Kess Tech’s electronically controlled ESM2 slip-on exhaust systems are now available state side only through Glendale Harley Davidson.
Since federal regulatory agencies have started cracking down on the aftermarket scene, it’s getting harder to customize your motorcycle, at least legally. With the noise bugging the neighbors and emissions standards favoring environmental friendly vehicles, modified motorcycles have been facing a slow and cumbersome demise. But not anymore, thanks to KessTech.
Based in Germany, KessTech is a thirty-year-old company dedicated to creating exhaust systems with legal, yes, legal sound performance for Harley motorcycles. Based on a technology gleaned from the automotive industry, KessTech has created a line of electronically controlled exhaust systems to include the ESM2, ESM1 and MMV slip-on systems.
Oliver Shokouh, the owner of Glendale Harley Davidson, is a member and former president of the C.M.D.A. or California Motorcycle Dealers Association. The association has 155 franchised motorcycle dealer members. "Our purpose is to improve motorcycling in California for dealers and motorcyclists," Oliver said. "We track new legislation and sometimes we produce new legislation. We have a special program for insurance, workers compensation, safety issues, D.M.V. matters and we offer many other benefits to our members. We are also in tune with legal requirements and laws pertaining to motorcyling, including emissions and noise standard policies."
With his proactivity in motorcycle legislation, Oliver felt passionate about getting KessTech to the states. So he joined ranks with Rob Harrison, who is a specialist in motorcycle and automobile sound and exhaust emission certifications in Calfornia and the U.S. to legalize the ESM2 electronically control sli-on exhaust system in California. "He certified our exhaust noise levels as per E.P.A. standards and verified we are indeed within the allowable decibel limits for the federal standard (of 80 decibels) which mirrors California noise standard for motorcycles," said Oliver. To find out more about how decibel tests are conducted, click here. With Harrison's help, the ESM2 passed with flying colors, but is currently only available for the Harley Davidson Touring 103 or FLT models through Glendale Harley Davidson.
“We figured the market was best with this model,” says Derrick Meador, a Service Technician at Glendale Harley Davidson. “Kesstech has several exhaust systems for several models but we started with this one to test the waters.” Each ESM2 slip-on exhaust system is made of stainless steel and has a laser engraved stamp specifically for Harley Davidson Touring 103’s. Oliver, the lawyer and Christian are still working to expand availability of KessTech exhaust systems for all Harley models.
How ESM2 Works
The ESM2 exhaust system has a valve inside each muffler that is open and closed electronically by an actuating arm. This actuating arm allows two electronic modules that are wired into the system to talk to each other and tell the valve when to open and close. By pushing the button on the right side of the handlebar, the modules tell the valve to open (button lit) or close (button not lit).
When the rider pushes the button in, it lights up and within a quarter of a second, the exhaust valve opens and a unique, crazy-amazing sound can be heard! The exhaust valve is legally open in all gears except 2nd and 3rd, making this sound always and completely legal under the 80 decibel limit! Plus, the rider enjoys a three percent horsepower gain with the valve open!
When the button is not lit up, the exhaust valve (or flap inside the muffler) is closed, thus quieting the engine so as not to wake the neighbors during an early morning departure. Fortunately, the closed valve has no effect on horsepower, so the rider doesn’t have to compromise performance for the sound.
KessTech recommends that only KessTech dealers install the ESM2 systems, due to the electrical work involved. “We have to wire the system to the handlebar so the vehicle speed and r.p.m. reading can reach the exhaust control valve electronically,” Derrick says. The installation takes longer than normal, but the benefits are worth it.
How Much Is It?
Since it is illegal to remove the catalytic converter on a motorcycle, the KessTech stainless steel ESM2 exhaust is available as a slip-on system only and carries a heavy estimated price tag of $3,000. This estimate does include shipping and installation, however. This, of course, is way above the average $400-$500 slip-on price, but the exhaust does also come with a four-year warranty that covers all exhaust components, with the exception of cosmetic damage. The exhaust also requires little attention other than a quick check during maintenance intervals by a Harley Davidson certified technician.
The ESM2 exhaust system is available in chrome and matte black and different end caps are available as well to each system can have a truly individual look.
The KessTech ESM2 system was installed on Oliver’s 2011 Limited Touring 103 (FLT) which will be at Glendale to view. Another ESM2 system was also installed on a new 2014 Touring 103 model, which is currently touring dealers to demonstrate the exhaust system’s one-of-a-kind sound. Once it’s done with the tour, the 2014 Touring 103 will be displayed on the showroom floor at Glendale Harley Davidson and an additional demo unit will be equipped with the exhaust so customers can experience the sound before deciding to purchase the KessTech system for their own motorcycle.
Click here to find out more about Glendale Harley Davidson or here to read more about KessTech exhaust systems. “With the benefits of being legal and the sound that KessTech produces is well worth the time and the money,” Derrick says of an exhaust that continues to drive people crazy every time they hear it!