Before we proceed, please read my disclaimer.
As far as mechanical skills go, if you can assemble Lego, or maybe an IKEA desk, then you will be able to install your own pipes on the VFR. Here’s a walk-through of me fitting my Leo Vince pipes. I would describe the process as “easy” and if your bike has never witnessed you holding a spanner, then this is an ideal first project. I’ve written this walk-through in a fair amount of detail to try and give the wary and mechanically timid a good indication of what they will be up against.
You will need:
- One sixth generation VFR.
- One set of Leo Vince exhausts.
- One 3 mm Allen key
- One 5 mm Allen key
- One 6 mm Allen key
- One 13 mm Ring spanner (or “wrench” if you speak with a funny accent)
Optional stuff that can make the job easier:
- WD40 (or similar)
- Needle nosed pliers
- Small flat head screwdriver
- Spirit level
So, here’s the bike in question, in stock trim:
And here’s what you (should) get in the box.
The exhaust even comes with its own miniature coat hanger!
Trap for young players: Ensure you have all the parts and tools required before pulling your bike apart – especially if it is your only means of transport. Having to put everything back together half way through so you can go source extra pieces can be quite annoying!
I was very impressed with the overall build quality of the Leo Vince exhausts. All the insides of the pipes appeared to have been machined and there were no welding dags in the joints etc. The fit and the look were also first rate. Having said that, there was one shard that was in the splitter pipe which was easily removed with a pair of needle nosed pliers.
OK Let’s get going!
First job, remove the seat and grab rails. – There are plastic caps covering the four 6mm Allen key bolts. Once these are removed the grab rails lift straight off.
Now, there are four Allen key bolts holding the duck-trail to the bike. Two mounted horizontally near the front of the duck-tail (where the pillion peg bracket mounts to the sub-frame) and two mounted vertically just near the grab rail handles. The duck-tail also has two plastic pegs seated in rubber grommets meaning it needs to be pulled straight back. Undo the four bolts and slide the duck-tail straight back a few centimetres.
This gives you room to disconnect the turn signals, brake, tail light and licence plate light wires at their junction points. (You should do so now)
Trap for young players: Never use force to pull wiring plugs apart. There’s often a clip that is easily prised up with a flat head screwdriver. If you’re having to force it, you’re probably doing it wrong! If the bike is in poor condition, consider using WD40 spray on the connectors before attempting to disconnect them.
Now remove the rear fender. There are four bolts accessed from the top and two accessed from underneath the bike.
Tip: You may find it makes life easier to remove the right pillion peg and bracket. This is held in place by two 8mm allen key bolts
Now the fun begins. Loosen the clamp bolts at the bottom of the exhaust pipes where the pipe joins the catalytic converter.
Then remove the two bolts where the mufflers attach to the subframe.
Tip: If you can’t get enough leverage on the allen key to turn these bolts, you can use a ring spanner on the end of the allen key.
Carefully lower the pipes (remember that they are still attached to the catalytic converter)
There’s a graphite gasket that seals the pipes to the catalytic converter. This is what is currently holding the pipes on. With enough care, you should be able to wiggle the pipe free without damaging the graphite seal, but remember that it is extremely soft compared to the metal its attached to.
With a bit of wiggling the pipes come off:
Hmm… must remember to check the car tyre pressures at some stage…
Fit the Leo Vince mufflers and pipes loosely. They were all a good fit and didn’t require any silicon to seal them. Leave everything loose to allow for minor adjustments.
Don’t worry too much about getting things level yet. We need to attach the springs first.
(See it was a spring puller, not a coat hanger!)
Near as I could tell, the short spring goes to attach the left muffler to the pipe.
All the other springs are the same length and secure the various join pipes together.
You can rest a spirit level across the pipes to make sure they sit level. But if you do this, check that the sub-frame is level too! (in case you are on a slight slope and the bike is leaning)
The roly-poly cat thought I might need a supervisor…
…but quickly tired of the role and went to do something more interesting, such as stare at the wall:
Attach the supplied carbon fibre heat shield. There were four soft washers and four metal washers. The soft washers protect the finish of the carbon fibre and the heat shield.
Once you’ve got the set up level, tighten up the brackets and clamp and reassemble the bike.
No dodgy home-job is complete without having bits left over:
The bracket is meant to help secure the pipe to the pillion peg bracket. But there was no way it was going to reach. I could have futzed around with positioning the pipes such that it did, but the pipes would not have fitted so neatly and not without putting undue strain on the rest of the mounting points. So, it stays off for now until I custom make a bracket, or modify this one to suit.
Edit: In case you were ever following me and frightened the exhaust system would fall off; you will be pleased to know that I have used a round file to elongate the hole in the bracket. This has allowed me to use the bracket to help secure the exhaust to the pillion peg bracket. To keep the pillion peg bracket square against the sub-frame, I needed to use an additional washer on the front bolt.
As far as I could tell, the four alloy spacers were meant to replace the standard rubber mounted ones where the pipe clamp bolts attach to the sub-frame. The rubber washers were glued to the sub-frame and no doubt help dampen any vibration that travels through the sub-frame. The standard set up didn’t seem worth disturbing. The fitting instructions were very generic and the picture supplied was so small, it was useless. However, even without IKEA quality instructions, I would still rate the job as “easy”.