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Screamin’ Eagle Slip-On Comparison Review

Monday, May 28, 2012

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Harley-Davidson Exhaust Pipe Shootout Video
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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.
Harley-Davidson understands the importance of motorcycle customization. That’s why it’s keen on getting a slice of the pie with its Screamin’ Eagle Slip-On Shorty Dual Mufflers ($389.95). Designed in-house at its Wisconsin factory, Harley’s aftermarket arm offer OE-style fitment with added performance over stock.
The Screamin’ Eagle pipes have a traditional tubular design without taper. The mufflers are a little longer, which could be because it retains a catalytic convertor (non-removable) similar to the Akrapovic model. Each pipe features a matte black finish versus the chrome used on most others. Fit-and-finish is adequate, but the welds aren’t as nice and the paint inside the tail pipe isn’t sprayed uniformly. These design features compromise quality and result in the last place score in that category.
The mufflers are a one-piece design and attach directly to the header and stock cross-over tube. Installation was the easiest yet and everything lined up perfectly with no guess work. On the scale the pipes weighed in the heaviest at 11 pounds 7.4 ounces—over a pound heavier than the class-leading BUB’s.
The Screamin Eagle pipes proved to pump out the most immediate low end torque. It elaborates on the classic Harley sound too without being overly loud.
The overall fit-and-finish of the Screamin Eagle pipes was a bit down compared to the competition. Although hard to notice  the uneven paint inside the muffler made it look of lesser quality.
The Screamin’ Eagle pipes proved to pump out the most immediate low-end torque. It elaborates on the classic Harley sound too without being overly loud.
Sound-wise the Screamin’ Eagle set-up offers refined harmonics that aren’t a big departure from stock – especially at idle. In the sound test we recorded the same decibel reading as stock (86 dB). Rev up the engine to 2950 rpm and it sings to a tune of 104 dB which again was the quietest in the test.
Results of repeated dyno runs revealed that pipes offer the most immediate torque. The Bassani pipes eventually surpass it around the 4000 rpm mark but the Screamin’ Eagles are no slouches cranking out the second highest peak twisting force figure of 71.44 lb-ft at 3900 rpm (less than one lb-ft behind the class-leading Bassani). While bottom-end horsepower figures were good once the engine revs climb, power fell off faster than the others with only 63.7 hp available 500 rpm shy of redline. That’s three to five ponies down on the other American-made pipes, but still nearly five more than the expensive Akrapovic.
Overall the Screamin’ Eagle pipes are a more moderate way to add some pizzaz to your motorcycle. We liked the added engine torque and the way they elaborate on the Sportster’s classic unmistakable exhaust note. However the styling is too plain and the build quality could be better. It’s for these reasons that the Screamin’ Eagles tied for last place in the test.

“These pipes sound most similar to stock. They emit a deeper tone that retains that signature Harley-Davidson ‘potato-potato’ sound. Jetting was pretty good  but there was some back firing under deceleration, however, it wasn’t as much as some of the others. The powerband felt a little snappier compared to stock but not as fast as say the BUB pipes. Overall this set-up is for someone who wants to retain that signature Harley sound without changing the performance or look of the bike.“

Harley-Davidson Pipe Shootout Photos
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Screamin' Eagle Highs & Lows
  • Fast, simple install
  • Great exhaust tone
  • Second highest torque figure
  • Fit-and-Finish could be better
  • Bland styling
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VinceXB   May 29, 2012 05:02 AM
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I personally think the SE pipes look great, they just lack a matching black heat shield to cover the stock header pipes. These can be purchased as well, but then you're raising the cost a bit. I like the quieter tone of the pipes and the tone of the exhaust note is really nice. I think the 30 Rider score is a little undeserved, especially when the fit and finish (ignoring the aspect of the matching heat shields) is very good and the Akrapovic pipes are a complete mismatch to a classic style cruiser like a Sportster 48. I think this is a better pipe than it's given credit for, especially when you factor in the HP/tq of the pipes where the power and torque curves offer better low RPM performance than the other pipes.