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vance and hines
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hondas
harley
Installing Aftermarket Motorcycle Exhausts
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Installing Aftermarket Motorcycle Exhausts

There are numerous reasons why many of us buy aftermarket exhausts. Exhausts on older bikes are usually pretty rotten after twenty or so years and normally need replacement. Newer bikes often have cosmetic damage such as scrapes and staining. Some of us replace our exhausts simply because we want a cooler looking motorcycle or perhaps enjoy that deep, rich exhaust tone missing on many modern twins.

My stock Sportster exhausts had only 11,000 km (6,800 miles) on them but were scratched and slightly stained. It was not very noticeable but it gave me an excuse to install new exhausts. I had always had stock exhausts on all of my motorcycles, so it was about time I tried something different. I had to choose between my two favourite styles, Vance and Hines Short Shots and Vance and Hines Big Radius. I had seen them on several other bikes and it really set them apart. I went with the Short Shots.

No special tools were needed and the whole process took an hour or so. The chrome is heavy and the fit was perfect. Most aftermarket exhausts are really built to high standards and will probably be the last exhausts you will ever need to purchase for your machine.

Aftermarket exhausts not only radically change the look of your bike but also the sound. Stock exhausts are perfectly tuned for your motorcycle but tend to make your machines sound like a sewing machine. For a Harley or most other big twins, that is the last thing you want. Harley even refers their stock Sportster pipes as “noise abatement” exhausts. I loved the many Hondas I have owned but I didn’t buy a Harley to sound like a Honda. If you want a bark to your pipes, Vance and Hines Short Shots or Big Radius are good choices. If you want a low, rumbling, mellow note, the longer exhausts such as the Big Shots sound great. Removal of my old stock exhaust and installation of the Short Shots was a breeze.

Most aftermarket exhausts are considered performance exhausts and will unlock some of the power potential of your bike. To get full performance, I suggest going with the Vance and Hines Fuelpak. The Fuelpak dramatically increases the power of your bike as it tunes your engine air/fuel mixture to your exhausts. When I purchased my exhausts and Fuelpak, I was told my power would increase by at least ten percent. I would say that was really understating it. I would guess higher than that judging by my bikes performance now. Of course, you will have to trade a few miles per gallon for the extra performance but I think most of us would find that a fair deal. The Fuelpak will work equally well with most aftermarket exhausts. Simply dial in the settings and that is all you will need.

For years, arguments have gone on about “louder” exhausts and whether they are safer. I had always been on the side saying it was nonsense but I really can say in my 46 years of riding, I feel safer as more drivers know I am there. We have all been cut off by inattentive drivers and this has dramatically decreased for me. My pipes are not super-loud as I also bought the Vance and Hines Quiet Baffles. They do decrease the bark while still giving you a great exhaust note.

You do not need to ride a Harley to enjoy the sound and power of aftermarket pipe nor do you need to go with Vance and Hines. Other manufacturers such as Python, Reinhardt, Bub, Rush, Porker, Samson, etc., have high quality exhausts for both cruisers and street bikes. New aftermarket exhausts are probably the best upgrade you can make to your machine. See you on the road.


Street Talk

It is a long haul back from a broken neck. Major bummer. I just took another video of my bike idling with the Short Shots. If it sounds better than the first one, I am going to replace it. Nice chatting with you, Shawn. I'm Carson's step-dad.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I love the set of pipes in that picture. I can hear them just sitting here. Yes, I love bikes.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

As a matter of fact I have a video on my site so you can hear the sound. I always admired them and happy I got them. With the V&H Fuelpak added, you get a heck of a lot more power too. Now my Harley sounds like a Harley. I have been riding since I was 16 and can't picture the day when I have to quit. Perhaps when I am too old to find my bike or remember how to get it started. Cheers

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I had to take 2 years off due to breaking my neck, it was a drag for sure

  
  about 9 years ago

Wow, Shawn. Glad you made it through that. I have only had one accident in my 46 years so I have been lucky. Glad it did not turn you off too much.

  
  about 9 years ago

I broke it in a car accident, not on the bike thank God,. Ity sucks, always in pain but hey, I am still here!

  
  about 9 years ago
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