Why is my Blackbird exhaust steaming?

Published: 03 September 2010

Q. I have a 2001 Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird that seems to run fine. What concerns me is that when I start up from cold the right-hand silencer emits water vapour almost immediately, while the left pipe only starts to “steam” after a few minutes.

Both pipes clear soon after, but does this indicate a problem with the two right-hand cylinders?
Brian Weston, Norwich
 
A. All you are seeing is a symptom of the way condensation gathers in the Blackbird’s exhaust and then evaporates.

If you never rode far enough for the condensation to be burnt off, the cumulative effect of having a “puddle” in the exhaust system would probably rot the metal into rust from the inside out over a few years.

As long as the oil and water used by the engine aren’t contaminating each other, the bike is fine.

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