Best exhaust for sportster 1200

Written By Higgins Cooper1
Last Updated

The best exhausts for the Harley Davidson Sportster 1200CC

The Harley Davidson Sportster is a truly impressive bike, offering the classic Harley look and feel in a smaller, less expensive package. 

However, we can’t help but think that the stock exhaust is just a tad underwhelming. One of the first modifications we made to our Sportster 1200 was an aftermarket exhaust, and the difference in sound and performance was night and day. 

Let’s take a look at some of the best exhausts for the Sportster 1200.

Best full system exhaust for the Harley Sportster 1200

Two Brothers Comp-S 2-Into-1 Exhaust

Overall best

Two Brothers comes in with their tried and tested Comp-S exhaust. This 2-into-1 style pipe is arguably one of the best products you can put on your Sportster 1200. It offers bona fide performance benefits along with a much more aggressive sound and modern design features.  The Sportster 1200, owing to its lighter, smaller displacement engine is definitely down on power compared to the Softails and Dynas. This means it is in dire need of a performance boost. Luckily, the Comp-S does just that with a dyno tuned design that increases power and torque. Two Brothers’ racing heritage means that all of their products benefit from the years of experience they have producing performance parts.  Along with the power gains, the Comp-S reduces weight and makes your Sportster that much more agile and better handling. Premium materials and construction, with beautiful TIG welds, make this more than just a performance part. The retro design adds some new lines to the bike and makes it stand out among other Sportsters.  But what about the sound? The power gains are backed up by a more throaty exhaust note that extracts every single dB that the 1200 can produce. The Comp-S offers the best acoustics for the Sportster and completes with a sporty, performance oriented look. Check price here.  Pros 

  • Race inspired exhaust that improves performance 
  • The BEST sounding exhaust for Sportsters
  • Premium construction
  • TIG welds instead of the usual MIG welds
  • Carbon fiber endcap
  • Compatible with forward/mid control bikes


  • Potentially too loud for everyday street use


Bassani Pro-Street Exhaust For Harley

Best budget

Bassani has made the quintessential cruiser exhaust with their Pro-Street pipes for Harleys. The classic cruiser look is improved upon and perfected with these clean, minimalist exhausts for the Sportster 1200. Available in your choice of black or chrome, the stainless steel pipes look gorgeous on any Harley, especially the Sportster. The theme of ‘classic cruiser’ is continued in the performance gains of these exhausts. Low end torque is the name of the game with Bassani. We were astounded by just how much torque we were able to extract from the 1200 with the addition of the Pro-Street pipes. The result? A bike that was quicker off the line and easier to maneuver thanks to the added ft-lbs.  If you thought the benefits stopped there, you’re in for a surprise. True to its name, ‘Bass-ani’ revitalizes your exhaust note with a deeper, gruntier sound when stationary and a more pronounced growl at speed. With the Pro-Street exhaust, you get the best value for your dollar. If nothing else, we feel confident saying that the Bassani is the best looking pair of exhausts we have ever fitted to any Harley, and it deserves huge praise and recognition for that. You cannot go wrong with this exhaust for your Sportster 1200. Check price here.   Pros

  • Massive improvement in low end torque 
  • More aggressive exhaust note
  • Best looking exhaust for the 1200
  • Available in black, chrome finishes 
  • Goes easy on your wallet


  • Some buyers may not like the simpler design


Best slip on exhausts for Harley Sportster 1200

Vance & Hines 3″ Round Twin Slash Slip-On exhaust

Overall best

Vance and Hines came out with their 3” Round Twin Slash Slip-On that works tremendously well with the Sportster 1200. With a timeless design, decent power gains, and excellent sound, this exhaust is the most balanced setup you could ask for.  The Round Twins are a sleek and sexy pair of exhausts that complete the look of your Sportster. With a nice and loud sound comes a decent upgrade in horsepower and torque. While the performance will not get the most considerable improvement, you can be sure that these pipes will make your Sportster 1200 sound like a rocket. Louvered core baffles and a free flowing design are to thank for this terrific sound.  Our favorite feature of the Round Twins is the design language of the exhausts. You get quality construction with all stainless steel and integrated heat shields on both pipes, which prevents that unsightly ‘blueing’ effect that so many other exhausts are prone to.  To sum up, the 3” Round Twins from Vance and Hines are undeniably the best slip-on style exhausts for your Sportster.  Pros

  • High quality stainless steel
  • Heavy sound adds character to bike
  • Heat shields integrated into the pipes
  • Prevents discoloration (blue-ing) over time 
  • Decent upgrade in power and torque 


  • Better performance can be expected from a full system exhaust as opposed to a slip-on like this


Cobra 3″ RPT Slip-On Mufflers For Harley

Worthy consideration 

Cobra’s 3” RPT Slip-On Mufflers for the Harley Davidson are another solid choice of exhaust. Here we have a 3-inch pipe with 2-inch replaceable baffles and premium materials used throughout. It adds a lot of performance, and perhaps more importantly, some extra DBs to your bike. Furthermore, the styling is tasteful, unlike the flashy pipes you’ll see elsewhere.  These pipes offer excellent performance without costing as much as other exhausts with similar setups. The slip-on comes in either black or chrome, the former sporting a transparent coated aluminum ‘Race Pro’ tip and the chrome variant capped in black for a cool, contrasting look.  Performance is another strong suit of the Cobra. The RPTs are based on Cobra’s signature constant velocity design that ensures a less restricted flow of exhaust gases out of the engine. This improves performance and adds a lot of sound to the exhaust. The sound quality is also aided by the use of a bonded e-class sleeve and stainless steel mesh.  The Cobra is an exhaust that offers some of the best performance and sound in its class and should be on your list of potential pipes for the Sportster 1200.  Buy here. Pros 

  • Decent power increase over stock exhaust
  • Some of the best sounding pipes for the Sportster
  • Effortless installation and fitment
  • Trendy look with contrasting muffler bodies and endcaps


  • The use of baffles means the sound output could definitely be better


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Higgins Cooper1

Cooper Higgins is a motorcycle enthusiast who’s been riding for the last 10 years. He’s passionate about all things motorcycles and started BikesFuture to help out riders make the right motorcycle moves. He riders a pimped out white Kawasaki Ninja 400, and also enjoys adventure riding when out of the City.