Our Triumph Scrambler 900 is a well-loved member of the family.
For a time, she was lost to us.
We missed her often.
We lamented ever letting her go.
And then several years later, through a random miracle, we found her again.
She came back to us, and we wheeled her back into her home in the garage.
Yes, there were tears of joy.
We couldn’t stop smiling for days.
I was so pleased to see our Scrambler, I actually hugged her.
I still do quite often.
It’s a whole motorcycle love story.
We ride her often, and we’re never letting her out of our sight again.
And this weekend, we had a treat for her.
A near-new Arrow muffler – still in its original box!
Putting an Arrow muffler on our Triumph Scrambler wasn’t as hard as I thought. For the first time ever in the garage, everything went without a hitch. From the new headers to the Arrow muffler itself and the finishing touches of heat guards that are prettier than jewellery – this was a painless process with an excellent result!
Now, an Arrow muffler for a Triumph Scrambler 900 is harder to find than a wild unicorn.
And I know that Pat’s been keeping an eye on the online marketplace for a couple years now.
The other night, I heard a whoop of joy, and then the worrying sound of him clicking a BUY NOW button.
Yep, he’d done it.
He’d finally tracked down an Arrow muffler.
A bargain, is it, honey? I asked innocently.
By now, of course, I should know better.
He was so excited, he forgot to soften the details for me.
NO! But I bought it anyway! he shouted.
He was so deliriously happy that I just couldn’t bring myself to ask petty questions about money.
But who cares.
That’s why we both work, isn’t it?
So we can grab a rare motorcycle part when we see it.
Oh yeah, that, and the mortgage.
This Arrow muffler was not only rare.
It was also in perfect condition.
And it was made specifically for a Triumph.
It’s hardly been used and came as part of a full muffler kit, with the right screws, heat guards and headers.
Everything our sweet little Triumph Scrambler 900 would need for an upgrade.
Obviously, a full day in the garage was in order.
Of course, our DIY garage surgery attempts don’t always go well.
Remember the woeful tale of our demon possessed Triumph Bonneville?
But the Triumph Scrambler is a different beast.
We had high hopes of success.
She’s never let us down, and we have some sort of weird soul bond with her.
And sure enough, unlike our adventures with our cursed Triumph Bonneville, the Scrambler surgery went without a hitch.
Here’s what happened…
Fitting an Arrow Muffler on a Triumph Scrambler 900
Let’s face it – if we can do this, anyone can!
Step 1. Get the Scrambler up on the motorcycle stand
I’ll tell you, our motorcycle stand is almost the best thing we’ve ever put in the garage.
Not counting the bikes, of course.
The motorcycle stand is an absolute God send.
It means you don’t have to roll around on a freezing concrete floor in the middle of winter.
You’ll never have to bitch and whine, your knees clicking in protest like an ancient crone, as you get up and down 500 times to look for yet another spanner.
With the bike stand we can hoist the Scrambler up to eye level where we can work comfortably on it for as long as we need to.
Step 2. Take the existing Triumph Scrambler exhaust system off
The pipes already on the Scrambler were quite striking.
I love the high double pipes – it’s an old school look, and the pretty chrome pipes with their heat guards appeal to my fetish for shiny things.
I’m not so keen on the wrapped headers, though – they quickly start looking like a scruffy old bandaid that should’ve been replaced weeks ago.
In other words: eww.
I have no problem with road dirt and grime – but dirty bandages are a step too grungy for me.
But it only took a few minutes and some quick spins of the spanner to remove a couple of bolts, and suddenly the old exhaust system was off, and sitting sadly on the bench.
Step 3. Clean the newly exposed surfaces
It does make me laugh that the only cleaning I find remotely fun relates to motorcycles.
It’s oddly satisfying to get right in there with the WD-40 and some hot soapy water and clean off the old grease, road dirt and a quite impressive collection of tiny little stones. Somehow, vacuuming the living room or cleaning the bathroom is just nowhere near as satisfying.
Step 4. Unpack the new Arrow muffler and attach the headers
There it was: the new pipe sitting proudly in its original Arrow muffler box on the bench.
We pulled the parts out of their bubble wrap one at a time and started fitting up the headers.
Pat’s a huge believer in greasing bolts as part of the motorcycle surgery process, so we had copper grease, red rubber grease and silicon sealer to hand.
The headers went on with a little jiggling, and some careful spannering.
We even remembered to read the instructions to make sure we had them the right way up.
Not until we were well into the process, of course.
Luckily, we didn’t have it backwards.
Step 5. See if the Arrow muffler will fit into the headers and line up correctly
The Arrow muffler slid smoothly into the waiting headers.
We were stunned.
I can’t remember the last time I was part of a garage project where all the holes lined up and all of the screws actually fit.
We smeared some silicon sealer on the outside of the headers to help seal the header-to-pipe connection, and slid the new Arrow muffler itself into place.
Beautiful! Even without the heat guards to finish it off.
This was going so smoothly, it was starting to feel like a waking dream.
I knew I was awake, though, because the Garage Gods kept demanding we sacrifice important bolts on the garage floor.
Every now and then we would dutifully drop one, it would roll around in the dust and dirt until it needed complete cleaning, and then we could keep going.
But as you know, that’s a perfectly normal part of any garage work.
Step 6. Wait overnight for the silicon sealer to set
Some friends arrived from out of town at this point, so it was time to head back to the house, light the fire, and start cooking up a storm. It’s winter here in New Zealand, and so it’s getting pretty cold out in the garage by late afternoon in any case.
And while the silicon sealer gradually set out there in the darkness of the garage, we had dinner in front of a roaring fire, with friends who don’t even blink at having to step around the Triumph motorcycle parked in the living room.
Yep, they’ve been here before.
Step 7. Attach the two heat guards and extend the passenger foot peg
The next morning, we swam out to the garage through the pouring rain of another winter day.
There she was, our beloved Triumph Scrambler 900, perched proudly on the motorcycle stand, flashing her gorgeous new Arrow muffler.
I swear to you she was smiling.
But not as much as we were
Everything was looking good, the silicon sealer was set, and there were mostly just the heat guards to attach.
The heat guards on the Arrow muffler are so pretty, they’re like highly practical pieces of jewellery.
The little cut-out circles and the mesh detail, combined with the shiny chrome finish make the bike glitter.
They went on without a hitch, and all that was left was the slight extension to the passenger foot peg which came as part of the set.
Should we bother with this part? Pat asked with a twinkle in his eye.
UM…YES! Motorcycle passenger comfort is pretty important around here, honey.
I don’t want to burn my leg on a fiery hot new pipe – even if it IS a beautiful Arrow muffler.
You know you’ll never hear the last of it.
He knows I speak the truth.
So with a little jiggling, and a surprisingly small amount of cursing, the new pillion foot peg was locked into place.
Step 8. Start her up, and listen to the new Arrow muffler!
It was done.
All parts were bolted into place, carefully greased and tightened.
We even remembered to rub down the pipes with isopropyl alcohol as a final step, to make sure that no fingerprints were then burned onto them like super ugly tattoos when the pipes got hot for the first time.
Pat turned the key.
The Scrambler hesitated.
You could feel her saying: hmm, hang on, this feels different.
He tried again.
The Scrambler quickly got with the program.
She roared into life, purring like a passing lion had just padded into the garage.
I was ready with the fire extinguisher.
I clearly remembered the last time we changed the pipes on the Triumph Scrambler.
That time, it was a Zard system, and several long, yellow flames erupted out of the pipes, with red sparks flying and a lot of shrieking from me.
But not this time.
Our adored Triumph Scrambler 900 has come out of surgery just fine.
And for once, there’s no recovery time needed at all:
- The motorcycle herself is raring to be ridden with her new muffler.She’s not in pieces and off the road indefinitely as we try to hunt down one missing, impossible-to-find bolt that will take 3 months to be sent all the way to New Zealand.
- There were ZERO injuries sustained.Not one drop of blood was spilled, and no shreds of skin were left on any tools, or on the bike.
I don’t think that’s ever happened before.
- Our marriage is intact.No-one shouted at anyone else about finding the right %^$#& spanner.
No-one stormed off back to the house to sulk.
What a stunning success!
The minute it stops raining, we’ll be roaring off down the road on our Triumph Scrambler, grinning like lunatics, and grooving to the growling music this beautiful Arrow muffler makes.
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