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Silence of the cans

IMG_8550It’s probably the first thing you change when you buy a bike, especially in this day and age with ever stringent emission laws.

The silencers on new bikes get bigger year on year, the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 is a perfect example. Classic Motorbikes Net made a trip to Max Torque Cans in Burscough to find out what state the aftermarket silencer market is in.

Tucked away on an industrial estate behind a large roller shutter door I caught up with Martin Leigh, he’s been in the bike game for a few decades now yet his enthusiasm for motorcycles still shines out.

Martin was instrumental in setting up the motorbike exhaust manufacturing side within a car exhaust manufacturing company but then decided to take the leap to self employment and created his own brand, initially MTC Exhausts and recently rebranded to Max Torque Cans to expand the meaning of MTC.

IMG_8536He’s never looked back. These days he’s got a large range of silencer options to suit a wide range of motorcycles, these range from stainless and titanium to carbon fibre. It’s not just the materials that can be chosen, there’s also a wide selection of shapes and sizes, these include short stumpy cans through to tri oval construction. It’s not just silencers that get born here, Martin is currently working on a range of full systems, many for those 80s and 90s bikes that we love. Martin’s just fabricated his first full system for a Suzuki Bandit 1200, a 4-2-1 system, the headers will be available on their own for around £250, leaving you the option to buy either a stainless can or ho posh with a titanium or carbon jobbie!

Nosing around Max Torque Cans HQ, I’m struck by how organised the operation is, everything is in its place and every piece of machinery serves its purpose in making motorbike exhausts.
The largest piece of kit is the pipe bender, it dominates the ground floor. This is used to shape metal tube for either downpipes or link pipes. Martin gives me a demonstration and it seems the only effort required by him is to press a button on the control panel and let the machine do the rest, however, Martin explains that all new developments of pipe work can sometimes take a good few hours to perfect the bends and rotations.

IMG_8534It’s mostly four stroke exhausts that Max Torque Cans create but I spy some RD250 air cooled front pipes in a box, Martin will have a go at most things it seems. He gives me a brief rundown of the more unusual jobs he has done, from microlight aircraft through to coach exhausts and even tuk-tuks!

He takes a call from someone who’s looking for some RG250 alloy wrap around shrouds, it appears Suzuki no longer make them, an exchange of emails takes place and Martin suggests it’s a straight forward process to recreate them.

On the ground floor there’s a selection of bikes in for exhausts, on the bench is a GSX-R1100 streetfighter that’s in for a full system complete with high level carbon cans.
A Suzuki SV1000 sits on another bench, it’s being used by Martin to create a full system, the first one he made went to the States via his website.

IMG_8496A YDS7 Yamaha sits awaiting Martin’s attention, next to it is an old BMW from the 80s, it’s owner rode it from Blackpool in storm Doris! It’s in for a two into one system which will allow the owner to fit a sidecar.

Under a sheet lurks a café racer Honda CB500T, it’s had one off headers made and awaiting collection.

Back upstairs there’s no shortage of metal components waiting to become exhaust silencers, it’s not until you see the parts laid bare that you realise just how many parts go into one exhaust.
Every piece of the Max Torque Can silencer is fabricated in this building, from the sleeve to the mounting band.

Martin oversees the packing of every can, some of which travel world wide. A table full of brand spanking new cans await the courier who arrives at 4pm on a daily basis.

IMG_8525Martin loves to give that bit extra and every new can leaves with a Max Torque Cans T shirt if bought through the online shop or directly from HQ. There are various other freebies too, how cool is that!?

With the new 2017 models arriving, Martin is keen to add even more silencers to his range. For every can he makes there’s a jig under his bench, I tried counting them but lost count at around a 100.

Martin doesn’t only rely on his website and online shop to promote his wares, he also travels to many bike shows within the UK.

Max Torque Cans, a relatively small business but with large business mentality, one which will continue to keep on going places.