up version of the side stand. It felt quite unsafe. The system only had one leak from the right hand cylinder head. slackening off and retightening was enough to fix that. The system sounded good. It’s probably a bit more boomy than the original but not what I would call loud.
I rolled the bike off its stand to bring it inside again and realised the centre stand wasn’t retracting. I balanced the bike on a jack to take a look. The legs of the stand were just touching the pinch bolts for the crossover pipe.
I think I was too over-enthusiastic when knocking the silencers onto that pipe. I left things for a couple of days as my manky wrist was painful after wielding the rubber mallet but returned to slacken the pinch bolts and spread the silencers a little. For good measure, I also spaced the silencers out from their mounts on the frame with a couple of washers each side although I probably could have got away without this.
The stand now retracts almost as far as it did. It’s about 3mm short of the stop on the frame.
The reason is that the old crossover had deep dents to permit the stand to come up further. The Armours one has little more than marks on the pipe. I’m not sure that deepening these would be the answer as the tab on the stand would then hit the underside of the silencer. It had been bashing on the original silencer before. It is also very possible that the stop for the stand is bent which is pretty common. I could extend the stop on the frame to take up the space but I’m inclined to leave the stand as it is coming to rest on the crossover. Any reduction in ground clearance is minimal (say 3 or 4mm) and won’t be causing me any problems. I’m not any sort of riding god.
All that remained was to go for a ride! It was my first outing on two wheels since last November due to the Covid rules in force until a few days ago. After a little over 30 miles I can say that the exhaust is louder than the original but not that much, bearing in mind it was full of holes and leaked at the joints. The bike also seemed to go better. It’s difficult to be objective but I suspect those narrow silencer outlets may have been restrictive and the silencers were full of rust flakes.
As you can see, the exhausts have already started to change to a straw colour.