I've been told by more than one person (that should know) that it's intended to be used as a handle. Works 1/2 well at that....for hiking the bike up on a stand, bucket..whatever you use to prop the thing up for maintenance (if you don't own a REAL stand!..like I don't)
That little tube was designed by highly educated, highly paid engineers that know what they are doing. Under no circumstances would I recomend sawing it off without doing an extensive structural analysis first to determine exactly what the effect on the integrity of the structure as a whole would be.:p
Ive been told that this a protective device used to keep intrusions(rocks, sticks, whatever)from hitting the exhaust pipe if you were to drop your bike on the ground.....I guess they figure if you collapse your exhaust pipe, you wont make it outta the wood?! :)
I think i use mine for a handle just like everybody else though......