Denis Manning tackles SB435 issue head-on

Mike Vaughan
Publish Date: 
Jan 9, 2013
By Mike Vaughan

PROBLEMS. We've all got them. They come in various shapes, sizes and times. How we deal with them is a reflection of our intelligence, drive, and sense of responsibility.

Some of us will ignore the problem, some of us will try to skirt around the problem, and some will take the problem head on.

California's recently enacted Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Law, SB435, is an example of one of those problems.

If you’re a manufacturer of aftermarket exhausts, you’ve got several options. You can withdraw from the California market. You can continue to sell non-compliant aftermarket products in the surrounding states, or even in the state, and let consumers deal with the results. Or you can design a system that meets the standards and still delivers on a consumer’s desire to get more horsepower, performance and looks.

Denis Manning’s a guy who falls into the latter category. He is the founder and owner of BUB Enterprises Inc., a manufacturer of high-performance aftermarket exhaust systems. He’s also a longtime figure in the motorcycle industry and sport. He built his first race bike in 1968, and raced and built six of the fastest motorcycle Land Speed Records in the world. He’s also been largely responsible for the renewed interest and opportunity for establishing motorcycle LSR records in the United States.

In the 1980s EPA and CARB issued initial standards regarding motorcycle gas and sound emissions. Rather than bury his head in the sand, Manning invited representatives of CARB to his office to discuss what his company (BUB) had to do to meet the new standards, and find out how and when they (CARB) planned to implement and enforce the new regulations.

“A lot of people wanted to stay away from them. We discovered that they were just people like you and me. Well-meaning folks who wanted to keep the air clean,” Manning recalled. He discovered that the four or five people who attended the meeting didn’t have a clear understanding of what the impending rules would mean for aftermarket pipe makers. What they outlined was essentially a stock system; as Manning says, “The rules as imposed didn’t really leave us anything to make.

“I had to explain to them that I make a living making parts that perform and look better than stock. We helped them establish an aftermarket parts category that would still meet their emissions standpoint for sound and gas,” he noted.

He then visited the EPA in test facility in Michigan. EPA had heard from a lot of people who had complained about excessive noise, and were in a quandary as to what they could or should do about loud pipes. “They hadn’t, however, talked to anybody in the business," Manning said. "I told them I just wanted to know what the rules are… are we looking at a moving target, or is this what it’s going to be? (continued)