14 April 2011

The Long Way to Luggage

After thinking for way to long which luggage option might be the right thing for me, I decided months ago it will be the Micatech cases with Pilot mounts.

Then the search began. Do I want the huge Pilot cases (52L per case)? No, rather not - they look like sewing machine cases. The V2 cases? No, rather not - the SW-Motech rack is soft and the unbalanced assembly looks like sh... While I was waiting the V-Pilots came along. Just about perfect for me, but one annoyance: you have to lower the exhaust to fit them. Again, looks like crap.

So, I started a hunt for a really, really narrow and small exhaust. Checked out the Metal Mule exhaust (didn't test but I think slightly too wide), tried to get info on the Keihan exhaust - never heard back from them. Settled on the Hattech Double Exhaust. Ordered one. Loooooong time ago.

It arrived last week, we were in Washington, DC, at the time. Picked it up at the Post Office on Tuesday, installed it on Wednesday. Here's what it looks like:

Hattech Double Exhaust - Side View

As mentioned above, I bought it because it is so incredibly narrow:

Rear View

As you can see, even the left signal sticks out further. This was what I wanted. This now enables me to install Micatech V-Pilot cases that won't stick out far (32.5" width overall for 8" 35L cases). Those cases should give me enough room and are still narrow enough to not worry at all whether they are on the bike or not.

I haven't ordered them just yet as I want to test the exhaust a little bit first. I want to make sure I like it and everything works properly and the bike rides as expected.

One Big Surprise

I did some comparisons when I installed the new exhaust:
  • The stock exhaust is 1.2kg lighter. That surprised me a little bit this is normally not the case. I guess BMW did a not too bad job with the stock exhaust. The Hattech is 6.3kg, the stock exhaust 5.1kg. Doesn't matter to me. 
  • The stock exhaust is louder. That really surprised me. Before I installed the new one I did some low-tech measurement with my iPhone 4 and the Faber Acoustics iOS app to find out the noise level for the stock exhaust at 1m distance at idle and 3m distance at ~ 3500rpm. When the new one was installed I repeated the measurement and found the Hattech to be 3db(A) qieter at idle and 5db(A) quieter at 3500rpm. So the weight really seems to go into some noise reduction. Very, very nice. I like quiet bikes. I hope it doesn't cost too much power, but I can live with a bit less easily. The R1200GS has more than enough power to ignore a small loss.
  • The sounds is pretty much the same as before, just less intrusive. Love it.

Here are the glitches I found:
  • The Hattech is not completely tight. There is some air coming out at the connection between the original part and the end can. Not much and I don't think it's a problem.
  • The connection between the end can and the pipe doesn't have as much overlap as with the original can. Again, I don't think it's a problem.
  • The mounting bolt that came with the exhaust is a little bit too short and therefore the locking nut doesn't actually lock properly. I'll replace the bolt with a slightly longer one next time I get to a hardware store.
  • There were no mounting instructions. No biggie, I just installed it the way it fitted best. No rocket science.

So, after it took forever to arrive here, I think I made the right decision. The exhaust looks really good, is quiet, sounds good, is narrow. It took about 6 weeks to arrive here, mainly due to Hattech being on motorcycle shows in Germany, first building (but fortunately not sending) one for the older 2009 model, then the slow shipping with DHL and USPS. But I think it was worth the wait.

I'll report more how it rides when I have some miles on it.


  1. Thanks for posting this - I had never seen this system before, and of course it would be heavier as there are 2 cans.

    Custom exhausts seem a bit of a black art to me - I saw a comparison recently in a German magazine that showed that most of them reduced power (but produced more noise)!

  2. You are right, most aftermarket systems are not as optimized as the OEM exhaust and therefore you'll loose power. Most people buy it for the sound and, that is my perception, for the feeling that "opening it" will enhance airflow and give more power. That's mostly wrong though as much of the pressure build up happens in the pipes and in the cat, not in the can.

    I am absolutely certain that I loose power with the Hattech exhaust I just installed. But I'm also fairly certain that this will be a loss on paper only and that I will not notice it while riding. I'll find out soon. I had completely different reasons for getting this exhaust - namely the quest for narrow, full sized panniers. That the Hattech is also quieter than the OEM is a very welcome surprise.

  3. I never even thought there would be an iPhone app to measure noise. Thank you for the info. Would there be a heat shield between the exhaust and the cases or is heat not really an issue?

    I like the look better than the stock...


  4. You are becoming a master of farkling! Not yet sure I like it but I can certainly see the advantages that come with it when you mount the luggage.
    And of course the iphone has an app to measure noise level ;-)
    BTW we are picking up Vespa Uno today, and Vespa Due tomorrow, just saying... there is more than farkling.

  5. I'm not certain about the heat just yet. So far, the exhaust can itself gets pretty warm but not hot. Still possible to touch it with bare hands. I have no cases just yet.

    I like the look better, too.

  6. @Sonja: Nice! That's awesome! Vespas are awesome and soooooo much fun!

    I needed to get used to the different look for a day, but now I really like it better as it looks less bulky.

    Still waiting for Micatech to get around designing exactly the luggage I want ... ;-)

  7. Guido:

    I like the narrow exhaust and lower noise too. I wished I could have narrower sidecases, Sometimes I think they are a problem in the wind, creating too much turbulance. I was looking for some used E36 square cases for a narrower profile.

    I wonder if Vespa Uno and Duo mean what I think they mean ?

    Riding the Wet Coast