What Kind of Metals Are Exhaust Pipes Made Of?

What Kind of Metals Are Exhaust Pipes Made Of?

In this article we will answer the question: What are exhaust pipes made of? To start with basics, an exhaust pipe connects to the engine by the exhaust manifold and runs all the way to the rear end of the bike. It has one specific job, to release exhaust gases. They are bent and shaped to the bike’s specific design. Even though the main purpose is to release exhaust gases, the exhaust pipe also acts as a silencer. It tones down the rumble of the engine to a manageable volume.

There are a wide variety of metals used for exhaust pipes. Some serve the purpose of pure aesthetics, while others are used to perfect the sound. It all depends on your budget and what you prefer. Mild steel is the most common and the cheapest option, while stainless exhausts are often referred to as a work of art due to their eye-pleasing aesthetics. 

Also Read: Exhaust Pipe Fundamentals

What Are Exhaust Pipes Made Of?

What Kind of Metals Are Exhaust Pipes Made Of

The metal used plays a big role in the exhaust’s construction. Due to high heat expulsion, exhausts are most-often made of steel as it is durable. Steel is very easy to work with and readily available. You can bend the steel pipe and shape it as needed. If you were to develop a hole in the exhaust, it would be very easy to repair. Below, we will look at some of the different types of metals used to manufacture exhausts.

Also Read: How to Make Motorcycle Exhaust Quieter?

Mild Steel

What Kind of Metals Are Exhaust Pipes Made Of - Mild Steel

Mild steel is your most common option. It is the most affordable, but it is not very durable. It is very easy to work with as it is easy to bend, shape and weld. Unfortunately, mild steel rusts easily, and it does not offer an eye-pleasing chrome finish.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Readily available
  • Easy to bend and shape

Cons

  • Rusts easily
  • Not very durable

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the most common aftermarket exhaust, and it comes in a wide variety of types, such as 409, 316, and 304, to name a few. The higher the number, the cheaper it is. That being said, it also means that the higher the number, the more prone to rust it is. The 409 and 304 are the most popular for exhaust. Stainless steel exhausts have a chrome finish and mainly welded bends. Since bending stainless steel is very expensive, it requires specific welding and cannot be done by everyone. 

Pros

  • High strength
  • Chrome finish
  • Very durable
  • Rust preventative
  • Great aesthetics
  • Readily available

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Prone to scratches and marks

Aluminized Steel

Aluminized Steel

Aluminized steel exhausts are not as popular. Not only are they softer than stainless steel, they are also more prone to rust. Aluminized steel has an aluminum coating, and if chipped or peeled, it can cause rusting of the component, making it an unwanted item for exhausts. 

Pros

  • Aluminum layer
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Corrodes if chipped
  • Expensive
  • Not easily accessible
  • Hard to work with

Nickel Alloy

Nickel Alloy

Nickel alloy is not a very popular choice in the bike community due to the cost. It is made for high heat application and is the king when it comes to rust resistance and heat application. It is generally favored in Formula One and MotoGP racing. 

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Very high heat resistant
  • Rust resistant
  • Great aesthetics

Cons

  • Not easily accessible
  • Very expensive
  • Hard to work with 

Titanium

Titanium

When looking up exhaust systems online, you generally come across a chrome surface with a blue to orange hue on the tip. That is titanium. Titanium is superior in the strength department, making it a popular choice. Even though it is expensive, it is worth every penny. Titanium exhausts come with a chrome finish that lasts a lifetime. It is the perfect choice for aesthetics and sound.  

Pros

  • Rust preventative
  • Great aesthetics
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Can corrode under certain circumstances

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mild steel good for exhaust?

Yes, mild steel is your most popular option. It is easy to work with and readily available, making it a great choice for beginners.

Can you use galvanized steel for exhaust?

No, galvanized steel is not recommended since when it is exposed to high temperatures, this can result in peeling. Galvanized steel is also very heavy and hard to shape and bend.

Is stainless steel or aluminum better for exhaust?

Stainless steel is the better option as It is more durable, more user-friendly, and easily available, while aluminum is not as strong and is quite expensive.

Also Read: How to Increase Backpressure on Motorcycle Exhaust?

Conclusion

There is an exhaust for every bike rider. It just depends on your style and budget. There are countless options to choose from, with every type of steel offering different advantages. Stainless steel exhausts are one of the most popular options, and it offers the best value for money. Exhaust plays a significant role in the look and sound of your bike; making the right choice on what you want is of utmost importance.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!

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