In this article, we tackle hydro-dipping motorcycle exhausts.
Hydro dipping is all the rage these days, with people looking to get cool paint designs for cheap. But can you hydro dip a motorcycle exhaust? Will it hold up to the heat? How long would the paint last?
If you are asking all of these questions and more, we’ll help you. We have been riding and working on motorcycles for over 20 years, so we know a thing or two about ’em!
Keep reading for more information about hydro-dipping motorcycle exhausts.
So Can You Actually Hydro Dip A Motorcycle Exhaust?
You should first ask, ‘Can hydro dipping hold up to the heat of a motorcycle exhaust?’ And in a word: maybe. Let us explain.
A motorcycle exhaust gets hot. Like, really hot. But the temperature of a motorcycle exhaust is far from constant along the entire pipe. Specifically, the exhaust gasses are at their hottest in the header pipes. They cool down a little bit, moving towards the muffler, but still reaching 450 F!
Hydro dipping is surprisingly resilient to heat. You can expect hydro dipping treatments to withstand up to 550 F. While that might be just enough for a muffler, it falls short for header pipes, which can reach up to 1400 F!
So with all of that in mind, we can assume that only a motorcycle exhaust’s muffler can be hydro dipped. But there are some caveats. Firstly, different motorcycle exhausts use different types of metals.
And when it comes to hydro dipping, it is only very thick stainless steel that seems to work well with hydro dipping. For most other metals, hydro dipping does not last as long.
Furthermore, there are some problems with hydro dipping a motorcycle exhaust. Even if the hydro dipping can withstand the extremely high temperatures of a motorcycle exhaust, hydro dipping is more prone to scratching and scuffing. This ruins the effect and should make you question whether hydro-dipping a motorcycle exhaust is even worth it.
Best Ways To Hydro Dip A Motorcycle Exhaust?
In our opinion, the best way to hydro dip a motorcycle exhaust is to get it done professionally. Professional workshops and paint shops have access to specific equipment and supplies that work really well for hydro dipping. These include paints that hold up better to heat and special equipment that can get more consistent patterns and better exhaust coverage.
We don’t really recommend trying to hydro dip your exhaust at home, as the process requires a lot of care and attention to be done correctly. You can probably get it done, but unless you have been hydro dipping for a while, the result may not look as high quality as you expect.
That said, the process for hydro dipping a motorcycle exhaust muffler at home should be pretty much the same as hydro dipping anything else. You may need to prepare the surface of the muffler by removing the existing paint finish. You can sand the muffler down and then add a primer coat before hydro dipping the exhaust.
We would also recommend that you cover up the openings in the exhaust muffler. This will prevent the hydro dip from getting in the exhaust and potentially causing problems later.
Should you hydro dip your motorcycle exhaust?
It is our opinion that you should be able to do whatever the heck you want to the motorcycle you paid for, as long as it is legal. But if you ask us, hydro dipping seems like a lot of trouble, with only a little bit of upside as far as the customization of your bike is concerned.
Ultimately, there are better ways of customizing your motorcycle’s exhaust, from powder coating and painting to wrapping the exhaust. If you still want to hydro dip the exhaust, get it done professionally. And if you have your heart set on doing it yourself, maybe do a test run on a spare muffler before hydro dipping your main exhaust.
How can I customize my exhaust without hydro dipping?
There are a lot of customization options when it comes to motorcycle exhausts. Most of these are more common than hydro dipping, so that you will have plenty of options and aftermarket support. Let’s take a look at some common methods.
1. Powder coat the exhaust
Powder coating has been around for ages. It is pretty straightforward and, at least in our opinion, looks better than hydro dipping. Furthermore, the process is significantly more resilient than hydro dipping. So much so that you can get your exhaust’s muffler, mid-pipe, headers, and even your motorcycle’s engine powder coated. Plus, modern powder coating methods can apply different colors to engine and exhaust parts.
You also get the benefit of rust and corrosion resistance with powder coating. Not to mention, it will hold up better over time, scratching less than hydro dips.
2. Wrap the exhaust
We are huge proponents of wrapping an exhaust. Not only can you get exhaust wraps in various colors and materials, but they are also a functional accessory. Exhaust wraps significantly reduce the heat coming off the exhaust, making longer journeys more comfortable.
You can check out our picks for the best exhaust wraps here.
3. Add heat shields to the exhaust
Heat shields are another functional accessory that protects you from excess exhaust heat and looks pretty cool. Nowadays, you have more heat shields to choose from than ever before. You can get heat shields made of stainless steel, titanium, carbon fiber, and many other materials.
They also come in various designs and sizes, so you can get just the right one that fits your style.
So that’s hydro dipping your motorcycle exhaust. For us, it seems too risky and not nearly cool enough to try at home. Professional hydro dipping may be a good alternative. Still, if you want to customize your motorcycle exhaust, there are many options before hydro dipping.