We all like tinkering and fettling about with our machines and some enjoy it more than riding them even! So it came as no surprise to me when I recently came across an article of a study that found exhausts were the most frequently modified piece of equipment on motorcycles today. On one hand, of course they are! Everyone knows someone that has changed either the mufflers or the full system; I’d even argue that most of the people you know have done this or at least acquired the bike with this modification already. On the other hand, there is an irony that can’t go unmentioned, of how much money and development goes into this piece of equipment by manufacturers, only to be “ripped off” even before the first service sometimes. However, this is NOT an article about that or the political and potential environmental ramifications of this piece of metal strapped to our bikes.

So why then? Why is this the number one most modified thing on a bike, the exhaust? We generally consider two, perhaps three pieces of criteria when selecting a new exhaust. The fact we change or even consider changing it suggests that what was on there originally does not meet some or in cases, all three of that criteria. Furthermore, it’s this very criteria that contributes a large amount towards the “feel” of our bikes that we sometimes just can’t explain. So what are they? One - what it looks like, two - what it sounds like, and three - (loosely) how much extra weight does it add to/take away from the bike. I say “perhaps” “loosely” because for some reason, it is something a lot of people mention, but very rarely does it really contribute anything meaningful unless you’re trying out for Moto2 this year (yes Moto2, not MotoGP because this is a Triumph magazine).

Why am I telling you this? Well due to it being the most modified piece of equipment on a motorcycle, naturally there are literally thousands of options to choose from. By now I have owned enough bikes and different styles of bikes, that I think of myself (in my head) as a bit of an exhaust connoisseur. I now know what makes things sound a certain way, look at certain way, “feel” a certain way. During this “education”, I believe I have found the holy grail of exhausts. Not only does it meet ALL of the three pieces of criteria we have told ourselves matters, it absolutely smashes the doors of it. In a world of Zards, Vance and Hines, British Customs, SC Projects, Akrapovic, Arrow, even Thornton Hundred’s works of art… Hitchcox Motorcycles reigns supreme.

Tom Hitchcox hasn’t been around for all that long. Well he as a person has, and during that time on earth so far, he has amassed an extremely impressive CV/resume to pin to his name and now his very own brand. The former Formula 1 Fabricator Welder is not only a magician with metal work, but a motorcycle rider through and through. He has taken the precision, the experience he’s accumulated, the ability to squeeze every ounce of performance from an exhaust system, and married it flawlessly with a masterpiece to the eyes. Science and art working together are almost nigh on impossible these days, but Hitchcox has cracked it. 

Our criteria then. One, it is difficult to convey just how perfect this system sounds. Loud enough to put a smile on your face that it aches when you get off at the end of your ride, but you won’t be riding past people forcing them to grimace and cover their ears like with some motorcycle manufactures out there. I’m not going to say who… But what if I do want to get my own back on the neighbour that leaves his barking dog out all night? Or what if I prefer to go undetected, stealth through the streets with just a purr underneath me? Hitchcox truly has this covered. The attention to detail is unmatched, down to the types of cores inside the baffle such as mine, that pushes the exhaust gasses into a swirling motion giving it a distinct and unique sound. I recently took the Speed Twin to a massive bike meet, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say I was swarmed as I pulled up and parked. Two people that day, told me it was the best sounding exhaust they have ever heard, and I agree with them.

Two? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So I won’t pretend that my choice of exhaust type will be everyone’s cup of tea. However, Hitchcox offers ‘off the shelf’ ready to ride exhausts and muffler only systems of all types, cones, drag pipes etc. but also offers a completely bespoke and customised option to bring your dream exhaust to life. What I think we can all agree on however, is what this thing looks like under heat. You see again, science in sound and performance have met art with the dazzling blues and purples of extremely perfect ‘pie cut’ welds. Welding is not easy anyway, but welding as good as this is up there with some of the greatest pieces of art the world has seen. It is flawless, and gives the bike so much character. Again though, if pie cuts aren’t your thing, mandrel bands, shaped bends can all be done instead.

Three. Ok, I’ve mentioned a couple times that the third piece of criteria is more of a cool talking point than a realistic modification. However, this system did not just shave off a couple of pounds here and there. The Speed Twin isn’t a heavy bike to begin with, but we weighed the shipping box with the new exhaust in before, and then filled the box after with what we took off and weighed it again. 32lbs came off that bike… that is 14.5Kg! With that weight reduction and a nice tune, it feels like a completely different bike, in a good way. It was described to me by someone else as an “absolute weapon now” and that it is.

I don’t think I will ever put another brand exhaust on any of my projects again. I don’t say that about a lot (if any) things of mine. I love variety, especially on my bikes. Sport bikes, modern classic, CLASSIC classics, my Tiger, they all have their own character and deserve their own style. I can do that with Hitchcox and as they expand from just Triumph models, that variety only promises to expand further with it. Because unlike that “3 in 1” body wash and shampoo you have sitting in your shower, Hitchcox really does set the standard for something that “does everything”.

Please, go and check them out, shoot Tom Hitchcox an email. You really won’t be disappointed. He’s a great guy with an exceptional talent, and it’s all British made in Northhamptonshire, but ships worldwide. Let him know you’ve seen this article and are in the TOMCC, and see if he can make your dream project come to life.

February 09, 2024 — Ellie Hitchcox