How to Improve the Sound of Stock Harley Pipes

by Justin Wash
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Biker image by Mykola Velychko from

Harley Davidson motorcycles have become synonymous with the bad-boy motorcyclist image, complete with black leather jackets and loud sounding exhaust pipes. Unfortunately, most Harley Davidson motorcycles do not come from the factory with the burly-sounding exhaust pipes they've become known for. This is a post-purchase modification usually made by the owner of the bike. Learn how to remove some of the baffles in your Harley Davidson exhaust and give your bike the big awesome sound it deserves.

Step 1

Remove the exhaust system from your Harley motorcycle. Most systems are attached with two bolts per pipe at the cylinder head and two bolts per pipe at the rear exhaust mounts. Because every Harley model is different, you will need to refer to your owner's manual for specific removal instructions.

Step 2

Cover your motorcycle if you leave it outside, using a tarp or a bike cover. Take the exhaust system inside, wrap it in a towel or shop rag and clamp it securely in a vice or pipe-clamp. Attach a drill bit extension and a 3/4 inch metal-cutting drill bit to your hand-held drill.

Step 3

Insert the drill bit into the end of one of the exhaust pipes. Push the drill bit into the pipe until you can't push it through anymore. You've just found the first baffle. Drill through the baffle carefully.

Step 4

Push the drill bit further into the exhaust to locate the second baffle. Drill through this one in the same way as the first, then repeat the entire procedure for each remaining exhaust pipe. When you're finished drilling, remove the exhaust from the clamp and tap the end a few times to expel any remaining metal shavings.

Step 5

Uncover your motorcycle and reinstall the exhaust system on the bike. Make sure every bolt is secure and tight, especially the cylinder head bolts, which create a necessary exhaust seal for the engine. Fire up your bike and have a listen to the new, louder, deeper exhaust tone.

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