FLHRSE5: Working the Fullsac Exhaust Note & Volume….

Let me first start off with a follow-on to this morning’s report comparing the ride qualities of our Wide Glide to the Road King.  As is usually the case, back-to-back comparison rides are very revealing, whether its a motorcycle or a bicycle, noting I started riding bicycles 50 years ago, about 8 years before I rode my first motorcycle.

Case in point, I had to run an errand at lunch today and the Road King felt a lot more familiar than it did at 5:30am on the ride into work.  When I headed home around 6:00pm tonight, it was feeling very familiar.  So, adaptability is a good thing, but muscle memory tends to override until a new normal is dialed-in.  Clearly, I’m still adapting to the Road King and haven’t found a new normal on it like I have on the Wide Glide and the BMW R1100S where I can pretty much get in sync with each bike in a few hundred feet.  And, as you can see, with nine rideable bicycles — including three tandems and a triplet — adaptability is something you either embrace or struggle with.  I embrace it because I really like bikes — all bikes — and appreciate their different qualities.

bikesOK, now that I’ve got that out of the way…

In an effort to satisfy my own curiosity, I went ahead and followed through on my threat to add-back the stock amount of sound batting in the slip-ons.  As I suspected, pulling the Fullsac cores is a piece of cake once they have been installed:

  1. Pull off the hard bags to gain access to the exhaust system’s slip-ons.
  2. Loosen the heat shields to gain access to all three slip-on end cap screws.
  3. Remove the three screws / pull-off the slip-on end caps.
  4. Remove the Fullsac Slip-on Core’s 1/4″ retention bolt.
  5. With a firm grip, just pull and twist the Fullsac Core.
  6. Use a pair of needle nose pliers / vice grips to grab and extract the expanded steel insert and insulation.
  7. Admire the empty cans!

SDC11472With the cores removed, it was just a simple matter of double-wrapping the expanded steel slip-on inserts so they were tight enough to slide back into the slip-ons, yet still have a wide enough opening for re-installation of the Fullsac cores.

SDC11473There was about 1/4″ of clearance between the core and the mesh once the steel mesh expanded and pressed the sound batting up against the walls of the exhaust can. A tap of the rubber mallet seated the cores and a few minutes later everything was bolted back-up.

As for the change in sound, as you’d expect, there was a lot less sound resonating out from the sides of the slip-on.  Instead, what I ended up with was the same deep bass note coming out of the tail pipe without the slightly raspy edge that it had with just 1/2 of the OEM sound batting in the can.  This made it a lot more quiet in front of, next to and on the bike… a lot more quiet.  Miss Debbie was NOT happy with me for messing with her Harley’s exhaust sound, as she liked it the way Steve at Fullsac intended it to be!  But, begrudgingly, she agreed to give it a try.

Me, I’m pretty happy with the additional sound attenuation.  Bear in mind, I developed permanent tinnitus (i.e., ringing in the ears) in my left about the time I hit 51 a few years back; hey, it happens. I’ve been doing my best to keep from making it worse or developing it in my right rear. The ringing is only noticeable when it’s dead quiet, especially in the morning and evening.   After the 100+ mile ride up to Dahlonega, Georgia on Sunday with the windshield on and no ear plugs, both of my ears were ringing pretty good, and I’m pretty sure it was caused by the melodious din of the exhaust system: hey, I’ve got sensitive hearing… you learn to discern what does what to your hearing once you start to lose it!  I put ear plugs in for the rest of Sunday’s ride, but that’s pretty much what convinced me that I needed to at least try tweaking the exhaust sound.

With the added sound batting in place for today’s ride, I gotta tell ya… no ear plugs and no windshield and no ringing in the ears after the ride to work, the noon-time ride, or after the ride home.

It is too quiet?  I’m guessing that will be the verdict from Miss Debbie and our Harley friends.  All  of them know what a Harley “should sound like” and, well, I tend to like my exhaust notes to be a little less raspy.  So, no telling if I’ll win or lose this decision on keeping in all of the sound batting in or going back to the first configuration.

More to follow…  however, the message here is: a Fullsac owner could easily have a “quiet” package and a “performance” package at their disposal so they could transform their bike to be acoustically optimized for road trips or show trips.

  1. A 1.75″ core w/double wrapped metal screens for touring, and
  2. a 2.0″ or 2.25″ core w/single wrapped metal screens for tearing up the strip.

Yup, plug and play is the phrase of the day, for the cores and/or the insulation.  I think it took a whopping total of 10 – 15 minutes per slip-on to make the changes without really hurrying: about as much time as it takes to order and choke down a burger.  Rolling the mesh around the sheets of insulation and getting those suckers back into the cans was the most time-consuming part of the process.

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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