There aren’t many British exhaust companies still in business but the biggest and most well-known still in existence is Derbyshire based Scorpion Exhausts. I first visited the factory back in 2004 for a magazine feature. Back then we looked at the Lambretta, Vespa and Italjet Dragster two-stroke exhausts they were making at the time. Things have changed quite a bit since then though.
Since then the company has adapted and advanced, investing in new technology along the way. All Scorpion road systems are homologated, independently tested and road legal. The company still carries the same philosophy of crafting hand-built exhausts, developed in-house and tested to the highest standards. They also offer a lifetime guarantee on their exhausts and are only on the end of the phone, or email if you need help or advice.
We popped over to have a look what they’re up to and to check out production of their all-black ceramic coated Vespa GTS exhaust, which up until now was only available through SCK in Germany. Read on and you could win one. You can also buy one now direct through SLUK from this link.
Scorpion is still housed in the same factory as they were 14 years ago (they’ve been here since the 1990s) and are still as involved with scooters as they are with bikes and cars. Currently, though production is all 4-stroke based. Although, MD, Shaun Leonard mentioned that they still have the old two-stroke exhaust jigs in the warehouse and hinted that they might look into that market again if demand was there – get commenting if you want a Scorpion for your classic scooter or 2-stroke auto… I’m sure there are a few Dragster owners who would love a new one.
The factory does all its own in-house development in their R&D facility where they’ll often work with manufacturers and shops to get the latest models in as soon as they’re released. They also buy machines to use for development, they had their own Vespa GTS and a brand new TMAX in R&D whilst I was there. They’ve also recently worked with Royal Alloy to develop a new system for them, apparently, it’s different to the Scomadi exhaust they already manufacture.
Part of the R&D department includes their recently refurbished Dyno room, complete with widescreen tv, which makes it more of a spectator sport. Naturally it’s where exhausts are tested as part of the R&D. They’re also independently tested to gain e-mark approval for emissions and noise.
Although technology has moved on since I first visited the factory this is certainly no robot controlled operation, it’s still a hands-on environment working on rotating production schedules. They’ll build a batch of GTS exhausts, then maybe move on to a bike exhaust, followed by a Ford Focus RS. Scorpion are as heavily involved in four wheels as they are in 2 and also supply race exhausts to various teams in BSB.
The tube bender is one of the most impressive computer controlled parts of the production process, it can bend tube in multiple positions, seemingly at any angle and the tube still ends up perfectly spherical, as measured by the Romer, a machine that scans and measures internal and external tolerances.
The stainless/titanium cans are made from sheet metal, rolled by machine and spot welded ready for assembly.
The muffler is baffle packed, assembled and riveted by hand. They’re also cleaned and polished (depending on finish) before they’re packed with fitting kit and instructions at the end of the production line.
The latest Scorpion cans are laser etched, it’s a much better finish and more durable than the stickers they used previously. The stickers would always tarnish or burn off, especially on a hot GTS exhaust. It’s slower and more costly to laser etch but looks the business and will keep your exhaust looking good. I hated that burnt off sticker look…
Exhaust manifolds are formed, laser etched for conformity, hand finished and polished
What’s in development?
Whilst we were there the R&D team were busy working on a Vespa GTS i-get 125cc, (a scooter borrowed from Midland Scooter Centre). That system is available now, either through SLUK, MSC or your local Scorpion dealer. As mentioned before the Royal Alloy will also be available and Scorpion have a few more scooters planned in for R&D over the next few months.
I was a bit dubious about their longevity when I first saw the all-black Scorpion on the SCK Moto Nostra GTS in Germany last year. If you’re a GTS rider you’ll know you could cook a leg of lamb on your exhaust after a long run. Watch the Dyno video and you’ll see just how hot they run internally, red hot.
Scorpion has farmed their ceramic coating out to a specialist company and I’ve been running one of the all-black exhausts for a few months with no discolouration so far. I’m sure the header will start to colour with time but they still look pretty cool. The laser etched can is a big improvement as well, nobody wants to see the sticky burnt residue of a sticker spoiling the look of their nice exhaust.
Looking to the future
Scorpion Exhausts are introducing a range of euro 3/4 approved silencers and systems. The company which has been working with various approval bodies from across Europe, the US and Asia since the mid-90s have been gearing up to offer a range of both noise and emission approved products.
Demand for its scooter range is growing so with that in mind Scorpion have already EC approved several key models including the following:
- Yamaha TMAX 530
- Yamaha XMAX
- Vespa GTS 125, 250 and 300
- Scomadi TL125 and 200
Scorpion MD, Shaun Leonard told us “Sales for the brand are driven by our loyal fan base, key dealers and global distribution partners all of which we’re grateful to. Being able to deliver homologated products both supports and extends this network and help us compete in an ever-changing market. It also allows our UK partners to promote and deliver product across the world in the confidence that it complies to current regulations. If we look at our Scomadi range, (sales of which are very strong both in Europe and the Asian region), by adding Euro 3 and Euro 4 homologations, commitments from our distribution base have doubled making the large investment worthwhile”.
Win a Scorpion exhaust
Scorpion has kindly agreed to let us have one of their new all-black GTS exhaust systems (or n different scooter exhaust if you prefer) to give away in this free to enter competition.
To be in with a chance of winning simply comment on this post answering the following multiple choice question and tiebreaker…
Scorpion use the following tagline on some of their exhausts
A: Black Power
B: Red Power
C: White Power
As a tiebreaker, what scooter do you own?
The competition will end on Wednesday, July 25th at 6 pm and we’ll draw one lucky winner at random.
Scorpion exhausts available from the SLUK shop