Best Performance Exhaust for Harley Davidson – Buyer’s Guide

The motorcycle exhaust system holds significant importance in ensuring optimal performance. It serves multiple essential functions such as diverting combustion gases from the passenger and rider areas, enhancing engine performance, and reducing noise levels. Hence, selecting the appropriate exhaust system for your motorcycle becomes crucial. If you aim to enhance your bike’s overall performance, considering an upgrade to your motorcycle’s exhaust system can prove beneficial.

Our Top 3 Best Performance Exhaust

Vance & Hines Dresser Duals Exhaust Chrome 2009-16 Touring Models
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SHARKROAD 3″ Black Slip on Mufflers Exhaust for Harley 2014-2021
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Cobra 909 2-Into-2 Exhaust (Black) for 14-19 Harley XL883N
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This lesson explains how an exhaust system may improve your bike’s overall performance and sound. Discover some of the top Harley performance exhausts by reading on.

1. Vance & Hines – Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson 103

Vance & Hines: Enhance Your Harley Electra Glide with Superior Performance Exhausts

When it comes to performance exhausts, Vance & Hines stands out as one of the leading brands. Renowned for their exceptional quality, these exhaust systems deliver not only an impressive sound but also notable performance gains. While designed for touring bikes, the Vance & Hines system is especially optimized for the Harley Electra Glide, ensuring the best performance possible.

Unmatched Performance Gains and Quality

Featuring an easy-to-install slip-on style, the Vance & Hines exhaust system comes with power duals that take performance gains and sound improvement to the next level. Specifically designed for models from 2009 to 2016, these power duals showcase superior manufacturing techniques, resulting in increased horsepower and torque compared to stock pipes.

In addition to its performance benefits, the chrome unit is highly resistant to weather and corrosion, offering both durability and aesthetic enhancement to your bike’s appearance. It’s important to note that since these are header pipes, they need to be purchased separately if you want to pair them with Vance & Hines mufflers. However, for serious riders, this investment is truly worthwhile. The re-invented dresser duals eliminate the stock crossover, addressing heat issues for passengers and safeguarding crucial mechanisms from heat damage.

Unleash the Power

Vance & Hines Dresser Duals Exhaust Chrome is engineered to elevate your motorcycle’s horsepower and torque beyond the limitations of the stock exhaust system. By effectively reducing the heat generated on the left-hand side, this exhaust system ensures a comfortable and burn-free experience for passengers.

Furthermore, the Dresser Duals exhaust system provides essential protection to the side engine components and engine covers, shielding them from potential heat-related damage.

Why Choose Vance & Hines Dresser Duals Exhaust Chrome?

– Delivers an impressive sound, especially when paired with compatible mufflers from Vance & Hines
– Compatible with all Vance & Hines slip-on mufflers, providing versatility and customization options
– The black option includes black heat shields and chrome pipes, combining style with functionality
– Maximum protection with heat shields and 12 mm and 18 mm dual oxygen sensor ports
– Equipped with a powerful chamber for improved overall performance

– Considered a premium product, it comes with a higher price tag
– Mufflers must be purchased separately to complete the exhaust system

Upgrade your riding experience with Vance & Hines Dresser Duals Exhaust Chrome and unleash the full potential of your Harley Electra Glide. Invest in quality, performance, and style today.

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2. SHARKROAD 3-Inch Black Slip-On Mufflers – Best For Sportster

Upgrade your Harley-Davidson Sportster (2014-2021) with the revolutionary Sharkroad system. Engineered to deliver exceptional performance, this cutting-edge exhaust system offers a sleek design, effortless installation, and an exhilarating sound experience. Unlock the true potential of your motorcycle while enjoying the benefits of free-flowing mufflers.

Pros of the Sharkroad System:

  1. Hassle-free Installation: No modifications are required, making the installation process a breeze. With easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll have your Sharkroad system up and running in no time.
  2. Affordable Excellence: Priced competitively, the Sharkroad system provides exceptional value for your money. Experience premium performance without breaking the bank.
  3. Eye-Catching Aesthetics: Designed with a captivating appearance, the Sharkroad system adds a touch of style to your Harley-Davidson Sportster. Make a statement on the road with this visually appealing exhaust upgrade.
  4. Detachable Baffle: The Sharkroad system comes equipped with a detachable baffle, allowing you to customize the sound to suit your preferences. Enjoy the flexibility of adjusting the exhaust note according to your mood and environment.
  5. Enhanced Performance: Unleash the untapped power of your Sportster with the Sharkroad system. By promoting improved exhaust flow, this system optimizes performance, providing you with a thrilling ride every time.

Cons of the Sharkroad System:

Despite its many advantages, the Sharkroad system has one minor limitation:

  1. Short Bolts: Keep in mind that the included bolts may be shorter than desired. This minor inconvenience can be easily addressed by sourcing longer bolts if needed.

In conclusion, the Sharkroad system is an ideal upgrade for Harley-Davidson Sportster owners (2014-2021) seeking enhanced performance, stylish aesthetics, and an invigorating sound experience. Install this system effortlessly, enjoy the affordable excellence it offers, and revel in the unmatched power it unlocks. Take your Sportster to new heights with the Sharkroad system and embrace the road with confidence.

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3. Cobra 909 2-Into-2 Exhaust for 2014-2019 Harley XL883N Sportster

The all-new Cobra 909 2-Into-2 exhaust system seamlessly combines timeless aesthetics with cutting-edge performance technology. With its sleek chrome inner tip and 222-degree heat shields, this updated version not only looks stunning but also delivers outstanding power gains. One of the key features responsible for its exceptional performance is the innovative PowerPort, a crossover technology that optimizes power output across the entire RPM range, from idle to redline.

Experience Unmatched Power Boost and Classic Elegance

Unlike conventional 2-Into-2 pipes, the Cobra 909 offers a remarkable power increase that rivals that of a 2-into-1 system, all while preserving the clean and classic lines of a 2-into-2 design. This makes it an ideal choice for riders seeking both enhanced performance and timeless style. Moreover, these highly efficient systems are not only affordable but also come with triple-chromed pipes for an added touch of elegance.

Unleash the Power with Unmistakable Sound and Performance

By enabling the connection of exhaust pipes from both the rear and front cylinders and improving exhaust scavenging, the Cobra 909 generates additional power that surpasses what a typical 2-into-2 system can offer. Apart from its impressive performance capabilities, this exhaust system produces a distinctive blend of sound that further enhances your riding experience. For your convenience, the package includes detailed instructions and all necessary installation hardware.

Pros of the Cobra 909 2-Into-2 Exhaust System:

  1. Complete coverage ensured by 222° heat shields.
  2. PowerPort technology maximizes power output.
  3. Muffler bodies gradually widen from 3 to 3.5 inches, front to rear.
  4. Stainless steel-made mesh baffles and bonded e-glass construction.
  5. Equipped with 2-inch continuous velocity cores for superior performance and sound.


  1. Mufflers not included in the package.

Upgrade your motorcycle’s performance and style with the Cobra 909 2-Into-2 exhaust system. With its exceptional power gains, timeless design, and distinctive sound, this exhaust system is a must-have for riders seeking the perfect combination of performance and aesthetics.

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4. Freedom Performance Exhaust Sharktail for 2018 Softail Models – Best All-Around

Experience optimal sound control and performance enhancement for your motorcycle with Freedom’s cutting-edge exhaust system. Designed to deliver a superior riding experience, Freedom Performance baffles effectively reduce excessive noise while allowing the smooth, subtle tones to resonate.

Installation is a breeze, seamlessly fitting into 2-into-1 slip-ons, making it an ideal choice for riders of all levels, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts. This dependable exhaust system is specifically engineered to produce a deep, satisfying rumble, ensuring your motor emanates an impressive sound that matches your preferences.


Unleash the true potential of your bike with the Freedom Performance Exhaust system, meticulously crafted to optimize performance by maintaining the perfect balance of backpressure. Renowned for their unwavering commitment to quality engineering, this brand offers a revolutionary system that maximizes horsepower output. Additionally, the Freedom Performance Exhaust system comes complete with customizable end caps, allowing you to tailor the aesthetics to your liking. Notably, this system features a symmetrical exhaust design that elegantly spans both sides of your bike.

– Sleek shark tail design with optional tips for added style
– Includes mounting brackets and hardware for hassle-free installation
– Proudly manufactured in the USA

– Marginally higher price point compared to other options

5. Vance & Hines – Best Aggressive Exhaust

Enhance the performance and style of your Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycle (2014-2018) with the Vance & Hines Exhaust System. Designed specifically for these models, this product offers a range of impressive features to elevate your riding experience.

Durable Construction and Striking Appearance

The Vance & Hines Exhaust System showcases a sleek black finish, emphasizing its bold and modern design. Notably, the pipes are constructed with a chrome finish utilizing blue-proof technology, ensuring long-lasting quality. With twin slash ends and a fat, straight-pipe appearance, this system adds an edgy look to your bike.

Powerful Sounds and Easy Installation

The absence of principal bends simplifies the installation and handling process, making it hassle-free. The system is complemented by proper ends that contribute to a contemporary profile for your motorcycle. Moreover, the exhaust system features stunning pipes that emit powerful sounds, offering an exhilarating riding experience. For those seeking additional sound amplification, the system comes with detachable baffles.

Customizable Sound Experience

The louvered-covered baffles in this system can be adjusted to meet your preferences. Whether you desire a quiet ride or a hotrod-like sound, you have the flexibility to tailor the sound coming through the exhaust. When cruising at highway speeds, the aggressive roar of the motorcycle perfectly complements the overall performance.

Sleek and Functional Design

This system incorporates a black piping design, complemented by a fully-fitted heat shield included in the kit. The heat shields feature a quality racing coating, ensuring durability and a stylish look. What’s more, this exhaust system provides two unique looks, giving you great value for your money while adding an aggressive appearance and performance to your Harley.

Enhanced Performance and Power

The head pipes measure approximately 13/4 inches in diameter and weigh 24 pounds. With minimal bending, the setup offers a clean and streamlined look while reducing back pressure on the exhaust system. This design optimizes overall performance and power, delivering an unparalleled riding experience.


  • Exceptional performance and style at an unbeatable value
  • Deeper sound than most exhaust systems
  • Includes detachable baffles, clear instructions, and mounting hardware


  • Not legal in certain states, please check local regulations before installation
  • Installation may require adjustments to the motorcycle’s fuel-air mixture

Upgrade your Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycle (2014-2018) with the Vance & Hines Exhaust System, and enjoy the perfect blend of performance, style, and customization.

Buyer’s Guide

Purchasing an exhaust system for your Harley involves careful consideration of multiple factors to ensure optimal performance. When selecting a system, it’s important to prioritize power enhancement and the production of a distinctive aggressive rumbling sound. Additionally, compatibility with your bike’s model and the preservation of engine performance should be key factors in your decision-making process.

To provide you with comprehensive guidance on performance exhaust systems for Harleys, we have compiled a buyer’s guide that delves into the intricacies of these components.



The exhaust system you choose plays a significant role in determining the sound produced by your motorcycle. Motorcycle manufacturers meticulously design the pipework and utilize different types of silencers to create a unique sound identity.

Enthusiasts can easily identify a bike’s brand simply by the sound it emits. You’ll undoubtedly notice the most audibly striking motorcycles on the road, each with its own distinct exhaust note.


Many riders opt to modify their exhaust system and install a performance exhaust to increase the volume of their bike’s sound. While the engine inherently generates noise, certain motorcycles tend to be quieter than others.


Most stock exhausts incorporate mufflers to suppress noise. As the sound exits the engine, the mufflers redirect the pressure waves, effectively minimizing the overall noise. However, the sound produced by the exhaust is influenced by various factors, such as the materials used and the shape of the system. High-performance exhausts are specifically designed to be louder than their stock counterparts, featuring a shape that promotes amplified sound.

Furthermore, these exhausts often come with removable baffles and mufflers, allowing you to customize and achieve your desired rumble effect.


Weight isn’t the sole determinant of your bike’s performance. Size plays an important role too. Remember, the bigger the load, the harder the bike’s performance. You can choose to upgrade to a high-performance system to eradicate surplus weight and decrease the load. Consequently, you’ll enjoy better performance which is important if you’re looking for speed.


Although performance exhausts might be more expensive initially, you’ll end up saving dollars in the long run. After all, increased performance will result in enhanced fuel efficiency. Furthermore, performance exhausts feature sturdy construction and premium materials.

Most comprise a rust-resistant coating as well which improves their durability. Sturdy construction means that you won’t need to purchase another system any time soon.


An aftermarket exhaust helps enhance your motorbike’s performance in two ways. To begin with, it helps shed weight, making the bike lighter. Secondly, a performance exhaust enhances your bike’s torque and horsepower.

The internal airflow and the airflow leaving the bike engine to affect your engine’s performance considerably. For enhanced performance, emissions must leave the engine quickly for fresh air to enter the engine faster and with more power. The pipes in performance exhaust systems have an extra diameter and improved exhaust layout that decreases obstruction in the exhaust. When the engine has more air and there’s increased fuel intake, you’ll have extra combustion which yields more power.



Before purchasing an exhaust system for your beloved Harley, it’s crucial to find the perfect match in terms of style, bike type, and model. To ensure a seamless upgrade, take precise measurements of your current system and cross-reference them with the diameters and measurements of the prospective system.

Ensuring Legal Compliance:

Keep in mind that certain exhaust system upgrades might be prohibited in California and other states due to emissions regulations. To avoid any legal issues, carefully review the manufacturer’s disclaimer and verify that the exhaust system you’re considering is compliant with the regulations in your state.

All-inclusive Accessories:

When investing in an exhaust system, be cautious about systems that do not include mounting brackets or the necessary hardware for installation. A lack of these components can make fitting the system onto your bike challenging. Always thoroughly inspect the product literature to confirm that the system you’re interested in comes with all the essential accessories required for smooth installation.

By following these guidelines, you can confidently select the perfect exhaust system for your Harley, enhancing both performance and style while ensuring you comply with the law. Ride in style and peace of mind with a well-suited exhaust system for your beloved motorcycle.


One factor driving riders to switch to performance exhausts is style. Consider the finishing if aesthetics and style are important. There are several performance exhausts available in stainless steel, chrome, and carbon fibre.

Although the system you choose will depend on your preferences, you should choose an economical option. It should be resilient enough to withstand heat and toxins from the exhaust, though. Keep in mind that the two main materials used to make performance exhausts are stainless steel and chrome.


When searching for a high-performance exhaust system, you’ll come across two primary options: a slip-on muffler or a full system. Among the two, the slip-on muffler is more affordable as it simply replaces the stock muffler of your existing system.

While a slip-on muffler can certainly enhance the sound of your bike, its impact on engine performance is minimal to negligible. The advantage of a slip-on muffler lies in its cost-effectiveness compared to a full performance system. However, if you desire noticeable improvements in bike performance, including increased horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency, opting for a full exhaust system is necessary. It’s important to consider that full systems are pricier and require additional effort during installation.

In most cases, adjusting the fuel/air mixture electronically by resetting or modifying it is necessary to prevent potential engine damage. Nonetheless, the installation of a performance exhaust system ensures guaranteed results.


Although there are many things that make Harleys unique, one of the things that makes them stand out is the sound they produce. Few bikes produce an exhaust with such a distinctive booming growl. How are they able to make this sound? The arrangement of the engine is the cause. The connecting rods for both pistons are connected to the crankshaft by a single pin, causing erratic firing. Harley engines’ distinctive sound is a result of the irregular firing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Possible to Remove Mufflers from Your Harley?

While it is indeed possible to remove mufflers from your Harley, the process may not be as straightforward as one might hope. Often, the mufflers are firmly clamped onto the head pipe, making their removal a challenging task. However, it’s essential to consider the consequences before proceeding. While removing the mufflers will undoubtedly increase the motorcycle’s volume, it can also lead to potential damage.

Will Removing Baffles Damage My Harley?

Removing the baffle in your Harley’s exhaust system can have significant implications for the motorcycle’s performance. One notable effect is the potential alteration of the motor’s power curve, affecting its overall power output. Moreover, baffle removal disrupts the engine’s normal functioning, leading to adverse consequences. The engine may run hotter and leaner, which increases the likelihood of damage occurring over time.

Which Is Better – A Dual or Single Exhaust?

In the eternal debate between dual exhaust and single exhaust systems, it becomes evident that a dual-engine configuration offers better performance for your Harley. By employing a dual exhaust setup, emissions exit the engine more efficiently through two separate pipes. This improved efficiency allows fresh air to enter the engine, resulting in increased horsepower and enhanced combustion.

Which Aftermarket Exhaust System is Right for You?

Choosing the right aftermarket exhaust system for your motorcycle depends on your riding style and the desired sound. There are two main types of exhaust systems to consider:

1. Full Header Systems: A comprehensive upgrade
A full header system replaces everything from the head to the back of your bike. This option offers enhanced performance and sound. However, it requires additional considerations such as fuel management. You may need to install fuel controllers or a jet kit for optimal results. Keep in mind that the installation process for full header systems is more complex.

2. Slip-On Systems: Affordable with a performance boost
Slip-on systems, also known as bolt-on or slip-on mufflers, provide an affordable alternative. These systems retain the factory head pipe and replace only the muffler. While the performance gains are not as significant as with a full system, you can still enjoy a slight boost in performance and sound. Slip-on systems are generally easier to install compared to full header systems.

What Do You Want To Achieve?

Before making a decision, consider your goals and what you want to achieve with your aftermarket exhaust system. If you simply want to change the sound and add some rumble to your motorcycle while cruising, a slip-on system might be sufficient and cost-effective.

On the other hand, if you have plans for additional modifications like camshaft changes or headwork, investing in a full header system would be a better choice. This comprehensive upgrade will provide superior power, performance, and sound.

Ultimately, the choice between a slip-on system and a full header system depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider your budget, desired performance gains, and the extent of modifications you plan to make to your motorcycle.


Consider a performance exhaust system if you cherish your Harley but want more performance and a more pronounced, dramatic sound. Simply be prepared to conduct some research, create a budget, and get ready to perform some installation work.

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