Best Exhaust, Mufflers for Harley Sportster Models

The Harley Sportster models have been popular for their low price and high performance. However, the Sportster comes with a shortcoming in its sound. The standard mufflers on these models are not enough to produce a decent sound. To add some volume to the motorcycles, people install aftermarket exhausts that can alter the tone of your motorcycle. Thus, if you want to purchase a good exhaust muffler for your Sportster, this article will help you make the right decision.

This article with an added list of the best exhaust for Sportster will help you make the right decision.

Best Sounding  – Vance & Hines Shortshots Staggered

Best 2-into-2 – Cobra 909

Best Slip-on Exhaust System – Vance & Hines Twin Slash

Best 2-into-1 –Bassani RR 2 or Cobra Power Pro

Best Exhaust  for Sportster 883 & 1200 – SHARKROAD 3002BB 

Best Slip-On Muffler – SHARKROAD 3020BB

What’s the Most Suitable Exhaust Type for Sportster?

Aftermarket exhausts are available in two major types: slip-on and full exhaust. These options can be further subdivided into 2-into-1, 3-into-1, etc. What’s the best option for your Sportster? Let us take a look at them one by one.

Slip On Exhaust

Slip-on exhausts are the most affordable option. You can easily install them on your Sportster using some basic tools. All you need to do is slip them over the end of the factory header. However, since they are attached directly to the muffler of your motorcycle, they tend to produce more heat than expected. Moreover, your Sportster’s fuel efficiency is substantially reduced.

2-into-1 Exhaust

A 2-into-1 exhaust consists of two separate pipes, the main pipe and an auxiliary one. The main pipe will carry most of the exhaust fumes, while the auxiliary one can be used to enable a second path for the exhaust fumes. One problem with the 2-into-1 system is that it can end up reducing your motorcycle’s power output. 

Dual (2-into2) Exhaust

A dual exhaust system can be better than a 2-into-1 exhaust system. Since the muffler is connected to both pipes, it channels more fumes where they are supposed to go. This also improves your motorcycle’s fuel efficiency and reduces the heat produced by the engine.

Best Exhausts for Sportster – Top Mufflers & Exhausts

Best Slip-on Muffler Exhaust for All Sportster
Vance & Hines Big Radius 2 into 2 Exhaust Black 46067
Vance & Hines Big Radius 2 into 2 Exhaust Black 46067
Best Slip-on Muffler Exhaust for All Sportster
Vance & Hines Big Radius 2 into 2 Exhaust Black 46067
Vance & Hines Big Radius 2 into 2 Exhaust Black 46067
Best 2-into-1 Exhaust
Bassani Xhaust Road Rage 2 B1 Power 2-Into-1 Exhaust (Black) for 09-10 Harley XR1200
Best Exhaust for Sportster 883 & 1200
SHARKROAD 3" Black Slip on Mufflers Exhaust for Harley 2014-2021 Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200
Best Slip-On Muffler for All Sportster
SHARKROAD Black 3.0 Exhaust Slip-on Pipes for Harley 2014-Up Sportster Muffler Upgrading,Such as Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200
Bassani Xhaust Road Rage 2 B1 Power 2-Into-1 Exhaust (Black) for 09-10 Harley XR1200
SHARKROAD 3" Black Slip on Mufflers Exhaust for Harley 2014-2021 Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200
SHARKROAD Black 3.0 Exhaust Slip-on Pipes for Harley 2014-Up Sportster Muffler Upgrading,Such as Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200
Best 2-into-1 Exhaust
Bassani Xhaust Road Rage 2 B1 Power 2-Into-1 Exhaust (Black) for 09-10 Harley XR1200
Bassani Xhaust Road Rage 2 B1 Power 2-Into-1 Exhaust (Black) for 09-10 Harley XR1200
Best Exhaust for Sportster 883 & 1200
SHARKROAD 3" Black Slip on Mufflers Exhaust for Harley 2014-2021 Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200
SHARKROAD 3" Black Slip on Mufflers Exhaust for Harley 2014-2021 Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200
Best Slip-On Muffler for All Sportster
SHARKROAD Black 3.0 Exhaust Slip-on Pipes for Harley 2014-Up Sportster Muffler Upgrading,Such as Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200
SHARKROAD Black 3.0 Exhaust Slip-on Pipes for Harley 2014-Up Sportster Muffler Upgrading,Such as Iron 883 Exhaust, Sportster 1200

Is Compatibility of Exhaust to Sportster Models Essential?

When assembling a bike, one of the most challenging dilemmas is choosing the right exhaust for your Harley Sportster. With so many makes, models and types to choose from, this can be an arduous process without some guidance.

Exhausts are available in several brands and types, including full systems and slip-ons. Each is designed for a specific type of motorcycle, and each has the features that make it unique from the others. The ideal exhaust system will depend on the model you ride, the desired sound type, and your budget.

Top Brands for Best Exhausts & Mufflers for Harley

If you are looking for a reputable brand, then Vance & Hines is the right choice for you. It offers an extensive range of products from slip-ons to full systems, including mufflers that increase fuel efficiency, reduce noise and add horsepower to your Sportster. Another notable brand is the S&S SA Company that offers American-made exhaust systems for a broad range of makes and models, including the Harley Sportster. Its products include mufflers and full systems that can increase horsepower while reducing sound levels and fuel consumption. 

Other brands include:

• Rinehart Racing

• Freedom Performance

• Cobra

Sportster 1200 vs 883

These 883 models are better if you are looking for a Sportster that can serve as your first motorcycle to gain experience. This model is great because it weighs less, which makes it easier to handle on the road. Furthermore, its smaller displacement engine will deliver smoother performance even if you are not an experienced rider. Additionally, an 883 model can be upgraded to a 1200 cc engine by adding performance parts.

The 1200 Sportster is more powerful than the 883 Sportster. It has a bore of 3.5 inches compared to the 883’s 3 inches, which translates to greater displacement. 1200 also weighs about 13 pounds less, making it lighter for improved performance. This is why the 1200 Sportster has become a better choice over the 883 models.

Another notable difference between the two models is their brakes – 9 vs 4. The 883 Sportster has a single disc brake in the front, while 1200 has dual brakes.

You should buy a 1200 Sportster instead of an 883 if you want a more powerful engine and if you desire stronger brakes.

Drag or Straight – What Pipes are Better for Sportster?

A straight pipe is considered the best for a Sportster because it reduces backpressure, allowing more air into the engine. This in turn speeds up throttle response and increases horsepower.

On the other hand, a drag pipe puts less stress on your exhaust system since there is no pressure buildup in your exhaust pipes. It also produces an intoxicating sound that many people find exhilarating. If you are looking for performance, then this style of the exhaust is the best option for your Sportster.

How to Make Your Sportster Exhaust Louder?

Some Harley riders prefer a louder exhaust to improve their riding experience.

There are several things you can do, such as:

Use an aftermarket muffler instead of the stock one. The stock muffler has baffles that control the noise emanating from your Sportster. A replacement will not have this structure and, as such, is likely to be louder.

You can make your Sportster exhaust louder by replacing the baffles of your muffler with straight pipes. This allows more air into your engine, which increases power and fuel efficiency.

You should consider that this modification will increase the sound level of your motorcycle and its performance. 

Meaning of XL on a Sportster

The XL in a Sportster’s model number stands for extra-large displacement. The first number of the code identifies the engine size. An XL indicates that it has extra-large displacement for increased power output.

For example, Sportster XL883 models have 883 cc displacements while the XL1200 models have larger 1200 cc engines. 

Will Dyna, Softail or Touring Exhaust Fit a Sportster?

Harley-Davidson does not have a specific exhaust system that’s made specifically for the Sportster because it is a general term used to describe different series. 

Exhaust pipes from Dyna, Softail and Touring models will fit your Sportster because they are interchangeable. The only difference is that an aftermarket muffler will be needed for replacement.

Evo Sportster vs Big Twin: Quality of Exhaust Sound

The Big Twin is louder because it has shorter, wider pipes with no baffles, while the Evo Sportster comes with longer, narrower pipes fitted with internal baffles to reduce noise. 

A Harley Big twin is more powerful than an Evo Sportster. This is why it has a deeper and louder exhaust sound, making for an exhilarating recreational riding experience.

What’s the Best Exhaust for Sportster (before 2014 Models)? 

Every Sportster model in Harley’s stable comes with a different exhaust to match the engine. If you want an aftermarket exhaust for your Sportster, there are many choices. If you own a 2014 or earlier Sportster, consider buying the Vance and Hines Shortshots specifically designed for V-Rod models.

The Vance and Hines Shortshots are among the best mufflers for Harley Sportster models. Their popular size fits almost every Harley motorcycle model.

What’s great about these exhausts is that they can provide deep, rich engine performance, and come with a universal slip-on fit. 

Bad or Failing Sportster Exhaust Heat Shield – Sign & Solution

The heat shield has been designed to keep heat away from the rider by acting as a thermal barrier between any hot exhaust gases and the rider. It’s also used to shield exhaust heat away from other parts on the bike like paint, fenders, etc.

The main cause of a failing exhaust heat shield is the muffler being left too close to the frame. This causes extreme heat to soak back from the muffler into the frame and affects the rubber under-shield in this area. The rear rubber will need to be replaced with a high temp material such as header wrap, furnace cement or fiberglass repair tape. 

Summing Up

Harley has been known to have the best sounding exhausts in the market. The stock mufflers are designed to produce a throaty sound that makes Harley motorcycles unique. When you buy an aftermarket exhaust system, you will increase performance and improve your bike’s aesthetics and sound.

Last update on 2022-06-20  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Writer @ Motorcycleall.

Leave a Comment