For some unknown reason Yamaha decided to run two pipes under the XT660R and into two heavy cans at the back. The MM two into one system fixes that by re-running the pipe round the right-hand side of the bike. Sounds good, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Read on for our Metal Mule review.
Metal Mule Review
- Price: £400 new (can be bought second hand now for much cheaper)
- Time tested: 7 years
- Testing conditions: UK-Middle East and RTW ride
- Durability: 2
- Ease of use: 1
- Value for money: 2
- Contact: www.metalmule.com
The system replaces the two individual header pipes and runs them into eachother on the right-hand side of the engine. The pack comes in three pieces: the main pipe, attachment pipe and the can. You also get a carbon fibre heat protection guard and two clips to hold your exhaust can in place.
Firstly, the system does away with the pipes being run underneath the bike. Secondly, it shaves 10kg off the bike’s weight by ditching the twin exhausts and thirdly, it sounds amazing. But unfortunately, the good stuff stops there.
Take a look at the brilliant XT660 Forum and you’ll see plenty of posts describing how difficult it is to fit the system. It is a sweaty, sweary pain. It’s tricky getting the pipes to sit in a way so that they don’t rest on the oil filter housing, or push up against the frame, or rub on the underside of the airbox. It’s a very tight squeeze through the frame and a little too close for my liking.
The major problem is clearance. The end of the pipe is very close to the swingarm, any big compressions and the pipe will knock and rub on the top of the swingarm. The underside of the exhaust has also taken a battering from the brake calliper protector.
The heat shield is also problematic, it’s held on with three screw heads, and after the first day of ownership one of the heads had burned a hole in my motorcycle trousers. I decided to grind them off with an angle grinder and heat wrap the exhaust (check out How to Heat Wrap Your Exhaust). This also solved the problem of the very hot right leg.
The exhaust sat on my bike without complaint for the first six years, enduring a six-month long ride from the UK to the Middle East and back, off-roading, European tours and a few crashes.
However, on the most recent trip it has literally fallen to pieces. Six days after setting off for a round-the-world ride with a pillion, the exhaust casing separated from the pipe and had to be welded back together. A month after that the baffle decided to detach itself from the exhaust and made a run for it on the motorway. As we couldn’t find it we had to make a new baffle and weld it into the exhaust.
The Metal Mule system solves the pipes being run under the bike issue but throws up many more instead. If I could go back in time, a much, much easier fix would be to simply by a low-slung sump guard to protect the pipes.
Metal Mule to produce excellent products, their hard panniers, top boxes and racks are high quality and tough. So this isn’t a mark on their gear. It’s just that the MM exhaust for the XT didn’t work out when put under load and hard use.
Metal Mule Review Total score: 4⁄15
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