No matter how you look at it, $1000 is a substantial chunk of money. Nevertheless, this is the amount of green that most riders expect to drop on a quality four-stroke full exhaust system. Some riders chaulk this up to a necessary expense and simply pony up the cash, while others decide they don’t need a full system and stick with the stock setup or maybe just an aftermarket slip-on. But now, Leo Vince is offering an option that makes everyone happy: the X3 Stainless Steel Full Exhaust System, which sells as a complete setup for the surprisingly low price of $570. After seeing that number, I just had to see how the X3 Stainless System held up to some real-world abuse aboard our KX250F Long Haul machine.Upon pulling this system out of the box, it’s clear that Leo Vince didn’t sacrifice its reputation for quality while keeping the final cost low. A carbon fiber end-cap, high-grade stainless steel and clean, quality workmanship all support Leo Vince’s goal of creating a solid pipe for the workingman. It’s clear that no corners were cut on the path to performance as this “budget” system even includes a spring puller, wash plug, spark arrestor and carbon fiber mounting strap! Installation is no more difficult than with a stock setup, as the fitment was spot-on for the Kawasaki.
Compared with the blown-out stock muffler that I was replacing, the Leo Vince system was pure music to my ears. While we didn’t sound test this particular exhaust, I wouldn’t be surprised if it blew at 94 decibels, and with a much more pleasant note at that. On the track, the powerband was noticeably altered with a fatter, much smoother dose of power at lower rpm. This change gave the Kawasaki’s delivery a milder edge and made it easier to grab traction coming out of corners and through slower sections of the track. However, the snappy little 250F still retained enough of its aggressiveness to keep even our heavier test riders happy. Weight-wise, the Full Stainless System isn’t the lightest setup on the market, but it’s still very much in the ballpark of the stock unit and I couldn’t feel any difference in the dirt.After several rides on the MX track, I installed the spark arrestor in the X3′s muffler and took the bike to a friend’s house up in the hills for some post-thunderstorm trail riding. Here, I found the smoother personality of the Leo Vince exhaust was well suited to lower-speed trails, and the spark arrestor insert did little more than give the power a more “corked” sensation. This didn’t affect the performance too much, but I ended up taking the insert back out the next time I was at the track. Quite possibly my favorite aspect of the Leo Vince system was that it required absolutely zero jetting changes to the KX-F. We’ve had more than one frustrating experience with putting an aftermarket system on a bike and having the carburetion go batty, and this just wasn’t in the cards for this machine.
Over 30 hours later, the silencer packing is holding quite strong and the pipe still sounds great. The only major issue relates to the header guard mounts, to which the stock guard was mounted when I installed the system. On a recent practice ride, one of our test riders heard the guard come loose and pulled off the track to tighten it. He resumed his moto and pulled off the track to find the guard missing and a small hole in the header near one of the mounts. According to Leo Vince, this is the first reported failure of this kind. The hole was most likely caused by our tester overtightening the guard while the header was at high operating temperature. Nevertheless, the pipe is still well within the one-year warranty period provided by Leo Vince, and it’s obvious the system itself is literally years away from being worn out.Between the durability, performance and straight-up value of the Full Stainless, I’d recommend this system in a heartbeat to anyone who wants to upgrade their exhaust without spending too much dough. And if you don’t want the whole shebang, you can still buy just the silencer ($379) or the header ($239) and build the kit as you please. Either way, it will be money well spent. -Chris Denison
|Power Delivery Change||45/50|