Best Exhausts For Harley Davidson’s Sportster Motorcycles

In my quest to find the best exhausts for Harley Davidson’s Sportster series of motorcycles, I rolled up my sleeves and got down to business.

Starting with a comprehensive list of the best Harley exhausts tailored for the Sportster, I tirelessly whittled down the choices until only a select few remained standing.

I then personally tested these last contenders, feeling the roar and the power, before sending them back to the manufacturer. The hands-on experience was something words on paper couldn’t fully describe.

The standout among them all was the Vance and Hines Mini Grenades exhaust system. The moment I fired it up, I knew it was something special. The sound was just perfect, and it unlocked a burst of speed that I didn’t know was hiding within. The sleek look was eye-catching, and apart from the higher price, it was flawless. It passed my inspection with flying colors.

But I know that personal preference plays a huge role when it comes to factors like torque or top speeds. That’s why I included some other recommendations tailored to different tastes and needs.

If you happen to ride a Sportster 1200, I’ve also crafted a guide specifically for the best exhausts for the Sportster 1200. It’s all there, ready for you to dive into.

So, come along with me as I share more about the Vance and Hines Mini-Grenades exhaust and more. I’m excited to bring you into my world of motorcycles, where the sound of a well-tuned exhaust is music to our ears.

Vance & Hines Mini-Grenades Exhaust


The first time I laid eyes on the Mini Grenades exhaust by Vance and Hines, I knew I was in for a treat. I decided to get my hands on this beast known for improving low to mid-range torque. With its unique three staggered design, it shed a significant amount of weight, boasted excellent build quality, and unleashed a deep, aggressive sound that quickly made it my top choice. The only hitches were the higher price and maybe not the best option for riders aiming solely for power in the higher brackets.

Getting it on the road, I was thrilled to feel the considerable improvements in performance, especially in the low to mid torque ranges. At traffic lights, the acceleration was so exhilarating that it felt like flying off the mark. There were some improvements in the higher ranges too, but I soon realized that this had more to do with the weight drop my Sportster experienced with the Mini Grenades installed.

I admired the pipes, narrow and short in length, and the stainless steel that contributed to the weight loss. The compact design, especially with its matte black finish, seemed to fit the Sportster aesthetic perfectly.

And the sound? Oh, don’t get me started on that booming, deep and aggressive roar. It attracted attention wherever I rode. I must admit, this is one heck of a loud exhaust. It became so evident during cross-country tours; hours of such loud noise can truly get on your nerves. But the good news is that there are quiet baffles sold separately if you really need them.

I spent some time trying to find downsides to balance out these awesome features of the Mini Grenades. I did notice that the high power improvements were far less significant than the lower ranges, and yes, it’s a more expensive option. If that doesn’t fit your budget, fear not; I’ve explored another budget option for your Sportster, so keep reading. But trust me, the experience with Mini Grenades was something worth sharing.

  • Great aesthetic
  • Overwhelmingly positive customer reviews
  • Staggered three-step design
  • Massive amounts of torque
  • Excellent weight reduction
  • Deep and aggressive sound
  • A nice matte black finish
  • One of the more unusual designs
  • Excellent build quality
  • Pops on deceleration
  • Easy install
  • Less top speed gains compared to torque
  • Potentially too loud for cross country tours
  • Lacks heat shields

Cobra Speedster 909 Exhaust


Looking for a budget option that would fit my Sportster, I came across Cobra’s exhaust, and it immediately caught my eye. Surpassing all other contenders at this price point, its sleek traditional style not only kept the weight down but promised balanced power improvements. I knew I had to try it, especially when I heard about its deep growl that grows with intensity as you play the throttle.

What set Cobra’s 909 apart from most exhausts was how balanced it was. Unlike those that lean heavily to one side, the 909 brought power gains at both top speeds and low-level torque. Its relatively light weight further contributed to these balanced improvements.

I must admit, I was surprised to find that the 909 utilized Powerport technology at this price point. This technology funnels gases more effectively to improve velocity, allowing my motorcycle to go from idle to redline far quicker. The power gains I experienced with the 909 were very similar to those of more expensive options, and it even managed to hold its own against most 2-into-1 exhausts. A pleasant surprise, indeed.

Aesthetically, the 909 maintained a traditional Harley look, and its sleek curvature greatly enhanced the overall appearance of my Sportster. Despite being compact and relatively lightweight, it didn’t compromise on the heat shield, which might not help with weight reduction but surely improves the longevity of both the Sportster and the exhaust itself.

When it came to sound, the Cobra 909 was loud, but not quite able to compete with the other recommendations on my list. It began with a deep, low-lying hum at idle that transformed into an aggressive growl as I revved the throttle. Loudness isn’t everything, and the sound itself was pure joy to hear.

However, it wasn’t all perfect. Something that might deter some riders is the balanced power gains, meaning it won’t emphasize one particular power range. If you’re aiming to focus solely on torque or top speeds, this exhaust might not be the best choice. Additionally, I found the instructions poor, and the installation was a little fiddly.

But considering the price point and the pleasant surprises it brought, the Cobra 909 was a discovery worth the effort. It’s an option worth considering if you value balanced performance and traditional aesthetics.

  • Sleek traditional style
  • Balanced power improvements
  • Fully covered heat shields
  • Powerport technology
  • Light weight
  • Deep growl playing the throttle
  • Deep humm at idle
  • Very affordable for a full system exhaust
  • Some riders dislike the balanced power improvements
  • More difficult installation
  • Poor instructions

Bassani Road Rage 2-Into-1 Exhaust


When I got my hands on Bassani’s Road Rage, I knew I was dealing with a monster exhaust. Shifting power and performance up a gear, the Road Rage seemed to devour everything in its wake at the higher price ranges. As I installed it, I could sense it was about to unlock new high speeds and torque for me. The build quality was excellent, and I was itching to hear the sound, described to me as a thunderous clap when hitting the ignition.

Once installed, the massive gains at higher rev ranges were immediately apparent. The long length and reduced curvature of the pipes funneled gases at the maximum possible velocity, unlocking higher revs I never thought were possible on my Sportster. Though I did notice improved torque compared to stock, what the Road Rage mainly delivered for me were maximum speeds.

The excellent funneling of gases did more than affect speed; it also made the sound meteoric. Utilizing a reverse megaphone muffler, turning on my Sportster felt like a thunderclap for that split second, before quieting down to a deep purr at idle. Sitting there, listening to the Road Rage at idle, I could feel the potential in it, just waiting to be unlocked.

As I opened up the throttle, this exhaust boomed to life, starting with that classic Harley roar that we all know and love. While the performance was excellent, I couldn’t get over how fantastic the Road Rage sounded in every area.

Examining the production and materials of this exhaust, everything met my high expectations. I’ve come to expect longevity and durability from Bassani, and this model was no different. Manufactured using in-house materials like 304 stainless steel and hand welds, I knew I’d be needing a new Sportster before I’d have to replace the Road Rage.

Of course, nothing is perfect. The high price of all this awesomeness was a bit of a sting, and I found it lacking in style compared to other exhausts for the Sportster. Visual appeal was the only thing lacking for me, something I wish Bassani could improve. But in the end, the sheer performance and thrilling sound made those concerns a mere afterthought. The Road Rage had won me over.

  • Overwhelmingly positive customer reviews
  • Trusted brand
  • 2 into 1 exhaust
  • Reverse megaphone muffler
  • Uniquely stepped collector
  • Louvered baffle contains spiral core
  • Excellent gains at higher speeds
  • Wide range of compatibility
  • Decent torque
  • Booming roar
  • Deep throaty purr at idle
  • Expensive
  • Visual appeal could be better
  • More weight reduction would be ideal

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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.