The Best Exhausts for Harley Davidson’s Road King

In this review, we talk about the best exhausts for the Harley Davidson Road King. 

We tested over a dozen different Road King exhausts before shortlisting our favorite ones. These are the exhausts that provide the most durable construction, the most appealing sound, and the highest performance. 

Vance & Hines’ Big Radius exhaust is the clear winner. It is a well-built piece of exhaust hardware and one that brings a lot of useful features to the table. The sound quality is also a plus point, and the massive power gains are just the cherry on top. 

We’ve been testing and reviewing motorcycle accessories for over a decade. Some awesome Road King exhausts have come across our desks in that time. If you want an informed opinion about these exhausts, allow us to be of service. 

Keep reading for a complete breakdown of the best exhausts for the Harley Davidson Road King.


Overall Best

Vance & Hines Big Radius Exhaust

It’s easy to see why the Vance & Hines’ Big Radius exhaust is our top pick. It features V&H’s renowned high-quality construction, a rowdy exhaust note, and plenty of ‘oomph!’ to get the Road King going. 

Starting things off with the sound of these pipes, we have a louder, meaner-sounding exhaust. It is a deep and thumpy sound with Vance & Hines’ aggressive yet refined touch. At idle, the sound is heavy and imposing. And when you open up the throttle, it only gets meaner. 

And before you ask, yes, it does have that unique fluttering sound that most V&H pipes have on cold starts. 

But the real reason you buy a Vance & Hines exhaust is for the insane build quality. These pipes use the highest grade of stainless steel we have seen, making the exhaust lightweight and durable. The entire build is ‘blue-proof,’ so you won’t have to put up with any pipe discoloration over time. 

The design of these pipes also integrates heat shields into the build, which drastically reduces exhaust heat falling on rider and passenger. 

Moving on to performance, we have nothing but praise for the Big Radius exhaust. Its free-flowing exhaust architecture and unique tuning mean you get a couple extra horsepower. This improves the Road King’s throttle response and passing power, while the added torque enhances acceleration. Low-speed maneuvering is made easier thanks to this extra torque as well.

Pros
  • Eye-catching design
  • Healthy power bump compared to stock
  • Better performance throughout the rev range
  • Integrated full-coverage heat shields
  • Pipes won’t blue over time
  • Loud and powerful sounding exhaust note
  • Bass-heavy sound profile
  • Lighter than stock pipes
  • Best build quality on the market
  • Premium stainless steel used
  • Free flow architecture
  • Awesome fluttering sound on startup
  • Design accentuates the Road King’s lines
Cons
  • Styling may not be to everyone’s taste

Best Budget

Vance & Hines Eliminator Slip-On Exhaust

Suppose you prefer a slip-on over a full exhaust. In that case, V&H’s Eliminator brings loud and meaty acoustics to your Harley Davidson Road King. As expected, the construction quality is through the roof, and the slip-on is pretty easy on the eyes. 

This slip-on style exhaust for the Road King uses high-flow exhaust architecture to belt out a louder, fuller sound than the stock pipes. The sound is nothing short of eargasmic, with its mean, booming character. If you’re strapped for cash and want your Road King to sound meaner, this is the exhaust to get. 

If the sound is a bit too loud for you or your local law enforcement, the optional quiet baffle can be fitted to quiet this exhaust down a bit. 

As with any Vance & Hines exhaust, this one sports one of the most durable constructions we’ve ever seen. High-quality stainless steel ensures a lightweight build that is less prone to exhaust leaks and cracks. The CNC machined billet end cap is a nice touch and really makes this pipe stand out from the rest. 

We weren’t expecting any appreciable power gains from this slip-on exhaust for the Road King. But even here, the exhaust surprised us. We noticed a distinctly more responsive throttle and improved handling overall. Some of that is thanks to the lighter weight, but the free-flowing design also deserves credit. 

Pros
  • Stainless steel design
  • Clean and minimalist style
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Available in chrome and matte black
  • CNC machined billet end caps
  • The chrome version can be outfitted with a black end cap
  • Freer flowing exhaust system
  • Louder than stock
  • Deeper and more ‘grunty’ sound
  • More responsive throttle
Cons
  • Not as noticeable a power-up as with a full system exhaust

Budget Premium

Bassani Road Rage 2-Into-1 Exhaust

If you want the best sounding exhaust for the Harley Davidson Road King, you want a Bassani. This 2-into-1 style exhaust has a roaring, growly exhaust note, an impressive build, and more power than even we know what to do with. 

Kicking things off with the design, the Road Rage has a somewhat retro look that fits the Road King’s classic lines well. And it’s backed up by an equally impressive construction that makes liberal use of 304 stainless steel and TIG welds for a lightweight, durable exhaust. 

In fact, the muffler sits a bit higher than the stock alternative, allowing you to lean the bike further in corners and avoid scraping it on large bumps in the road. 

But like we said, this exhaust is all about the sound. It features a raucous exhaust note that splits the very air in two with every twist of the throttle. The megaphone-style muffler definitely helps amplify the sound, which is just as beefy and imposing at idle as it is at redline. 

Loud sound and high performance go hand-in-hand. Bassani’s Road Rage for the Road King provides a healthy torque and horsepower upgrade. The 2-into-1 design enables ‘scavenging,’ which boosts overall power. We were treated to faster acceleration, easier low-speed maneuvering, and an easier time merging on the highway.

Pros
  • 304 stainless steel used
  • Construction saves a good bit of weight
  • Easier maneuvering at low speed
  • TIG welds are more durable
  • The exhaust is mounted higher than stock
  • Allows bike to lean further
  • Helps you clear large bumps in the road
  • Large megaphone muffler
  • 2-into-1 design
  • Louder sound
  • Deeper exhaust note, with more beefy acoustics
  • Improved exhaust flow
  • Decent power up
  • More responsive throttle
  • Integrated heat shield
  • O2 sensors and adapters provided
  • Quick install
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Styling may not appeal to some folks

Author
MQ

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.