The Best Harley Fishtail Exhausts

Here, we recommend the best Harley Fishtail exhausts. 

Fishtail exhausts offer a louder, beefier sound and a unique look for your Harley. We tested some of the most popular, as well as some lesser-known fishtail exhausts for Harleys to see how well they perform and sound. 

Vance & Hines’ 3” Fishtail slip-on is our favorite of the bunch. It has that roaring, high-pitched sound fishtails are known for and are built to outlast your bike! And being a V&H pipe, it has a couple nifty tricks up its muffler sleeve. 

We have been testing motorcycle accessories for over a decade. During that time, we have not only tested various Harley fishtail exhausts but also installed them on our own bikes. We know a thing or two about them and can help you make the most worthwhile buying decision. 

Keep reading for more of our thoughts on the best Harley fishtail exhausts.


Overall Best

Vance & Hines 3” Fishtail Slip-On Exhaust for Harley

It’s no secret that V&H make some of our favorite pipes for Harleys, and their fishtail exhausts continue that trend. What you get with these slip-ons is a well-built exhaust that is louder and fuller sounding than stock. Furthermore, the design looks absolutely phenomenal. 

V&H have outdone themselves with the construction of this Harley fishtail exhaust. It sports a high-quality metal build that is rated to withstand the highest exhaust pressure and temperature. We liked the chrome finish, which is completely ‘blue-proof,’ just like most Vance & Hines’ offerings. 

These fishtail slip-ons were subjected to hundreds of heat cycles in our testing. We did not notice any discoloration or ‘bluing.’ Similarly, the integrated heat shields are a fantastic addition that keeps your legs from roasting on longer journeys. 

This Harley fishtail exhaust is about 34 inches long. That isn’t the longest we’ve seen, but when paired with the stock exhaust on most Harleys, the fishtails stick out far enough to be visible. We were disappointed to find that on baggers, the fishtails don’t stick out nearly as much as we’d like. 

Speaking of, let’s talk about the design of these fishtails. The fins are curved and aggressive. The unique shape not only looks fantastic but also helps amplify the sound. If you want a fishtail exhaust with a modern spin on it, this is the one to get. 

As for the sound, we are happy to report that it is loud and beefy. It’s not the loudest on this list, but it’s not too far behind either. Stepped-up muffler bodies and a louvered core baffle make for a louder, rowdier exhaust note. The sound is crisp and full but isn’t so loud that it becomes annoying. 

These are slip-ons, so you shouldn’t expect the highest bump in power. Still, the free-flowing design does make the throttle response smoother. Our test bike actually had a pair of aftermarket headers installed, and those really woke the bike up! 

So, to sum up, Vance & Hines’ Harley fishtail slip-ons offer a durable build, enhanced sound, and a sexy look. Performance could have been better, but that’s pretty much par for the course with slip-ons.

Pros
  • Sturdy metal design
  • Best in class build quality
  • Chrome finish
  • Almost 34 inches in length
  • Stepped up muffler bodies
  • Louvered core baffles
  • Loud and high pitched sound
  • Compatible with all V&H header pipes
  • 220-degree coverage heat shields
  • Anti-blue surface coating
Cons
  • Fishtails don’t stick out far enough behind the bike

Best Budget

SHARKROAD Chrome Fishtail Slip-On Exhaust

These Harley fishtail exhausts from Sharkroad are an affordable pair of slip-ons that have a lot going for them. For one, the build quality is anything but budget. Furthermore, the sound is exactly what you’d expect from a high-quality set of fishtails. 

Starting off with the design, we were happy to find that these fishtails measure almost 36 inches in length. Those extra 2 inches mean the pipes stick out further than the V&H pipe. Even on bikes with saddlebags, these fishtails easily complete the look. 

We also liked the fact that instead of an endcap that attaches to the pipe, these fishtails are all one piece from start to finish. It’s a small detail, but it goes a long way towards making these Harley fishtail exhausts look cool. 

For budget-friendly fishtail exhausts, these Sharkroad pipes are surprisingly well-built. We pushed them to the absolute limit in various scenarios. We did not notice exhaust leaks, cracks, or anything of the sort. We did find ourselves missing the ‘anti-bluing’ design of V&H’s pipes, but the discoloration of these pipes is easily removed. 

One area where these Harley fishtails do not disappoint is the sound quality. They are even louder than the V&H offering and more beefy sounding. In fact, you might want to get in the habit of wearing earplugs! 

Besides loudness, you also get more bass from these fishtails. It is a heavy, mean sound that makes your Harley feel meaner. As far as the sound is concerned, these are easily our favorite Harley fishtail exhausts. 

The sound is so loud and beefy, in fact, that you might want to get a dB killer or quiet baffle, especially if you use your Harley for long highway journeys. We found that it got pretty annoying after a few hundred miles. 

As for major drawbacks, these Harley fishtails only fit models 2017 and up. The performance gains are non-existent, but that’s to be expected. But to be fair, the lightweight build and free-flowing exhaust design actually give you the impression of higher performance. And at this price point, we’ll take it! 

In summation, the Sharkroad Harley fishtail slip-ons are worth considering if you don’t want to drop too much money on a pair of loud, awesome-sounding fishtail exhausts.

Pros
  • Stainless steel build
  • Chrome finish
  • Precise welding
  • No leaks
  • 36-inch length
  • Fishtails extend further behind the bike
  • Fishtails are part of the pipe and not separate endcaps
  • Budget-friendly
  • One of the loudest Harley fishtail exhausts
  • High pitched sound that can be heard for miles around
Cons
  • Only fits Harley models 2017 and up

Worthy Consideration

Universal Harley Motorcycle Fishtail Exhaust

Can’t find a set of Fishtails that fit your Harley? This universally compatible option might be just the thing, with its loud and growly sound, impressive build quality, and sleek design. 

Kicking things off with the sound, we have a louder, meaner sound that makes itself heard. It is mean and rowdy at idle but only gets better when you open up the throttle. It’s pretty deep and thumpy, too, fitting right in with the Harley ethos. 

Our favorite feature of these Harley fishtail exhausts is the crackling sound they make when you let off the throttle, a small detail that goes a long way. 

One drawback of this universally compatible Harley fishtail exhaust is the fact that it is made of iron instead of more durable materials like stainless steel. That’s not to say that we had any issues with the build. It performed pretty well in testing, but the fact remains that iron is more prone to rusting and doesn’t hold up as well to high exhaust temperature and pressure. 

Again, we didn’t have any issues with exhaust leaks or cracks, even when we put these Harley fishtails through hell, so you shouldn’t have any problems in day-to-day riding. 

For all their drawbacks, these Harley fishtails do offer some great features that redeem them. The design has a minimalist vibe to it that works with pretty much any Harley. It is simple and understated but not boring by any means. The fin design is not as aggressive as the other options, which some riders prefer. 

These pipes are longer than the others, so they stick out farther behind the bike. Even with saddlebags, you still get that classic fishtail aesthetic. They’re so long, in fact, that they scrape on unusually large bumps in the road, but that’s to be expected. 

Lastly, you knew it was coming, but these Harley fishtail slip-ons do nothing to boost power. Throttle response is nominally better, though we think even that’s a placebo, owing to the louder sound. 

But for all its shortcomings, this Harley fishtail exhaust is still universally compatible, and we had no issues installing it on different Harley models. In fact, you can even fit these slip-ons to bikes from other manufacturers, which is a plus.

Pros
  • Iron construction
  • Chrome finish
  • Loudest sounding fishtail exhaust for Harley
  • Throaty, high pitched exhaust note
  • Long enough to stick out behind saddlebags
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Classic styling
  • Universal compatibility
  • Easy to install
  • Fishtails are aggressive
Cons
  • May scrape on large bumps in the road

Author
Hashim

Hi, I'm Hugo, I'm a motorcycle enthusiast who’s been riding for the last 10 years. I'm passionate about all things motorcycles and started Bikes Future to help other riders make the right motorcycle moves. I ride a white Kawasaki Ninja 400.