Best Exhaust & Mufflers for Sportster (All Models)

Good Sportster exhaust and mufflers can save you a fair share of frustration and inconvenience, mainly if you use your bike every day. They will protect you from head to toe against the heat coming from cylinder heads and other hot parts under or behind them, which could otherwise scorch your legs, feet, pants’ cuffs etc. At the same, they’ll produce a super pleasing and attractive sound. But of course, you should choose the best exhaust for Sportster based on the model you own like we’ve included as under:

Best Sounding – V&H Shortshots or V&H Staggered

Best 2-into-2 – V&H Mini Grenades or V&H Big Radius or Cobra 909

Best Slip-on Muffler Exhaust – V&H Twin Slash or V&H Straightshots or SHARKROAD

Best 2-into-1 – Handmo Pipes or Bassani 1X62SS or Road Rage 3

Best 883 & 1200 – Vance & Hines Shortshots Staggered

What Type of Exhaust Suits Better to Sportster?

  1. Slip-on

This type of exhaust is often used on Harley Davidson motorcycle models. It’s durable, affordable, and the best solution for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money modifying their motorcycles.

  1. 2-into-1

The building principle of this type is two mufflers with two inlets and one outlet, which is connected by bends. 2 into one exhaust is perfect for those who want to give their motorcycle a sportier look and increase its power. It provides a better flow of hot gases to cylinders.

  1. Dual (2-into2)

There are two inlets and one outlet, so it doesn’t have two outputs despite the name. The construction is often used for Harley Davidson touring motorcycles because they require clean, deep bass sound when riding at a constant speed which this type provides ideally.

Best Exhaust System (Muffler Added) for Sportster

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Year Change & Harley Sportster Exhaust Compatibility

The compatibility of Sportster exhausts is a common question among bikers. Harley-Davidson makes changes in models from year to year, with some cycles being longer than others. As more models are being added and removed from the lineup, the need to stay up-to-date is more relevant than ever. The year 2019 brings a few new changes to the exhaust that may alter your bike’s looks and sound. To get a good exhaust based on the manufacturing year, you need to research your estimations to be as accurate as possible.

Top Brands – Who Make Best Exhaust for Sportster

A good number of manufacturers produce exhaust systems compatible with Harley Davidson. However, not all the brands cover each of the Harley models in the production lineup. You can rely on only several brands for your H-D muffler or exhaust system, considering all situations, including these. We suggest seven names where you can put your trust.

  1. Vance & Hines
  2. Cobra Powersports
  3. Bagger Brothers
  4. Bassani Xhaust 
  5. Rinehart Racing 
  6. Sharkroad Exhaust
  7. Freedom Performance

Sportster 1200 vs. 883 – Differences

Tire clearance

The most significant difference between the Sportster 1200 and 883 is tire clearance. You can only fit a giant tire on the front wheel of the 1200 model as compared to 883 models.

Weight difference

The Sportster 1200 weighs significantly more than the 883.

Suspension difference

The suspension on Sportster 1200 is stiffer than the one of 883. As you can expect, it is usually no problem for riders to upgrade the rear shocks on their 883 to make it work softer after installing a different tire they might have bought that is bigger than the factory original.

Power difference

The Sportster 1200 motor produces more torque and horsepower than 883. Since it has been on the market longer, it also has a few aftermarket parts, which increase the power output further. That is why the Sportster 1200 is preferred by many riders who are into drag racing or fast street riding, while 883 is more of a choice for beginners or riders with smaller frames.

Drag or Straight – What Pipes are Better for Sportster?

The essential thing in an exhaust, especially when it is your first exhaust system, is to know what you want and what to pick. Straight pipes are louder and raspier, while drag pipes are deeper and burlier. Both types sound entirely different; they make a different mood and feel depending on one’s attitude or desires. Everybody wants something different in their motorcycle. Some like it loud, while others prefer a deeper tone.

Ways to Make Your Sportster Exhaust Louder

  • Slip-on Muffler
  • Custom Exhaust
  • Update Internal Engine Mods to Make More Noise
  • Air Cleaner Modifications
  • Spin-on Oil Filter Mod for Better Flow
  • Knobs & Levers to Control Exhaust Noise Level
  • Use of Bio-Fuel Instead of Gasoline
  • Lump or Roller Camshafts for More Noise
  • Use of Higher Compression Ratio Pistons
  • Get Aftermarket Heads, Cams and Intakes
  • DynoJet Power Commander to Tune Fuel Injection & Ignition
  • Custom Intake Manifold to Maximize Airflow
  • Larger or Multiple Fuel Injectors with Custom Fuel Rail
  • Exhaust Coatings to Make It Sound Louder & Baffles for the Muffler(s) to Cut Down on Resonance Inside.

Will Dyna Exhaust Fit a Sportster?

Dyna exhausts fit Sportster models. Dyna manufactures all their exhausts to match Harley-Davidson models from 50cc through to the large V-Rods.

If you’re wondering why there are no Sportster-specific Dyna’s, it’s basically because a Sportster has a similar frame and engine configuration but vastly different weight distribution. This is because the engine sits further forward, making it challenging to build a specific model.

 Evo Sportster vs. Big Twin: Sound of Exhaust

The Harley Davidson Sportster series came in two main variations: the Big Twin and the Evo. The difference between those two is the engine size and the design. Exhausts sound louder on a bigger engine because they have more power to vibrate things around, but that has been taken to its logical extremes in the two bike models. The differences between a Sportster Evo and a Big Twin are not minor. They lead to the different voices of exhausts that define the character of the bike.

What Does XL Mean on a Sportster?

XL is the most common Harley Davidson motorcycle size designation. Unlike other manufacturers, HD does not have a standard set of sizing criteria used across all its models. Instead, each one of its lines will have its sub-classification for frame sizing. The engine displacement and its intended use will determine the XL size designation to be used.

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

Vance and Hines Short shots are the best-selling aftermarket exhausts for Sportster models, including the models earlier of 2014. They fit perfectly to Sportsters with a stock engine and transmission without any modifications. The sound is just right and not too loud. They look great and come in several colors, some with a chrome finish, some with matte black.

Bad or Failing Exhaust Heat Shield of Your Sportster – Sign & Fixing 

  1. Mufflers make the engine run hotter

If you feel like your engine starts to run hotter than usual, you need to replace the mufflers with new ones.

  1. Loud pops and backfires

If your Sportster’s exhaust system makes loud pops and backfire can be easily heard from kilometers away, there is a problem; you need to fix this, ensuring that gasket surfaces are clean oiled.

  1. Drain tubes blocked

Check if you have a blocked line. Go for a ride on your Sportster until the gas comes out of the muffler. If it doesn’t, then the tube is clogged, and you will need to replace it with a new one.

  1. Black soot around mufflers

It’s typical for Sportsters to burn oil, and if your bike is burning more than usual, there is a high chance that the muffler has something to do with it.

  1. Exhaust leak

If you leak into your bike’s exhaust system, there is a big chance that you need new gaskets.

Concluding Remarks

You should always make changes to upgrade your bike one step at a time. This way, you can take note of what works and doesn’t work. This article will give an overview of the best exhaust and mufflers for Sportster. They are better than others among available aftermarket options of different price levels. Buy the one from the list that exactly matches your Sportster model.

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