Best performance exhausts for Harley Davidson Motorcycles

In this personal journey through the world of performance exhausts for Harley Davidson Motorcycles, I want to share my insights and discoveries. Over the last decade, I’ve spent countless hours straddling Harleys, and I’ve developed a deep bond with these magnificent beasts.

But even with all their comfort, durability, and classic style, I’ve often found myself craving just a bit more raw power. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing quite like the smooth ride of a Harley, the timeless aesthetics, and that signature deep, throaty sound that can stir the soul of any true biker. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

Yet, there’s a part of me that yearns for something more—a quicker response off the line, perhaps, or a higher top speed.

That’s what led me down the path of exploring aftermarket performance exhausts. Through my hands-on tinkering, testing, and tuning, I’ve uncovered ways to coax extra performance out of these machines. And now, I want to share that knowledge with you.

If you’re like me, and you want to give your Harley that extra push, I invite you to come along on this adventure. We’ll explore exhaust options that could truly transform how your bike performs and feels. Are you ready? Let’s dive right in!

Best full-system Performance exhausts

Bassani Road Rage III 2-into-1 Performance Exhaust


When I first laid eyes on the Bassani Road Rage III, I knew I had stumbled upon something special. This wasn’t just a high-performance Harley exhaust; it was a work of art. Made from premium stainless steel and designed with a 2-into-1 style, I found that it elevated the whole appearance of my bike. The higher mounting created a classic cafe racer look and significantly improved road clearance. I could lean the bike further than ever before, adding an adrenaline-pumping thrill to my rides.

The difference was palpable in every twist and turn, even in the mundane commutes. The reduction in weight brought a newfound agility to my Harley. Coupled with impressive increases in power and torque, I found myself in control of a responsive beast that seemed to understand my every whim.

During my hands-on testing, I couldn’t help but marvel at the results. An additional seven pound-feet of torque and a remarkable 12 more horsepower were more than just numbers on a page. They transformed the way my bike felt, pulling harder and responding with an eagerness I hadn’t known before. The higher top speed was a welcome bonus, adding to the exhilaration.

Much of this transformation can be attributed to the exhaust’s free-flowing design. Not only did it make my Harley perform better, but it brought a robust, aggressive sound that resonated with the bike’s new, more powerful character. While not the loudest I’ve ever heard, it was a vast improvement over the stock, with a low growl that became a roar as the speed increased.

In my book, the Bassani Road Rage III is more than just an upgrade; it’s an essential addition for anyone looking to breathe new life into their ride. It’s a game-changer, and I wouldn’t want to hit the road without it.

  • Made from premium 304 stainless steel
  • Louder than stock and more resonant
  • As much as 10 HP and 6 ft-lb are added
  • Reduces weight of bike
  • Easier to maneuver
  • High mounting allows for more lean angle 
  • Not as loud as some other exhausts 
  • Vance & Hines Pro Pipe Exhaust For Harley

Vance & Hines Pro Pipe Performance Exhaust

Best Budget

Vance and Hines has long been my favorite choice for exhausts that genuinely make a statement, both visually and audibly. So when I stumbled upon their performance beast, the Vance and Hines Pro Pipe, I was hooked and knew it was something I needed to experience firsthand.

When I got my hands on this high-performance exhaust, I was struck by its similar 2-into-1 design to the Bassani, but with a promise that seemed to resonate with my soul. It was all about torque and horsepower, and I couldn’t wait to feel that surge on my Harley. The moment I fitted it, the sensation was instant – a powerful rush, not just in raw numbers but in the very essence of the ride. My own testing mirrored the thrill, revealing a significant spike in power. But the joy, the absolute grin-inducing pleasure, was in the smooth distribution of that power, flowing through the rev range. My Harley had been reborn, and I was falling in love with it all over again.

The performance was only part of the allure. This exhaust spoke to me, literally. The stainless steel muffler and the megaphone-style pipe combined to create an aggressive, deep, and powerful roar that defined the new character of my motorcycle. It wasn’t just loud; it was a symphony of strength and audacity, a bark that announced its prowess long before the bike’s bite was felt.

What sweetened the deal further was the price. The Vance and Hines Pro Pipe came at a noticeable bargain compared to others in the same league, delivering an unmatched performance without draining my wallet. Good deals are hard to pass by, and this was an exceptional one.

In every sense, the Vance and Hines Pro Pipe was a triumph for me. It didn’t just enhance my Harley; it transformed it, giving it a resonance and edge that I had been craving. It was more than a mere addition; it was an experience, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

  • Great design
  • Amplifies sound
  • Quality stainless steel construction
  • It gives a very nice boost in power and torque that is usable at all rpm
  • More budget-friendly than other performance exhausts
  • The free flowing exhaust may not be legal in some states

Best Slip-On Performance Exhausts

Vance & Hines 4″ Round Twin Slash Performance exhaust

Touring fans, I know you’re out there, and trust me, I’m one of you. Performance baggers have always had a special place in my heart, but squeezing that extra performance out of my touring bike seemed elusive. That is, until I discovered the Vance and Hines 4″ Round Twin Slash Slip-on performance exhaust.

When I first laid eyes on these unassuming slip-ons, something in me stirred. Here was an exhaust from Vance and Hines, a brand I’ve long admired, and it promised to do something remarkable for my touring bike. The moment I got my hands on them, I knew I was holding something extraordinary.

The stainless steel construction gleamed with promise, its straight-through louvered baffles whispering of the signature Vance and Hines growl I so love. And it was more than just a promise; the integrated heat shields were there to make sure the chrome finish stayed pristine, a touch I found both thoughtful and essential. The slashed ends, so uniquely Vance and Hines, seemed to call out to my bike, promising a fit that was more than mechanical; it was aesthetic perfection.

But these slip-ons were not just a pretty face. They were performance transformers, and I felt it the moment I fitted them. They brought a newfound power and responsiveness to my bike, shaving off weight and adding muscle where it mattered most. Every twist of the throttle became a testament to the change, a symphony of performance that had me smiling inside my helmet.

The Vance and Hines slip-ons were more than an upgrade; they were a revelation. They turned my big, lumbering touring machine into something that could dance with Sportsters and Softails, a transformation I could see, hear, and most importantly, feel. Every ride became an experience, a joy that resonated with the very essence of what I love about biking. It was no longer just about cruising; it was about riding, living, and loving every mile, all thanks to Vance and Hines.

  • Lightweight stainless build keeps weight low, even on a full fairing bike
  • Improved exhaust flow means more power and torque
  • Sounds a lot better than stock but still quiet enough to let you enjoy your cross country trip in peace
  • Slash cut ends are a great design detail
  • No need to modify saddlebags to make these pipes fit
  • Only really available for the big touring models
  • If power is a priority, a full system will always be more useful

Cobra 4″ Neighbor Hater Performance Slip-On exhaust

When I first came across the Cobra Neighbor Haters, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by a name like that. It was making a bold claim about its sound output, and I had to find out if it was true. After testing these pipes on my own touring bike, I found that those bold claims were more than justified.

If you’re in search of an extremely loud exhaust with performance improvements to match, the Cobra Neighbor Hater 4″ Slip-on might just be the perfect fit for your bike. I’ve rarely encountered slip-ons that dare to produce such a thick, juicy, bone-rattling exhaust sound, let alone ones that actually enhance the bike’s performance while doing so. But the Cobras pulled it off, achieving both.

What really caught my eye about these stainless steel mufflers was the 4″ configuration and the subtle rounding at the end – a touch of elegance that just looked exquisite. During my dyno runs, I discovered they added a nice three ft-lbs and as much as four extra horsepower to my motorcycle. I could feel the performance in mind design.

But it wasn’t just about the numbers; one ride with the Cobras installed was all it took to convince me of their greatness. And I’ll admit, the second and third rides were purely for my own enjoyment. These weren’t just pipes; they were a statement, a beautiful blend of performance and audacity that had me falling in love with my bike all over again.

  • One of the loudest slip-on style mufflers we’ve seen for the touring models
  • Design is clean and simple but with a characteristic rounding at the ends to differentiate from others
  • Decent power upgrade over stock pipes
  • May be too loud for everyday use

More Harley Performance Exhaust Guides

Hugo Alais

Hi, I'm Hugo, I'm a motorcycle enthusiast who’s been riding for the last 10 years. I'm passionate about all things motorcycles and started Bikes Future to help other riders make the right motorcycle moves. I ride a white Kawasaki Ninja 400. You can find out more about me and my experience with motorcycling here.