This is another one of those easy-to-do upgrades, but sometimes getting a visual before you begin can be of help. Slip-ons are a cost-effective and easy way to give your bike more of the sound you want. They are also an important part of the bike's aesthetics, and most people want to add some form of customization to personalize it.
Slip-ons Over A Stage One Upgrade
Another great point of slip-ons is you don't usually have to perform any stage-1 upgrades. Slip-ons are designed to replace only the muffler on the bike, not the entire exhaust from the cylinder head. If you do decide to put straight pipes on the bike, for example, this would require you to perform a complete stage-1 upgrade along with the exhaust and bring your cost to well over $1000 in most cases.
Visual Reason For Slip-Ons
Visual- There are a LOT of slip-ons out there from various manufacturers, so before making any hasty decisions, you might want to take a few days to explore the options. If not, you have a good chance of running into regret the next time you go to a bike event and see someone else's slip-ons and wish you had gotten theirs instead. Again, take your time, do some research, and try to get an idea of what you want your bike to look like as a whole, not just at the muffler level.
Improved Sound- This point is more difficult than the visual. You simply won't know what they sound like by seeing them online or even on the shelf at a bike shop. Again, take your time and start listening to other bikes at events. When one rolls by with the sound you like, ask the rider what type of slip-ons or even a complete exhaust upgrade they performed. Doing this will help you make the right choice without regret. Slip-ons have a great degree of sound difference. A lot of our HOG Chapter will put Rinehart's on their bikes, giving it a loud snapping, crackling sound. I went with Vance & Hines 4" rounds which have a deep rumbling tone. Even within the same manufacturer, a different style can have a different sound, so it's best to listen to a bunch of them first, preferably on the same bike you have.
Lower Cost Than A Stage One
Cost- Most slip-ons can be purchased for under $800 all the way down to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the bike and manufacturer. Because they are only replacing the muffler, in most cases, you won't have to perform that stage-1 upgrade which will push your cost well over $1000 dollars. Be sure to do some research first though. A stage-1 upgrade becomes necessary because of the change in backflow from the exhaust. If you're putting a slip-on on the bike that has very little internal mesh or baffles that don't allow for some back pressure, you could still find yourself having to perform a stage-1 upgrade. A little research can go a long way in preventing this from happening.
Possible Performance Gains
Some people change their stock mufflers for slip-ons in regards to performance. Each manufacturer claims their slip-ons will increase horsepower. It's usually not by much, but you will get a small horsepower boost because typical slip-ons will allow easier exhaust pass through. Remember that the horsepower gain will be minor, and you probably won't even notice a performance difference. One last item of importance. If you're putting on chrome slip-ons, be sure to clean the chrome thoroughly before starting the bike. If there is any residue, such as oil, fingerprints, grease, etc., on the chrome and you start the bike, the heat will burn those spots into the chrome, and you won't be able to get it out!