Exhaust Systems for XV750/1100, 1988-99 (last VX model year)
by James H. Lui, All Rights Reserved.

Last updated: July 23, 2002.

Silvertail/Indigo Sports, 770-719-3800 http://www.silvertail-america.com/ - K-02 Slip-ons (P/N 2263 $409.45), The K02 ranges also offers interchangeable tips and has removable inner baffles.
- Pro-S 2-into-1 (P/N 2264 $439.19), The PRO-S is made from stainless steel, featuring a brushed finish. This means that it will develop a unique golden color as the engine breathes through the pipes.

Cobra Engineering, 714-779-7798 http://www.cobrausa.com/ - Boulevard-series Fish Tail (P/N 02219, List $229/$199.95*), taper (P/N 02218, List $219/$184.95*), slash (P/N 08109, List $219/$184.95*), turnout (P/N 28693, List $219/$184.95*) Relatively wide- open and loudest of the systems. Chrome on pipe. For 1997, a 2-inch straight drag pipe version is offered (P/N 05288, List $219/$184.95*).

DG Performance Specialties, Inc. (714) 630-5474 / Fax: (714) 630-7396, http://www.dgperf.com - DG Hard Krome Exhaust System (20766) $288.95 DG Hard Krome Exhaust XV750/1100, DG Drag Krome Exhaust System (20861) $246.95 DG Hard Krome Drag XV750/1100, DG Hard Krome Muffler 2 1/2" diameter silencer the same that is used to complete the cruiser exhaust systems, features removable baffles, (21153) $213.95 DG Hard Krome Muffler XV750/1100, from catalog quote - Hard-core looks and improved acceleration;
increased exhaust flow and a impressive rumble, without being offensive; tapered headpipe which funnels into 2 1/2" diameter tubes; removable baffles give you the freedom to "cut loose"

Highway Hawk Products/B&B Accessories (U.S. rep.), 888-871-9012, http://www.motolux.com and http://members.aol.com/bmotorhawk/bb.htm - Hard to tell because I haven't purchased the $10 catalog, but it lists a 2-inch Upswept straight pipe, a 2-inch straight drag pipe, and what appears to be a Fish-tail model 2-inch straight. This is a company from Denmark which sells a whole bunch of accessories for all Japanese cruisers. Virago accessories include billet mirrors, footboards, rectangular engine guards, chrome deely-bobbers for the turn signals, front fender guards, and billet footpegs. Also appears to be some Mike Corbin-style bodywork parts shown on a VX535 model.

Jardine/Summit Industries Inc., 909-371-1744 http://www.jardineproducts.com/ - Rumblers series - Tapered (P/N 19063/14-2803-01, $228.89), Slash Cut (P/N 19049/14-2903-01, $228.89), Fish Tail (P/N 08229/14-2803F-01, $236.59), Turn-down (P/N 42307, $297.95) Chrome on pipe. Nice appearance and finish quality. Quieter than Cobra, but still on the louder end of the systems. For 1997, the main accessories are being piled-on with billet luggage racks, cruiser handgrips, and the forward control and footpegs from prior years.

Kerker/SuperTrapp, 209-745-0454 West/216-265-8400 East, http://www.supertrapp.com - Cruiser Slip-Ons (P/N 45803, $207.95) Slip-on system using stock headers to megaphone tips (external disc) or taper-tips (internal disc) incorporating the SuperTrapp tuneable disc restriction technology (also controls sound level).

Mac 909-699-9440, 800-367-4486, FAX 909-308-0081 http://www.macprod.com/ - Taper tip slip-ons dual staggered (P/N 11986 black ceramic, $86.95*, 15663 chrome, $162.95*), Slash Cut (P/N 12539 black ceramic, $79.95*, 15662 chrome, $162.95*) Small profile with removable baffles.

Muzzy's, 541-385-0706, http://www.muzzys.com - Slash-cut upswept Megaphone Duals (no baffle) chrome-on pipe, MSRP $299. (these are probably best on show-only bikes since it looks like water falling from above would fall right into the tailpipe)-Note: word on the street has it that Muzzy's won't sell these things except for drag racing...

Rifle Fairings, 800-262-1237/805-466-5880, http://www.rifle.com - BigGuns(tm) Shotgun-style exhaust ($249*), 2-inch dia. pipes, glass-packed baffles, leg shields std., 16 ga. steel tubing, opt. jetting kits. "Only exhaust system available with a fully visible rear exhaust pipe, for that classic American look." Chopped fiberglass pack sound - repackable.

Samson, 888-572-6766 http://www.samsonusa.com - side-by-side fishtails w/o baffles are $199.95, with baffles are $219.95. Famous for their H-D product line, their 2" over and under drag pipes are $169.95. Their two into one collector slash cut pipes are $259.95. The Samson system has one of the only side-by-side designs on the market, which is probably better for those who were having clearance problems with the bigger saddlebag designs touching the top silencer. The pipe for the rear cylinder runs on the LEFT side of the bike just under the driveshaft giving you a few more inches of space on the right side. The over/under models are the more common right side only exit.

Two Brothers Racing, 714-550-6070, http://www.twobros.com - Slash-cut slip-ons (P/N 005-10957, List $329.98). Double- wall construction, Cobra-size silencers with baffles (removable). Uses stock front and rear headers. TBR also informed me that if you were looking for a performance-only type upgrade in a non-standard package manner, their slip-on mating assembly makes it possible to also mate their smaller sized canister-type exhaust cans to their assembly (but you have to buy the additional cans separately). These are the kind of cans you find on most sport bikes.

Vance & Hines, 800-592-2529/818-303-6382, http://www.vanceandhines.com - Cruiser Exhaust Systems staggered straight cut (P/N 18501/30945, List $499/$382.95*), slash cut 2-2 (P/N 18561/30947, uses stock rear header pipe, List $499/$382.95*). "Billet-machined end caps, double nickel-chrome plating, and a full-length, full- coverage heat shield that wraps 220 degrees around each headpipe to cover any heat discoloration." Removable baffles, has a moderate increase in loudness over stock - mostly low end bass rumble. New for 1997 - customized billet endcaps (half-moon and concave) to fit both the slash-cut and straight models.

Prices do not include applicable sales tax and shipping/handling charges. * - indicates street price provided by Motorcycle America Warehouse site listing (MAW part nos. provided).

Motorcycle America Warehouse 800-241-2222, 719-520-9000, Colorado, http://www.accwhse.com

Ed. note - I called around quite a bit to gather info from the mfgr's during my shopping. The basic decisions seemed to be - 1) style of end (straight, slash, taper, or fish), 2) how loud you want it (from drag pipe wide open sound to the quieter ones with baffles - all are louder than stock, the SuperTrapp systems are potentially the quietest), and 3) what you want it to look like (every system's a bit different in this regard). All systems generally need subtle adjustments to be made to enrichen the carb mixture and let things run a little smoother because of the back pressure reduction, as well as being pairable with re-jet kits for additional performance gains of 0 to 10%. Everyone recommended having the carbs retuned once the systems are installed.
What I picked and why - I chose the Vance & Hines Cruiser Exhaust System. I wanted a system that maintained its looks over time - every other aftermarket system (except possibly the forthcoming Kerker production model, which was described as similar in design to V&H, but with the adjustable baffle system found in their other exhaust kits) chromes directly to pipe surface, leading to pretty much inevitable bluing and discoloration over time and exposure. I also happen to be within driving distance to a local V&H retail center which specializes in performance upgrades - sort of a SuperShops for motorcycles. Since I'm also less of a do-it- yourselfer when it comes to mechanics nowadays, V&H offered to install it and make the adjustments at a reasonable rate. While arguably the most expensive system on the current market (soon to be foreshadowed by Kerker), it's also on the quieter side (but described as at least 3 times louder than stock even in its baffled form) and still sports removable baffles for those so inclined to do so. The chrome job is outstanding, and at times makes the stock finish of the Virago's nicely chromed parts look less lustrous. 

Addendum:

James:
I am considering putting pipes on my '93 XV1100. Your write-up has been very helpful. I have referred many people to it from the Wheels web page on AOL.
My questions are:
Did the V-H pipes give you a noticeable increase in power?
Knowing what you do now, would you repeat the process the same? or do something differently?
Thank you in advance.
George Roche (VOC Member) georoche@aol.com

[Note 10/1/97] George now has installed the V&H system on his XV1100 with a Factory Jet kit (Stage 1), but without the airbox mods. E-mail him for additional info.

Disclaimer: Please note that any tampering with the fuel/air mixture screws or changing the exhaust from stock to one which is louder or tampering with the emissions control system is expressly illegal in California. Thank you for your cooperation.

 1) Most aftermarket pipes are less restrictive airflow-wise. Mostly this is due to the stock arrangement having both pipes come into the "sound resonator box" which is the black box-like chamber stuck underneath and behind the engine/transmission, then it Y-s back out to the stock mufflers. Aftermarkets are usually straight headers directly to whatever noise reduction baffles (if any), and out. The best "tuned" sets, such as the Vance & Hines, the Kerker, and the Two Bros. Racing pipe kits, are carefully measured for equal length for both pipes so that there is an equal amount of backpressure and restriction to both exhaust ports.

 Power itself is an equation made up from a combination of the intake air velocity (through the bug-eyed chrome things), plus the fuel/air mixture (regulated by the jet size, carburetor throats, and emissions control devices), plus the compression ratios, to the final exhaust pressure. The exhaust portion, being at the end of the chain, won't make a diddle of difference unless things are tuned up in front first. (i.e. more air out the pipes does NOT mean more air is coming into the system). Then there's the "optimum" fuel/air mix which is required to maximize the combustion efficiency of the actual explosion which goes on inside the head (less efficient means fuel is going unburned, or so much air is present that the gaseous volume isn't fully burnable.)

 So, most shops when installing less restrictive pipes, will also recommend a combination of rejetting with larger jets to allow a richer fuel mixture (which optimizes that ratio talked about previously, but does NOT automatically mean lower fuel mileage since more physical power is being produced in return - the engine can work at lower RPM's to maintain the same speed); killing off the California emissions control breather piping (the extra chrome pipes which wind around the piston heads and lead into the chrome bug-eyes) and plugging the ports - allows for less air injection, also causing a richer mixture; and finally possible installing a less-restrictive air cleaner, such as the K&N foam elements (Add 07/2002 - K&N now has FilterCharger(tm) elements to directly replace the OEM version P/N YA-1186/MAW 56498 $49.95*), which allows 50% more air into the system to balance the bigger jetting. Then you tune the entire system back up to make that optimum ratio happen again (which happens to have been there in the first place before you spent money on all these mods), thus resulting in 0-15 more hp out of the same engine.

 California emissions systems cause a leaner mix than originally tuned, to supposedly lessen CO2 output, but at the cost of less power at the engine. So...to go as fast as you were originally intended, you have to give it more throttle, which means more gas, which means more emissions anyway. But the smog machine is happy. Go figure.

So, in answer to your questions:
1) I only notice a smoother feeling operation at the present time (pipes added, fuel mixture screws adjusted slightly richer, but without new jets or non-stock air cleaner) at higher altitudes, such as on The Crest, or up in the twisties around the Ventura mountains, or when climbing the 405 Sepulveda pass or the Grapevine on 5. The engine seems to work a little stronger when in such thin-air climates (maybe 100 or so less RPM at 65 mph) than when it was stock. But at normal altitudes, not much of anything 'cept it warms up quite quickly when cold (only have to have the choke on for maybe 30 secs. when it's 60 degrees outside before it makes the bounce from 2,500 to 3000 RPM and I can turn the choke off), though that could be attributed to the fuel mixture adjustment too.
I have in mind during my next 3,000 mi. service coming up in a few months to look further into the other modifications mentioned above at the advice of a local mechanic. At a cost of maybe $300 for the installation of a jet kit, retuning and balancing the carbs, and throw in a regular tune-up and oil change, I'd get the aforementioned 5 to 15 more hp. To me, it's not that big of a deal since it already accellerates sufficiently quickly to do what I want it to (if I really wanted more, I'd probably go VFR or YZR sportbike anyway - the suspensions are better for quicker handling situations). And no, even with all the above, and a racing cam installed, the basic setup of the bike would still limit you to drag-strip type speeding and not be of much help in track racing or canyon carving. It might help if you always have your wife on-board and plan on making a long trip through high altitudes somewhere (maybe Mammoth or Tahoe or the like) to have the added power, but the pipes alone wouldn't be the fix so much as the fuel mixture adjustment.

So, in answer to 2):
I still really like the V&H kit more than the others available on the market - the chrome still stays perfect even after 3,000 miles of hot riding, with no bluing on the visible portions, unlike so many others. The finish shakes off stuff like bird droppings and road tar without any discernable pitting or discoloration. It hasn't fallen off (as mentioned in this month's Far West Ramblers newsletter about a Harley aftermarket kit which did...). And the noise level is quite acceptable (though I find in enclosed public garages, the rumble at idle often sets off car alarms). Anything different? If the bike came with a sound I liked off the showroom floor, I probably wouldn't have made a single change until I'd mastered what the bike had to offer in stock form.