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Harley Performance UpgradesUnlike most other motorcycle manufacturers, it’s almost impossible to find a Harley-Davidson on the streets that hasn’t been modified in some way. That’s part of the attraction to the MoCo. They are a blank canvas to be customized a million different ways. And one of the most common areas of modifications to make is performance. Throughout Harley’s history, their V-Twin mills have been modded to perform better by pro and garage builders alike.
There are different levels of engine/performance upgrades. Four to be exact, which are referred to as Stages. Each stage offers a different level of performance gain. The stages can be done independent of one another or all together. Doing them individually will not only help save your hard-earned cash, but will also allow you to gain only the desired level of performance. Not everyone wants/needs to be able to light the road on fire with their bike. For those that do, though, all four stages can be done in conjunction with one another to build the ultimate Harley V-Twin.
A Harley Stage 1 upgrade involves upgrading your bike’s air cleaner, slip-on exhaust and fuel tuning to allow your motor to breathe more freely. A Stage 1 upgrade is the most common because it can be done by most riders at home and the result can be the best bang for your buck. Stage 1’s are also recommended to be done in conjunction with any other upgrade. Next up, the Stage 2 consists of swapping out the cams and pushrods. By swapping the cams, you can set your bike up to deliver the power and torque where you need it, whether it's in the low-end, mid-range, top-end or the best combination of each. Stage 3 gives you the displacement you’ve been dreaming about with top end big bore kits. Finally, Stage 4 is all about making the heads flow more freely to be able to maximize the amount of air that flows through the engine. Use ported heads and upgraded carbs or throttle bodies to achieve this.
Harley performance stages range in difficulty to install. From quick external parts swaps to more involved internal parts upgrades. Most home mechanics can do Stage 1 on their own. From there on, you are dealing with internal components, which can present much more difficulty. Home mechanics who know what they are doing can complete all four stages themselves. But if you are not comfortable, it’s a good idea to bring your bike and your parts from Dennis Kirk to your preferred motorcycle mechanic.
At Dennis Kirk, we understand that a stock HD motor just isn’t enough for a lot of riders. That’s why we carry Harley performance parts for all the stages and from some of the top brands like S&S Cycle, Andrews Cams, Feuling Motor Company, Hot Cams and more. Use our Ride Finder at the top of the page to find all the performance parts that fit your specific Harley. Also, feel free to contact our knowledgeable Tech Team if you have any questions on which performance parts are best for you and your motorcycle.