The expansion-chamber exhaust pipes that have graced two-stroke dirt bikes for decades have historically been painted black—and more recently sometimes plated for more bling and durability. Black paint makes sense as a standard coating because it keeps the production costs low, is easily redone with aftermarket rattle-can paints, and in the event touch-ups or repairs to the pipe are needed, limited areas can be painted, even with the pipe still mounted. Try that with nickel plating! Getting the right sheen or finish with over-the-counter paint can be tricky though, due to some paints being too shiny and others too flat. In addition, and hopefully obviously, the selected paint should be heat-resistant to withstand the high temperatures present at the header pipe. Here are some viable choices.
Rated at up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, High-Temperature Silicone Coating Spray from Design Engineering is said to protect exhaust headers, pipes, and engine blocks—any hot surface in fact. This includes exhaust wrap, which the coating spray is said to penetrate, seal and protect, ultimately prolonging its life span. Likewise, it provides protection from abrasions, hot oil spills, and road grime. High-Temperature Silicone Coating Spray comes in large 16-ounce aerosol cans.
A well-known name in spray-on exhaust coatings, VHT offers this flat black in an affordable 11-ounce aerosol cans. Its matte finish incorporates a ceramic silicone base that’s widely used in automotive exhaust paints. When applied and cured according to directions, the paint is said to withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, significantly protecting the life of high-heat surfaces. Interestingly, the maker says this paint does best when used with a primer color paint and clear-coat process.
Using a ceramic formula to increase heat dispersion, Helix Racing Products’ black High-Temperature Exhaust Paint is billed as being able to withstand intermittent temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Suitable for both fiberglass exhaust pipes and wraps, it is also oil and gas resistant. Thus, it’s an ideal product to use when you want your exhaust system to maintain its good looks for a long time. But there’s more! Sold in 11-ounce cans, this high-temperature exhaust paint is said to additionally protect radiators, oil coolers, and similar components.