Last year I decided to trade in my 2009 Ultra classic for a 2013 Road Glide Ultra. Before taking delivery of the new bike there were several mods I wanted. First on my list was to get rid of the stock exhaust and replace it with true duals for more power and less heat. Let’s face it: The stock Harley exhaust system puts out a lot of heat and does limit the power. I started by checking out reviews of various manufacturers on the web when I came across a review of MGS Customs True Duals. One review does not make it true, so I found other reviews and all gave glowing reports on the power increase and sound. The next step was to call MGS Custom Bikes.
Owner Mike Stafford started MGS by building bikes in his garage for himself and others and eventually opened his shop in Lancaster, California. MGS is a one-off custom builder, first and foremost. Mike explained that over the years he had tried various manufacturers’ exhausts and always had felt he could design a better system. He started by experimenting with different designs on the dyno. After a lot of trial and error Mike felt he had found the perfect true dual system. Mike says it’s all about flow. The MGS True Dual system is a stepped header design with increasing ratios. This, coupled with a unique muffler and baffle design, is how MGS achieves the power gains and a deep rich sound. MGS says you should expect a 15-percent power gain with the MGS system.
My next question was about heat and if the pipes are ceramic coated inside. MGS claims that heat has never been a problem with this system and that there was no need to ceramic coat the inside of their pipes since they approach the heat problem a different way. MGS takes it a step further than other manufacturers by polishing the system like it is going to be chromed and then applying a ceramic primer that is baked to 700 degrees. After that, a ceramic coating is applied over the primer and again baked to 700 degrees. This greatly reduces heat and scratches. MGS not only ceramic coats the heat shield like many other manufacturers, but also ceramic coats the header pipe.
By then I was convinced so I placed my order, which also included a Ness Big Sucker air cleaner and the Power Commander V. Flow is the important thing here; the bike needs to take in more air and a high-flow air cleaner is a must if you want to get maximum power out of your bike.
A few days later my MGS True Duals arrived. I inspected everything very carefully and I could not find one flaw. The 4″ mufflers were very heavy and looked great with the MGS chrome slash-cut tips. Black tips come standard on the chrome pipes or you can order brushed aluminum tips at no cost, but I opted for chrome tips for an additional $169. You can also order these pipes and mufflers in black satin ceramic if chrome is not your thing. The black ceramic pipes come standard with the brushed aluminum tips, but you can choose black tips at no extra cost. Again, if you prefer chrome tips, they can be special ordered for an additional cost of $169.
Since my bike was new and the dealer, Century Harley-Davidson in Medina, Ohio, would be installing other options, I chose to have them also install my exhaust. The dealership was kind enough to allow me to work with their technical staff on the installation, which was actually part of the deal when I purchased the bike.
I’m not going into how to install every nut and bolt. I will say, though, that installation was easy and the fitment was excellent. There are a couple of things you should know if you install the MGS system yourself. First, the left passenger footboard has to be extended out 1″ to clear the rear cylinder header pipe. MGS will include the footboard extension with their system. For both boards, I opted to order Floorboard Extenders from Pingel. The other thing you should know is you will have to remove the left updraft deflector to install the rear cylinder header pipe. After installing the rear cylinder header pipe I cut the updraft deflector to fit around the pipe. MGS True Duals will fit all FLH models from 1995 to present.
I had a dyno run performed on the stock bike so I could get a baseline to work from. The stock bike produced 64.03 hp and 81.38 ft lb of torque. After the install, the dyno run showed a significant gain in both horsepower and torque. By installing the MGS True Duals and the high-flow air cleaner, the bike made 81.14 hp and 91.62 ft lb; a gain of 17 hp and a little over 11 pounds of torque.
Then it was time for the test ride. The first things I noticed were a deep rumble at idle and how clean the system looks. Those large 4″ mufflers really look cool and the slash-cut tips matched the angle of the bags like they were OEM. On the highway, let’s just say I was impressed. When you twist the wick it’s like letting the dogs out, resulting in a deep rumble, yet at cruise you get a nice soft mellow tone—just perfect for listening to the radio on those long rides. The day of the test ride the temperature was 60 degrees, and my oil temperature never got above 190 degrees. I know from experience on my ’09 with stock exhaust my oil temperature would have been about 220 degrees if my ’13 was still stock.
If you are considering upgrading your exhaust system I would recommend you consider MGS if you want more power with a great sound, excellent fitment and a cooler-running bike. Over the years I have had many different exhausts. Some lived up to their claims of more power and great sound. Others actually robbed the bike of power. Now I think I can safely say I have found the best.
MGS True Duals
MGS Custom Bikes
MGS True Duals Chrome: $1,089
MGS True Duals Black Ceramic: $1,189
MGS True Duals Chrome Stage 1 Kit: $1,289 (includes Ness Big Sucker air cleaner and Power Commander V)
MGS True Duals Black Ceramic Stage 1 Kit: $1,289 (includes Ness Big Sucker air cleaner and Power COmmander V)