You can heat wrap your motorcycle exhaust to protect components from excessive heat, to hide dents in the pipe or just because it looks cool. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to do and just takes a little preparation and patience. Follow these nine steps and you’ll have a quality wrapped bike pipe in no time.
How to Heat Wrap a Motorcycle Exhaust in 9 Easy Steps
Get your motorcycle exhaust wrap ready
Get everything ready before you start as you won’t want this job to drag out. This includes the wrap (we got our G-Force black wrap from Textile Technologies, where there’s an online calculator to determine the amount of wrap you’ll need), heat wrap insulation tape, silicone spray paint for heat wrapping, scissors, stainless steel jubilee clips, a bucket of cold water, very old clothes you don’t mind chucking, gloves and a disposable ground sheet. Don’t get the wrap out just yet.
Plan your wrap carefully
Think about where you are going to start, stop and clip up. This exhaust has a break where another header pipe slots into, so it needs to be clipped at the connection point, and the two header pipes need to be wrapped separately, which will allow the exhaust to be removed in future without cutting the heat wrap. If your exhaust has any fixing brackets then think how you’re going to wrap around them. Once satisfied, wash the exhaust and scrub away any blemishes.
Now it’s time to get the wrap out of its packaging. Don’t be tempted to open the pack in your living room; the stuff is made out of fibre glass! Handle it is delicately and as quickly as possible and put it straight into a bucket of cold water. This will stop the fibre glass from flying everywhere. Be warned, it’s seriously itchy, use very old clothes and lay a sheet. If you get it on your skin, wash with cold water. Soaking it will also mean that you’ll get the wrap around the exhaust tighter.
Wrap it up tight
Begin wrapping by turning a couple of times at the smallest section of your exhaust and then either use wire or a cable tie to keep it in place. Then commence the wrap by turning the tape over at an angle and covering ¼ inch of the previous rung. Every four turns twist the rungs round with both hands – one going clockwise and the other anti-clockwise to tighten it all up. Keep the wrap as tight as possible and use cable ties if you need to.
Clip it in place
Use stainless steel jubilee clips at both ends to keep the wrap in place. As there are multiple sections to this exhaust, I clipped it six times to keep everything ultra-secure. If you’re likely to remove your wrap in future then keep the screw visible, if not then make sure you tighten the clip with the screw on the backside of the exhaust.
Refit the exhaust to your bike and leave it overnight. Start your bike in the morning and take a step back as the wrap will billow with smoke. This is completely normal as the wrap burns off all the volatiles (starch in the yarn, which enables it to be weaved). It will take about 10 minutes before it’s completely dry and cured. Now this is a palaver but once it’s cooled down, you’ll need to remove the exhaust again.
Hang the exhaust up by a piece of string and put a bit of masking tape around the non-wrapped parts. You now need to spray paint the wrap with a high temperature silicone coating paint specifically made for exhaust wraps (we found DEI paint from Rallynuts.com to work well). This paint provides extra protection from oil and dirt and seals the material. Make sure you buy it in the same colour of your wrap and apply several light coats instead of one or two thick ones.
Motorcycle exhaust wrap can be applied for aesthetic reasons or – in the case of this exhaust – to protect engine components from an aftermarket exhaust system. If you need to protect parts then go over the exhaust’s route and wrap anything, you’re worried about with reflective heat shield tape. This extra measure will keep your wires, cables and plastic safe.
And that’s a wrap!
Once you’re taped up and the exhaust paint is dry, carefully refit the exhaust to your bike. Ensure all bolts are tightened to the correct setting and that your jubilee clips are fixed on tightly and not rubbing against anything. You’ve now got a neatly wrapped, tight and protected exhaust pipe. Just don’t forget to wash your fibre glass filled clothes on their own!
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