Cruiser bikes including Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki Vulcan's and Honda Shadow's have the option for installing full system exhaust drag pipes. A part of a full system exhaust drag pipes are essentially open tubes made of steel with a chrome plated finish that help to produce peak horsepower in a very narrow RPM band.
The assumption that drag pipes will always increase horsepower is not true and most pipes installed on a cruiser motorcycle will actually lessen the overall horsepower, sometimes by as much as 5-10%. Drag pipes are designed to help improve the airflow through the exhaust system and while this will improve the overall performance of the bike it does not automatically equal more horsepower.
While exhaust pipes do help in diverting exhaust fumes away from the engine and the rider many mechanics will tell you the polished chrome pipes put on Harley's, Honda's and other cruiser motorcycles are more for show than performance. Yes you can achieve an increase in horsepower but usually at a range that few riders will ever see. Exhaust pipes were originally designed for drag racing and unless you are looking to gain an edge on the track these pipes won't offer all that much in terms of high performance horsepower.
However, riders looking for an exhaust part accessory that will produce a deep, throaty growl synonymous with fat hogs and larger cruising bikes should definitely consider custom fit slash cut or full cut drag pipes. When you replace a standard OEM exhaust system with drag pipes you must remember to re-jet the carburetor. If you don't the system can backfire and lead to future problems with valves, pistons and other sensitive engine parts.
Another part to consider when upgrading a motorcycle exhaust system with pipes is baffles. Though some riders mistakenly associate baffles with silencers a high quality baffle may take some of the sharp edge off the noise but won't quiet the bike too much. Baffles help improve the mid-range torque by providing increased back pressure in the pipes.
Kevin is a professional writer with over 20 years experience in publishing.
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