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View Full Version : Are drag pipes really a bad idea?


dflarsen77
28th June 2011, 06:54
Is it really a bad idea to use drag pipes? I read a lot of people say it kills normal driveability, but I like the look, and my stock system currently has a few probelms so I'd rather just replace it. I'm planning to get the cheap ultima ones and put in plain louvered baffles and torque cones for back pressure.

Durockrolly
28th June 2011, 07:04
Yes, but I run them anyway and have since 1992 when I bought this (my 3rd) Sportster!

jharback
28th June 2011, 07:45
It's not a bad idea. It depends on what your priorities are. If you like the looks and sound and don't mind losing some bottom and mid-range power then they're fine. You could also install some lollipops to help with the loss of low range power. http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=533171 (see post #13)

Malocchio
28th June 2011, 09:08
I have the 1 3/4" Ultima drag pipes on my '95 and I like them. I didn't notice any power loss, but they will blue/gold before you even start it up for the first time.

jharback
28th June 2011, 09:13
I have the 1 3/4" Ultima drag pipes on my '95 and I like them. I didn't notice any power loss, but they will blue/gold before you even start it up for the first time.

You can reduce the bluing problem by running them through some heat cycles when first using them. However, bluing is a problem that isn't going to go away. All it takes is a couple of seconds, when the bike is running lean, to blue the pipes. So, for instance, when changing jets, or tuning, it's almost impossible to prevent bluing. It's something you have to live with. Or cover 'em up with heat shields which is what most manufacturers do.

jimmyess333
28th June 2011, 09:17
You can get the best of both worlds with a slip on that makes your pipes look like drag pipes but they are actually mufflers. Khromeworks makes a set that sounds good and deep.

jharback
28th June 2011, 09:21
You can get the best of both worlds with a slip on that makes your pipes look like drag pipes but they are actually mufflers. Khromeworks makes a set that sounds good and deep.

Not if you like the sound of open pipes. And you can always slip some baffles into the drag pipes if you want to quiet it down and improve performance some. A lot cheaper than slip ons.

tich
28th June 2011, 10:34
Drags will only be poor in the mid range compared to better pipes. It will still grunt far better than any 4 cylinder bike I know of.
Just amatter of perspective and expectations.

dave76
28th June 2011, 17:05
I've had Drags on since the second week I owned the bike, I actually bought a set V&H straight shots with thunder monster baffels, but found I like the drags much better.

You do give a bit of torque up in the mid range around 2500-3500 RPM there is a noticable drop, but I really could care less, I like the way they look and sound. I'm running a set of Cycle Shack 1 slash cuts, just a nice classic look IMO.

If you get your jetting close, the blueing will be a minumum, mine have blued for the first 2" on the rear cylinder, then a very light goldish for the next 3".The front has slight golding out of the cylinder thats it.
Also cheaper made pipes will blue more easily as their thinner walled and thinner chromed.

With my setup I'm using a 1988 1200 N65C needle, with 48 pilot, and 180 main, the 180 main is probably overkill as the 175 would be more then enough. The last 300 mile trip netted 48.5 mpg. Not bad for a 1200.

Fe2O3
28th June 2011, 17:15
If you can take advantage of your crossover pipe you can help your bottom end performance. Also, the lollipops makes a big difference in evening out the power in the midrange as well.

I currently run drag slip-ons that have a port for the crossover pipe, with lollipops. When I had my bike dyno'd I ended up with 84 hp on the top end. Compared to a dyno run with SEII's my mid range was nearly 10hp less with the drags, but the top end was 12hp higher with the drags (w/o baffles). With baffles the drag pipes totally sucked, btw. I installed the lollipops and can feel a real difference in the mid range now, but haven't had it dyno'd again yet.

Details here:
http://xlforum.net/vbportal/forums/showthread.php?t=1119545

XLFREAK
28th June 2011, 17:32
I run 2" drag pipes on my 73 and had them ceramic coated. I like the sound, looks and performance...but I do seem to lose a little on the top end. Each is own....I suggest u try both ways and then decide for yourself.....

jharback
28th June 2011, 17:40
I run 2" drag pipes on my 73 and had them ceramic coated. I like the sound, looks and performance...but I do seem to lose a little on the top end. Each is own....I suggest u try both ways and then decide for yourself.....

That's strange. I've never heard of an Ironhead running good with 2" pipes. Are they drag pipes? How long are they?

Boomer8484
28th June 2011, 18:22
Im running 1 3/4" slash cut drags on my 79 and I was wondering what could be done to deepen the tone. I was thinking of trimming the pipes and adding some larger diameter tips w/baffels, or going to a 2 into 1 with a larger diameter tip w/ a baffel.

83XLX
28th June 2011, 18:30
Drag pipes are good for two things...all-out drag racing and making racket. Most people use them for reason number two...:spineyes

Boomer8484
28th June 2011, 18:38
Drag pipes are good for two things...all-out drag racing and making racket. Most people use them for reason number two...:spineyes

H3ll ya, reason number 2.

Although I am now looking for a deeper tone.

ironhead1313
28th June 2011, 22:37
Honestly I haven't ever noticed a real difference between straight pipes and stock pipes other than sound, on a metric. On the sportster it had drags on it when I bought it so I can't say much there.

However, no blue on these, just a yellow/gold color and really ain't all that loud in my opinion, my 800 metric was much louder in everyway.

shotgun46
28th June 2011, 22:43
I had Drag Pipes on My 97 1200 and loved them ! I did install Lolie Pops and they sounded Quieter then my SE II's

93customsporty
29th June 2011, 03:29
No problem here. Stage 2 with ss super e carb. Straight Drags. No baffels.
All top end. Low and Mid range ok. Still climbing the power band over 90+ MPH
Tuned and Idles fine. Makes noise YES ! Wouldn't trade that for nothin.
Its a Harley ! Not a Metric. Its your prefrence.:wonderlan

sportysrock
29th June 2011, 04:07
There's a reason why they say,
"Harley's, turning dinosaurs into noise for over 100 years."

And to give up torque where I need or want it most? Nope.

CharlieB
29th June 2011, 05:16
I've never seen a Sporty run its best on drag pipes. Loss of low end, increased carb farts, staggers on throttle roll ons... they just dont do that well in the lower rpm ranges.

Kudofo
30th June 2011, 03:59
I hate my drag pipes. HATE THEM. I wish I could afford a y pipe and I would do it in a heart beat. Yes I like the noise, but the loss of drivability is pretty dumb. A bike that is jetted right, with a y pipe, correct timing, makes for a vicious monster on the throttle.

asasial
30th June 2011, 04:22
2into1 killing nice lines since.... who cares 99% of them look like crap!!!! who want's a Harley that is trying to imitate a jap bike? i will take a MIMIMAL drop in power over crappy looking exhaust anyday!!! I have never been able to tell enough difference in power to get all tore up about.

Kudofo
30th June 2011, 04:25
2into1 killing nice lines since.... who cares 99% of them look like crap!!!! who want's a Harley that is trying to imitate a jap bike? i will take a MIMIMAL drop in power over crappy looking exhaust anyday!!! I have never been able to tell enough difference in power to get all tore up about.

With a proper tune and timing adjustment your ass dyno would feel a huge difference but hey, thats just my opinion you rock till you loose your socks.:banana:banadanc No hating here just telling it like I want it.

asasial
30th June 2011, 04:28
With a proper tune and timing adjustment your ass dyno would feel a huge difference but hey, thats just my opinion you rock till you loose your socks.:banana:banadanc No hating here just telling it like I want it.

my post wasn't directed at you, just a general blanket statement. yes if your wanting to squeeze every last hp outta your bike they are the way to go. but on an everyday run of the mill bike running mostly stock components your not gonna get much of a difference, if a 2into1 is your thing then hey it's your bike

Link Hogthrob
30th June 2011, 05:10
I went back and forth with a full muffler system and drags. While I like the look and sound of drags, they sucked the life out of my bike and it was very noticible. In the end, the trade off of "candy" for performance wasn't worth it for me so, the drags now occupy a corner of the garage as a place for spiders to build their webs.
Whether drags are "a really bad idea" really depends on what you're willing to live with and what you're willing to give up.

derailedbus
30th June 2011, 05:32
I liked my drags initially. First Harley and I let the neighbor's a block away know it. After a few years of riding, the "tinny" sound and learning the availability of more low/mid torque got me looking into a 2-1. Samson Calibers were the only thing in my price range, so I pulled the trigger. Extremely noticeable increase at take-off, and I rarely hit 80, so I can't say I miss anything up there. I like the look much better now, but that's just personal preference. Much deeper tone now, and I still smile when I set off a car alarm just riding by.

rpoz20
30th June 2011, 15:45
Not this shi-ite again.......:doh

:sofa

cliffhanger
7th July 2011, 03:28
Some dyno info regarding the lollipop mod

http://www.nightrider.com/biketech/exhaust.htm

einheit 13
11th July 2011, 19:17
my post wasn't directed at you, just a general blanket statement. yes if your wanting to squeeze every last hp outta your bike they are the way to go. but on an everyday run of the mill bike running mostly stock components your not gonna get much of a difference, if a 2into1 is your thing then hey it's your bike

Actually it does make a difference. my 98 1200C with a stage 1 and thunder header vs a 2000 1200 with a stage 1 and 40" drag pipes. No contest in the 1/4 or on top. drag pipes loose on the 1-2 shift......we even swapped bikes with the same results. And my Dad's 57 Sporty has 2-1, stock...:smoke

Vanmor
13th July 2011, 05:00
I don't recommend drag pipes, but I don't think they are a "bad idea" either. Just be realistic about what they do. They make more noise and can cut back on "street" power.

If you are going to run them, get long ones in a 1 3/4" diameter. Place some baffles and or reversion cones in the pipes. Be aware that your carb may need re-jetting.

I had idle problems on my 87' until I put some four inch baffles in. It's amazing how it settled my bike down. I didn't have to re-jet but I run an S&S.

Voony
14th July 2011, 14:53
I installed the Cycle Shack 1 3/4" drag pipes a month ago. They are more expensive than any other system I've seen online but after a month using them everyday, they haven't blued at all.

I lost a little torque, but no biggy for me. I'm not into performance, I care more about the look and especially the sound of my bike. The bike sounds beautiful, it's deep, it rumbles like a Harley.

Even if I did lose a bit of power, it seems that overtime I managed to cope for that loss by using the throttle and gearing differently. Now I don't see any difference compared to the Vance and Hines Straight Shots + BCT baffles I had before.

Go for it, it's a good choice!

SPC Humphrey
24th January 2012, 02:13
You all had "good' points both pro and con. My experience with stock pipes were only on stock sportys, and they are horribly under tuned from the MoCo to start. Drag pipes suck on stock bikes as well as stock pipes. I ran 1200 jugs and 883 heads with .497 se cams, 40" straight pipes and had the carb tuned by Kenny Spratt. It'd pull wheelies at whole shot, great streetabilitiy and would run 95+ all day long.

92sportster956
24th January 2012, 02:45
What do you guys think of the big growl pipes with a set of THUNDER MONSTER BAFFLES? I dont care for the blueing becuse i was going to wrap them.

Rogster
25th January 2012, 01:34
I bought my 1995 883 with straight pipes, they werent neighborhood friendly, and I am friends with all my neighbors, so I bought 8 inch baffles and literally had to hammer them in! Its a much better sound, not a performance nut myself, I mostly putt around town on it...Rog

sunchild2071
25th January 2012, 01:58
Running 2" drags, S&S E. Can still stand it up through the gears. Did a different mod than any suggested in this forum, that worked great. Little bit of effort until I could run and sound nice. No bluing, and certainly enough power. No carb farts, burnt valves, or any other of the suggested symptoms, either.

I understand the 2-into-1 thoughts, but I'm another one of those guys that simply can't stand the crossover or 2-into-1 pipes.

Will it show top Dyno results. Never been on one, don't care either. Runs good, right color pipes and plugs, good enough.

dave76
25th January 2012, 02:07
Running 2" drags, S&S E. Can still stand it up through the gears. Did a different mod than any suggested in this forum, that worked great. Little bit of effort until I could run and sound nice. No bluing, and certainly enough power. No carb farts, burnt valves, or any other of the suggested symptoms, either.

I understand the 2-into-1 thoughts, but I'm another one of those guys that simply can't stand the crossover or 2-into-1 pipes.

Will it show top Dyno results. Never been on one, don't care either. Runs good, right color pipes and plugs, good enough.

Perfectly said man. My take on pipes is, run what YOU want, not what someone else thinks is good, better or appropiate.

I will say though, if you run open pipe, and I do, be considerate of the neighbourhood, because the inconsiderate person always ruins it for everyone. When I've worked afternoon hours I'd come home at 12AM, and never got even a look from a neighbour.

HarleyTech
25th January 2012, 02:28
Drag pipes are great for drag racing. If you plan on routinely revving your bike and using it mainly between 4000 and 7000 rpm then you'll love them. If you shift at 3500 and are scared to rev your bike to 5000 you'll love the sound but might be unhappy with the performance. Torque cones or not you're gonna lose some bottom end. You'll see gains in the top end, but most people are too scared to go to (and above) redline.

dugg883
25th January 2012, 19:11
i got drag pipes on mine and have heard bad things about them. i went to the dealership and asked one of the techs that was familiar with the bike and he said that the bike was tuned for them and no harm would come to the engine. i like the sound, i havent ran any other pipes on her so i cant really comment on good or bad. just figured id comment lol

jstrahn
25th January 2012, 19:57
Drag pipes are for show...other pipes are for go.

I've run both and the drags really do rob you of the low end noticeably. Went from stock headers with SEII slip ons to the drags and it was a big drop off in low end.

Run what you like. I still love the sound of drag pipes.

patrickd
25th January 2012, 21:00
Drags are fine if you run WOT all the time. They call em drag pipes cause that is what they are for. A bike running the salt flats might need them.
They sure sound cool, but wide open pipes are noted for exhaust reversion which will really kill low end torque. Since Harleys make relatively low horsepower but have decent torque curves you really need the torque or it feels like a dog. If you want to sound cool and don't worry about losing usable power then run them. If you want better performance run a good 2into one header like the Vance & Hines. I had a V&H and above 4500 rpm it blew away any other system I tried, but was kind of flat between 3- 3,500 rpm. If you like blasting from stop light to stop light, stock pipes with some free flowing slip ons are best. I have ran them all and for me all around best performance came from stock head pipes and SE II slip ons. But like others have said. Run what you like best.

E65841
26th January 2012, 01:52
I don,t know a lot about pipes, but what I do know is my stock 94 1200 has 1 3/4 drag pipes with 6" baffles. The carb has never been jetted that I know of, or any other high performance goodies added. It sounds good and has LOTS of power thru all 5. End of story.

jlongbrake
30th January 2012, 17:16
I've been running drags on mine since 02'. I also installed a Yost Power Tube. Runs like a raped ape! I installe some torque cone recently but haven't tried them yet. The bike is in mid build, huge winter project. If I lost any power I wouldn't know it; I have about 1500 miles on the stock mufflers and 30,000 on the drags. They look and sound so good, I never gave it a second thought.