While Harleys are already high-performance bikes, once you start adding aftermarket parts, you’ll find new projects to make yours even better. Make your Harley faster, louder and more powerful while adding a bit of the cool factor by modifying the stock exhaust.
Decide Why You Want to Modify Your Harley
1. Choose vanity over performance. Many Harley owners dislike the stock crossover pipes (which have been hidden on newer models) or they want their pipes a certain length. While you can pretty much fit anything you can imagine to your exhaust system, you will sacrifice performance in many cases.
2. Hear me roar. Nothing says chopper like a nice loud growl issuing from your Harley. The rumble screams Harley with every grind. Long, straight unmuffled pipes create the loudest bang for your buck. Stock Harley exhausts minimize motorcycle noise as much as possible.
3. Go fast. Certain exhausts may provide better performance, but make sure that your aftermarket parts not only work with your bike, but also provide the boost you desire. In some cases, improving one area may be at the expense of other parts of your engine.
Choose Parts to Modify Harley Exhausts
4. Choose only Harley exhausts for the best performance, while meeting often-restrictive legal requirements. Other companies do exist, but make sure the parts you buy are new and direct from a manufacturer to avoid future problems.
5. Check your state’s laws regarding aftermarket exhaust systems. Most aftermarket mufflers are illegal. California laws tend to be stricter than the other 49 states, so double-check your modifications if you live there. Besides seeing what it street legal, also check your neighborhood’s anti-noise ordinances.
6. Buy parts that can be easily assembled and placed if you plan to do the work yourself. Removing the stock pipes is easy, but you want to make sure the rest of the process remains so.
7. Install heat shields specific to your new exhaust. Without a heat shield, you will see some bluing around the heads. Heat shields can be customized to the look of your motorcycle.
8. Look for warranties on your aftermarket parts. Most exhaust kits from reputable dealers ship with some sort of warranty. Discoloration of parts is not covered in most cases.