Motorcycle enthusiasts rarely get satisfied with just buying a new bike. Most riders who love taking their bike on long road trips like to modify their bike’s exhaust, visuals, and performance until they can call it their own. And two elements that often come up in modifying the motorcycle are slip-on exhausts and a full exhaust system.
While both of these components deal with the exhaust system of a motorcycle, they are completely different from each other. A slip-on exhaust offers a visual upgrade without affecting the exhaust and performance of your motorcycle. On the other hand, a full exhaust upgrade changes up the entire exhaust system.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. When you look closely at the two accessories, you will start to notice other big differences. But if you are relatively new to motorcycle customization, you might not be able to find the differences right away.
In this article, we will give you a quick yet thorough comparison between the slip-on exhaust and full system exhaust to help you understand what the major differences between the two components are. So, without further ado, let us get started.
Comparison Between Slip-on Exhaust vs. Full Exhaust System
Keep in mind, slip-on exhaust mufflers and a full exhaust system are two entirely different things. So naturally, there are some pretty significant differences between the two systems.
For those new to motorcycle accessories, here is a quick rundown of the main differences between slip-on and full exhaust.
Slip-on mufflers are designed to modify the sound of your bike and give it a visual upgrade. They have little to no impact on the pressure and air delivery system in your bike and do not affect the overall performance and control.
However, when you change your full exhaust system, you are essentially transforming your factory-standard motorcycle into your custom bike. It will give you better control, torque, horsepower and also change up the sound and looks of your vehicle to some degree.
2. Installation Difficulty
Slip-on mufflers are extremely easy to install. All you need to do is loosen the exhaust connection joint and muffler bracket and slip on the new exhaust muffler on top of it. Then tighten the screws, and you are good to go. Just about anyone can do it without too much of a challenge.
Installing a full exhaust system, on the other hand, is quite difficult and requires a certain level of skill and expertise. That is why we always recommend taking your bike to an auto shop if you are planning to change the exhaust system instead of trying to do it yourself.
We all want our bikes to look cool and stylish. If you invest in the best slip-on mufflers for Harley touring, for instance, you will be able to give it a meaner, more aggressive look. The sound coming out of the exhaust will also become grittier and more powerful depending on the motorcycle exhaust wrap that you are getting.
While a full exhaust system can improve the looks of your motorcycle, this is not its primary purpose. The main job of a full exhaust system is to improve the airflow to the engine and deliver better back pressure so that you get better acceleration and horsepower with your motorcycle.
While some may argue that slip-on mufflers do increase performance, the truth is, they are purely an aesthetic element. Yes, the air pressure does improve slightly, but it is not nearly enough to affect the horsepower and torque of your motorcycle engine.
On the other hand, by upgrading your bike with a full exhaust system, you can drastically improve its performance. With a complete exhaust setup for your motorcycle, you will get better acceleration, torque, and horsepower. This, in turn, also improves the control of your bike.
You can also look at the true dual exhaust systems. Many motorcycle manufacturers have started using true dual exhausts on their bikes because they provide a significant performance boost. However, it is important to know that not all motorcycles are equipped with true dual exhausts.
5. Noise Level
Both a slip-on exhaust and a full system can drastically change the noise level and sound quality of your engine. However, a full system typically will make the noise much louder than the stock exhaust.
A muffler can somewhat tame the sound and essentially acts like a bike silencer. If you ride in an area where there’s lots of traffic, such as city streets or highways, adding one will reduce your chances of getting pulled over by law enforcement officers.
The quality of the sound, or rather the punch and boom of your exhaust, depends mostly on the quality of the slip-on or full exhaust system. If you want the best sound from your exhaust, make sure you invest in a high-quality aftermarket exhaust for your motorcycle.
Slip-on mufflers can come in a wide range of prices. Some high-end slip-on mufflers and exhaust pipes like the akrapovic exhaust pipe can run you up to 500 dollars. So, by no means are these accessories considered cheap. However, compared to a full exhaust system upgrade, the price of a slip-on muffler is not that high.
A full exhaust system upgrade can run you up to 1500 to 2000 dollars depending on the motorcycle and exhaust system you are planning to buy. Compared to its price, a slip-on muffler is a relatively low investment for your motorcycle.
Pros and Cons of Aftermarket Exhausts
Now that you understand the key differences between the two exhaust systems, it will make it a lot easier for you to decide between the two of them. One thing is for certain; there are definitely some strengths and weaknesses to both slip-on and full exhaust systems.
Slip-On Exhaust Pros and Cons:
Let’s talk about slip-on exhaust pros cons. Installing a slip-on exhaust is the first step to modifying their bike for many riders. A good slip-on exhaust paired with a high-quality motorcycle exhaust wrap can drastically enhance the looks and appeal of your bike. The visual upgrade it offers for the money is unmatched when it comes to motorcycle accessories.
In addition, installing it is extremely easy and takes about 15 to 20 minutes, even if you are a complete beginner. You can do it at your own pace in your own garage. So, you will not have to pay extra to a mechanic to install it for you. And after installation, you also do not need to tune your motorcycle.
The drawback to slip-on exhausts, on the other hand, is that it does not offer any tangible performance improvement for your bike. But if you are installing it strictly for aesthetics, then you will not be disappointed.
Another slight hiccup with it is that though you can set it up yourself, some models require some bodywork to be done on your motorcycle, for which you need to take it to a repair shop.
Harley touring slip on mufflers are tough to find. However, it is possible to find a suitable replacement for your old muffler that will fit your needs and budget. If you are having a hard time finding the right mufflers, why not check out our best slip on mufflers for Harley Touring guide?
Full System Exhaust Pros and Cons:
If you want to take the performance of your bike to the next level, a full exhaust system upgrade is the best way to go. It also offers a decent bump in aesthetics, but the main purpose of getting a full system exhaust is to get better torque and horsepower.
A full system exhaust changes the appearance of not only the muffler area of your exhaust but the entire exhaust system. So, your motorcycle will look and feel completely new in your hands.
However, because of how complicated it is to install it, you should never attempt to set it up yourself. Instead, take it to a repair shop and have a professional set it up for you. In addition, a full system exhaust change costs a fair bit, and the installation charge is also not negligible.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Full Exhaust Better than Slip-On?
If you are looking to boost the performance upgrade of your motorcycle, a full exhaust upgrade is always better than installing a slip-on muffler. The slip-on muffler offers a visual upgrade at a low price. However, it has little to no impact on the overall performance of your motorcycle.
2. Is a Full System Louder than a Slip-On?
In most cases, yes. Even with an affordable full exhaust system replacement, your engine will sound louder than stock exhaust even if it had a slip-on muffler installed beforehand. Slip-on mufflers are still great if you want to make your engine louder, but they are not as loud as a full system exhaust upgrade.
3. Does Slip-on Exhaust Add Horsepower?
No. Slip-on exhausts are not designed to mess with the pressure and air delivery to the engine. So, they do not add any extra horsepower to your motorcycle. If you want more horsepower out of your bike, you need to go with a full exhaust system upgrade.
4. What Is A Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is designed to reduce pollution from cars and motorcycles. They also help in reducing fuel consumption by reducing heat, noise, and vibration levels. In addition to this, they help in improving fuel economy by increasing the efficiency of the engine.
Whether you go with a slip-on muffler or a full exhaust system upgrade, you will notice a good bit of change in your motorcycle. While one accessory offers a strictly audio and visual upgrade, the other provides a more balanced performance upgrade for your bike.
We hope our extensive comparison between slip-on vs. full exhaust could help you figure out which is the better upgrade for your bike at the moment. Good luck!