Jun 13, 2023
Graves Motorsports Titanium Slip
Off-road motorcyclists may not be familiar with the 30-year-old California-based Graves Motorsports brand, unless they also ride street bikes. Graves’ exhaust systems are designed for the elite rider
Off-road motorcyclists may not be familiar with the 30-year-old California-based Graves Motorsports brand, unless they also ride street bikes. Graves’ exhaust systems are designed for the elite rider seeking top-of-the-line performance, fit, finish, and value. The off-road exhaust systems from Graves use the same technology that powered the Graves Racing Team to over 30 professional AMA National Championships since 1990 in disciplines ranging from road racing to supermoto. All design, testing, and fabrication occur in-house, including the Gravel Motorsports Titanium Slip-on.
Graves Motorsports’ Adventure + Dual Sport line of parts, accessories, and exhaust systems are of the same mindset as the Sport Bike line. The company did not compromise in the development or execution of these products—you can see it, and you can feel it.
We tested the new Graves Motorsports Titanium Slip-on Exhaust on two dirt-oriented motorcycles—a Husqvarna FE 450 dual-sport bike and a Beta 430 RR Race Edition off-road racer.
The Husqvarna FE 450 was featured in our Personalizing Your Dual Sport Motorcycle story earlier this year. The bike is modified to suit a six-foot-two rider who weighs 250 pounds, using ergonomic aids and an ECU upgrade from Vortex. Initially, the Husky 450 ran with a modified stock muffler that provided good results, but no real excitement.
To remedy that, an FMF Q4 Hex slip-on muffler was installed on the Husqvarna FE 450. This system, while increasing high rpm power and over-rev, took a lot away from the technical throttle response at low rpm. Flameouts and flat spots still occurred, even after fine-tuning the Vortex ECU.
After adding the Graves Titanium Slip-on Exhaust, the story changed dramatically. The power went from tinny and flat to a much more robust character. You can hear the change even at idle, which is now angrier sounding.
The Graves Exhaust flowed better than either the modified stock exhaust or the FMF, so much so that the Vortex fueling adjustment could be increased. We went up to the maximum-fueling Enduro #4 map on the Vortex with fantastic results.
With the Graves exhaust and Vortex ECU working together, the power pm the Husqvarna FE 450 is consistent under all loads, flameouts are completely gone, over-rev is dramatically increased, and the ability to stay in one gear, either at very low or very high rpm, is much improved. The fun factor is much higher, and the ability to play like a motocrosser is now possible. We loved it.
We do have to mention that the Graves Titanium Slip-on Exhaust and Vortex ECU are for off-road competition only—perfect for racing your dual-sport bike.
Installation of the Graves Exhaust system for the KTM and Husqvarna products is flawless. Everything fits just like factory parts, and no modifications were needed.
Beta motorcycles are different from most other fuel-injected dirt bikes, as the Italian company uses a system from Synerject, which is based in France. Synerject incorporates a “stepper motor bypass” system to the idle.
Originally designed to reduce street bike pollution, Synerject’s stepper motor bypass system decreases excessive engine braking on four-stroke motors. Its effectiveness is undeniable, but consistency is not all that great. Minor hanging idle issues and strange throttle responsiveness are common occurrences with the stock setup. You cannot adjust the idle or throttle position sensor on the Beta’s EFI, so the factory ECU and exhaust tuning must be spot-on to get good results.
Although alternate maps are available from Beta to help with the issues, they don’t work very well with the stock exhaust or the go-to Beta upgrade muffler—the FMF Factory 4.1 RCT. The FMF muffler helps with power production, though not with throttle response or the Beta running issues. Those issues led me to try the Graves Motorsports Titanium Slip-on Exhaust again.
The Graves Motorsports Titanium Slip-on Exhaust, combined with the OPEN-0 Beta mapping, is a gigantic increase in power, throttle response, engine braking, and consistency. Gone are the wavering flat spot above idle, the complete lack of engine braking, and the flat power delivery. Now, it is genuinely a Race Edition motorcycle.
With consistent power delivery, the Beta 430 RR Race Edition is much more fun to ride, especially in technical terrain. Everyone who has ridden the bike in this configuration comes back shouting praise. This improvement is worth every penny of the $850 price tag. The fact that the Graves Motorsports Titanium Slip-on Exhaust is built to last is icing on the cake. Oh, and a USFS-approved spark arrestor and sound reduction insert is standard.
Installation of the Graves exhaust on the Beta took a bit more effort. That wasn’t a surprise, as I have found this to be the case when mounting any aftermarket exhausts on the Beta.
Even the stock muffler canister gets tire rub marks, depending on the tire. The Graves slip-on is 5mm wider than the stock muffler, so I added 7mm worth of spacers to the stock Beta rubber isolated spacers. This pushed the muffler out far enough to accommodate the 140/80-18 tire I’m currently running. Conveniently, the stock screws are long enough to accommodate the spacers. Other than that, installation was a breeze.
When we picked up the Graves Motorsports Titanium Slip-on Exhaust, we had an informative meeting with General Manager Rick Williams and Graves Motorsports owner/founder Chuck Graves at the company’s manufacturing plant and headquarters in Los Angeles. We came away impressed with the facility, the detailed knowledge of the product, and the dedication to the company’s mission—craftsmanship leads to championships.