Do you want to give your Harley Davidson motorcycle a quick and easy performance boost? Install a stage 1 air cleaner. When you buy a Harley Davidson bike, it already comes with an air filter. But over time, it starts to degrade, and after a while, you will start noticing your engine’s poor performance.
However, as soon as you replace the old filter with a new and better one, you will notice a drastic boost in performance. The engine will deliver quicker acceleration and higher horsepower, which is never a bad thing for a Harley rider. And the best part is, with the right air cleaners, you will not have to replace them again.
But be warned, though, installing a poor air cleaner does more harm than good. A cheap knockoff unit will not prevent contaminants but rather choke up the airflow, which will cause your engine to function poorly. So having a decent idea about this device is essential to making the right choice.
In this article, we will give you a quick rundown of some of the best options out there for your bike and help you pick out the perfect unit. So, without further ado, let us get started.
List of Harley Stage 1 Air Cleaner:
Top 8 Harley Davidson Stage 1 Air Cleaner Reviews
Let us start right away with a thorough review of the top units in the market that are worth your time and attention.
1. K&N Engine Air Filter: High Performance, Premium, Powersport Air Filter
The brand K&N Engine has always been considered one of the Top Dogs when it comes to aftermarket parts for Harley. Their HD-0800 Air Filter is a premium option that comes at a reasonable price tag and can drastically enhance the performance of your engine by providing a clean airflow.
Installing this component on your motorcycle takes only a couple of minutes and can be done with just a screwdriver at hand. Since it comes pre-oiled, you do not have to take any extra hassle while installing it. It is a reusable stage 1 air cleaner for Harley, which means when it gets too dirty, you can wash and use it again.
The manufacturers used cotton gauze inside the air filter to filter out dust particles, while the top material is made of zinc. This makes the cleaner extremely efficient at filtering out microparticles that can harm your engine. And the metal body protects the filter against any abuse.
This air filter comes in a rounded tapered shape making it the perfect fit for select Harley Davidson motorcycles made between the year 2001-2008, including the Screamin Eagle, Dyna, and Road King. It comes with ten years/ million miles of limited warranty, ensuring you get a lasting use out of it.
- Washable and reusable air filter
- It comes pre-oiled from the store
- Multiple cotton gauze layers to deliver optimal filtration
- Provides enhanced horsepower and torque
2. HIFROM High Performance Air Filter Replacement for HD-0800 Motorcycle
For our next option, we will be going with the brand HIFROM and their replacement air filter for HD-0800 Motorcycles. This unit is available in either blue or red, but the color you get is random. Unfortunately, you do not get the option to pick the color.
What you get, though, is a unit that boasts a super-easy installation process. This air filter will ensure you get better acceleration and horsepower out of the engine by keeping the airflow regulated. It is a reusable air filter which means you will not have to throw it away after use.
This Harley stage 1 air filter comes with cotton gauze to prevent dust or microparticles from getting into the engine without affecting the airflow. The frame of the filter is made using metal and is welded in three different spots to ensure you get a durable use out of it.
The air filter features an oval shape which is perfect for a lot of the Harley Davidson models within the years of 2001 to 2008. If you are unsatisfied with the quality of the product, the manufacturers claim that you can return it to their warehouse without any risk.
- Excellent build quality
- It comes at an affordable price
- Offers great filtration without compromising airflow
- Suitable replacement part for HD-0800 motorbikes
3. Airkoul Air Cleaner Intake Filter Kit For Harley Davidson
The Airkoul stage 1 air filter kit for Harley Davidson is an excellent choice for people who want a high-quality unit at an affordable price. On the plus side, it also looks quite stylish. So, if how the air filter looks on your motorcycle matters to you, you will be quite satisfied with this unit.
Even though this unit does not come with any instruction manual, installation should not be too difficult. All you need to do is swap the old air filter with the new one, and you are good to go. Since it is a reusable model, you do not have to throw it away when it gets dirty.
This unit features a strong and lightweight aluminum frame that ensures optimal durability and performance. The filter itself is made of cotton gauze that can trap dust particles and ensure peak engine performance. It is also resistant to heat and impact, making it last quite a long time.
This one is a round air filter and, as a result, can fit a decent variety of Harley Davidson motorcycles. The most notable motorcycle that users often use this air filter with is the Sportster Deluxe or Customs. It also works with a few different Roadster models out there right out of the box.
- Great value for the price
- Lightweight aluminum construction
- It fits a wide variety of motorcycles
- Simple and straightforward installation
4. Naked Air Cleaner Kit 71011
The Vance & Hines VO2 air cleaner kit is another fantastic option for people who are willing to pay a reasonable price for a premium service. This unit, though a bit pricier than the previous options on this list Harley stage 1 air cleaners, offers an excellent value for your investment.
Installation of this unit is pretty straightforward if you have a Harley Sportster motorcycle, as it essentially replaces the stock air filter in that type of bike. So you will not have to worry about any technical knowledge when equipping this device. At its core, it is a reusable filter which means you can get a long time of use out of it.
The best part of this unit is that it looks and feels almost the same as the stock air cleaner in your Harley Davidson bike but offers much better performance because of its high-quality cotton gauze filter material. With a top-grade aluminum frame construction, this unit is designed to last for a long time.
The round design of the unit makes it the perfect choice for Harley Davidson Sportster and Softail style motorcycles. It is designed to give you a perfect airflow in the engine, ensuring optimal horsepower and rate of acceleration. If you have the budget, this is a solid choice when you are buying a stage 1 air cleaner kit for Harley Davidson.
- Excellent airflow to the engine
- Offers premium performance
- Replaces stock Harley Davidson air filters
- Washable and reusable
5. Krator Wide Touring Road King Chrome Aluminum Cone Spike Air Cleaner Kit Intake Filter
Krator is a popular brand when it comes to aftermarket parts for your motorcycle. The Krator air filter is one of their top-selling products that promises a lasting performance whenever you are getting a new air cleaner for your Harley Davidson bike engine.
Because of the universal design of the unit, you should have little to no trouble installing it. Its drop-in drop-out design takes away all the hassle of installing an air cleaner on your bike. Similar to all the other options on this list, this one, too, is a reusable air filter that will serve you well for a long time.
This unit is made using high-quality billet aluminum, which not only makes the unit more durable but also gives it a shiny and attractive look. Its inner filter is made of oil-lubricated cotton gauze that traps contaminants from reaching your engine while providing superior airflow for optimal horsepower.
The conical shape of the air filter is perfect for most Harley Davidson Screamin Eagle, Softail, and Dyna motorcycles made between the year 2001 to 2009. The shape of the unit adds a breath of fresh air to your bike. And if you want your bike to stand out in a crowd, this one is the perfect investment.
- Conical design that looks extremely unique
- Compatible with a wide range of motorcycles
- Easy and straightforward installation
- High-quality billet aluminum construction
6. Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather Performance Air Cleaner Kit
The next unit on our list is by none other than Harley Davidson itself. Whatever you may say about their stock air filters, the replacement models they offer are certainly worth admiring. The only real downside of this unit is its high price tag which is a bit out of range for some users.
Since it is made specifically for select models of Harley Davidson motorcycles, installation is as simple as you could ask for. All you need is a nice set of screwdrivers, and you should be all set to install it. And since it is a reusable air filter, you will get excellent performance out of it for a long time.
Build quality, as you might expect, is top-notch with this air cleaner kit which is not surprising considering its high price tag. The backplate and the intake tube of the unit are made using die-cast aluminum which makes it durable and also extremely lightweight. In addition, the polished chrome finish makes the device look quite stylish.
This unit is designed as a replacement for the stock air cleaner of Screamin Eagle Harley Davidson bikes. It is covered under one year of warranty which means if you find anything worth complaining about, you can easily get a replacement. However, finding something to complain about with this unit is highly unlikely.
- Designed for Screamin Eagle models of Harley Davidson
- Excellent build quality
- The chrome finish looks very stylish
- Water-repellent design
7. Arlen Ness Beveled Inverted Series Air Cleaner Kit For Harley
Next up, we will be looking at one of the most popular choices when it comes to Harley Davidson stage 1 air cleaner. For the performance that it offers, its price tag seems quite reasonable even though it is a bit pricier than the other options that we reviewed on this.
The Inverted Series Air Cleaner kit by Arlen Ness takes a bit more work to install compared to other options. But when you look at the quality it offers, it is quite understandable. It is not only reusable but also offers a higher airflow rate ensuring your engine delivers superior acceleration and horsepower.
The unit comes with an inverted pleated top with pleated sides that enhances airflow. Its air filter element is made with synthetic materials, while the frame is made of stainless steel. Though it makes the unit a bit heavier, its durability and performance get a massive boost.
The unit is suitable for a lot of different Harley Davidson motorcycles, including Electra Glide, Dyna Low Rider, Road King, and many more. So fitment should not be an issue with the unit. If you have the budget for it, and your motorcycle is compatible, it is hard to beat the performance that this stage 1 air intake for Harley Davidson delivers.
- Premium product at a premium Price
- High airflow
- Synthetic filter element with stainless steel frame
- Compatible with a wide range of motorcycles
8. ARLEN NESS Natural Big Sucker Stage 1 Performance Air Cleaner Kit without Cover
We will be wrapping up our list with another fantastic option by the brand Arlen Ness. If the last unit seemed a bit too pricey, and you want something cheaper, then the Natural Big Sucker might be the perfect pick. It comes with every bit of quality that the brand offerse at a much more affordable price tag.
Installation of this unit is a breeze since you will be getting all the connectors you need with your purchase. Because of its reusable design, you will not have to throw it away after a couple of uses. Instead, you can just wash up the filter and reuse it when it picks up enough dust.
The best thing about this unit is its robust construction quality. It comes with a one-piece aluminum backing plate for support. For the filter, the unit uses cotton gauze, while the frame is made of aluminum. So it is able to pick up contaminants out of the air without compromising airflow.
This unit features a round, oval shape. It can fit just about any motorcycle model that uses an oval outer cover. AS you might know, most of the Harley Softail and Dyna models use that shape. If you have the budget for it, this can make a fantastic replacement for the stock air filter in your Harley Davidson bike.
- Excellent build quality
- Made using high-quality aluminum
- Easy installation process
- Compatible with most Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Things to Consider When Buying a Stage 1 Air Cleaner for Harley Davidson
A stage 1 air filter might be a simple device, but there are a couple of things you want to check before you buy it. Elements such as its filter quality or construction material matter a lot in dictating its overall performance.
Here are a couple of important aspects that you need to think about when you are buying a stage 1 air cleaner for your Harley Davidson motorcycle.
1. Type of Air Filter
There are two types of air filters out there, but only one is worth your time and money. In fact, if you take a look at our list of products, you will find that we only focus on reusable air filters as they offer better value for your investment.
The alternative is a disposable air filter where the filter element is made of foam, paper, or other similar materials. Disposable air filters not only require frequent replacement but also add to pollution and wastage. So, steering clear of them is a wise idea.
2. Fitment and Shape
Air filters come in different shapes and sizes, which often dictates their motorcycle compatibility. So, you need to make sure that your motorbike is compatible with the air filter that you want to buy.
The easiest way to find out the perfect shape and fitment is by looking at the stock filter that comes in your Harley Davidson motorcycle. Ideally, you want to stick to the same shape and size for a perfect fit.
3. Filter Element
The main part of an air filter is the element that is actually responsible for allowing efficient airflow. Many manufacturers use different materials as their filter elements. The most common among them are oiled cotton gauze, which is great at trapping contaminants and ensuring efficient airflow.
Synthetic filter elements are also a fantastic option to go with if you have the budget. The units that come with synthetic filters tend to be quite pricy. But these units promise higher airflow, which essentially translates to better horsepower and acceleration from your engine,
4. Build Quality
Build quality is undoubtedly an important element to consider when you are looking to buy an intake air cleaner for your motorcycle. Typically, most air filters on the market are made with aluminum which keeps them lightweight and durable.
However, there are some units that feature a stainless-steel construction. Though those units are pricy and can weigh a bit more, they are often worth the investment. In addition, make sure the frame comes with a proper finish that can prevent corrosion or rust.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a Stage 1 Air Cleaner?
A stage 1 air cleaner is a filter that is designed to improve your Harley’s engine performance by regulating airflow and controlling contaminants. This component essentially modifies the air and fuel management system of the bike and gives you a noticeable performance boost.
2. What does an air cleaner do for a Harley?
The basic task of the air cleaner for Harley Davidson is to clean the air that your engine receives by removing and filtering pollutants. If the engine gets clean air, it can deliver better acceleration and horsepower.
However, performance is not the only sector impacted by an air cleaner. It also ensures the longevity of your engine as it prevents dust from getting in.
3. Can’t I just run my motor without a filter for better performance?
Yes, you can, but you will be killing your engine pretty fast. Without an air filter, your engine will get more air, sure, but it will also be exposed to all the dirt and dust particles. These pollutants can severely damage the engine’s components, such as valves and pistons, which will, in turn, result in poor performance.
4. Are Harley air filters washable?
Not all of them. If you are using a reusable air filter for your Harley Davidson, you can wash them when they get dirty. However, disposable air filters made of paper or foam are single-use units that need to be changed once they get dirty.
5. How often should I change my Harley air filter?
It depends. If you are using a reusable filter, you should not have to worry about replacing it any time soon. In fact, a lot of the reusable air filters for Harley come with ten years of durability, which nets to about 50,000 miles at least. However, you need to clean it from time to time as it will get dirty quite frequently.
If, on the other hand, you are using a disposable air filter, you need to replace it every 5 or 10 thousand miles. Needless to say, they are not nearly as durable as reusable air filters.
6. How do I maintain an aftermarket air filter?
If you are using a reusable aftermarket air filter, you need to clean it when it gets too dirty. An air filter, as we said before, ensures your engine gets clean air free of contamination. So naturally, it tramps a lot of dust and contaminants in the filter element.
The steps to cleaning an air filter, thankfully, are pretty simple. You want to start by removing the filter element. Make sure the dirt or dust does not fall inside the housing. Then apply a bit of cleaning solution and let it soak.
Afterward, you can hold it under running water and rinse it off properly. Let it air dry, and then apply a bit of filter oil before putting everything back together. Make sure you are using the oil recommended and designed for your specific filter for the best effect.
7. Do I need to tune my Harley if I add an air cleaner?
Unfortunately, yes. Even though you can install the air cleaner by yourself if the installation process is simple, unless you know how to tune your bike, you need to take it to a professional mechanic. Since an air filter changes the engine’s fuel and air management system, your motorcycle will require a tune-up for optimal performance.
For optimal performance of your Harley Davidson motorcycle, you need to swap out the stock air filter with the perfect replacement. Our list of products should give you a couple of great choices when it is time to swap out the old air filter.
We hope our extensive guide on the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson could help you understand everything there is to know about this type of device.