Harley-Davidson Sportster Exhaust Shootout

Adam Waheed | May 28, 2012

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Get a feel for how these pipes sound and compare against each other in our Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Exhaust Shootout Video.

What’s usually the first thing riders ditch on a stock bike? The pipes! Out of all the custom aftermarket accessories, a new exhaust is the quickest way to add both character and performance. No where does this ring more true than in the Cruiser motorcycle segment. Problem is, with the sheer number of brands available from the aftermarket, it can be difficult to choose the right one. That’s where we come in with our Harley-Davidson Sportster Exhaust Shootout.
 
We contacted five leading exhaust manufactures: Akrapovic, Bassani, Bub, Screaming Eagle and Vance & Hines, and asked each to submit a pair of slip-on mufflers for fitment on a current generation Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight equipped with a 1200cc (73.4 cubic inch) Evolution V-Twin engine from the Sportster family. For our test, we specified that the pipes had to bolt-on with no modifications.
 
Akrapovic sent over its Akrapovic Slip-On Mufflers ($1049.95), while Bassani enters the fray with a set of Bassani 3″ Firepower Series Straight-Cut Slip-On Mufflers ($349.95). BUB shipped over its 7 Slip-On Muffler Set ($441) whereas The Motor Company will be represented in this battle by its Screamin’ Eagle Slip-On Shorty Dual Mufflers ($389.95). And don’t forget Vance & Hines who provided its Vance & Hines Twin Slash Rounds Slip-On Mufflers ($325.95) for our motorcycle exhaust shootout. 
 
Our testing procedure consisted of a number of different criteria including how easy the pipes were to install. After that, onto the dyno they went to see how much power each set-up added. Next was a visit to our stationary sound test laboratory for decibel testing . We then logged miles on the

Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200cc Slip-On Exhaust Shootout - Horsepower
Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200cc Slip-On Exhaust Shootout - Torque
Harley-Davidson Exhaust Shootout dyno charts.

street to get a feel for how the engine ran and to sample how the various pipes sound when you’re on the throttle. Each exhaust was then scored based on five subjective categories: Appearance, Character / Exhaust Note, Ease of Installation, Fit-and-Finish, Preference. We also rated each based on impartial data including: Horsepower, Torque, Weight, Sound (decibel reading) and MSRP, thereby revealing a winner. So let’s get busy swapping out some pipes to find out who the victor of our Harley-Davidson Sportster Exhaust Shootout is.

2011 Luxury Touring Shootout 1/4 Mile

 

 

Adam Waheed

MotoUSA Road Test Editor | Adam's insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

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