The Pipes: Mike Hamm Engineering, Anaheim
Former hot-rod builder Mike Hamm opened his shop for making custom exhaust systems in 1989 to serve the area’s sizable population of race car and street rod builders. There’s been enough business, he said, to keep himself and two employees busy. The company grossed about $180,000 in 1994.
Included in that, Hamm said, was about $900 made from the design and manufacture of an exhaust system for MCM Group’s new off-road motorcycle, called the Cross Country.
Like other job shops that have done work for MCM, Hamm decided after talking to the company’s four owners and examining their prototype cycle “that this is a good company, with a good chance for success.”
Hamm did more than bend the chromed tubing that carries hot exhaust gasses from the motorcycle’s two cylinders to its mufflers, which were purchased off the shelf from Cobra Engineering in Anaheim.
“They key is analyzing the engine and what the vehicle is going to be used for. Smaller engines usually need help boosting power at the low end (starting speeds) of the power range, while larger engines need help at the top end,” Hamm said. An exhaust engineer’s skill lies in knowing the proper size tubing needed and having the design capabilities to keep the length of each tube equal while tucking it all up into the small spaces available in a motorcycle frame.
Doing MCM’s prototype work, Hamm hopes, will be the start of an association “that will benefit me by bringing in more work as they get going” with planned production in 1996 of 700 motorcycles. By the end of this year, MCM hopes to have built about 280 motorcycles.