Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson

If you’re looking to upgrade your Harley, one of the first things you might want to consider is a new exhaust. And with good reason! A quality performance exhaust can make your bike sound meaner, run stronger, and look better.

A high-performance exhaust not only provides more power to your motorcycle but also improves fuel economy. Your bike will ‘breathe’ better with the free-flowing system, allowing it to produce more power overall.

The famous biker Eddie Lawson said, “A performance exhaust will add both power and style to your bike.”

Another famous biker, Mickey Jones, said, “I think a performance exhaust is one of the best upgrades you can make to your bike.” 

As you can see, a performance exhaust system is one of the most popular upgrades for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. And I’m sure you want to know which one is the best. I have reviewed and tested several different performance exhausts and come up with the following list of my top picks. 

Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson – Top Picks

Best Overall
Vance & Hines 16763 Twin Slash 4 Rounds Chrome Slip On...
Editor's Choice
SHARKROAD 4.0" Chrome Slip On Muffler Exhaust For Harley...
Runner's Up
Vance & Hines Hi-Output Slip-On Exhaust (Black) for 14-19...
Low Budget
DNA 4" CHROME STYLE TAPERED SLIP-ONS MUFFLERS HARLEY TOURING...
Vance & Hines 16763 Twin Slash 4 Rounds Chrome Slip On...
SHARKROAD 4.0" Chrome Slip On Muffler Exhaust For Harley...
Vance & Hines Hi-Output Slip-On Exhaust (Black) for 14-19...
DNA 4" CHROME STYLE TAPERED SLIP-ONS MUFFLERS HARLEY TOURING...
What's Special
Louvered baffle to boost power, Meaty sound
Easy to Install
Love the sound
Removable Baffles
Shape
Round
Round
Round
Round
Exterior
Polish Chrome
Polished
Matt Black
Ceramic Coated
Product Dimensions
38 x 7 x 14 inches
33.98 x 10.94 x 5.67 inches
27 x 7 x 7 inches
29.5 x 10.2 x 5.6 inches
Item Weight
55.78 Pounds
22 Pounds
7.10 Pounds
‎12 pounds
Compatibility
Fits 1995-2016 Harley-Davidson Touring Models
Touring Electra Glide 1995-2016, Touring Ultra Limited 1995-2016, Touring Road Glide 1995-2016, Touring Road King 1995-2016, Touring Street Glide 1995-2016
14-19 Harley STREET500
HARLEY TOURING 95-16
-
-
-
-
Best Overall
Vance & Hines 16763 Twin Slash 4 Rounds Chrome Slip On...
Vance & Hines 16763 Twin Slash 4 Rounds Chrome Slip On...
What's Special
Louvered baffle to boost power, Meaty sound
Shape
Round
Exterior
Polish Chrome
Product Dimensions
38 x 7 x 14 inches
Item Weight
55.78 Pounds
Compatibility
Fits 1995-2016 Harley-Davidson Touring Models
-
Editor's Choice
SHARKROAD 4.0" Chrome Slip On Muffler Exhaust For Harley...
SHARKROAD 4.0" Chrome Slip On Muffler Exhaust For Harley...
What's Special
Easy to Install
Shape
Round
Exterior
Polished
Product Dimensions
33.98 x 10.94 x 5.67 inches
Item Weight
22 Pounds
Compatibility
Touring Electra Glide 1995-2016, Touring Ultra Limited 1995-2016, Touring Road Glide 1995-2016, Touring Road King 1995-2016, Touring Street Glide 1995-2016
-
Runner's Up
Vance & Hines Hi-Output Slip-On Exhaust (Black) for 14-19...
Vance & Hines Hi-Output Slip-On Exhaust (Black) for 14-19...
What's Special
Love the sound
Shape
Round
Exterior
Matt Black
Product Dimensions
27 x 7 x 7 inches
Item Weight
7.10 Pounds
Compatibility
14-19 Harley STREET500
-
Low Budget
DNA 4" CHROME STYLE TAPERED SLIP-ONS MUFFLERS HARLEY TOURING...
DNA 4" CHROME STYLE TAPERED SLIP-ONS MUFFLERS HARLEY TOURING...
What's Special
Removable Baffles
Shape
Round
Exterior
Ceramic Coated
Product Dimensions
29.5 x 10.2 x 5.6 inches
Item Weight
‎12 pounds
Compatibility
HARLEY TOURING 95-16
-

Harley Davidson motorcycles are known for their powerful engines and distinct exhaust note. But what many riders don’t realize is that there is a wide range of aftermarket exhaust options available that can significantly improve the performance of their bike. 

In this section, we’ll take a look at the 8 best performance exhausts for Harley-Davidson motorcycles and help you choose the right one for your ride.

1. Cobra 6250 Exhaust For Harley Davidson

Cobra True Dual Head Pipes 6250

What We Like:

  • Perfect fit and no vibration with oversized heat shields
  • Burly idle sound and more presence during acceleration
  • Improved appearance with larger and sleek heat shields
  • Significant sound enhancement compared to stock exhaust with slip-on mufflers
  • Easy installation with included hardware and clear instructions
  • Improved compression and performance
  • Durable and efficient beefy heat shields that deflect heat better than factory ones
  • Leak-free installation with correct gaskets

Downsides:

  • L bracket on rear head pipe can be difficult to install with the provided instructions.
  • Illegal in California

Cobra 6250 features oxygen sensor bungs that allow the motorcycle to run more efficiently by allowing the oxygen sensor to monitor the air-fuel mixture. Not only does this improve fuel economy and performance, but it also helps to prolong the lifespan of the oxygen sensor.

One of the best things about this system is that its closed-loop technology helps reduce emissions, making it more eco-friendly than other models. It is also known to be more durable and requires less maintenance.

This performance exhaust can add up to 10% more horsepower to a bike, as well as increase fuel efficiency by up to 5%. It can also make the bike sound more aggressive, which some riders prefer.

Our team of experts told us that its heat shields are 2.5 inches in diameter, serving multiple purposes: they deflect heat away from the rider’s body to prevent burns, protect the engine and exhaust system from heat damage, and improve motorcycle performance by reducing engine and exhaust temperatures.

Furthermore, the primary exhaust head pipes, 1-3/4 inches in diameter, take the exhaust gasses from the engine to the muffler. This provides a richer sound and more power than smaller sizes, such as 1-1/2″ head pipes.

Now you have the freedom to use Cobra slip-on mufflers or any other original equipment manufacturer-style mufflers with this exhaust system, depending on what sound and look you want for your Harley.

Besides reducing noise levels, its mufflers also increase horsepower and torque, so riders can enjoy both benefits. In addition to improving a bike’s function, a muffler reduces fuel consumption – ultimately saving you money – as well as improving the user’s comfort.

To check the compatibility of this exhaust refer to this page.

2. Vance & Hines 2009-16 Exhaust For Harley Touring

Vance & Hines Power Duals Exhaust Chrome for 2009-16 Touring...

What We Like:

  • Reduced heat on rider’s legs
  • High-quality construction and materials
  • Includes exhaust gaskets and shield for added protection
  • Compatible with various Harley Davidson models
  • Balanced sound enhancement without unpleasant smells or excessive loudness
  • Authentic Harley sound with enhanced tone
  • Sleek chrome finish for added style

Downsides:

  • The heat shield may need modification for proper fit
  • Tuner required for optimal performance
  • Installation instructions may be challenging and require patience.

A performance exhaust system can improve a vehicle’s fuel economy by up to 5%, according to a study by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The Vance & Hines 2009-16 Exhaust is an innovative and ideal exhaust to make this important improvement.

Vance & Hines company is one of those businesses where the product completely lives up to the name and produces some of the best motorcycle parts on the market. Adding this exhaust chrome to your bike will make it look more aggressive.

If you’re looking to significantly boost your bike’s torque and horsepower, look no further than this Power Duals. These pipes are designed specifically for 2009-16 touring models and manufactured according to rigorous quality standards.

What’s more, is that its oxygen sensor port is extremely beneficial because it allows you to fine-tune your motorcycle’s engine. By being able to measure the oxygen in the exhaust gasses, the computer can make adjustments to improve performance and fuel efficiency.

We put its full coverage heat shields through a series of tests and found that they work to protect the rider from the intense heat coming off the exhaust system. By deflecting the heat away from riders, not only are you kept cooler, but also helps keep engine temperature down.

Vance and Hines is a brand known for its remarkable dual design. This not only upgrades your motorcycle’s performance but also makes it sound more distinct, so you’re sure to turn heads when riding. Too, the design makes your bike look more appealing and fashionable so that people will take a second look whenever they see it.

All in all, the manufacturer designed the exhaust wrap to regulate temperatures, reducing them by as much as 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The exhaust gas exits your engine at a faster rate when it is cooler, thereby enhancing power and torque. It protects your engine and other vehicle parts by lessening extreme heat damage.

3. Vance & Hines Mini Grenade Black 46874 Aggressive Deep Tone

Vance & Hines Mini Grenades Exhaust Black 46874

What We Like:

  • Unique and throaty rumble tones
  • Easy to install and great build quality
  • Transforms the sound of your bike into a deep, throaty roar
  • Can be paired with a fuel pack for better performance.
  • Provides weight savings
  • Fits perfectly and adds a unique look to your bike

Downsides:

  • Really loud, which may be annoying on longer rides.

Vance and Hines are masters at creating Harley Davidson exhaust systems. The mini grenades they have fit any Harley rider perfectly. This system is more powerful than a typical grenade, making for a deafening blow and bang.

First of all, this 2009-16 model was designed with a three-step technology to improve performance by allowing uninterrupted exhaust gas flow and reducing noise levels. This also decreases fuel consumption because the engine can run more efficiently.

According to PR Newswire (a Magazine), with Vance & Hines computer numerical control machined billet end caps, your exhaust system will become stronger and more resistant to deterioration. These types of end caps also offer a more appealing aesthetic that can be custom-designed to meet customer needs.

Moreover, the Vance and Hines Stance exhaust is perfect for those who are searching to add a more menacing edge to their Harley Davidson. With this compact yet muscular exhaust, you’ll see an increase in both your motorcycle’s performance and aerodynamics. Not to mention, it will also give your ride an intimidating look that is sure to turn heads wherever you go.

If you love deep aggressive tones, then this unit is for you. You might be thinking that it will make your Harley too loud, but don’t worry because it comes with an optional 100-2033 quiet baffle. This will help muffle the sound so you can still enjoy a deep tone without being too overbearing.

Finally, with a 1-year warranty from the company, you no longer have to worry about any manufacturing defects or problems and can instead focus on enjoying your ride experience.

4. Vance & Hines Shortshots Staggered Black 47227 Exhaust

Vance & Hines Shortshots Staggered Exhaust Black 47227

What We Like:

  • Looks excellent on Harley Davidson
  • Easy to install with basic knowledge of wrenches
  • Provides a great look to your bike
  • Comes with exhaust gaskets needed for installation
  • Sound awesome, very loud and deep roar
  • Can be paired with VO2 air intake and Fuelpak tuner for better performance

Downsides:

  • May require remapping after installation

Vance & Hines, a world-renowned brand for motorcycle parts, strives to create innovative products that will enhance performance and style. Their Shortshots Staggered exhausts are the perfect way to turn heads on your Harley Sportster.

Customers are satisfied with this purchase because the unique 1-3/4 inch diameter for the head pipe creates more power and torque while reducing heat transfer to the rider. Also, since the product’s diameter is larger than most in the competition, there is less back pressure in the exhaust system.

I have used this black 47227 exhaust, and I can personally confirm that its heat shield helps to protect both the rider and motorcycle from excess heat. Not only does it regulate the temperature to 220 degrees, but it also prevents any blueing.

Additionally, the oxygen sensor has a size of 12mm and is located downstream of the exhaust stream to provide more accurate feedback to the engine control unit. By doing so, there will be an improved air/fuel mixture reading which leads to better fuel economy and performance. Also, it aids in reducing emissions by giving information that can be used to make adjustments to the air/fuel mixture as needed.

You may be surprised to know that its exhaust pipe has two parallel, slanted cuts at the end of the pipe. These cuts create a V-shaped opening that allows exhaust gasses to exit more quickly and efficiently. It can also help to reduce the noise emitted by the motorcycle.

Last but not the least, the internal baffles can be replaced with optional quiet baffles, 450-376, to make for a more peaceful experience. This way, you won’t have to worry about any unwanted attention and can still enjoy the deep tones without being disturbed.

5. Bassani Xhaust Exhaust with Wide Compatibility

No products found.

What We Like:

  • Great sound when accelerating without being too loud
  • Low pitch throaty sporty sound instead of high pitch potato sound
  • Quieter than other slips on/full systems, making it ideal for daily use
  • Looks badass and has excellent quality
  • Reflects the power of the bike and will bring out power gains with cams and head upgrades.
  • Provides pure hp gain from 2-1 system

Downsides:

  • Adapting to the absence of the classic Harley high pitch sound may take time
  • 22 low rider ST model does not feature the signature sound
  • Exhaust system generates expected significant heat.

Bassani’s headers are designed with two pipes that merge into one before it reaches the muffler. This is said to improve engine performance by boosting the flow of exhaust gases. By having less restricted gas flow, it also produces a deep sound which many riders prefer, as seen in this video.

Introducing to you its stepped headers, which come equipped with a diameter upgrade from 1 3/4 to 1 7/8 inches offer Harley users increased horsepower and torque, as well as a much smoother flow of exhaust gases. If you are a Harley rider who often enjoys rides in hilly or mountainous terrain, this is especially beneficial for you.

We tested the inner collector and found that it is responsible for collecting exhaust gasses and routing them away from the engine. The noise-reduction capabilities and fuel efficiency benefits of the collector make it a desirable option for those hoping to improve their engine performance.

Furthermore, the key advantage of this item is that it’s made of stainless steel 304, which doesn’t corrode easily and can bear high temperatures. It is effective in withstanding high and low temperatures, as well as with gasses that are corrosive.

We liked the design of the muffler, which circulates exhaust gasses away from the engine. Doing this, not only keeps the engine cooler but also prevents overheating of the muffler. Too, it elevates engine performance by improving airflow and getting rid of exhaust fumes.

Not only does Bassani Xhaust look great, but its parts are also joined together by hand tig Welding for a neater finish. Also, using a Tig welder by hand is more gentle on the exhaust system and thus lessens the risk of warping or other damage.

COMPATIBLE Harley Davidson BIKES

  • Sportster XL883
  • Sportster Iron XL883N
  • Sportster Low/Superlow XL883L
  • Sportster Roadster XL883R
  • Sportster Roadster XL1200CX
  • Sportster Low XL1200L
  • Sportster Nightster XL1200N
  • Sportster Iron XL1200NS
  • Sportster Roadster XL1200R
  • Sportster SuperLow XL1200T

6. SHARKROAD Slip-On Exhaust for Harley Davidson

SHARKROAD 4.0' Chrome Slip On Muffler Exhaust For Harley...

What We Like:

  • Great sound, deep and throaty
  • Easy installation with perfect fit
  • Performs well at highway speeds
  • No issues with bluing or discoloration over time
  • Includes baffles for adjustable volume
  • Can be loud but not excessive
  • Milled/polished aluminum end caps are rotatable for different appearances
  • Desired replacement for Screamin Eagle Street Cannon
  • Improves ride quality

Downsides:

  • Can be too loud for some riders when opened up
  • Limited options for adjusting volume or tone

SharkRoad Slip Ons Exhaust is an excellent addition for 1995-2016 Harley Davidson Touring motorcycles. It gives your motorbike a deep and throaty sound, without the excessive noise that some other systems produce.

Now discussing its OEM-style headers’ whose main purpose is to take the exhaust gasses from the engine cylinders and funnel them into the exhaust system.

Most importantly, the headers have an outer diameter of 1.75 inches. This is important because it increases the amount of air intake for your Harley which then creates a domino effect and results in a smooth sound of the exhaust.

Our group of bikers on the race track told us that its muffler, which is 4 inches in diameter and 31 inches long, reduces noise by quieting the exhaust. A bigger diameter means more effective noise reduction.

Not to mention, one of the primary advantages of SharkRoad’s surface treatment is that it has the potential to lengthen your exhaust’s lifespan. Protecting against rust and corrosion, can help maintain your pipes’ original condition for a more extended period.

7. SHARKROAD Black Slip-On Muffler Exhaust for Harley

No products found.

What We Like:

  • Quick and easy installation, no mechanical skills required
  • Deep and throaty sound, not too loud or overpowering
  • Unique and refined sound compared to other brands
  • Impressive sound similar to more expensive brands
  • Shifter side fits well
  • Louder and more throaty than stock pipes
  • Baffles can be removed for an even louder sound

Downsides:

  • May discolor over time
  • Mounting bracket less sturdy than factory Harley mufflers

This SharkRoad black Slip-on is an aesthetic product that costs half the price of other major brands but doesn’t skimp on quality. You’ll not only feel good using it on your bike, but you’ll also brighten up your neighborhood and make friends and club brothers smile too.

I personally believe that this brand is one of the best because it has a high-quality muffler with a diameter of 4.4 inches and a total length of 29 inches. These measurements help reduce excessive noises that are painful for the ears.

Additionally, its end tips are made using a computer numerical control system which means that the tips are designed with great precision and to very specific tolerances. Plus they can be easily removed giving you the ability to clean or replace the end tips if they become damaged.

SharkRoad has designed the clutch and throttle Side inlets with an internal diameter of 1.75 inches and 2.5 inches respectively. Both of these inlets allow the exhaust gasses to escape more quickly and smoothly while reducing noise.

Overall, all the necessary attachment parts and a short but easy-to-follow installation manual are included with these mufflers, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues or not being able to install them properly.

8. SHARKROAD Slip-On Exhaust for Harley Davidson

SHARKROAD Super Loud Version Chrome 4” Slip On Mufflers...

What We Like:

  • Ideal for M8
  • Impressive sound with maintained power and performance
  • Perfect fit for various Harley Davidson models
  • Deep and loud sound with great quality, not unpleasantly loud
  • Quick resolution of fitment problems

Downsides:

  • Quality and durability may not be reliable in the long term
  • Remapping may be necessary for optimal performance
  • Left side pipe may be prone to rusting

This SharkRoad model is put together with solid automatic welding that gives a stronger weld than other methods would. It also creates a cleaner weld which minimizes the chance for error so that every part is properly secured. 

Many customers make this purchase because of its pipe system, which features an increased diameter from 1.75 to 2.5 inches and then from 2.5 inches to 3.0 inches in three steps.

What’s more, is that the manufacturer claims the powder coating is of high quality, so we put it to the test. We found that it does indeed protect against corrosion and rust better than standard powder coating–which is important for areas where exhaust might be exposed to salt air or other corrosive elements.

Furthermore, the benefits that this SharkRoad slip-on provides by using Cold Rolled Steel in its construction cannot be matched by other materials. This steel is incredibly strong and durable, meaning it won’t succumb to the high temperatures and pressure it’s exposed to during use. Plus, the steel’s 16G rating guarantees that it can stand up to anything you throw at it–whether you’re an experienced racer or a casual weekend rider.

Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson – Buying Guide 

In order to perform your best and produce the most ideal offensive tone, you will need an exhaust device that is appropriate for your engine. Before you buy a Harley-Davidson exhaust upgrade, be sure to consider the following features of the upgraded system. 

Compatibility:

It would be a waste of money to buy a performance exhaust if it wasn’t compatible with your bike. Do your research before you make a purchase- ensure you are familiar with the bikes, sizes, and model years that meet the criteria in the schematic.

Ensure accuracy by taking measurements of the device you are using and evaluating the width and size of the system itself. By double-checking the measurements, you can avoid any issues when it comes time to put it together.

Finishing or Material:

Aesthetics is one compelling reason why people upgrade their exhaust pipes. If you want your motorcycle to look streamlined and powerful, make sure the performance exhaust you purchase comes with a finish that matches your bike’s style.

You can find performance exhausts in a variety of materials, such as chrome, carbon fiber, and stainless steel. Depending on your budget and the level of durability you require, you will be able to choose the best option for you. Keep in mind that the exhaust system gets hot and is exposed to pollutants, so it’s important to get a sturdy unit.

Shape:

Performance exhaust pipes vary in shape. For example, you could have a rectangular or oval pipe. The terms used to describe the shape also differ, such as slash cut and angle cut. Some performance exhausts have a double-wall design, with a smaller inner hull and a larger outer hull. Before you make your purchase, ensure that you know the precise shape needed to avoid squandering time and money.

Diameter and length:

Harley Davidson exhausts are all different, so you’ll want to make sure that the diameter and length of the performance exhaust are right for your bike. This will allow for a tight seal on the tailpipe.

The exhaust pipe should be of adequate size. Additionally, the position of the exhaust should allow fumes to come right through crossing riders and passengers.

Cost:

You can find performance exhaust systems at a wide range of price points. Know your budget inside and out before you make any costly decisions.

When choosing this item, it is important to consider your budget and what aspects are most important to you. Whether you prioritize power, sound, or appearance, there is an option for you that won’t break the bank.

Accessories:

Be sure to check that the performance exhaust you want includes all necessary accessories for installation. If the installation process requires special equipment that the package doesn’t contain, then you will either need to buy that equipment or hire someone professional to do it for you. Doing so will undoubtedly cost more money.

Sound:

The Harley Davidson sound is iconic but it may be reduced or eliminated or may get louder by the exhaust system you purchase. If you live in an area with strict noise restrictions, be sure to check that the device you purchase is compliant with those regulations.

FAQs

Final Thoughts

Performance exhaust for Harley Davidson is an upgrade that can increase power and torque output, as well as improve the sound of your motorcycle. The improved flow of exhaust gasses provided by a performance exhaust allows the engine to breathe easier, resulting in more efficient combustion and improved overall power. 

All of the products mentioned in this guide are the best out there in the market but Vance and Hines Shortshots Staggered Black 47227 Exhaust takes the crown due to its excellent performance and durability. 

We hope you enjoyed our guide on finding the best performance exhaust for your Harley Davidson. If you have any questions that we didn’t cover, feel free to ask us in the comments section below. Until next time, ride safe!

Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About David Riedel

I am David Riedel founder of Bikerwhizz, I'm a technician at Keystone Harley Davidson with more than 10 years of industry experience. I’m here to help you solve motorbike problems, customizations, tweaks, and easy fixes to enjoy your rides more.

Leave a Comment