Exhaust for Harley Fat Boy: How to Choose & How To Install Guide!

Exhaust systems remove gas from a motorcycle’s engine, but they can do much more. A good exhaust can increase the performance of your ride while making you look good riding down the highway.
Harley Davison motorcycles such as the Fat Boy have an exhaust already, but you still might want a replacement. You can replace a damaged system to restore stock performance or improve the flow for better torque and power.

Best Choice
Vance & Hines VH-16875
Vance & Hines VH-16875
Best Choice
This slip-on provides the look and sound of a full replacement system without the cost. Easy to install; these mufflers fit on your bike in minutes
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However, you cannot fit any system on your bike and expect the same results. Each exhaust comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Choose the one that works best with your bike.

Fat Boy Exhaust Systems – Comparison Chart

ImageProduct 
Best Choice
Vance & Hines VH-16875 review
Vance & Hines VH-16875
  • Easy to install - typically less than an hour
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Loud but not obnoxious

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Also Great
Vance & Hines 17911 review
Vance & Hines VH-17911
  • Signature Twin Slash End Treatment
  • Full Coverage Heat Shields
  • Quiet Baffle Option Available

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Honorable mention
Bassani Manufacturing 1800-1744 review
Bassani Manufacturing 1800-1744
  • Efficient recurve design
  • Excellent performance and power
  • The classic Harley roar

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2-into-2
MagnaFlow Exhaust Products 7210807 review
MagnaFlow Exhaust Products 7210807
  • Cutting-edge, contrast, exposed muffler design
  • Durable Magna-Black coated, stainless steel finish
  • Deep, Hot Rod sound quality

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Honorable mention
Vance & Hines VH-46712 review
Vance & Hines VH-46712
  • Decent performance for the price
  • Sleek design with a low deep sound

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Review of Top-Rated Exhaust Systems for Harley Fat Boy

 

1. Vance & Hines VH-16875 – Best Exhaust for Harley Fat Boy

Slip-on mufflers have a bad reputation. They seem too good to be true. Vance & Hines slip-ons are the exception delivering the performance of a full exhaust system replacement at a fraction of the price.

The Twin Slash 3″ slip-on system is the perfect solution when you don’t need a full replacement. They also mostly plug and play; no need to tune them for the sound and performance boost. The slip-on also lets you complete the upgrade yourself, saving the cost of visiting a mechanic.

Who is it for?

The Twin Slash Split-on is for riders who want a decent upgrade to their bike’s performance and sound without the cost of a full replacement system.

Why Do We like it?

This slip-on provides an excellent look and a great low-end growl without costing a lot. They are simple to install as well.

Pros

  • Easy to install, can take less than an hour
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Loud but not obnoxious

Specifications

  • Chrome finish
  • Slip-on style
  • Item Weight – 14.9 pounds
  • Dimensions – 25.7 x 10.2 x 8.1 inches

 


2. Vance & Hines VH-17911 – Also Top-Rated Exhaust for Fat Boy

Our next exhaust system is also from Vance & Hines, but this one is a full replacement. Big Shots Staggered Exhaust provides aggressive hot rod sounds and awesome performance with full-length heat shields with a black or chrome finish. It is also conveniently priced compared to other models, making it a great exhaust for any biker on a budget.

What is it for?

The Big Shots system is for owners looking for an exceptional upgrade to their current exhaust.

Why do we like it?

The Vince & Hines Big Shots system offers significant improvements in sound and appearance over stock exhaust systems at a fraction of the cost.

Pros

  • Signature Twin Slash End Treatment
  • Full Coverage Heat Shields
  • Quiet Baffle Option Available

Specifications

  • Revolutionary Power Chamber design;
  • 2 ½” 220o heat shield
  • 2 1/8” muffler
  • 1 ¾” head-pipe
  • Weight – 26.5 pounds
  • Dimensions – 46 x 18 x 5 inches

 


3. Bassani Manufacturing 1800-1744 – Alternative Exhaust for Fat Boy

A mainstay for road Road Kings and Touring bikes for decades, Bassani’s True Duals brand offers the ideal performance and sound for cruising down the highway. Recently, the dual style exhaust pipes on both sides of the bike provide the performance without compromising on power.

The 1S66E-36 model continues the trend with a deep throaty sound that mellows out when idle. Plus, it uses a more efficient recurve design over the traditional crossover. You don’t even need to make adjustments if you use them in conjunction with a stock air system.

Who is it for?

The Bassani 1S66E-36 True Duals exhaust is the perfect system for those who like cruising with a custom look and feel.

Why do we like it?

The system provides a vintage look and sound. You get the classic power from the Fat Boy stock system and the timeless Harley roar.

Pros

  • Efficient recurve design
  • Excellent performance and power
  • The classic Harley roar

Specifications

  • 1-3/4in. head pipes
  • 1-7/8in. fishtail mufflers
  • Chrome heat shields
  • Straight-through design
  • O2 sensor ports
  • Dimensions – 48 x 19.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Weight – 18 pounds

 


4. MagnaFlow Exhaust Products 7210807 – Best Performance Exhaust for Harley Fat Boy

While better known for their exhaust systems for automobiles, MagnaFlow offers some fine systems for bikers. Bandit 7210807 provides a significant boost to your Fat Boy’s stock performance. Featuring a cutting-edge, exposed muffler, the system looks attractive with its gloss black and brushed stainless steel finish.

Who is it for?

The Bandit system is for riders who want great, maintenance-free, performance with great sound.

Why do we like it?

The MagnaFlow 7210807 system runs decently well to produce a loud war without hurting performance.

Pros

  • Cutting-edge, contrast, exposed muffler design
  • Durable Magna-Black coated, stainless steel finish
  • Deep, Hot Rod sound quality.

Specifications

  • Hi-Flow stainless steel, maintenance-free, louvered core baffles
  • 12mm & 18mm O2 sensor ports
  • 1 ¾” Magna-Black-coated, stainless-steel head pipes
  • 2 ½” full-coverage heat shields
  • Hi-Flow stainless-steel, louvered core baffles
  • Weight – 27 pounds
  • Dimensions – 36 x 20 x 6 inches

 


5. Vance & Hines VH-46712 – Best Looking Exhaust for Fat Boy

Vance & Hines makes most of the top-rated Harley exhaust because their systems are always worth the price. The Eliminator 300 continues the trend with a low but deep and punchy sound that is never overbearing while cruising down the road.

Who is it for?

Riders who want a simple way to upgrade their current exhaust.

Why do we like it?

The Eliminator 300 has a sleek design and offers an honest upgrade to any stock pipes. They fit most Fat Boy models with a simple installation process that requires no fuel pack or extra equipment.

Pros

  • Decent performance for the price
  • Sleek design with a low deep sound

Specifications

  • 3-inch Round Muffler Body
  • CNC-Machined Billet End Caps
  • Weight – 12.9 pounds
  • Dimensions – 25.5 x 10 x 8.2 inches

 


Harley Davidson Fat Boy Accessories

A Harley Davison Fat Boy is the ideal way to cruise the land, turning the most uneventful commute into an adventure. However, you can only do so much with stock equipment. To get the most of your ride, accessorize your Fat Boy with the latest and best gear out there.

Aftermarket accessories and parts let you customize your bike. Sure, it takes time for accessories for the latest Harley models to hit the market, but when they do you can alter the look and feel of your motorcycle in every way possible.

You can change the exhaust pipes as mentioned above. You can change the seat. You can change the tires. You can change the finish and everything in between. You can even replace the electronics. In the end, you have a custom look for your cruiser, ensuring everyone will notice you riding past them.

Essential Gear and Accessories

Motorcycle Helmet and Riding Attire

While not strictly an accessory for your cruiser, the appropriate wardrobe will add that extra something. Thus, you need a good helmet, leather jacket, leather gloves, raw denim, and leather boots. They make you look handsome while providing a practical purpose of saving your life in an emergency.

Fan Assisted Oil Cooler

While a Fat Boy is simple to maintain with basic tune-ups and oil changes, an oil cooler will keep the bike running smoothly when the engine is exposed to variable temperatures. An oil cooler will keep your bike from overheating while providing an extra performance boost.

Motorcycle Radio

Stay in contact with your buddies, especially on long group rides. You cannot talk while speeding down a highway, regardless of how loud you can shout. A motorcycle radio is hands-free, allowing you to talk while maintaining control of your bike.

Motorcycle Driving Lights

When riding outside brightly-lit cities, good LED motorcycle lights will show you the road at night. These special driving lights shine brighter, providing a wider arc of light than stock lights. They also make you visible, so cars cannot pretend they “did not see you.”

Motorcycle Cover

A tough waterproof motorcycle cover will protect your cruiser from dust, the weather, and critters while in storage. They keep your bike looking new much longer, especially if you park it outside in the elements.

How to Install Fat Boy Exhaust System?

How you install the exhaust can vary from system to system and bike model. Before putting on the new pipes, confirm if you are doing an entire system or just a slip-on.

Full Pipes

We will start with full systems as that is the most common type of upgrade for cruisers such as the Harley Fat Boy. Note that full exhaust systems completely replace the stock system from the engine exhaust ports down to the mufflers.

Regardless of why you want a full replacement, just make sure to inspect the new exhaust before picking up any tools.

Verify there are no dents, scratches, or blemishes. You also want to confirm you bought pipes that will fit your cruiser without blocking other parts of the bike such as the footpegs. Also ensure you have everything for the installation including extra crush gaskets.

Read the instruction material that comes with the new exhaust system. Do not break your elegant bike or bike parts by doing something improperly. The instructions will show you how to mount that type of system.

Removing the Old System

If you are ready to switch, first remove the old pipes. Depending on how you customize the ride, detach anything that might get in the way, including the floorboard and fender if present.

Other systems require removing the oxygen sensors, which you must disconnect from the wiring harness. Remove the sensor closest to the pipes, which is typically the rear sensor. Front sensors attach above the regulator, but the rear ones pass under the oil tank.

Once you have complete, unobstructed access to the pipes, you can remove the nuts and bolts connecting the header to the engine. Set them aside for later. Also, remove and save the bolts holding the mounting brackets to the motorcycle frame. Depending on the new system, you might need them to attach the new pipes. You may also have to remove any studs present on your bike.

Additionally, detach any oxygen sensors and transmission brackets that were attached to the pipes to reinstall them on the new system.

After detaching the securements, you can finally slide off the old exhaust pipes from their ports and off your bike. You may want to store them in a safe place if you ever need to reuse them because of local noise ordinance or to make it easier to sell the bike.

Finally, remove any snap rings, flanges, and all other securements still on the pipes if you intend to reuse them. Just make sure to inspect them for damage or corrosion before storing or using them.

Installing the New System

Putting in the new system should be effortless. Sure, take precautions not to damage or scratch the new pipes, but installation is quite the reverse of taking the old ones off your bike.

Follow the mounting instructions that came with the exhaust, although most models should just slide into place. Carefully push the pipes back until the headers line up properly with the engine’s cylinder heads and ports.

While adding the securements, install any removed sensor or equipment from the old pipes. That includes the crush gaskets, oxygen sensors, snap rings, and flanges.

Once in place, reattach any securements including all nuts and bolts. Tighten all the bolts starting from the rear of the bike and moving forward.

Finish the installation by putting everything back such as footpegs. You can then fire up the ending and listen to its rumble while checking for leaks. Redo this check for the first few rides to ensure nothing comes loose in the process.

Slip-Ons

While not as common on Fat Boys and other cruisers, slip-on systems retain most of the stock exhaust equipment, including the headers and mid-pipe. In most cases, these systems are nothing more than a newer, freer-flowing, higher performance muffler. That makes it easier to install than a full system.

However, that also means there is no standard method for installing them. Every model has its way of attaching to your bike. Read the instructions manual to know what it is.

Some models only require removing one or two parts of your bike. Other models require taking off the entire seat assembly. Either way, the process should be simple enough to do on your own.

Regardless of the model, your first step is to remove anything that blocks you from accessing the exhaust system as above.

If this is your first time using a slip-on system, you will need a full system replacement. The stock system is replaced with mid and head pipes designed for slip-on systems. If this is the case, follow the full system instructions above.

The only difference between a full system and a slip-om compatible system is the component pipes are separate pieces in a slip-on system. Thus, attach and secure the header pipes before you install the mid-pipes, and so on. Clamps attach and secure the various components together.

Once you have the new headers and mid-pipes, slide on the slip-on mufflers using the same clamp and bolt system.

If the old system was already slip-on compatible, just remove the muffler. This method requires removing all mounting hardware, loosen the clamp, and then slide out the old pipes. Reverse the procedure with the new ones.

In either case, ensure the pipes do not block important parts such as passenger footpegs, otherwise the exhaust should be ready. As with a full system, test it and check for leaks and loose bolts for the first few rides.

Verdict

A new exhaust system for your Harley Fat Boy can give your ride a new lease on life with better performance and sound. Adjust a few things so you and your neighbors are satisfied. The correct system will make you look good as you cruise through town.

About the author

Clint Harris

Clint Harris

My name is Clint Harris. I am an automotive fan who is fond of the latest tech- and classic muscle car technology. I launched CarWrenching to share open-minded tips, tutorials, and insight.

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