Akrapovic Factory Tour - Dirt Rider Magazine

Nestled between the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Italy to the west and Austria to the north, lies Slovenia, and in it the modern Akrapovic facilities that house some of the most advanced titanium and carbon fiber works in the world.The exhaust company competes at the top level of the sport and is the choice of, among many others, EnduroCross and multiple extreme enduro champion Taddy Blazusiak, eight-time U.S. National Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty, U.S. Kawasaki Off-Road racers Ricky Dietrich, Destry Abbott and Justin Soule, WEC racers David Knight, Juha Salminen and Ivan Cervantes, MX World Championship contenders Steve Ramon, Max Nagl and Marvin Musquin, as well as U.S. Supercross racers James Stewart and Josh Hill.

Publisher Sean Finley thinks he's super strong, but really titanium is just super light. Storing tubes outside is fine-titanium never rusts.

Each exhaust system starts as blended-to-spec sheets of titanium alloy. From there Akrapovic tests it, rolls it, bends it, welds it and tests it again. The performance they engineer into every exhaust is continually gaining recognition for top performance and quality. Not the cheapest on the market, Akrapovic prides itself on being the best, and a tour of its factories gives credence toward this claim. Among the innovations are a cutting-edge R&D; department, a groundbreaking titanium foundry (there are very few Ti foundries in the world), a fascinating titanium hydroformer, a dedicated carbon fiber facility and a down-to-the-molecular-structure quality control laboratory.There are many secrets still held tightly by the Akro engineers, but here's a tour of what the company's front men let us see...To see and learn a whole lot more, check out www.akrapovic.com.

This is a car exhaust, but all exhausts, including dirt bike systems, get dissected and analyzed. Here, pieces have been removed at the welds after road testing to check for levels of argon in the metal under an electron microscope.
This hydroforming device uses a pressurized oil and water emulsion to bulge tubing from the inside out. This is to retain constant tube diameter around a bend or to create a conical shape to affect exhaust gas speeds.
This is either Superman's Fortress of Solitude or the titanium casting building at the Akrapovic main facility.
This machine pulls titanium sample rods to the point of failure to test batches of the Ti alloy mixture.
I asked how they weld titanium. They said with a welder.
This chemical analysis machine evaluates gases in the titanium.
These autoclaves provide the vacuum and heat to get the carbon fiber to do exactly what the engineers intend. The parts go into the heavy-duty tanks for up to 24 hours.
This tube bending machine...bends tubes. A segmented piece follows inside at the point of the fold to retain the tube's perfect shape... even when it's bent.
This "technological waste" is thousands of dollars worth of Ti. It's shattered, formed into briquettes then melted in a centrifugal vacuum oven for the foundry.
The prototype workshop is spotless. If you see anything dirty in this photo...that just means I need to clean my camera lens.
This machine rolls sheets of titanium into tubes. This is how Akro controls not only the raw Ti alloy composition, but also the size, gauge and consistency of all its tubing.
This machine laser engraves right onto the Ti...often for homologation numbers or USFS spark arrestor approval "stamps."
Smells like fresh cookies!
Akrapovic's raw carbon fiber sheets are pre-impregnated with a resin that reacts at room temperature, so they are kept in this giant freezer until just prior to forming. Once it's set, it's set, so no, you don't have to store your bike in your supermarket's walk-in.
This machine wraps stainless steel netting around stainless steel wool to wrap around each muffler's perf core. This allows packing to last a full season without losing performance. It's a good example of the attention to detail the Akro guys enlist.
Mounted onto a couple tons of marble, this hyper-accurate quality control device ensures exhausts depart the manufacturing process exactly to spec.