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GOING THE DISTANCE
"DIRTY BANDAGE SYNDROME"
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
WHAT'S NEXT?: If I held up my pipes with slings, how many lemmings would copycat it?
QUESTION AT A MOTORCYCLE FORUM:
EXHAUST PIPE WRAP, IS THERE A REAL BENEFIT?
"I was thinking about putting on some exhaust wrap to take care of the amount of heat that the front pipe puts out. I was actually hoping to find a carbon fiber heat shield for it, to replace the stock one, but to no avail. I could not find a small piece of wrap just to put around that area, so I got a 50' roll. Question is, if I wrapped both pipes, would there be any real benefit from doing so?"
A RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION:
"I would avoid it if your bike sees rain or mud. Unless of course you plan to change the wrap out on a semi-regular basis. The wrap will trap water against the exaust system and WILL eventually form holes in it. The only bikes I would ever consider header wrap on would be bikes that see track use."
This exchange at a motorcycling forum featured a sensible question about the use of exhaust wrap, and an even more sensible response. This is not a chopper forum where participants are primarily interested in customizing for apprearances' sake. The riders in this forum only care about function.
However, riders who customize their bikes with exhaust wrap for a certain look, are in a different category entirely.
Here's the deal: The reason that most customizers put exhaust wrap on their pipes has nothing to do with increasing the heat of the gases inside the exhaust which ramps up the gases' velocity, therefore increasing horsepower. It has to do with cosmetics. Bikers that put wrap on their pipes are mainly concerned with lookin' trendy, as trendy as yuppie martini bars decorated with zebra plants.
To that end, they succeed. They succeed that is, in being wrapped up, if you'll excuse the pun, in copycatting a custom look deemed to be cool, even if the exhaust gases run hot---but the look sure leaves me cold.
Monkey see, monkey do?
Trends come and trends go, but this one has me stumped, if for no other reason, that the wrap after a few weeks of riding, begins to look like the dirty bandages that covered Lon Chaney Jr. in "The Mummy's Tomb" after a couple of millennia in a sarcophagus. Not that exhaust wrap looks good, even when new. I call this the Dirty Bandage Syndrome, or the "embalmed look." Who'd a thunk that formaldehyde would become the fluid of choice in chopper circles, instead of Harley 60 weight?
Some may consider the dirty bandage look somehow avant garde, but here's what it really is: A perfect example of people willing to follow any trend that is considered cool by the Me-Tooism Establishment, no matter how ridiculous. Lemmings will always follow-the-leader, and clueless folks will always follow whichever way the weathervane of peer pressure-driven conformity points.
As if bikers don't have enough to do to keep their rides functional, now they have to turn into a Legion Of Registered Nurses, obligated to change the bandages on their exhaust pipes every three weeks? The reason to do so is not merely cosmetic. If these dirty bandages aren't changed on a regular basis, then the water, dirt and sediment get trapped against the pipes and deteriorate them. What gets me is that a biker having his bike featured in a magazine, would be too lazy to change the bandages just so that his bike would look better in the photographs. An exhaust pipe looking like The Mummy's leg, with blackened bandages, is not a pretty sight.
New bandages on pipes are only slightly better, looking like a desperation move to cover unfinished pipes.
How lame do some bikers have to be, to mindlessly follow a trend which is obviously ludicrous, having no real world benefit on a street bike, and no aesthtetically enhancing ability?
As long as we're stickin' with a medical theme for customizing, how about different colored slings for mounting exhaust pipes? These could be color-matched to the paint on your tin, or even designed with flames. These multicolored slings could obsolete exhaust clamps.
How about sissy bars shaped like crutches? A Stethoscope plugged into an on-board radio? We can all wear doctor's lab coats when we ride, replete with name tags and twenty pounds of badges from rallies. These would be so trendy, that clubs would adopt 'em instead of cutoffs for their colors. Check it out. Picture a patchholder, flying down the highway on his stroked Harley at full blast, the loosening bandages on his pipes trailing the bike like the train of a wedding dress, with the biker's white lab coat with the club colors proudly emblazoned on the back, the lab coat's tails flapping in the wind. Man, wotta sight! Doctor Kildare was never this wild.
Why stop there? How about a gas tank in the shape of a prescription pill bottle, painted with the label showing the medication, dosage and pharmacy telephone number? The phramacy's number can be the fabricating shop's number, as a further inducement for fabricators to create such a pill bottle design: More business from free advertising. Why not a split design like fatbobs, except we'll call 'em "pillbobs?" One half will hold the gas, and the other the biker's medications and assorted illicit drugs along for the trip.
How about this?
Saddle bags can be doctor's black bags, converted to motorcycling use. In the place of footpegs or floorboards, we can install the stirrups from an gynecology exam table. Hey man, how about that! Then you can do an "exam" on yer old lady at the same time that you ride! Surgical gloves will take the place of riding gloves. Gotta stay sanitary, ya know?
Photo by Genghis
The ultimate chase vehicle for the discerning club.
For the truly forward leaning club, it can use an ambulance as a chase vehicle. Not only can it carry spare parts, it can be driven by a club member certified as an EMT, with transporting privileges at local area hospitals! It can carry oxygen tanks filled with laughing gas, instead, for a really good time.
Think of the possibilities for an ambulance as a lead vehicle, clearing the way in traffic for a hundred bikes, siren blaring and lights blinking!
These medical trends in motorcyle customizing will spawn a new international club called the Angels Of Mercy, M.C., with new chapters springing up all around the world, adjacent to major medical centers. Prospects will have to take blood pressure measurements of club members, as part of their coming up.
The customizing possibilties are endless, within the medical theme. How about front end consisting of two IV drip stands, sporting a wheel from a wheelchair? This skinny wheel will make a traditonal 21 looks like a tractor tire by comparison.
A bro can hook up an IV bottle with beer in it, and have it flow directly into his vein! No hands are needed! You've heard of no-hands devices for cell phones, now you've got 'em for beer consumption while riding! Handlebars can be made from parts from your grandmother's walker.
But here's the kicker: A chromed bed pan as a seat. If the biker wears crotchless jeans to match his old lady's crotchless panties, then he won't have to stop to take a crap! He can relieve himself while on the highway! And if you think that's a crappy idea, really give some thought to exhaust pipe wrap.
Go back thirty years before the madness began. If some bro showed up with the pipes of his panhead bandaged up, how hard would you have laughed? Maybe hard enough to land in that ambulance chase vehicle, for a trip to the emergency room for a busted gut. Later.