Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson have had an almost symbiotic relationship over the last couple of decades – that is until recently, when the exhaust maker parted ways with H-D’s race efforts. Nonetheless, the companies are still closely allied, and many a Harley cruiser and tourer wears V&H pipes that bring The Noise. Now, Vance & Hines has announced a new system for Harley’s popular Pan America ADV machine.
Called the Adventure Hi-Output 450, the $599 system is a single end can replacement for the stock Harley muffler, not a whole header-to-tailpipe solution. Finished in a bright brushed satin look, it adds a touch of brightwork to the otherwise un-shiny PanAm. There’s a cool mountainous V&H badge as well.
Making an exhaust system for a bike that’s not really intended to be so loud it sets off car alarms is a bit of a different wicket that what Vance & Hines usually offers for Harleys, and it looks like they’ve done their homework by making sure the 450 kit will clear hard panniers and meet “J2825 decibel levels,” which required a bit of Googling on my part and is a fascinating read if your hobbies include obsessing over obscure government regulations. Suffice to say: Not gonna be super loud.
However, more than giving the 1,250cc Revolution Max V-twin a bit more sonorous timbre, Vance & Hines claims the pipe trims six pounds of weight and adds “over five horsepower” and five pound-feet of torque to the PA’s already stout output. Additionally, they also claim the pipe’s bend gives a bit more boot clearance on the right side, but during my riding experience with the Pan America, I don’t recall ever thinking “damn, if only my right boot had more clearance.” Then again, I have fairly small feet, so for other Pan America riders, maybe that’s a thing.
The 450 features a fancy black CNC machined end cap but the look is marred in my opinion by the welded seam around the pipe’s midsection. Granted, this isn’t going on a chromed-out show-winning glamour sled and the pipe will likely stay clean for about 10 seconds after it’s installed, but you couldn’t polish that up, V&H? Also, a small but important caveat: “A US Forestry Spark Arrestor will also be available as an add-on for riders traveling off road.” No word quite yet on what that vital little extra will cost but I strongly urge the company to rethink just including it as a standard feature and either eating the cost or raising it… what, $10? Because that’s going to be a fairly important mandated bit most everywhere riders will head off the pavement.
Stock Pan Americas come with an EPA/DOT/EU-compliant matte grey exhaust that’s on the quiet side to be sure, but it’s far from silent. Harley offers a Screamin’ Eagle can that’s road legal and almost identical in appearance to the stocker but is a bit more uncorked, and I got to ride bikes with both cans at the April press into. I personally liked the Screamin’ Eagle’s slightly more menacing burble at idle and audible but unobnoxious howl under hard throttle, but it was also quiet enough in cruising mode and at low speeds. I certainly own a few loud-ish bikes and enjoy their mechanical symphony, so here’s hoping the 450 punches up the Revolution Max soundtrack without waking the neighbors as you get home late at night.