Baggers - - CONTENTS -

When I first started in mo­tor­cy­cle pub­lish­ing I was pretty green. Ac­tu­ally, I was to­tally naive. I didn’t know shit about the af­ter­mar­ket mo­tor­cy­cle in­dus­try at all. In fact, I only kinda knew about the sport­bike and dirt bike world I grew up around. But even then, I wouldn’t say I was an ex­pert of any­thing two-wheel­re­lated what­so­ever. Af­ter land­ing a job with Pri­me­dia (for­mer pub­lisher of Hot Rod’s Bike Works, which later be­came the mag you’re now hold­ing in your hands), I pretty much did ev­ery­thing I could to learn about the world of “cus­tom.” Be­ing a both-hands-and-feet kind of guy, I de­voured any­thing cus­tom re­lated in the be­gin­ning. I read ev­ery press re­lease that came in the mail (yes, the good old USPS mail­box). I worked late al­most ev­ery night. I went to ev­ery bike night in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. I asked my ed­i­tor to at­tend ev­ery rally I could. And I read ev­ery Har­ley mag­a­zine out there in or­der to sharpen my senses about this new world. And it never felt like work. I was the luck­i­est guy alive.

Af­ter some time cut­ting my pub­lish­ing teeth, I was ready to buy my first Har­ley, a Sport­ster (duh!). And im­me­di­ately, I couldn’t wait to change ev­ery­thing on it—not that it wasn’t cool in its stock form, but it was my blank can­vas. Ev­ery­thing I was sur­rounded by re­volved around cus­tomiz­ing your bike. And af­ter be­com­ing pretty fa­mil­iar with the af­ter­mar­ket world, I was ready to get started. The first thing I ever in­stalled on my Sporty was an ex­haust pipe. Let me tell you, I was so in­cred­i­bly picky about what would go on my pride and joy. I asked so many ques­tions to the guys around the of­fice, and I went to the deal­er­ships and an­noyed the hell out of the parts guys (one of whom ul­ti­mately be­came a very good friend). And I shopped around un­til I found the per­fect set. Let me re­mind you, the in­ter­net world was still pretty much be­ing de­vel­oped. Flip phones were all the rage, and you ba­si­cally had mag­a­zines, your lo­cal shops, and bike ral­lies to fig­ure out what parts were avail­able for your bike. In other words, it was not as easy to find the per­fect set of pipes as it is to­day. But that made it kind of fun. It was an ad­ven­ture and sort of a bond­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween my bike and me to hunt down the right parts.

Nowa­days there are so many ex­haust man­u­fac­tur­ers out there that it can get a lit­tle daunt­ing when search­ing for the per­fect ex­haust for your bag­ger. That is why we’ve taken the lib­erty of test­ing the looks, per­for­mance, and sound in our on­line video se­ries, Baggers Sound-Off, and we’re bring­ing the data we’ve col­lected from that se­ries to the pages of this is­sue. Check out page 20 for the list of slip-ons, full sys­tems, and 2-into-1 ex­haust pipes, in­clud­ing the new Mil­wau­kee-Eight!

In the end it was the Mar­tin Bros. who got my hard-earned dough. But

I was rig­or­ous in my search be­cause

I had cer­tain cri­te­ria that needed to be met be­fore I dropped the ham­mer. They needed to be loud enough with­out piss­ing my neigh­bors off, they had to boost the per­for­mance in the horse­power and torque de­part­ments, and they had to look cool. Well, the Mar­tin Bros. pipes I chose checked all the boxes. Ex­cept they ended up piss­ing my neigh­bors off any­way, which I didn’t re­ally mind be­cause they were to­tal dicks.

As soon as I bolted them on and started the bike, some­thing hap­pened. That some­thing was the mo­ment I got hooked on cus­tom mo­tor­cy­cles. And it’s some­thing I’ll never for­get. I’d put a lot of ef­fort into find­ing the right set of pipes, and the over­whelm­ing feel­ing of sat­is­fac­tion came over me. Af­ter rid­ing the bike with the pipes on, it felt like I was do­ing some­thing that blurred the lines of le­gal­ity. It felt good.

Bye for now…


My first Har­ley, a 2006 Sport­ster Cus­tom with Mar­tin Bros. Trend­kills Ex­haust Pipes.

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