Vance & Hines performance exhaust on the Road King

It is done, a decision was finally made, and the result can be seen as new header of this blog. Thank you all for your valuable advise, but ask 10 people about exhausts, and you get 12 answers. Still each comment was very helpful, as it focused on particular characteristics of exhaust options, which I then had to balance and prioritise for my final call.

In this post I want to address the points that made me make my choice, a choice not all of you may agree with, and I myself am still not sure it is the ultimate wisdom and right one. Only time and many more fumes through the mufflers will tell.

Wanting to save some money, and leaving some options open, I planed only to exchange the slip-on mufflers, and leave the stock header in place for the time being. But after last weekends video, during which I found out that the exhaust valve squeaks like a pig when it opens, I had enough of stock stuff and decided to replace the head pipes too.

It all boiled down to 3 choices: Stock or Dresser duals or Power duals:

And the Power duals won with a clear margin. MacDuff, before you unilaterally terminate without notice our friendship, let me explain the key factors:

Yes, the sound from true duals is more genuine, less distorted, but it is also more aggressive and loud. While true duals are closer to a strong sharp slap in the face, the Power duals with their cross over have a less aggressive pitch attack, and more mellow thump due to the mixing. These Pro and Cons are why they both got 4 out of 5 points in the sound field. I should have given to the stock mufflers with its castrating valve ZERO points.

Whoever I asked, whatever I read, there is a reduced low rev torque with true duals as compared to cross overs. The performance hierarchy is quite simple: 2:1, then 2:1:2 and then only 2:2. As our Harleys have from birth a oversized engines with undersized performances, I had to give the Power duals, and even the stock header, more points then the true duals. And this actually tipped the balance in favour for the Power Duals.

Looks – they all look good, but since I now have the Power Duals in combination with the Turn-Dow Slip-ons, the cross over X shield actually looks very nice, as it replicates the turn-down curve from the tip of the mufflers.

The choice of slip-on mufflers was much easier, although the mathematical results are closer. Its all in the looks. My head would have bought the Monster Ovals, they even come with a official EC emboss, they have a good deep legal thump, as compared to the Turn-downs. Writing this I must admit that I could not listen to the Turn-downs before the final decision, but what I got was what I expected, something very deep, but quiet loud, so I also ordered the optional quiet baffles, who are said to reduce the volume by 3-5db. I will only get them in a couple of weeks time, and by then I will have pushed enough fumes through the new muffles to be able to make up my mind, if I really need them or not.

No sound test yet on these, but here some more pictures, and a comparison of the old head pipes and the new Power Duals

And some more


7 Responses to “Vance & Hines performance exhaust on the Road King”

  1. scott Johnston Says:

    New to V&H power duals in Canal Fulton, Ohio.
    Hello, i have read as much as i could find regarding header pipes. I chose the V&H pwer duals with the Rinehart 3.5″ chromed end slip ons. I was at a HD dealership and they had a touring bike with this combo on it. I liked the looks and the sound (while not real loud) was deep and rich. I guess if i wanted a loud bike i would have bought a cruiser (hey, i am 50 yrs old, not interested in super loud.) I think it is a nice combo and i did see the dyno on the set up. Note: the SE Heavy Breather was installed. Torq incresed by 5 and hp by 10. What i liked best was that the bike did have better torq in the 2-4 gear ranges. Which is what i want. Next year i will probably drop in the SE 255 cams for more torq.

  2. Martin Ashworth Says:

    Thanks for the great write up. I recently purchased a 2011 RKC and had the dealer order Dresser Duals to go with Monster Ovals. When I picked the bike up a week later, I see that they had put on Power Duals. When questioned, the “Chrome Consultant” at HD said that there was a mix up with part numbers and they would reorder the Dressers. If the sound would be nearly the same from both, is it worth keeping the Power Duals and enjoying the extra torque ? BTW, I added 255 cams, race tuner and SE Ventilator, so it now has wings !!

  3. and I thought Gary France had attention to detail! – Nice clean bike too – look forwards to seeing some dirt on it in Croatia.

  4. Amazing! Adorable!

  5. I doubt anyone could argue with you! You set up your priorities and made your choice thusly.

    GOOD FOR YOU! I’m very happy you have what you want and you are now happy, and I wish you many safe (and perfectly-tuned) miles!

  6. nice choices and you have what you want not what youve been told to which is always good and to boot they look great on the bike

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