One of the top upgrades many dirt biker riders get shortly after taking their new ride home comes in the form of a new aftermarket exhaust system.

Even though the stock exhaust works completely fine.

This results in one of the most common questions our Gearheads get from hesitant weekend warriors who try weighing the expense and time involved in such an endeavor:

Does Upgrading My Dirt Bike Exhaust Really Matter?

So we pretty much say every time: Yes it does. Then follow with something like "depending on what you are trying to accomplish." So, we'll try to explain why or why not you should upgrade the exhaust on your dirt bike and hopefully set you along the right path!

Most stock exhaust pretty much "gets the job done." So for casual riders, who mostly hit the trails who don't care about upgrades or want to spend the money, stock exhaust works just fine. It generally has a higher pitch sound that you may find annoying but keeping the packing fresh helps.

This brings us to the #1 (maybe #2) reason why riders seek aftermarket exhaust. A an aftermarket full exhaust system or even just replacing the slip-on (4-stroke) or silencer (2-stroke) can help not only reduce decibels but produces a far better throaty tone that sounds way cooler than stock. If you ride sanctioned off-road races you likely need an aftermarket exhaust just for the lower decibel requirements. This brings us to...

Spark Arrestor

Probably the actual #1 reason for aftermarket exhaust purchases in the form of a spark arrestor. A spark arrestor not only helps reduce sounds but eliminates the backfire of carbon that can cause fires. Again, sanctioned off-road races absolutely require a spark arrestor which can be done in a full exhaust system but you can certainly get away with adding it as a slip-on or muffler or you can add the Fastway Spark Arrestor End Cap to your existing stock or aftermarket exhaust for a genuine, approved spark arrested muffler - sorry 2-strokers not on KTM or Jusqvarna need a new silencer.

Motocross racers upgrade mostly to a full exhaust system because of the significant amount of weight gains (several pounds). If you race and want to reduce the weight of your dirt bike you can replace just the muffler or silencer but for significant gains you really need to replace the whole system. This leads us to the final reason for upgrading the exhaust on your dirt bike...

Performance! Yes, this ranks last though most newcomers think it's the #1 reason. A new slip-on or silencer does offer some performance gains but not as much as a full exhaust upgrade and, overall, not as much as you think. You can expect some performance gains and if you truly bring talent to the track and compete for podiums a full exhaust system upgrade most likely will give that extra edge over your competitors if you still run stock.

However, if the talent and racing experience don't add up don't bother with the upgrade simply for performance because the only impact you'll experience is to your wallet. In fact, you might not even notice the difference and depending on your dirt bike you won't even get an increase in horsepower.

Aftermarket Dirt Bike Exhaust

Aftermarket exhausts mostly move the power curve to make the delivery more usable for the rider. On some bikes an aftermarket exhaust contributes to higher-end power while on others you get more lower end power. Since the makes and models vary, we won't list them al lout here instead give us a call at 888-676-8853 and we'll quickly skip the pleasantries and help you decide on the right exhaust system for your dirt bike, riding style and needs.

A new dirt bike exhaust system looks cool, sounds rad and might even give you a boost in confidence simply knowing it's there, but outside of entering an off-road race that requires the change or the subtle power boost you need and your talent can integrate for racing, buy a high-end dirt bike helmet before investing the money in tricking out your dirt bike. More questions? Read Exhaust Upgrade - What You Need to Know for additional information.