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Choosing the Right Exhaust System for Your Harley Davidson Road Glide

Choosing the Right Exhaust System for Your Harley Davidson Road Glide

The most popular modifications riders make to their Harley Davidson road glide are to add an exhaust system. An exhaust system is used to guide reaction exhaust gases away from a controlled combustion inside an engine or stove. The entire system conveys burnt gases from the engine and includes one or more exhaust pipes.

Depending on the overall system design, the exhaust gas may flow through the cylinder head and exhaust manifold. A turbocharger to increase engine power. A catalytic converter to reduce air pollution. Or a silencer to reduce noise.

In most motorcycles all or most of the exhaust system is visible and may be chrome-plated as a display feature. Motorcycle exhausts come in many varieties depending on the type of engine and its intended use. Exhausts may be made from steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber.

The exhaust gas may pass through one or various areas such as a cylinder head and exhaust manifold, depending on the configuration of the entire system. Maybe a turbocharger to boost engine performance. To minimize air pollution with a catalytic converter. Or as a noise-canceling option through a silencer. 

Harley Davidson Road Glide

If you’re looking to upgrade your Harley, one of the first things you might want to consider is a new exhaust. And with good reason! A quality performance exhaust can make your bike sound meaner, run stronger, and look better.

The Harley Davidson Road Glide is one of the most iconic motorcycles. It is known for its distinctive design , powerful engine, and smooth ride. It combines style and performance all in one. One of the most common modifications that are made to the Harley Davidson road glide is upgrading its exhaust system. A well-chosen exhaust system will enhance the performance of the bike and also add an auditory feature as well. Some considerations you might need to look into before purchasing and choosing an exhaust system for your Harley Davidson road glide are:


Exhaust systems are made from various different materials. Each has its own unique characteristics. 


These materials include:

  • Stainless steel
  • Carbon fiber
  • Titanium

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron. It is designed to be resistant to corrosion and rust. It is also durable and gives a more polished or brushed look depending on how the finish is done. Stainless steel is also known as rust-less steel.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fibers are fibers composed mainly of carbon atoms. These fibers are about 5 to 10 micrometers in their diameter. They have a number of advantages such as:

  •  high stiffness
  • high strength
  • lightweight
  • high-temperature tolerance

Carbon fiber exhausts are mostly used for aesthetic purposes and can have stainless steel or titanium internal components to provide a strong structure.


Titanium is resistant to rust, it has a low density and high strength. It is also very lightweight.

Types of Exhaust Systems

Exhaust systems are divided into two types. These are:

  • Full system exhausts
  • Slip-on exhausts

Full System Exhausts

The entire exhaust system is replaced. The header, muffler, and the exhaust itself as well. It offers more performance gains. And results in a louder exhaust note.

Slip-On Exhausts

Slip-ons are the most cost-effective option when it comes to types of exhausts. They replace the mufflers while retaining the stock headers. They may not provide as significant of an increase in performance as a full system exhaust but they can still cause a significant improvement. 

Quality of the exhaust

The quality of the exhaust determines how long it will last and the benefits it will give. An in-depth analysis of the exhausts that you are considering purchasing should be done.

Reputable Manufacturers

Researching the market for legitimate and good manufacturers is very important. Selecting an exhaust system from a reputable manufacturer is essential for the exhaust’s quality and performance. Well-established brands are reputable and have a good track record. This increases the customer’s confidence when buying an exhaust or any other part and accessory from them. Even if the purchase may be a little expensive the customer views this as a good investment.

Reviews and Recommendations

Thoroughly going through reviews and checking out recommendations from others helps the customer make an informed decision and helps determine if the brand and manufacturer provide good quality items. 

Sound Preferences

Decibel Levels

Sound is one of the most significant factors to consider when choosing an exhaust for your Harley Davidson road glide. Different types of exhaust systems produce different and varying levels of sound, from moderate to aggressive. Riders should consider their sound preference when choosing the exhaust. A point to focus on would also be the legal noise regulation laws in their area as well.

Tone and Character

Exhaust systems can produce a range of tones, from deep to high-pitched aggressive. The exhaust system of the bike determines the tones it produces and this determines the character and personality of the motorcycle. So it is important to find an exhaust that meshes well with your personality as well.

Legal regulations

Local noise regulations vary. It is essential to ensure that your chosen exhaust system complies with the regulations in your area. Non-compliant exhaust systems can lead to fines.


Exhaust systems are available in various styles. They include a wide variety of different aesthetics. These help the rider add a personalized look to the Harley Davidson road glide. The design of the mufflers and heat shields can also vary, allowing for further customization.

Professional Installation of Harley Davidson Road Glide

While some expert riders may have the skills to install exhaust systems themselves. They may have years of experience riding and doing modifications to their ride. Sometimes professional installation might be needed and is often recommended. Proper installation by a professional will ensure the exhaust system functions correctly and does not create any issues in the future. An added benefit would be it will prevent issues with the bike’s performance or emissions.


Choosing a compatible exhaust is important as an ill-fitting exhaust may not work as well with your bike model. Some exhaust systems may require additional hardware or modifications to fit properly.

Emissions Compliance

owners should consider emissions compliance when choosing an exhaust system. Exhausts emit emissions but some are modified to meet the emission standards.

Ongoing Maintenance

Regular maintenance of the exhaust system is necessary to keep it in top condition. To improve the longevity of your bike it’s important to maintain your bike. Look out for rust, exhaust leaks, and any faucets. Maintenance can be done by regularly cleaning and fixing any small issues before it turns into a bigger problem.

Selecting the right exhaust system for your Harley-Davidson Road Glide is an important decision that can impact your riding experience. Whether you are looking for a stringer sound, performance gains, or improving the aesthetic look of your bike. Customization is a personal journey, and the ideal exhaust system varies from rider to rider. In the end, the right exhaust system should be compatible with your bike model. And also be compatible with your riding style and preferences.


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