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It’s almost a mandatory requirement when you own a Harley. You have to ditch the stock pipes and swap them for something that better represents your style. You also want something that’s going to plaster a solid grin on your face every time you twist the throttle. No other manufacturer is better suited towards customization than the Motor Company and a set of new pipes is often the first investment that riders take on. But with so many options available today, how do you choose? It’s especially difficult now because a lot of pipes are starting to look the same.
There are, of course, the big names out there that everyone knows. Vance & Hines, Cobra, SuperTrapp and Bassani to name a few. Almost all riders know these names because they deliver consistent products that can be depended on. But with the success they have seen, a lot of pipes have started to look the same. But if you’re someone who likes to stand apart from the crowd, there are other options to choose from that are unique and still dependable.
If you are looking for something no one else has, it’s hard to beat FireBrand exhaust right now. FireBrand is a relatively new brand to enter the stacked Harley Exhaust market, but their initial offerings definitely stand out from the rest. Founded by two former Vance & Hines higher-ups, FireBrand design has the industry knowledge required to compete in this crowded space, yet are small enough where they can take chances on one-of-a-kind designs. Their focus is on manufacturing pipes that not only look great, but also add the performance and sound that you crave and for a great value.
The FireBrand FiftyTwo52 pipes for Sportster models are a great example of what they are capable of. This 2-into-1 system is named after the RPM point at which horsepower equals torque. The matched header, True-Merge Collector and free flowing muffler make sure that your bike is producing the most of each throughout the power curve. The Moto GP inspired end cap combined with the 20 degree upsweep provide an aggressive style to give your Sportster an aggressive look. The FiftyTwo52 system produces an undeniable throaty tone and you can check that out in the video below.
Rinehart isn’t as fresh to the scene as FireBrand, but the looks of their latest line of pipes certainly are. With a history steeped in motorsports, Rinehart has always been a top contender in the performance category. They have been trusted to build exhausts for top NASCAR teams and have won championships doing so. And you can be certain that their knowledge of performance certainly crosses over into their motorcycle products. In addition to performance, Rinehart is also becoming widely known for how great their motorcycle exhausts look. And their latest designs prove that they are worthy of the praise.
The Rinehart Cross Back 2-into-2 systems are truly unique in their design. The Cross Backs have been available for a few years now, but the over/under style of the headers has yet to be matched. The Cross Backs use Rinehart’s stepped header design to allow the exhaust gasses to expand and move faster as they move through the pipes. This provides a stronger scavenging effect and ultimately more power. With great attention to detail on the finishing touches and end caps, these pipes grab your eyes from afar and keep them awe when you’re up close.
Though everything about a Harley is undeniably American, there is something to be said about European styling. A couple of years ago, the premier European motorcycle exhaust manufacturer, Akrapovic, released their Open-Line range of exhausts for Harleys. Akrapovic is known particularly for their success on the racetrack, with exhaust systems that shed unbelievable amounts of weight, add power where it’s needed the most, and having a distinct sound. The deep and throaty sound that a set of Akrapovic pipes emits is the perfect complement to the American V-Twin of a Harley.
Though the Akrapovic Open Line has been available for almost two years now, you still don’t see them on a ton of bikes. One of the reasons is that when most people think Akrapovic, they think sport bikes and don’t even consider them for a Harley. These pipes certainly are not traditional exhausts for “hogs,” but they are perfect for a rider who wants to add a refined look to their bike. And don’t forget about the extra snort. These systems deliver a power upgrade throughout the throttle, but is especially noticeable in the mid-range.
The Open Line is offered in both 2-into-1 and 2-into-2 options, depending on your model of bike. The 2-into-2 provides a race profile that is unmatched by any other system out there. With seamless welds and high quality materials, the finishing touches on Akrapovic pipes are outstanding. And the sound is undeniable. The Open Line pipes include and optional noise reduction insert, but if you like a loud growl, leave it out. Though, it is a nice option to have in case you do have to ride through neighborhoods and cities.
Riding a Harley means different things to different riders. But for many riders, it’s because they want the independence that the bikes represent. It’s about bucking the status quo. Customizing your bike with a distinct exhaust system is a perfect way to make sure that your bike doesn’t blend in with the rest.
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