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Product Review Roadhouse VTX Slip-Ons

Monday, 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 Roadhousebrand.com.

Find MoreĀ Motorcycle Exhausts at Motorcycle Superstore.

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danny -roadhouse  June 23, 2010 01:10 PM
Not much sound difference and they have this anoying fluffy sound when you let off the accelerator. Only good thing is I can keep my stock look. Not much of a trade off,
danny -roadhouse slip ons  June 23, 2010 01:05 PM
Mine has a fluffy sound when I back off the acceelerator
Richard Rawlings -After install problems; SERIOUS  February 11, 2010 10:27 AM
I bought a set of the Dooleys from Roadhouse. They were professionally installed and dynoed. A PCII USB was installed to tune the pipes. I wasn't happy with the design, as it stood off from the bike by inches. Other exhaust systems hug the bike. Not these. It looked like they were made for another bike, and just 'adapted' to my '02 VTX 1800.

The adaptation (as I call it) had other flaws; back pop increased after install (running on the stock Honda settings). I got it on a dyno. Low and midrange power did increase, but the back pop got worse, not better. Now I have a system I can't use. As it stands, thats $1K down these on toobes. I took it to a Honda dealer who is PC certified. They discovered the Dooleys (NOT true duals) configuration actually CAUSED backfires because of the design.

It's supposed to be warranteed. The dealer is waiting (and has waited a week) for Roadhouse to get back to them. I'm still waiting, too. The fit-up is a bitt sloppy, but the chrome is good. The sound, however is great! Underway, it turns sort of ratty, but I may not be hearing the whole sound. They are great at idle!

Overall, probably not the best choice for my bike. When I asked Roadhouse customer service about the problem, she said, "Well, it's only an '02. . ." like that was bad, or something. Like it made the problem all my fault, or something, since the bike wasn't new.

That's my take on it; Great sound, bad, dangerous, possibly bike killing problems. Do you need any of this headache?
John Hoeldt -Yamaha  October 12, 2009 02:30 PM
Let me know when you have slip-ons for the Yamaha Venture.
Raymond East -Price for the roadhouse slip on pipes.  May 4, 2009 07:25 AM
As far as I can tell theres not alot of engineering involved in the production of these pipes. With only the purchase of the mufflers and nothing else involved,these pipes are way over priced.In your statements in the article there are no performance gains except the sound.Im sure there are better pipes out there with performance gains for alot less cash. Sorry , but your pipes arent worth it! Thanks, Ray East