In this guide we’ll be covering the best exhausts for Harley Davidson’s Sportster series of motorcycles.
We based our choices by compiling a list of the best Harley exhausts that fit the Sportster, then wildling away at these choices until only a few were left standing.
We then tested these last contenders before sending them back to the manufacturer.
The best exhaust overall was Vance and Hines mini grenades exhaust system, it’s got an excellent sound and unlocks a burst of speed you didn’t know was there, it looks fantastic and other than the higher price it passes with flying colours.
We included some other recommendations because we understand personal preference will get involved in factors such as torque or top speeds.
If you ride a Sportster 1200, we wrote a guide on the best exhausts specifically for the Sportster 1200 which you can find here.
Read on to find out more about Vance and Hines Mini-Grenades exhaust and more.
|Vance & Hines Mini-Grenades Exhaust||Check Price|
|Cobra Speedster 909 Exhaust||Check Price|
|Bassani Road Rage 2-Into-1 Exhaust||Check Price|
It’s the first time we came across the Mini Grenades exhaust by Vance and Hines. It’s a beast at improving low to mid range torque, a unique three staggered design reduces a lot of weight, excellent build quality and a deep aggressive sound makes this our overall top choice. The only real downside is the higher price or for those riders aiming for power solely in the higher brackets.
In terms of performance you’ll see considerable improvements around the low to mid torque ranges, You’ll fly off the mark when stopped at lights. While there are power improvements in the higher ranges, this is more because of the weight your Sportster will drop with the Mini Grenades installed.
The pipes are narrow and short in length plus the stainless steel compounds this exhaust’s weight loss. We felt the compact design fits the Sportster aesthetic very well especially with it’s matte black finish.
Don’t let the small size of this exhaust fool you. It’s sound is booming, a deep and aggressive roar is bound to attract attention, we can’t emphasise enough this is one heck of a loud exhaust, some riders complained on cross country tours having this thing installed wasn’t ideal, because such a loud sound for so many hours can get on your nerves. Luckily there are quiet baffles if you really need them that are sold separately.
We’ve tried to hammer out a few downsides to counteract all these awesome features that the Mini Grenades come with, we did notice high power improvements were far less significant than lower ranges. It’s also a more expensive option so if it is out of your price range we’ve included another budget option for your Sportster so keep reading.
- Great aesthetic
- Overwhelmingly positive customer reviews
- Staggered three-step design
- Massive amounts of torque
- Excellent weight reduction
- Deep and aggressive sound
- A nice matte black finish
- One of the more unusual designs
- Excellent build quality
- Pops on deceleration
- Easy install
- Less top speed gains compared to torque
- Potentially too loud for cross country tours
- Lacks heat shields
For a budget option that fits the Sportster, Cobra has delivered an exhaust that surpassed all other contenders at this price point. It’s sleek traditional style keeps weight down, balanced power improvements means you can expect gains at higher and lower power ranges. It’s sound is a deep growl that grows with intensity as you play the throttle.
Unlike most exhausts that lean heavily to one side, Cobra’s 909 is far more balanced bringing power gains at top speeds and low level torque, it’s a relatively light exhaust that further helps these balanced improvements.
At this price point we didn’t expect the 909 to utilise Powerport technology. which funnel gasses more effectively to improve velocity and bring your motorcycle from idle to redline far quicker. The power gains the 909 brought compared to more expensive options were very similar, it also managed to hold its own against most 2 into 1 exhausts which was a pleasant surprise.
The 909 keeps with a more traditional Harley look, it’s sleek curvature improves the overall aesthetic of your Sportster while still keeping things compact and relatively lightweight, the heat shield doesn’t help with weight reduction but it’ll improve the longevity of your Sportster and the exhaust itself.
While the Cobra 909 is loud it wasn’t able to compete with the other recommendations on our list, it’s got a deep low lying humm at idle that turns into an aggressive growl once you start playing the throttle, loudness isn’t everything and the sound itself was awesome to hear.
Something that might turn some of the readers off is that balanced power gains means it won’t emphasise one particular power range, if you’re wanting to focus on torque or top speeds this exhaust won’t do that and there are better alternatives that lean heavily to one side. We also found the instructions poor and installation was a little fiddly.
- Sleek traditional style
- Balanced power improvements
- Fully covered heat shields
- Powerport technology
- Light weight
- Deep growl playing the throttle
- Deep humm at idle
- Very affordable for a full system exhaust
- Some riders dislike the balanced power improvements
- More difficult installation
- Poor instructions
Bassani’s Road Rage is a monster exhaust that shifts power and performance up a gear, at the higher price ranges the Road Rage devours everything in its wake. Unlocking new high speeds and torque as well, not to mention the excellent build quality and a sound that’s like a thunderous clap when you hit the ignition.
We saw massive gains at higher revs ranges, the long length and reduced curvature of the pipes funnel’s gasses at the maximum possible velocity. Unlocking higher revs you never thought were possible. We did see improved torque when compared to stock but mainly the Road Rage delivers maximum speeds.
The excellent funneling of gases doesn’t just affect the speed of your Sportster motorcycle, the sound is also meteoric, utilizing a reverse megaphone muffler turning on your Sportster is like a thunder clap for that split second, before quieting down to a deep purr at idle. Listening to the Road Rage at idle you can hear the potential in it just waiting to be unlocked.
Opening up the throttle this exhaust booms to life, starting with that classic Harley roar that we all know and love, while performance was excellent we couldn’t get over how fantastic the Road Rage sounded in every area.
In terms of production and materials of this exhaust, everything is excellent, something we’ve come to expect from Bassani is their longevity and durability. You’ll be needing a new Sportster before you’ll have to replace the Road Rage, all parts are manufactured using in house materials such as 304 stainless steel and hand welds.
Nothing is perfect and unfortunately all this awesomeness comes at a very high price, it also lacks style compared to other exhausts for the Sportster. Visual appeal is the only thing lacking and something Bassani could definitely improve.
- Overwhelmingly positive customer reviews
- Trusted brand
- 2 into 1 exhaust
- Reverse megaphone muffler
- Uniquely stepped collector
- Louvered baffle contains spiral core
- Excellent gains at higher speeds
- Wide range of compatibility
- Decent torque
- Booming roar
- Deep throaty purr at idle
- Visual appeal could be better
- More weight reduction would be ideal