I’ve ridden a lot of Harleys, and I can tell you that their exhausts generally aren’t too bad. But the ride on my Harley Fatboy just didn’t have the kick I was looking for. The benefits of going aftermarket are massive, and I decided to find out for myself just what the best exhausts were for a Harley Fatboy.
I rolled up my sleeves and started my research, focusing on three top choices that stood out. My hands-on experience riding Harley Fatboys, or Softails as they’re more commonly referred to, guided me in this journey. I dug deep, comparing everything from price, materials, and brand trustworthiness to features and even how the exhaust felt in my hands.
I’m confident that my recommendations will suit your Harley Fatboy like a glove, but you know your bike better than anyone. So, while I trust my instincts, I’d still suggest you double-check the fitment just in case. You never know, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to something as vital as the right exhaust for your ride!
|Bassani Radial Sweepers||Check Price|
|Vance & Hines Shortshots Staggered||Check Price|
Slip-On or full system for the Harley Fatboy?
After personally digging into the options for Slip-on Exhausts and full system exhausts for my Fat Boy, I’ve narrowed down my two top recommendations for each. Now, if you’re asking me, I’d tell you to go with a full system. It might cost a bit more, but the bang for your buck and performance benefits are just unbeatable.
You see, with other motorcycle types, there’s usually a big price difference between slip-on and full system exhausts. But as I browsed through various stores and tried out different exhausts that would fit my Harley Fatboy, I was surprised to find that the slip-ons weren’t much cheaper than a full system.
I’ve come to believe that spending a bit more money on a full system is a smart choice. It gives you so much more performance per dollar. But let me warn you – installing a full system can be tricky, and if you don’t do it right, you’ll run into problems pretty quickly.
So, here’s my personal advice: If you’re on a budget and want to make the most of what you spend, pick up a slip-on exhaust. But if you’re ready to invest a bit more for the best performance and aren’t too constrained by price, go ahead and grab a full system exhaust. Trust me, your Fat Boy will thank you!
When I first laid eyes on Bassani’s Radial Sweeper, I knew right away that it was one of the best looking exhausts I’d ever seen for the Harley Fatboy. Whether it’s the matte black or stainless steel version, this exhaust isn’t just about great looks; it performs exceptionally well too.
Now, I’ve got to be honest, the way the Radial Sweeper curves away from the engine simply caught my eye. I spent some time comparing the matte black and the steel version, and I personally prefer the steel. But that’s just me; your preference will likely depend on the style and look of your motorcycle.
But let me tell you, this exhaust is more than just a pretty face. Its design has actually helped cut down a lot of weight. With the two exhaust systems being quite short and relatively narrow, it comes in at just 16 pounds. Switching from stock, you should shed a few pounds right there.
Performance-wise, I noticed some significant benefits. We’re talking better torque and even higher top speeds.
The Radial Sweeper’s construction is another highlight. Take a close look at the ends, and you’ll see two rows of steel protruding. That’s because they’re made using double-wall stainless steel, adding a bit of weight but improving longevity due to added heat resistance. And in case of a crash, it’s more durable since it’s double-walled instead of single.
I must mention the sound of this exhaust. Sure, sound preference can be subjective, but if you’re like me, seeking a deep purr from a quality exhaust for your Harley Fatboy, the Radial Sweeper won’t disappoint. It comes with a deep purr that turns into an aggressive growl when you hammer the throttle.
The only drawback I found was the short ends of these exhausts being parallel to the seat. Take a look from the end and draw a line upwards, and you’ll see what I mean. While riding, the wind carries the fumes away, but at a stoplight, you might just catch a whiff of your motorcycle’s fumes. But trust me, that’s a small trade-off for an exhaust that’s this impressive!
- Super aesthetics
- Great looking design
- Bolt on design
- Easy installation
- Made in the USA
- Light weight
- Stainless steel
- Double wall steel
- Stainless steel
- Great customer reviews
- Cool looking slash cut ends
- Ends of the exhausts are parallel to the seat
I stumbled upon Vance and Hines staggered short shots, and though they’re one of the lesser-known models, they’re far from short on quality and craftsmanship. I had to admit, these Shortshots are among the best for the Harley Fatboy, even if they’re not exactly easy on the wallet. Full systems for Harley Fat Boys rarely come cheap, and after searching for alternatives, Vance and Hines turned out to be one of the most affordable options.
When I first picked up this exhaust, the feeling was something else. It was sturdy in my hands, and I could immediately sense that the build quality was top-notch.
One feature that impressed me was the heat shield that fully filled the exhaust. I’ve come across many exhausts without a heat shield, but those with one like this are destined to last much longer. Knowing that it’s fully covered gave me confidence that it would last me a good long time.
Now, let’s talk about the sound of the shortshots – a deep growl that is sure to catch attention. Trust me, it’s awesome, but it might just tick off your neighbors. I’ve read a few customer reviews, and it seems I’m not the only one whose neighbors were less than thrilled with the robust sound of this exhaust.
While I couldn’t argue with the top build quality and the full heat shield coverage that would likely extend its life, I did notice the weight. At 22 pounds, I wouldn’t call this exhaust light. It sits in the middle of the weight ranges, and its main drawback, in my opinion, is that there might be more performance to extract if it didn’t have that entire shield covering it. But that’s something you’ll have to weigh for yourself: What do you value more? Performance or longevity? For me, Vance and Hines short shots provided a blend that I found quite satisfying.
- Slack cut ends
- Full coverage heat shields
- Removable baffles
- Mounting hardware included
- Made in the USA
- Deep growl
- Great build quality
- Exceptional longevity
- Great heat resistance
- Rare Complaints of poor quality brackets
- Poor packaging
- Could do with less weight