Motorcycle exhaust pipes and power

By: On: July 8th, 20080 Comments »Updated: October 14, 2012

Custom PipesHigh performance motorcycle exhaust pipes are about the most common thing to customize on motorcycles today.  Over the years, most anyone could bolt-on some new custom exhaust pipes and usually get more power as a result.

With today’s motorcycles using electronic fuel injection (EFI), including Harley-Davidson as well as the metric brands, you typically need to invest a little more to really get more power.  This is true when it comes to getting power from using high flow air filters on your motorcycle too.
Motorcycle fuel injection systems use an electronic control unit (ECU) to constantly monitor and adjust the fuel air mixture to get the best efficiency.  When your fuel injected motorcycle was made, the ECU program that controls it was based on using the factory hardware, including the air filter and the factory exhaust pipes.

By replacing the factory pipes with some nice custom pipes, like ones from Vance + Hines, D+D, Samson and others, you likely altered the exhaust flow and increased the flow capacity.  Same thing is true with using a high flow air filter, like a K+N air filter for motorcycles.  These typically “breathe” easier than factory filters.  These are great additions for any bike.

Assuming you purchased these items so that you could feel a gain in power, you might be only feeling a portion of the improvement they are capable of.  Why?  Because your motorcycle’s fuel injection system was not programmed to run with these accessories, it will try to make whatever adjustments it can, but more than likely won’t be able to work as well as you hoped for.Exhaust Pipes

Vance + Hines offers an interesting solution to this that they call a “Fuelpak” (their trademarked name).  This device costs about $280 USD and is available for several brands of motorcycles, including Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and more.  It might not sound so great to spend another $280 in addition to the several hundred you already spent for the high performance pipes and air filter, but if you really want to play at the track or on the dyno, this is one way to squeeze a bit more power from your motorcycle engine.

For street use, you might have to just enjoy the new sound of your custom motorcycle exhaust pipes instead of altering your EFI since that modification may not be allowed on the streets where you live and ride.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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