Top Motorcycle Exhaust Brands: A Guide to the Most Popular

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Yoshimura Exhaust S1000RR

Whether you’re looking to change the look, sound, or performance of your motorcycle (by reducing weight or improving flow), there are several options when it comes to aftermarket exhaust systems. A quick aside: We riders should be honest with ourselves. A louder bike isn’t safer. “Loud pipes save lives” is a nice myth, but it’s simply not true. We can want a louder bike as a simple desire, that’s allowed, but there’s no need to disguise it as an attempt at increased safety. Now, back to the task at hand: Which exhaust brands are popular, and why?

Slip-on exhausts and complete (or full) exhaust systems are the two main choices for motorcycles. Slip-on exhausts are popular for their ease of installation and, in some cases, because they aren’t as loud as complete exhaust systems. Generally, full exhaust systems offer increased performance. They can improve the exhaust flow compared to the stock system and increase a bike’s horsepower output as a result. Most major exhaust companies offer both slip-on and full exhaust, with a wide range of available finishes, materials, and performance — all part of the success of the following companies.


Akrapovič Exhaust

Akrapovič is one of the most popular and prestigious exhaust brands out there. Available for both cars and motorcycles, Akrapovič boasts the use of high-end materials, including titanium, made at their in-house foundry in Slovenia. Akrapovič focuses on racing applications for its products and continues to compete in series like MotoGP, WorldSBK, and MXGP — excellent places to research and develop an exhaust that eventually makes its way into consumer applications. 

Founded in 1991, Akrapovič has been focused on motorsports since day one, contributing to its first WorldSBK victory in 1997 and its first world championship title in 2000. Since its founding in the early ’90s, Akrapovič has racked up over 100 world championship titles and expanded its business to cars. Part of their popularity is their wide range of available offerings, including titanium, stainless steel, carbon fiber, and aluminum exhausts. Akrapovič has also partnered with manufacturers and race teams such as Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM, and Yamaha – further cementing its legacy in motorsports and broadening appeal with the aftermarket audience.


Bassani two into one

Known for making Harley Davidson exhausts and other cruiser products, Bassani Xhaust (yes, they spell it that way) might equally be known for its founder’s epic mustache. Darryl Bassani began designing motorcycle exhausts in the late 1960s. Today, Bassani Xhaust continues to make a variety of slip-on and full-pipe setups for Harley Davidson, Indian, Yamaha, Triumph, and Victory motorcycles. Bassai boasts a consistent track record of outperforming other aftermarket manufacturers when it comes to horsepower and torque gains, and its stainless steel products come with a lifetime warranty.

If you’re looking for a sportbike exhaust, you won’t find it in Bassani’s catalog, but you will find exhausts for Dynas, Baggers, Panameras, Softails, and V-Rods. Alongside its cruiser offerings, Bassani offers some exhausts for cars and three-wheelers — stuff like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, and even the Polaris Slingshot. Oh, and if you’ve got a grom that you’re looking to spruce up, the folks at Bassani have an exhaust for that, too.

FMF Racing

FMF Fatty Pipe Exhaust

FMF Racing has been popular with motocross and dirt bike riders for decades. If you’ve spent any considerable time in the desert, playing on the dunes or throwing up rooster tails in the sand, you’ve definitely heard an FMF exhaust. FMF (short for Flying Machine Factory) started in 1973 in California when founder Don Emler built a “Hop-Up Kit” for racing. Focused originally on dirt bikes, FMF offerings now include ATV exhausts and riding goggles as well.

Hand-built in the United States, FMF exhausts are aesthetically pleasing and built with performance and sound in mind. Many of its exhausts are available with a silencer — and almost everything you’ll find in the FMF catalog claims increased power, smoother power delivery, and a decrease in weight compared to OEM components.

As you’d expect from an exhaust company that focuses on racing, FMF offers a number of exhaust systems that meet competition-specific sound regulations. What you might not expect is that the FMF website boasts its status as the “only U.S. manufacturer to offer dedicated quiet exhaust systems.” This decrease in noise is certainly a virtue worth pointing out for riders who want to enjoy the great outdoors without a bunch of two-stroke noise following them wherever they go.

Vance and Hines

Vance and Hines Stainless Exhaust

Born from the motorcycle drag racing scene in Southern California, Vance and Hines is the result of a collaboration between motorcycle enthusiasts Terry Cance and Byron Hines. Founded in 1979, Vance and Hines remain committed to improved performance all these decades later, partnering with Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati, and Harley Davidson in factory race programs. Racing was a vital part of the Vance and Hines story, and it continues to participate in drag racing, road racing, and flat track events today.

Vance and Hines have always made its motorcycle exhaust products in Santa Fe Springs, California, but it has expanded manufacturing to include air intakes and ECU tuning more recently. Plus, Vance and Hines have also added exhausts for side-by-side vehicles and pickup trucks to its inventory. Vance and Hines are probably best known for Harley Davidson exhausts and other cruiser products, but other offerings include high-end exhausts for select Honda, BMW, Suzuki, and Yamaha motorcycles.


Yoshimura Exhaust

Few exhaust brands are as ubiquitous in the sportbike and dirtbike communities as Yoshimura (also known as Yosh). Full titanium exhausts and carbon fiber slip-on make up much of its product list, with offerings for both street and dirtbikes that promise significant weight savings and big power increases. Those full systems, however, do come with hefty price tags. Like Akrapovič, Yoshimura offers some of the most expensive systems on the market. If you can fit a Yosh pipe into your budget, though, it’s worth it.

The company was founded in Japan in 1954 by Hideo Yoshimura but eventually opened operations in North Hollywood in 1971. Since then, Yoshimura has become one of the largest manufacturers of exhausts in America and cemented its reputation for producing lightweight, high-performance exhaust pipes. Over the years, Yoshimura has been a part of many successful race teams with manufacturers such as Suzuki and Honda. It’s also one of the few manufacturers that sells muffler repack kits.

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