In this buying guide, we’ll be covering the best exhausts for Harley Davidson motorcycles.
A Harley Davidson is one of the most recognizable motorcycles on the planet. Each bike, while different, shares that same distinct Harley look and feel.
A big part of that look and feel is the exhaust. From the design to the sound and even the performance, an exhaust is one of the defining characteristics of a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
But often, people will want to upgrade to aftermarket exhausts to customize the bike and improve its performance.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at the best Harley Davidson exhausts on the market.
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Best full-System Harley Exhausts
The ‘Vance and Hines Shortshots Staggered Exhaust’ is one of the most famous Harley exhausts. It is a unique set of pipes, made specifically for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, following similar design cues as the stock pipe and adding a new look to your bike.
This shorter exhaust goes from 1 ¾’ at the headers to 2 ⅛’ at the mufflers. They feature impressive 2 ½’, 220-degree coverage heat shields that complement your bike’s look without being too distracting. Riders with powder-coated engines will be happy to learn that these pipes come in both chrome and blacked-out versions so you can retain the theme of your machine.
But no design is worth anything if it doesn’t have the sound to back it up. Thankfully, the ‘Shortshots’ do just that. With their distinct, raw sound, they perfectly encapsulate the Harley ethos. Deep, rumbly sound from the very first crack of the throttle and throughout the rev range is what these exhausts deliver. The exhaust note is aggressive and meaty, making a genuinely satisfying sound every time you drop a gear and pass others on the highway.
If that sound gets to be a bit too much, you can outfit these pipes with the optional baffles that will quiet them down some and make for a more relaxed ride. But really, they are best enjoyed with that characteristic unbridled sound.
- Clean, understated design
- Black and chrome versions offered
- Impressive, loud exhaust note
- Integrated heat shields
- Will need to check fitment
Two Brothers is a brand known for making performance-oriented products that add aesthetics and volume to your bike’s exhaust and a bit of extra power. True to form, their ‘Comp-S 2-into-1’ does just that. Here, we have a 2-into-1 style pipe that looks and sounds terrific.
The ‘Comp-S’ is a very balanced exhaust for your Harley Davidson. It offers some very retro styling, inspired by the bobber and cafe racer scene of old. The two individual header pipes culminate in a more oversized, rounded muffler that gives the bike a stunning customized look. The attention to detail and quality of workmanship is unlike any other exhaust we have seen in this segment, with beautiful TIG welds and hand crafted parts that exude luxury.
And the sound is nothing to scoff at either. The ‘Comp-S’ makes itself heard with a thick, confident growl that is just classic Harley. The use of quality stainless steel also means that this exhaust significantly drops the weight of your bike, helping improve handling and performance. But the star of the show is the noticeable boost in power these pipes bring to the table. Our testing showed a decent gain in both horsepower and torque, with low end torque benefiting greatly.
With such a complete package, the ‘Comp-S’ is a tough hunk of metal that will only make your bike more fun and enjoyable.
- Premium stainless construction
- Free flowing design adds power and torque to your bike
- Loud sound that is a massive improvement over stock
- Trendy design with 2-into-1 style pipe
- Compatible with both forward and mid control configurations
- Can be quite expensive, even for a full system
Best slip-on Harley Exhausts
Slip-on exhausts are a relatively inexpensive and straightforward way to get your bike to look and sound better. They offer louder sound and even a slight boost in performance while simultaneously being simple to install and use. One of the best slip-ons for your Harley is the ‘3” Round Twin Slash” from Vance and Hines.
This slip-on is a serious piece of hardware. It wakes up your bike’s engine and gives it a fierce roar. Following the same theme as stock Harley exhausts, the ‘Twin Slash’ slip-on builds on thicker, more satisfying sound and an excellent overall package that looks stunning on the bike. You will not be disappointed by the growl these puppies have to them.
Heat shields allow this muffler to be ‘blue-proof,’ making sure nothing tarnishes the look of your bike even after years of riding. A free flowing design means you get a more responsive bike and a more pleasurable riding experience. And the best part is because this is such a simple design, you don’t have to make any significant modifications to your bike to fit it on.
For example, where other slip-on require you to remove or modify the saddlebags on your touring machine, these pipes quite literally slip right on. No cutting or welding required.
This product is perhaps the easiest for us to recommend. Owing to the quality and ease of use, you can buy it without overthinking the purchase.
- Excellent build quality by an experienced manufacturer
- A significant improvement over the OEM sound and power figures
- Heat shields prevent the ‘blueing’ of exhaust
- Optional baffles available to reduce sound by 3-5 dB
- No additional tuning required
- The included user guide is not the easiest to follow
- Carbureted engines may face problems with this exhaust
Fans of motorsport and racing will no doubt be familiar with Rinehart. They are renowned for their ultra high performing products and the huge benefits these products have for bikes. They make a fantastic pair of slip-on pipes that should be on your radar.
The first thing you notice when you see the Rinehart slip-on exhaust is the simple, no nonsense design. Here is a product that does not waste time with too much added flair and over stylized looks. The design for Rineharts’ 4” Slip-ons for Harley Davidson consists of clean, uninterrupted lines that do not detract from the bike’s overall look. In keeping with the minimalist design language, you get two color options: chrome and black.
However, the sound these bad boys make isn’t quite as simple or understated when you twist the throttle. This exhaust turns it up to eleven. A proprietary baffle design gives these pipes a rowdy sound that stark contrast to the srealisticlook and design.
And the racing heritage does not end there. A free flowing design means you get not only more horsepower but also torque down low. These pipes made our testing bikes so much more fun to ride!
And for the quality conscious of you, the Rineharts come with an unmatched lifetime warranty! Few other companies are so confident in their products. Furthermore, the black version comes with a two-year warranty for the black finish coating so that you can rest easy.
- Simple, clean design
- Robust sound from these pipes
- Free flowing exhaust that increases power and torque
- Lifetime warranty on the slip-on exhaust system
- Some riders may not like the straightforward design
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