Best aftermarket exhausts for your motorcycle

Almost every bike benefits from a new pipe

Fitting an aftermarket exhaust to a motorcycle

by Jim Blackstock |

It’s safe to say that the most popular aftermarket motorcycle accessory of all is an upgraded exhaust.

Whether you want to make your sportsbike or cruiser sound better, fancy giving your bike a bit of branded bling, want to cut weight or improve power or all of the above, an aftermarket replacement exhaust is the way to go.

But, with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds, a baffling choice of brands and an equally huge variety of types available — full systems or just silencer/can — it’s hard to know not only what’s out there but what you should go for.

Which is where we come in. This guide isn’t intended as a definitive explanation of what’s available for your specific bike — we simply haven’t the scope or space here to do that.

Related: Best bolt-on engine upgrades for your motorcycle

Instead it’s an overview to most of the different types and brands available, which should point you in the right direction to be able to make a decision about your machine.

So, with all that in mind, here’s our current guide to (some) of the best aftermarket exhausts available, in no particular order...

Two Brothers Comp-S Slip-On Can

Two Brothers Comp-S Slip-On Can
Amazon

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A great example of a performance can for machines other than sportsbikes, in this case Honda's Rebel 500 cruiser, and also one from one of the less-known American brands; others include Vance and Hines, and all are worth a look.

This one’s in matt- black stainless steel with a carbon-fibre end cap and, importantly, retains the bike’s stock 02 sensor. It’s also beautifully crafted and sounds great, although it’s not the cheapest.

Pros:

One for cruiser fans

Respected American brand

Quality construction

Con:

Check it’s UK road legal

Akrapovic Full System, Yamaha YZF-R125

Akrapovic Full System u2013 Yamaha YZF-R125

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One of the biggest names in motorcycle exhausts, on one of the most popular 125s. Slovenia's Akrapovic has become the virtually undisputed World #1 for motorcycle exhausts in the past 20 years or so for its quality and reputation and this is a good example of its wares.

A full system from cylinder to silencer, giving the biggest potential for performance enhancement, in 100% titanium for lightness, with an oval silencer in either carbon fibre or titanium. It sounds good, this one’s race only (due to noise, road versions are also available), enhances performance and is beautifully made which, at this price, perhaps it should be.

Pros:

Best brand of all

Full system so most performance gain

Fabulous quality

Con:

This one race only – not road legal

Arrow Bolt-On Silencer, Honda CBR125R

Arrow Bolt-On Silencer u2013 Honda CBR125R

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If you can't afford or don't need the maximum performance gain a full system offers, a bolt-on silencer or can is a very popular option, as typified by this example from reputable Italian brand Arrow.

With a titanium body and carbon fibre end cap it looks almost as good as a full system, is quicker and easier to fit, requires no re-mapping and yet still sounds and looks great – and all for a far more affordable price. With this Arrow (and many others) lots of different options, shapes and materials are available, but make sure you get the right one for your bike.

Pros:

Reputable brand

Great looks and sound

More affordable and easy to fit

Con:

Hasn’t the extra performance of a full system

Gianelli Expansion Chamber, Vespa PX125

Gianelli Expansion Chamber u2013 Vespa PX125
Amazon

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Although two-stroke powered two-wheelers are now few and far between due to tightening EU emissions regulations, they're still popular and available among scooters and lightweights and the power-enhancing 'expansion chamber' exhausts that can significantly boost performance remain popular.

One of the leading brands is Italian scooter performance specialists Gianelli (which is also behind Arrow) with this pipe for the Vespa PX125/150 a typical example of its wares. It’s beautifully made, significantly raises performance and is of decent value, too.

Pros:

Decent performance (and sound) hike

Reputable brand

Good value

Con:

Can require expert setting up

Yoshimura R-11 Slip-On Silencer, Suzuki GSX-S1000

Yoshimura R-11 Slip-On Silencer u2013 Suzuki GSX-S1000

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Japanese brand Yoshimura can rightfully claim to be another of the world leaders in motorcycle exhausts with a huge variety of both road and race full systems, slip-on cans and more with this R-11 model typical of its top-quality wares.

It comes in a variety of specs, either stainless steel, titanium or blued titanium, all with a carbon end cap and collector-box heat shield, has a detachable ‘DB killer’ baffle, looks and sounds great and is easy to fit.

Pros:

Famous quality brand

Top quality

Variety of finishes

Con:

Premium price

GPR Slip-On Can With Catalyser, Yamaha MT-09

GPR Slip-On Can With Catalyser u2013 Yamaha MT-09
Amazon

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Here's another example of a decent, mid-range can, this time from the more affordable Italian brand, GPR, and also one that usefully retains the exhaust catalyser. It's street-legal with a black finish. On the downside, due to the MT-09's one-piece stock pipe, the original needs to have its silencer cut off before you can fit the GPR version.

Nor is it as fancy-looking or in as exotic materials as some offerings, which may all add up to the question ‘Why bother?’ There is a double removable db-killer baffle, though, so at least you can make it sound good!

Pros:

Street legal

Improved sound

Reasonable value

Con:

Requires stock exhaust to be cut

Scorpion RP-1GP Exhaust, Yamaha R1/R1M

Scorpion RP-1GP Exhaust u2013 Yamaha R1/R1M

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Scorpion is probably the leading British aftermarket motorcycle exhaust brand and, like its larger rivals, offers a huge range of exhausts, cans and more both for road and race.

This is their high-end road/race can with a super-light carbon fibre construction a claimed 3bhp power improvement over stock (without need for remapping) and great looks and sound. It’s pretty good value, too.

Pros:

Improved power/weight

British brand

Decent value

Con:

Less well-known than some

IXIL complete system, Yamaha MT-07

IXIL complete system u2013 Yamaha MT-07
Amazon

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Another full system, this time from quality, but lesser known, French brand IXIL. The downpipes are in corrosion-resistant stainless steel which then fit to a separate, slip-on and stylish twin outlet, black finished silencer.

Performance is claimed to be slightly up, as is the sound; weight is usefully down, and long-term durability should be excellent – plus it’s even not that expensive! IXIL may not be as well-known as some in the UK but they’re worth checking out.

Pros:

Good value

Improved performance all round

Lighter than standard

Con:

Lesser known than some

Bad Dog Oval Race Can, Triumph Tiger 955i

Bad Dog Oval Race Can u2013 Triumph Tiger 955i

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Another British exhaust/accessory brand, but this time one at the more budget end of the spectrum. This race (not road legal) can is fairly simple, straightforward and typical of its products. It's a straightforward oval design in stainless, is easy to fit and simply slots onto the standard header pipes with no need to re-adjust the fuelling.

It hasn’t the performance gains, options or quality of some more expensive alternatives but, at this price, is great value.

Pros:

Good value

Stainless steel construction

Simple to fit

Con:

This one’s not road legal

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