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Wrapping Your Motorcycle Pipes with Exhaust Insulating Wrap

May 31, 2008 by  

Motorcycle Exhaust Wrap Looking for an inxpensive and easy way to give your scoot a custom “old school” look? Try wrapping your pipes with exhaust header wrap. Perhaps your pipes are blue or scratched but other than that they function fine – why spend the money on a new set of pipes for the look when wrapping them will give them an awesome look for a fraction of the cost of new pipes.Besides the nice look there is also a chance of increasing your performance a bit. Wrapping the pipes with the insulating wrap keeps the pipes from radiating heat. This keeps the exhaust gases leaving the engine hotter which improves the flow of the gases out of the pipe. Another advantage is that this also keeps the heat that would normally radiate from the pipes off of you.

After installing the exhaust wrap I found that even after a good run down the Interstate I can touch the the wrapped part of the pipe with out burning the tips of my fingers off – yeah it is still hot but try touching a bare exhaust after a 25 mile, 85 mph run and see what happens to your hand, leg, or whatever (don’t try this – trust me it burns and HURTS! – very much bad).

Installing the Wrap

To install the exhaut wrap you will need the wrap, a good pair of sharp sissors, a way to clamp the wrap to the pipes, I used 2 1/2″ stainless steel hose clamps that I picked up at the auto parts store for a couple of bucks, and a second set of hands.

It will take nearly a 50′ roll of 2 inch exhaust wrap to wrap two 2 1/4″ motorcycle pipes, a little more or a little less depending on how much you over-lap, how much of the pipes you wrap, and the diameter of your pipes. I wrapped just over half of my pipes with about a 1/2″ overlap and it took all but about 7′ of the 50′ roll.

I have read and seen a lot of different ways to wrap your pipes. The primary difference in between these processes is how you wet the wrap. I have read that you just want to dampen the wrap with a spray bottle or that you want to soak it for an hour or 2 in a bucket. I did what I consider half way. I dumped the whole roll of wrap in a bucket of room temperature water and rolled it from there. I didn’t let it soak, just dumped it in the bucket and started rolling.


J&P Cycles - Mufflers and Exhausts for Motorcycles
Remove the pipes form the bike and clean them up real good, you do not have to worry about polishing them up, just make sure they are good and clean. Gather all your materials together and drop the whole roll of exhaust wrap in the bucket of water.

Start wrapping at the bottom of the pipe and work towards the motor. Wrap around a few times overlapping each previous wrap about a 1/2″ then install one of the clamps where you started (this is where the second set of hands is helpfull). Once the clamp is installed just continue to warp the pipe as tight as possible overlapping each wrap about 1/2″ until you get to the end of the pipe. Cut the wrap, wrap it nice and tight and install another clamp.

Hang the finished pipe on the garage wall to dry and repeat the process for the other pipe. Once both pipes are wrapped hang them up and let them dry out some, over night should be fine. Then reinstall the pipes.

Once you are finished wrapping and you reinstall the pipes, open the garage door (trust me on this one) and fire up your scoot. Bring it up to operating normal operating temperature. The new wrap is going to smoke like hell and smell even worse. Let it run for a bit then shut her off and let the bike cool down. You will notice the first few times out on the road that the wrap will smoke a bit and it will smell really bad for a right good while. Also anytime the wrap gets wet it will smell.

You may also need to check your carburator jetting after you install the pipes as the wrapped pipes may cause your motor to run a bit leaner. Mine was running a bit rich anyway and it did lean it out a bit – since it was really running a little too rich in the first place I did not need to re-jet. If necessary re-jet then have fun.

Take Care – Ride FREE

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Comments

15 Responses to “Wrapping Your Motorcycle Pipes with Exhaust Insulating Wrap”

  1. Garson Gilbert on April 2nd, 2009 4:26 pm

    Question: I read your article on wrapping pipes. My question is did you notice any changes to the sound, louder, quieter, deeper, etc.?

  2. Mando Alcala on May 4th, 2009 5:41 pm

    can i spray anything on my black wraps once they start fading or do i have to replace them if i want them nice and black again ?

  3. Hersey on May 4th, 2009 8:01 pm

    I painted my wraps with high heat paint before I installed them. I actually liked the look of them as they faded and started to fray a bit.

  4. Jerk McSquirt on June 1st, 2009 12:55 am

    supposedly the heat tape keeps the exhaust gases hotter so they are less dense and move through the exhaust more quickly.

    from what i understand, you have to replace the tape after awhile. also, getting them wet is supposed to be a very bad idea. in theory, it holds water on your pipes longer so there is an increased chance for rust.

    i don’t know how much of any of this is true – i have my sporty’s pipes wrapped because it looks great!

  5. Alan Croft on April 18th, 2010 12:18 pm

    I own a 1200 sportster,thinking about wrapping my pipes.I think that it makes the bike really stand out from the others. The advice on here on how to install it explains it quite nicely.Where can you buy this tape at?
    Thanks, will post pics after it’s finished.
    Alan

  6. Hersey on April 18th, 2010 6:25 pm

    Alan,

    Check out JP Cycles or Summit Racing. I got the wrap I used from Summit http://www.summitracing.com/parts/DEI-010108/

    Ride FREE
    Hersey

  7. kyle on June 6th, 2010 2:20 pm

    You can buy the wrap at pretty much any autopart store that sell after market stuff for vehicles and they make high heat spray paint that you can spray on them

  8. Abby on June 28th, 2010 5:53 am

    I hope the comment that they shouldn’t get wet isn’t valid. I’m always getting caught in the rain. Do you know if that’s an issue?

    Also, I have Vance & Hines Staggered Big Shots. I wanted to move to exhaust with a black ceramic heat shield, for the look, but my motorcycle sounds so good now, I hate to mess with it. I’m going to have to remove the heat shields to wrap them, aren’t I? Then I have to deal with the 2-1 issue. Any thoughts on this?

  9. Gav on July 27th, 2010 7:32 pm

    Very helpful – thanks!

  10. Ahren H on September 3rd, 2010 3:01 am

    I have tried these wraps, and they do smell nasty and almost nausiating for the first few rides. I found a good, full-faced helmet kept a lot of the smell out, especially at freeway speeds. Great alternative for a cheesy chrome paint that starts to peel after about a month, and much cheaper than replacing the pipes entirely!

  11. Jeff on April 4th, 2011 11:29 am

    Wrapping my exhaust pipes was nice to keep the heat off my legs, especially on the hottest days. I picked up a cheap kit which had everything it needed to get the job done. http://www.weberracing.net/p374/DEI-010110-Black-Header-Exhaust-Wrap-Kit/product_info.html Hopefully this will last a while. From what I understand, different brands will last longer then others.

  12. Jimmy on April 28th, 2011 2:00 pm

    I wrapped mine a few days ago. They look great, I thought it was weird though, the instructions I received with my wrap said “Do not soak or get wet” during installation if you bought the black wrap, for tan and natural you soak, but for black wrap install dry. That’s the way I did it, and it looks good. I have a 95 honda and wrapped the pipes up to the muffler. I ordered 15 food of wrap and used every single inch of it. I would suggest you order at least 20 foot even for a small job. easier to cut than the stretch. Also gloves and a long sleve shirt would be a good idea, my arms were itching for days. I haven’t notice any difference is sound and I don’t melt my boots on my pipes anymore.

  13. Joey on May 9th, 2011 8:55 pm

    Used the header wrap on different things through the years. They will rot out mild steel headers coated or not and make stainless steel headers crack. But if u have plenty of money and not worried about replacing headers and just want a tiny bit of performance and look different, then go for it. The problem is headers are made so thin so heat can dissipate quickly. Keeping that much internal heat makes the stainless ones crack over time and the mild steel ones will just flat out rot and fall apart. That’s why the warranty is voided by the header company if they have been wrapped. I’m no expert, but my knowledge is a result of bad experience. But hey, it will definitely keep ur leg cooler.

  14. blake george on May 10th, 2011 4:41 am

    I have a v-rod muscle, I put a V&H 2:1 exhaust and wanted to wrap it. is it possible to do it without removing the pipes from the bike? and besides the wrap and clamps, are there any other supplies I need?

  15. jason on June 22nd, 2011 12:40 pm

    I have a turbo (draw through) suzuki 1216 and have the headers wrapped up to the turbine which certainly helps to keep the exhaust gasses hotter therfore higher gas speeds which result in a definate reduced turbo lag. I have not noticed any rot in the headers after replacing the wrap 12 months ago, but then again it is very rare the bike gets wet anyway.


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