Talking to a muffler manufacturer isnít something we typically do, but Stainless Ride makes a unique product. All its mufflers are handcrafted and all are built out of stainless steel, instead of chrome. We talked to Hassan about his company and its products.
Motorcycle.com: How long has Stainless Ride been around?
Shareef Hassan: Stainless Ride has been around for three years by itself, but it acquired another company called EPCO which has been around for 30 years?
MO: What bikes do you build product for?
SH: Stainless Ride started off with the BMW products, the Hinkley TriumphÖ We have Yamaha, Honda, and Harley-Davidson. We build mufflers for metric cruisers, tourers, retro and vintage bikes. The one place weíre not too strong is sportbikes, but we do have a couple of prototypes for the Triumph Speed Triple on the drawing board.
MO: Are all your pipes made to order?
SH: We tend to take a lot of custom orders in. Some people may want something for an oddball bike. They send us a sample muffler and say ďchange this, change that.Ē We do have direct sales, but weíre also carried by various distributors across the United States and Canada.
MO: After placing an order, how long does it take for the muffler to be completed and shipped?
SH: It depends on if itís a completely new design or if weíre adapting something from an existing design. From an existing design it usually takes no more than a week and a half before itís in the customerís hands. If itís a completely new design, itís probably about six to eight weeks.
MO: How many slip-on pipes does Stainless Ride make in a month?
SH: We typically make about 120 to 150 slip-ons a month.
MO: What sets Stainless Ride mufflers apart from other aftermarket slip-ons?
SH: They are still hand-fabricated instead of going through a big industrial process. We enjoy working with our customers. People say ďcan I really get that changeĒ or ďI really want this type of cut.Ē Itís not a very complicated process or a huge industrial process. Customers really like that we can interact on a one-on-one basis and design a muffler for them. Itís not like Vance & Hines or one of these other companies. They make great product and they have a wonderful place, but itís a huge industrial place and you canít talk to somebody down in production thatís making your muffler for you.
MO: What are the benefits of using a stainless steel muffler?
SH: You think about your cutlery in your house or a surgeonís instruments Ė stainless steel lasts forever. You put your fork in the dishwasher it doesnít get rusty if you leave it there for a few days. Stainless has a durability factor. Unless you tip your bike, that muffler is good for life. The other benefit for stainless is it has a tone that is different from chrome. Itís a deeper, throatier sound. That has nothing to do with the inside of the muffler Ė this is just the metal resonance itself. With that property you can actually make some mufflers that sound a lot more mellow.
MO: Are your customers generally looking for a stainless replica or something more unique?
SH: We can do a bone stock replica of what the factory delivered and weíve done that for some customers. But typically our models have a bigger opening or a different cut or something that says itís not exactly stock. Our typical line is a little bit different than stock. A little bit bigger a little more aggressive looking.
MO: What kind of performance gains do you get with a Stainless Ride muffler?
SH: These are not drag pipes. Itís obviously not too hard to make a pipe that will show extremely well on a dyno just before your engine blows up. Our pipes are built for riders that enjoy real world performance, which means crisper throttle response, it will have more mid-range torque, and it will have a nice sound at idle. It will have a nice sound at the midrange, but it will not be so obnoxious that youíll want to put down your bike because your ears are ringing. Thatís where our target is. Now, customers do call us and say ďI want it loudĒ and we have done that for them, but typically we have the customer that enjoys going on a five or six hour tour.
MO: Explain the manufacturing process in laymanís terms.
SH: We start off at the laser house. They cut out the necessary blanks for the mufflers. The blanks are rolled and welded together. After every step thereís a special process that determines if the muffler is round or the welds are straight and everything is correct. Then the ends are put on and it starts to go through the grinding process where it starts to look like a satin stainless steel finish. From there it gets polished and it looks like a mirror finish after that Ė like a chrome muffler. Then itís put into the fixtures and jigs to make sure everything is correct. Then we weld on the brackets, hangers and those areas are polished. Then the muffler is given one final polish and given a final inspection. Then itís bagged, boxed and sent to the customer.
MO: What does an owner have to do to preserve the finish on a Stainless Ride muffler?
SH: I would say an average rider might need an in between cleanup once or twice a year with different polishes you can buy commercially. Every five years it might need a real good re-polish to bring it back to where it was when you got it new.
For more information on Stainless Ride, visit StainlessRide.com. Prices generally range from about $400 to $500 for existing designs.