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Ballards stainless two-stroke pipe / expansion chamber review

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  • Ballards stainless two-stroke pipe / expansion chamber review

    The stock pipe on my '15 Beta 300RR got really badly beaten up and bent before I got a P-Tech bashplate/ guard a couple of years ago. When I sent photos to a couple of pipe repairers they both recommended buying a new one! It still works but since I’m tidying the bike up I got motivated and decided to replace it.

    If money was no option I’d stick with the OEM Beta pipe but it’s nearly $600 now. The Ballard’s stainless pipe is attractive for both price and durability. At $370 they’re $90 cheaper than an FMF Gnarly. They’re incredibly tough … there’s a funny video of it being viciously abused. However one downside of the rigidity is that if it takes a really hard hit, it can break the exhaust flange and if that’s part of the cylinder, it’s a lot worse than bending a pipe. But since I have the P-Tech guard, that shouldn’t be an issue. So I ordered the Ballards pipe and it turned up in record time.

    BUT … I was really unhappy with the quality and promptly returned it.

    The most serious problem was that various cone sections are badly misaligned, creating major steps in the wall of the expansion chamber. The gaps have been heavily and messily filled with weld.
    • Generally there’s rough heavy welding … very thick seam welding.
    • There’s weld splatter in various places.
    • Major heat discolouration (blueing and even dark burnt areas).
    • There are a couple of outward protruding creases or kinks in the surface … they’re not super obvious but once you see them you can’t miss them, and they shouldn’t be there.
    • The other thing to be aware of is that this pipe is heavy. I knew it would be heavy, but not as much as it was. The stock pipe as removed from the bike was 2.23kg. The Ballards pipe was 2.95kg which is 720gms heavier. Doesn’t sound a lot, but it feels like a sea anchor. The FMF Gnarly that I replaced it with is 2.53kg.

    Unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend buying one of these Ballard’s pipes. I was disappointed that MXStore sold stuff with obvious quality issues like this. However they’ve been really responsive to the feedback, returned and refunded the pipe at no cost to me.

    It’s a shame that Ballard’s stuff is like this. I have huge respect for Geoff Ballard designing and inventing stuff for the enduro world. He’s made some great stuff. But the quality seems to have gone down the tube. I recently got a Ballards bum bag and it was a PITA actually … the strap kept loosening all the time, and then after a handful of rides the stitching on the side of the main compartment began falling apart - fortunately discovered before I lost tools. I also got a Ballard’s low pressure pencil tyre gauge, and the side wall on it is very thin so after one ride it dented in my bum bag and didn’t work any more.
    Beta 300 RR. GasGas 250 TXT Pro. DR650.

  • #3
    You bought the cheapest one. What did you expect? It's why you bought a Beta too. They're cheap.

    Hehehe ☺️

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    • #4
      I received an email from Slavens the other day, talking about there NEW exhaust flange set up for Beta'a, what it's designed for, is too protect the barrel from damage if the pipe get a very big hit.
      So i'm presuming this is an issuer with Beta 2 strokes ?
      2000 ktm 400 exc
      2015 Sherco 300i 6 day
      1986 Honda TLR 250 trials bike x 2

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      • #5
        I don't think Ballards put their name on anything that isn't cheap crap.
        We have some of their T-bar sockets and tyre levers that work well, but I'd avoid anything from them more technical than basic lumps of metal.

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        • #6
          Originally posted by eagle View Post
          I received an email from Slavens the other day, talking about there NEW exhaust flange set up for Beta'a, what it's designed for, is too protect the barrel from damage if the pipe get a very big hit.
          So i'm presuming this is an issuer with Beta 2 strokes ?
          It's a potential issue on all two strokes. I smashed my intake flange to bits on my old ktm300exc 2009 model. The intake flange is matched to the head so technically you should replace the cylinder as well according to Ktm. I only replaced the intake flange which was still really expensive, as it was half the cost of a complete 300 top end kit

          I agree with the others, Ballards stuff is cheap for a reason
          Current Rides

          2019 Husqvarna Tx300

          2017 Husqvarna Fx350

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          • #7
            He definitely manufactures some cheaper products but not all of it is rubbish. I own a Ballards gear bag and expandable wheel chock. Both are good quality and have lasted years so far with no signs of premature wear.
            2015 Sherco 300SEF-R Factory
            Past: '73 Kawasaki KV75, '86 Suzuki RH250, '96 Husqvarna WR250, '76 Honda CR125 (Vintage MX), '11 Suzuki DR-Z70, '00 Kawasaki KDX200, 2015 Kawasaki KLX110.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by devans View Post
              He definitely manufactures some cheaper products but not all of it is rubbish. I own a Ballards gear bag and expandable wheel chock. Both are good quality and have lasted years so far with no signs of premature wear.
              That's good to hear. Maybe we need a thread highlighting which of their gear isn't crap.
              Most of their worst seems to just be generic chinese puss with a Ballards logo on it. The better stuff might be their own designs

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              • #9
                Stainless is a poor material choice for a 2t pipe, that's reason alone not to buy one.
                .
                Ignorance leads to confidence more often than knowledge does
                .

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                • #10
                  Any idea what the stock KTM pipes are made from?
                  I repair them with 316

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by 380EXCQLD View Post
                    Any idea what the stock KTM pipes are made from?
                    I repair them with 316
                    Mild steel (they'll claim carbon steel) plated with nickel.

                    316 wire will cut down porosity in the weld or you could use triple deoxidised steel wire for a stronger clean weld.
                    .
                    Ignorance leads to confidence more often than knowledge does
                    .

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Speaking about Ballards products....anyone recommend or have experience with there motorbike carrier??

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Those kinks dont look right, and the joins do look off! so good on you doing something about it.

                        I bought ballards pipe recently for my te300 2 stroke (after I couldnt straighten crushed OEM pipe). Yes is 850grams heavier, material is much thicker, welds are thicker, and yes some weld splatter, but hey more than does the job for me - saved me a few times!.

                        I am suprisingly a happy ballards pipe customer and will buy again for sure.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Pablo17 View Post
                          Speaking about Ballards products....anyone recommend or have experience with there motorbike carrier??
                          GB uses one himself regularly, so does my niece.

                          They seem happy
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                          • #15
                            How timely, I put a front tube in yesterday using these https://www.mxstore.com.au/p/Ballard...r/ZH-GB-ISDE-L the steel must have a high proportion of rubber as they bent - steer clear.

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