DRD vs. thunder alley comparison

11 replies to this topic
  • luvmythumper

Posted December 10, 2001 - 10:01 PM


Well guys, as promised SoundChaser and I went out this weekend and did a riding comparison on the two pipes. We both have '01 426's that for the most part are pretty close to stock. We only had a little time on Sat. so we only compared the bikes on some local fire roads(although I raced Sunday for the first time with the pipe. Two holeshots and a second overall) We mostly just rode each others bikes and then did a few drag races. We switched bikes back and forth during the drag races and raced from a rolling second gear start to try and eliminate one of us getting a better start. I have the TA pipe, Soundchaser the DRD.

My observations:

Craftmanship/quality: Both pipes top notch. Nobody will be disappointed. No gaskets required, all parts fit together perfectly.

Looks: The DRD pipe has a more finished/polished look, the TA pipe has a raw unfinished works type look. Depends on what you like.

Noise: I think the TA pipe is louder than the DRD. Both are louder than stock. The TA pipe sounds deeper and throatier than the DRD.

My impressions from riding the two: The DRD pipe is much better than stock. Has solid smooth power that carries all the way from the bottom end to the top. Was pretty controllable but definitely had the ability to get you in trouble. The power is deceptively fast because it is so smooth. Throttle control seemed pretty easy without the clutch. Pipe would be good on the track and in the desert, I would probably go for a different pipe(and bike) for tight woods riding. The TA pipe hit hard between a little before mid range and screams all the way up. The thing is incredibly fast here and just keeps pulling. It literally pulls the front tire up. The power is not as smooth as the DRD pipe, but hits harder. It would be a great pipe for open desert riding and a good pipe for MX(which is what I mostly ride) as long as you like that kind of power. If you like to lug your bike around, don't get the TA pipe. Throttle control was a little tougher, but after racing it the next day I felt pretty used to it and it was not a problem. If you like to scream, its a great pipe. Definite no for the woods.

By the way, I still need to work on the bottom end jetting which could clear up some of the hard hit.

In our drag races the two bikes were pretty close. We did not write it down, but I think the TA pipe was generally about 1/2 to 1 bikelength ahead. It was extremely close.

Some closing thoughts, I have the TA pipe and am would choose it again. The fun factor is great and it fits my riding style. I would also be happy with the DRD. It is also kind of cool to have a hand made semi-custom pipe. Both pipes are much better than stock and will improve your race results.

In my race Sunday the increased performance gave me one of the holeshots. The first moto I just timed everything perfect and had a great start. The second moto I got a so-so start and was even with many people after 15 ft. I leaned over the bars, let the front tire lift a little and literally pulled away from everyone. It would not have happened with my e-series I was running before.

Sorry for the long-winded summary, hope it was helpful.


Posted December 10, 2001 - 11:44 AM


any pics of the TA pipe ??

  • SoundChaser

Posted December 10, 2001 - 12:30 PM


Well, folks did the side-by-side pipe comparison this weekend. Now remember that this isn't scientific and hopefully were just a bunch of riders just like you. All the testing performed was seat of the pants comparison.
Let me first say that either the DRD or the Thunder Alley exhaust systems are a GREAT improvement over stock and they both shed pounds, so from that aspect, both pipes are winners.
In a flat out drag race comparison there seemed to be no difference between the two pipes.
The DRD pipe seems to have a more mellow power band compared to the TA. The Thunder Alley pipe seemed to move the power curve a little higher in the revs, but when the power comes on whatchout (a real white-knuckler)!

The exhaust note from the Thunder Alley was awesome. This pipe has a definite bitchen "growl" to it. Probably alot to due with the opening in the canister (which reminds me of the tips they put on street bikes, namely, like on my Ducati). I would say the TA pipe was a tad bit louder than the DRD pipe.

The craftsmenship on these pipes is where the real differences can be found. The DRD pipe is really well made. Nice polished canister and tubes, beautiful smooth welds. The Thunder Alley pipe has a more custom built look, which reminds me of the old FMF, or DG hand built pipes. The TA pipe is starting to get a kind of cool jet-black oxidation on the tubes, which Im told is normal.

I guess now would be the time for rants and raves with a little of opinion thrown in…

The DRD pipe, I just bolted this pipe on and have done little else and felt the power increase and performance gains. I will also add that with the DRD pipe the "bog" of the bottom that so many people refer to here on TT has gone away making me question if I need to do the BK mod (I still may do this just for kicks).

The Thunder Alley pipe, luvmythumper has done a couple of jetting changes and is considering more to optimize/realize the performance gains that this pipe can yield. The throttle response or the "bog" also seemed to be non-existant. The one real downer, though small is the fact that without some modification this pipe melts the side panel. And a final note, and this is only perception, I thought there was less engine braking with this pipe. If true, this would be a nice attribute.


  • thumpy

Posted December 10, 2001 - 12:43 PM


Great stuff guys, Thanks!

It sounds like the T.A. pipe is at least as good or a skosh better than the Dr. pipe. So, bang for the buck it looks like T.A. gets it at $350.00. :)

  • Dean

Posted December 10, 2001 - 12:58 PM


I got my thunder alley pipe the other day. I have
only got to ride once. It really helped my 2001
426. All you need is the silencer, the head pipe
does not give any power increase. The silencer
just cost $250. It also melted my side panel.
Definately better than stock or FMF powercore IV.

  • Mxer303

Posted December 10, 2001 - 02:12 PM


Is there an easy way to keep it from melting your your plastic?

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • Amador

Posted December 12, 2001 - 02:14 PM


Well guys, I don't know about the DR.D pipe, but I did a comparison last night of my E-series and The Thunder Alley. Here's what I found-

There is no comparison. It felt like I was riding a new bike, literally. The power on the TA pipe hits hard and pulls forever! I was riding the whole track in second gear, without ever even considering a shift(Normally I'm back in forth between 2nd and 3rd on this track). Another thing, it definitely cuts back on engine braking. The pipe does look like a "works style" pipe. Personally, I like it. I am very pleased, I would not have imagined that a silencer could add this much performance. I smiled every time I cracked the throttle! Sounds good to. That's my report.


  • motoman393

Posted December 12, 2001 - 04:22 PM


Will the TA pipe fit with the White Brothers Tapered header? The reason I ask is: the tapered header has a larger end piece than stock (by about 1/3" and doesnt require a gasket!) If this pipe works on a tapered header then I may have myself a "Merry Christmas" LOL! If this pipe is half as good as others are saying then Mr. and Mrs. Thunder Alley will be selling some pipes this Holidays!

Has anyone installed the TA that previously had an R4 pipe? I also read that the TA pipe is a "rev" pipe? If so this is good! Thanks,


  • RichB

Posted December 12, 2001 - 04:46 PM


So what you guys are saying is the silencer will match up with the stock header just fine. Also, a little confused as to how many folks just tried the silencer vice the entire system.

I may be a playa for just the silencer if that is worth doing. I'm a little nervous about losing bottom end and compression braking though (I like both).

  • thumpy

Posted December 12, 2001 - 06:17 PM



You should call Bob and ask him about your dilemma. He's probably the only one who can answer that accurately. Here's his #559-584-8109.


you won't lose any bottom end, quite the opposite, you'll gain more bottom than you could have imagined.

  • SoundChaser

Posted December 13, 2001 - 11:05 AM


I had the R4 before I went to the DRD.I tried luvmythumper's bike with the TA pipe...day and night difference. Alot more power in the upper rev's than the R4. If you like the R4, you'll fall in love with hit of the TA(explosive)in comparison. IMHO, the R4 was all top end, were the TA you get a zinger at both ends of the power curve. I have to admit though, that R4 sound is pretty awesome, not like any of the other pipe's I have heard. Of course, as usual, just my two pennies. :)

  • Scott_F

Posted December 14, 2001 - 05:31 AM


Thunder Alley website

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