2-into-1 Road Rage Exhaust
Q: When is road rage a good thing? A: When that is the name of your new Bassani 2-into-1 motorcycle exhaust. Anyway, that was the conclusion we came to soon after installing Bassani’s blacked-out version of its menacing-looking Road Rage pipe on our 2000 H-D Softail.
So, if bad is the new good (and it is), then the Bassani Road Rage’s stepped header pipes and reverse cone megaphone muffler with a polished billet tip just looks bad ass. And with a deep, throaty exhaust note, it sounds even badder. Performance over stock pipes will be impressive as well (more on this later). In short, the Road Rage exhaust could help give your bike a bad attitude, and that’s decidedly good.
More attitude is exactly what we’re aiming for as we slowly make over the 10-year-old Softy that has spent a little too much time of late sitting in the far corner of the garage. And, given the current economic realities, sprucing up the Softail makes pretty good sense (and cents) too. When we’re done, we want a bike that is fun to ride, has some old-skool cool, and that gives off some garage-build sparks as well. The blacked-out Bassani Road Rage pipe fell right into line.
This isn’t to say the Road Rage either looks or performs like pipe cobbled together in someone’s garage. Just the opposite: Darryl Bassani and his SoCal crew have been making performance-oriented exhaust systems—for bikes, cars, and even ATVs—for some 40 years. As the company website says, by now they’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t.
To find out how well the RR pipe worked, we selected the model that is compatible with our forward controls and floorboards and turned our attention to getting it on the bike. We turned to our friends at My Evil Twin Choppers in Lodi, California. JP and his tech crew, fresh off some big custom bike show wins, are involved in the overall transformation of the Softail. To get this project started, the bike went up on the lift and the old exhaust was removed. Right away, it was discovered that the old aftermarket pipe was leaking at the front cylinder so the fresh Bassani pipe was going to be an improvement.
Using the new gaskets provided in the mounting kit and the stock flanges, the MET tech loosely hung both header pipes. Next, the Bassani-included bracket for the megaphone was attached to the frame. (Bassani wants you to use stock H-D bolts but we found what we needed in JP’s stash.) With some gentle encouragement from a rubber hammer, the megaphone was slipped firmly inside the two header pipes. The megaphone was loosely attached to the frame bracket, and then all mounting points were slowly tightened until firm. The black pipe has special cleaning instructions—use only gentle soap and water—so avoid some of the cleaners you might have around the shop.
Heat shields are an optional item and were not included in our install package. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. First, to be certain the joint between the Road Rage megaphone and the headers won’t leak, JP attached a set of hose clamps at the joining point (Bassani wants you to use the stock circle clamp). The resulting “tech look” was really pleasing and right on point with the desired style objective.
The carbureted Softail already had an aftermarket pipe and H-D Stage 1 air filter element, so any improvement in performance was a little hard to detect with the seat-of-the-pants test while circling the block. But this is a performance pipe and if your ride is stock, you’ll notice a huge difference. The Road Rage sounded great on our bike and it was more than a little peppy. If your ride is fuel-injected, Bassani says a remap—JP at MET says “get a Power Commander”—is in order.
Because we wanted you to see how the Bassani pipe looked as the manufacturer intended, we photographed the Softail as it came off the MET bike lift. And it looked good—we mean bad. However, almost immediately it was agreed that the Road Rage header pipes were to receive some black heat wrap. Badder and badder.
There are more changes on the drawing board as well. We’ll keep you up to date and maybe our project will help inspire one of your own. And if you think a little Road Rage might improve your life (it also comes in chrome at $549 and is available for a variety of H-D models), go to www.bassani.com/motorcycles for more information.