The Biker Guide: Choosing the Perfect Exhaust

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The Biker Guide: Choosing the Perfect Exhaust




Every rider loves a good aftermarket exhaust, there is nothing quite as pleasing to the ears as the rumble of a Vance & Hines exhaust system. But why should you get an exhaust? Why is this one of the most popular upgrades for all types of riders?

The answer is simple, riders are looking to upgrade their bike in sound, performance, and look. Aftermarket exhausts come in all flavors from simple slip-on style to full race systems. A new exhaust opens up your motor and your bike will perform and sound much better once it’s uncorked. Upgrading from your stock exhaust is one of the most cost effective performance and style parts.

Intro To Exhausts


What does a motorcycle exhaust do?

The exhaust on a motorcycle serves several important purposes.

  • The exhaust directs the hot combustion gasses away from the rider.
  • The muffler significantly reduces the noise from your motor.
  • Aids in engine performance by working in harmony with the system, without an exhaust too much air would come directly into the system in the wrong direction.

Why should I buy an aftermarket exhaust?

  • Aftermarket exhausts are much lighter than stock.
  • The stock exhaust not only muffles the sound but restricts the horsepower.
  • It’s one of the best “bang for your buck” upgrades you can buy.
  • Change the sound of your bike to more aggressive growl or mellow it out, whatever you want.

Exhaust Upgrade 101 

Which exhaust should I buy?

Now that you know you want to buy an aftermarket exhaust the next question comes, which is the best exhaust for you? The truth is it depends on personal preference and on the restrictions your state may have, always check with your local police department.


sliponIn all honesty you won’t get the same performance from a slip-on as a full system, so why get one? Well they’re typically less expensive and easy to install.

A slip-on muffler is simple and usually made to be a single part upgrade.

An aftermarket muffler is much lighter than the stock muffler it replaces.

Also aftermarket mufflers come in a range of styles so you can get the sound you want.

If you want to strictly change the look and sound alone this is the most cost efficient way to do it.

Full System

FullSizeRenderMost power increase is found in the header pipes, the less restrictive the header pipe the more power you gain.

A 2-into-1 style header pipe is well known for the best torque increase on V-twin motorcycles. Fortunately for those who want to keep the classic dual muffler look Vance & Hines has designed a header pipe using a power chamber which offers the same 2-into-1 performance without losing the dual pipes.

The most significant way to reduce weight is to go with a full system.

A full system does require fuel management changes such as jetting for carburetor or fuel controller for fuel injected motorcycles.

They require more work to install but are well worth the effort.



It all comes down to personal preference, this really depends on what you are looking for as each brand offers something for everyone. Our Monthly Product Guide features some of our favorite performance products from big names like Vance & Hines, Two Brothers Racing, and Crusher. Product guides are the best place to start but if you want to actually talk to an expert feel free to give us a call we have tech experts on hand ready to answer all your questions! Contact J&P Cycles

What else do I need with my new exhaust?

So now you have decided on which exhaust you want to order, but don’t check out just yet. An exhaust alone isn’t all you’ll need make sure to grab these essentials.

  • Gaskets: what is the point of spending all that money on a new exhaust if it doesn’t seal up properly? An air leak can wreck havoc on your motor.
  • Fuel control: your engine will now be working more efficiently, but that means your fuel to air ratio is out of alignment. This can cause your bike to run too lean which can be problematic. Always have it tuned.
  • Check for mounting brackets: certain models require a different mounting system, always make sure to double check before you check out!

Enjoy the new exhaust!

After you install your new exhaust and tune her up snap a picture and tag us on Instagram, Twitter, (@jpcycles), and Facebook! Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog page using the comments section below or the RSS feed.





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  1. Ron Sindric February 4, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE riding my 1990 SPORTSTER. But the True PERFECT EXHAUST comes stock on bikes like the HARLEY LIVEWIRE, VICTORY EMPULSE, and my ZERO S zf11.4 !!! That is NO EXHAUST AT ALL. Gassie bikes are here-and-now; but the future belongs to those who have the POTENTIAL, and offer no RESISTANCE; i.e. all-electric bikes 🙂

    • J&P Cycles February 4, 2016 at 10:04 am

      I had the chance to ride the Zero FXS recently and I have to say it blew my expectations out of the water! I am excited to see the progression of electric motorcycles. It sounds like you have a garage full of fun thank you for sharing!


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