Viking Exhausts

Sea Dog

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An Astounding Coincidence

Written by Bryce Bathe

After threading the needle lane splitting through the early morning Auckland peak hour traffic, my journey south was met by the passage of a cold front and torrential rain. First stop was the small town of Ngaruawahia, a little over 2 hours from my start point, where I planned to have breakfast, before setting out to track down Paul Bryant, owner and creative genius of Viking Exhausts. It was a spur of the moment thing, and I lacked addresses and phone numbers. Being a small New Zealand town, I knew the local post office, which opened at nine, would be able to help me out. I still had half an hour in the dry to enjoy my breakfast, sheltered under the eve of the local bakery el very fresco style before starting my detective work. A few of the passing locals noted my drenched state and questioned my grasp on reality, riding in conditions better suited to the Ark. The hot coffee began its magic, realigning my neurons and I knew I would soon be good to go. One bloke commented that he usually rode his bike every day, but with today’s downpour, he woosed out. Yeah, that’s ok if you have a tin top alternative. When he returned from inside the bakery, being a fellow motorcyclist, I continued with the conversation, by asking the best opener that absolutely no motorcyclist can resist, “What do you ride?” Just so happened he had the big daddy of my Street Triple, a Triumph Rocket Three. After a bit of motorcycle banter, I dropped the question, “Do you know a bloke round here by the name of Paul Bryant, owns Viking Exhausts.” Well this bloke shuffles through his pockets and from his wallet, extracts a business card and drops it on the table in front of me. You guessed it. He was Paul Bryant. After a little further conversation, Paul invited me to have a look at “Viking Exhausts World Head Quarters”. An offer I could not refuse, considering nine months previous, he had built a beautiful pair of “Black Cap” mufflers for my classic 1975 Triumph T160 Trident, a transaction that transpired entirely on line. Being in the neighbourhood, I just needed to find this bloke, and thank him face to face for his excellent craftsmanship and fabulous service. As it turned out, if the coincidence of meeting Paul at the bakery had not occurred, his mates at the steam locomotive museum would have got hot pies and I would have not found him at Viking Exhausts WHQ.

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Viking Exhausts World Head Quarters

An extraordinary Man Cave

You just never really know what goes on inside a shed, until you have been in there yourself.


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The Man himself with engine units mounted in motorcycle frames.

Paul will build standard or custom headers, mufflers and frame mounts for any of the ‘70’s British Motorcycles.

I was fortunate to spend 3 hours with Paul, learning the finer details of building motorcycle exhaust systems. Mufflers not only have to look “right” and fit perfectly, baffles need to be designed to get the right sound. Perfecting the baffle design for his Norton Commando “whistler” mufflers, is another of Pauls clever achievements. Creating the perfect bend in an exhaust tube with the exact flare to glide into perfect position is a remarkable feat of engineering. All custom exhaust systems are fitted up on the engine / frame units so that mounts can be tailor made, resulting in the system being simple to fit by its installer. All nuts, bolts, washers and clamps are supplied, leaving nothing to chance. Every order is individually made to the purchaser’s requirements.


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Tube Bender


Paul also built his own tube bender, with very clever mandrels and degree plates to make his work accurate, perfectly smooth and quick. Paul explained, it’s like riding the perfect line in a series of bends on a motorcycle. Both need to be approached with passion, commitment and an eye for that smooth line. Not only can this man build the perfect exhaust, he is a rabid motorcycle enthusiast and clever engineer to boot. That’s why he is the best.

Paul exudes excellence.

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Alignment Test Jig.

It’s all about how the light reflects off the polished pipes. A little tweaking makes a world of difference.

This is where craftsmanship goes well beyond engineering and becomes art.


Once polished to perfection, all parts of the exhaust system are dispatched for bright or black chroming. The result, gleaming seamless perfection, ready to be packaged and posted to what will be, a very satisfied customer.

With the assistance of his son, Paul is currently expanding from this 70’s only exhaust systems and designing something for Triumph’s Rocket Three. It would be great to see this cottage industry roll on to the next generation.

While engrossed by all things exhaust in the man cave, the cold front and rain slipped unnoticed over the eastern horizon, leaving the perfect day to ride. Paul stuffed the cold pies down his jacket, fired up the Rocket Three and roared off towards the museum…….things to do you know. Did I just witness a new generation exhaust being tested?


Check out Paul’s web site: www.VikingExhaust.com

And now that I have his phone numbers: ++64 7 824 8105

++64 27 242 0781


Email: paul@vikingexhaust.com
 

Rocky

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Wow, I am very impressed!!!
 

CarlS

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Great article. I am impressed with the man. Thanks for the post.
 

devo

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yup, clever buggers us kiwis. ;)
 

DaveM

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Very impressive indeed, nice one BBEER
 
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