Turn-a-Motorcycle-Exhaust-from-a-Roar-to-a-Purr

A motorcycle exhaust note is like your bike’s voice.

You don’t need it to let out a deafening roar every time you turn the key. But you also don’t want it to whisper so quietly you can barely hear it.

I reckon a strong rumbling purr is the ideal.

When we finally got our hands on our new Indian Scout, we knew she’d look amazing. But we really wondered how she’d sound.

Pat fired her up for the first time … and … hmm. She mumbled away in a boring murmur that had no personality at all. We rode her for a little while, and nothing changed.

Right. We need a better motorcycle exhaust, said Pat, heading for the internet with his credit card already out.

A couple of weeks later, the solution arrived at the back door in a big cardboard box…

Fishtails!

This Bassani exhaust was one of the first on the market for the new Indian Scout. Just take a look at the difference.

From this:

Indian-Scout-motorcycle-exhaust

To this:

Indian-Scout-Bassani-exhaust

Perfect for a bike with old-school styling.
And that Bassani exhaust is not just beautiful to look at.

The Bassani fishtails weigh a little under 4 kg. The standard Indian Scout pipes were 10 kg! All that catalytic converter material weighs a tonne (and silences the bike).

Losing 6 kg was a positive change that’s almost as obvious as the gorgeous new look.

So the Bassani exhaust was stunning, for sure.
But now we had a new problem.

The Fishtails Were SUPER Loud!

With this motorcycle exhaust, the bike sounded like we were clinging to the mane of a crazed wild lion as he rampaged through the streets.

We’d start it up in the driveway at home, and the neighbors would come to see if we’d opened our own wildlife park. They would laugh and shake their heads. But they’re used to us, and have their own gas-fuelled beasts.

It was a little trickier taking the Indian Scout out of the wildlife park.

Start her up outside the local mall, and those fishtails would cause widespread panic:

  • Gaggles of teenage girls would leap into the air, shrieking
  • Babies would wake up, and start to wail
  • Middle aged couples would glare and “tut tut” at this crass disturbance of the peace.

Only the old ladies would smile approvingly. For the first time in years, they could suddenly hear something – loud and clear.

It was pretty obvious we’d have to do something before the local police started getting reports of a wild lion loose in the suburbs.

How We Made That Bassani Exhaust Purr Instead of Roar

Motorcycle baffles would have to be found.

First we tried buying baffles online. They took ages to get here, and then they didn’t fit. So we tried the ole rolled-up-chicken-wire trick, but the Indian Scout blew those out with a snort on the first ride.

baffles-failed

Clearly, we’d have to take matters into our own hands.

And so we spent a cosy afternoon out in the garage making our own motorcycle baffles. Here’s how we did it.

  1. Remove the fishtails.

This was quick and easy as the Bassani exhaust is connected by one accessible bolt and two exhaust clamps.

remove-motorcycle-exhaust-system

  1. Make some DIY motorcycle baffles.

We got some steel pipe from the local hardware store, and welded a washer to one end so it would stay in place inside the fishtails. Then Pat drilled holes in the pipe itself so the air can still move freely enough.

baffles-for-motorcycle-exhaust

  1. Insulate the baffles.

Pat wrapped the drilled pipe length with heat resistant steel wool (Adrenaline R 430 grade stainless wool) to add another layer of muffling that would still allow airflow. He attached the steel wool with a thin piece of wire which kept the whole thing in place.

insulate-motorcycle-baffles

  1. Re-attach the fishtails.

We twisted our brand new motorcycle baffles into the Bassani exhaust a little at a time; it was quite a tight fit. Then it was just a matter of bolting the fishtails back on.

motorcycle-exhaust-with-fishtails

Perfect!

It’s been a few months now, and our home made motorcycle baffles are still in place.

And the Indian Scout no longer sounds like a wounded lion crashing through the jungle roaring at the top of his lungs.

But we haven’t tamed the Bassani exhaust altogether. The bike growls along nicely. It still has teeth and claws  – without sounding like a maddened beast out for blood.

Written by Liz Hardy