Review: Stage One Slip-On Exhaust for Indian Chieftain

Sep 29, 2014 View Comments by

Review: Stage One Slip-On Exhaust for Indian ChieftainFor many riders, the first thing they do when the buy a new bike is to swap out the overly restrictive OEM exhaust from something a little more soul stirring. Though we here at RoadRUNNER do not advocate for loud pipes, we certainly appreciate a healthy exhaust note as much as everyone else. So when we got our 2014 Indian Chieftain press bike, we wanted to do what most owners will do anyway—swap out those pipes.

Review: Stage One Slip-On Exhaust for Indian ChieftainWe decided to go with Indian’s own aftermarket exhaust, since it’s an available option when purchasing a new bike, and we think that it’s an option box many customers are likely to check. Since the Chieftain’s ECU requires a re-flash to make the most of the new system, this is a dealership-only upgrade, no garage wrenching required. As with many aftermarket exhausts, the manufacturer (Indian) has to mention a few disclaimers, namely that the kit is intended for race use only and that each potential buyer should consult with their local dealer about the exhaust’s compliance with their local laws. It should be noted here that the system is certified to meet CARB emissions requirements.

Indian doesn’t make any claims as to additional horsepower saying only that, “This exhaust system allows the Thunder Stroke 111 motorcycle engine to breathe more freely and unleash additional power; especially enhanced mid-range torque and crisp throttle response.” So does it live up to this ambiguous statement? We’ll find out in a bit.

The first thing that anyone who’s swapped out their exhaust is interested in isn’t how much power they just added, but what the new pipes sound like. Check out the before and after video below for a sound comparison.

Interestingly, while the Stage One kit sounds distinctively more aggressive than the stock pipes, it doesn’t seem to be much louder. I tested the decibel level with an iPhone app I downloaded, and (though I can’t verify the app’s accuracy) I found that at idle the difference between the two is only one decibel (81 versus 82, measured directly at the tailpipe). When the throttle is whacked open, the difference grows to six as the peak readings showed 93 and 99 respectively. Both exhausts had an identical 102-decibel max amplitude. What does it all mean? It means that the Stage One kit is only marginally noisier than the stock pipes. Though they’re not much louder, they do sound quite a bit meaner.

Review: Stage One Slip-On Exhaust for Indian ChieftainOut on the street, I must admit that I can’t tell much of a difference in the power department. The Chieftain’s Thunderstroke 111 engine still dolls out plenty of power and waves of torque, but I would guess the new pipes add only a few horsepower and pound feet at the most.

One thing to note when selecting Indian’s Stage One Slip-On Exhaust Kit is that there are two different exhaust tips to choose from, either Fish Tails or Six Shooters. We chose the Six Shooters as we felt they’re a bit more subtle, though they are $100 more than the Fish Tails. The tips can rotate, so you can put them in whatever position you like. The pipes are made of chrome steel while the tips are constructed of billet aluminum in a matching chrome color (the Fish Tails are made of stamped steel, which accounts for some of the price difference).

The installation did take several hours at the dealership (Indian Victory of Charlotte), but it was lumped in with the Chieftain’s 5,000-mile service so that was to be expected.

In conclusion, Indian’s Slip-On Stage One Exhaust definitely increases the Chieftain’s bark, if not its bite, while tastefully improving the bike’s aesthetics.

Stage One Slip-On Exhaust with Six Shooter Tips
Price: $999.98 ($899.98 with Fish Tails)


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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.