Product Review Roadhouse VTX Slip-Ons

Ken Hutchison | October 27, 2003
During testing of our stock 2004 VTX1300C we took the opportunity to spice it up a little with the addition of a few bolt-on accessories. Our friends at Roadhouse sent a pair of their all-new slip-ons aimed at improving the sound of the EPA-approved 1300, so we started our simple improvement segment by replacing the restrictive stock mufflers and unleashing that true V-Twin sound everyone enjoys so much.

The Roadhouse VTX1300C Model slip-on kit comes nicely packaged to prevent shipping damage and includes everything necessary for installation except the tools. In addition to the pair of polished slip-ons, the kit includes heat shields that cover the junction to the mufflers, a muffler bracket and assorted clamps and fasteners. A close inspection of our first-run units revealed no unwanted surprises. The craftsmanship is top-notch from the slick welds to the smooth chrome finish. Roadhouse guarantees their products against defects in material and construction for one year.

The 2004 VTX1300C Slip-on kit from Roadhouse makes the bike sound as cool as it looks.
The 2004 VTX1300C Slip-on kit from Roadhouse makes the bike sound as cool as it looks.

Replacing the stock units with the Roadhouse slip-ons is a snap. It took about 15 minutes to remove the stock pipes and another 15-20 to install the well-made slip-ons. The installation process itself is well detailed in the instructions, with the exception of one item. The two slip-on pipes are so close in appearance it is difficult to tell which belonged on the top and which belonged on the bottom. Perhaps an indicator of some type would help alleviate any confusion in an otherwise simple process. Once that little issue was sorted out, the pipes were bolted on and the VTX was fired up in about 20 minutes. Roadhouse offers toll-free technical assistance if there is a problem that cannot be resolved on your own.

Once in place, the overall appearance doesn’t change too dramatically because the slip-ons look similar to the stock units. But the Roadhouse engineers designed a neat little trick into these babies. The slash-cut tips can be turned down to mimic the stock appearance. We preferred the slash-cut look. Also available for an extra $85 are shark fin tips.

The Roadhouse slip-ons not only do they improve the sound of the V-Twin, they also pare 7.5 lbs. from the bike. The stock units weigh in at 25.25 lbs. compared to the Roadhouse’s 17.75 lbs. Fitting slip-ons without making changes to the fuel or ignition system typically don’t boost power significantly, so we didn’t bother making another dyno run. No significant changes in performance were noticeable through our seat-of-the-pants dyno, but all our test riders much preferred the burlier exhaust sound and kept the revs up a bit more when cruising around the town to enjoy the aural pleasure. After riding the VTX for more than a month in stock trim, we were pleased to hear the bike in a moderately uncorked state.

Overall, the Roadhouse slip-ons made a significant improvement in the way we felt about the VTX. Shaving a few pounds never hurts, nor does improving exhaust flow. But the biggest gain was in the overall riding experience. Instead of rolling along in near silence, the VTX now blends in with big Twin customs seen trolling boulevards everywhere. The throaty bark of the 1300cc V-Twin adorned with the new slip-ons was not obnoxiously loud. Instead, the deep rumble was considered by all our resident testers to be more enjoyable than the muffled stock exhaust note.

At $469.99 the Roadhouse slip-ons are competitively priced with other slip-ons available for both the VTX1300 S or C models, plus you get the ability to run them in stock or slash-cut configurations in a matter of minutes.

For more information on these slip-ons as well as other systems for metric-cruisers including the Honda VTX1800, Yamaha’s Warrior and Kawasaki’s Mean Streak, check out

Find MoreĀ Motorcycle Exhausts at Motorcycle Superstore.

Ken Hutchison

Editor |Articles | The ulcers keep piling on for the warden of the MotoUSA asylum. With the inmates running rampant around the globe, Hutch has opted to get in on the madness more these days than in years past and is back in the saddle again.