In the motorcycle community, especially with older bikes, there is a lot of debate surrounding the pros and cons of heat wrapping the exhaust. Just like with other motorcycle debates, like the dual sport vs dirt bike one, it’s hard to settle on the right answer.
With that in mind, motorcycle enthusiasts everywhere left to argue about using an exhaust heat wrap on forums, social media, and even in person. It’s safe to say that there are both pros and cons to exhaust heat wrap and using one on your bike.
For starters, these wraps look pretty cool, they’re easy to install, and it’s something you can do at home without spending a lot of money. There are also other heat wrap benefits including increasing the engine and exhaust temperature on your bike.
Exhaust Heat Wrap Temperature Management
One of the main benefits of exhaust heat wraps is that it reduces the temperature of your engine. The more heat you’re able to mitigate or remove from your bike, the more efficiently it’s going to run.
These wraps work by keeping the heat in the exhaust. This makes it easier for the exhaust to dispel the heat and keep the engine running as smoothly as possible.
You’re basically getting an increase in horsepower by letting your engine run at lower temperatures and more efficiently. However, this can actually affect how your bike runs, especially during the winter.
When the weather outside cools down, it’s possible that your bike could struggle to reach the optimal engine temperature. This could put an additional load on the catalytic converter and could even make it more difficult to accelerate.
Exhaust Heat Wrap Aesthetics
Another benefit to motorcycle exhaust heat wraps is how they can improve the overall aesthetic of your bike. Not only does it do a functional job, it can give your motorcycle a more rugged and classic appearance.
One issue people have with their motorcycle exhaust is that it can become discolored overtime. This generally isn’t something to worry about, but a lot of riders don’t like the appearance.
It’s easy to alleviate this using a heat wrap and you can get your bike looking fresh again. However, if you use the wrong wrap, you can make a mess of the exhaust and waste a lot of time fixing it.
It’s better to spend the time and learn how to put on a motorcycle exhaust wrap from the beginning. This way you won’t need to fix any mistakes and your bike will look good from the start.
Protects Both the Rider and the Exhaust
Another surprising benefit to using a heat wrap is that it can protect both the rider and the exhaust itself. With a wrap on you’re protected from accidental Burns, either while you’re riding or when you get off.
It also helps to mitigate the heat coming off the exhaust so you won’t feel it as much on your legs, especially on those warm summer days. There will definitely be heat radiating from the pipes but it won’t be nearly as bad with the wrap installed.
One thing to keep in mind is that there’s a possibility of moisture build-up beneath the wrap, especially if the bike is sitting for a long period. This is something to think about during winter motorcycle storage or if you won’t be riding for a while.
With moisture underneath, it’s possible for corrosion to start forming. That’s why it’s a good idea to ride regularly or start the bike every now and then to help burn off any standing moisture.
Installation and Maintenance
Out of all the different motorcycle upgrades available, installing the exhaust heat wrap is one of the easiest things you can do. This is something that doesn’t require any special tools and the wraps themselves are relatively affordable.
It also helps that there are plenty of YouTube videos and online tutorials detailing the process. While your mechanic could do it for you, this is a part of basic motorcycle maintenance that you can try on your own.
Along with following the manufacturer’s instructions, double check online to make sure you’re doing it right. This way you will get the wrap installed properly and won’t have any issues in the future.
Smell or Smoke
Immediately after installing the wrap, there’s the possibility that there will be smoke or an unpleasant odor. There’s no need to worry about this, it’s all part of the installation process and is the result of the chemicals in the wrap going through the curing process.
It should only last a short period of time. By the time your ride is done, there probably won’t be any more odors or smoke.
If the problem persists for more than a few days, it’s possible that you made a mistake. At this point you might want to re-wrap the exhaust just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
Exhaust Heat Wrap: Final Thoughts
Using a high-quality motorcycle exhaust heat wrap will boost your bikes horsepower while decreasing both the exhaust and engine temperature. It’s also definitely going to improve the overall look of your bike, making it look more rugged and adventurous.
This is one of the easiest motorcycle upgrades and something you can definitely do on your own, over the weekend or after work one day. There is plenty of helpful information online to guide you through the process.
As always, make an effort to get it right the first time. On the other hand, even if you messed up, it’s just a few extra hours of work and you’ll definitely be able to try again.