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Akrapovič enters V-twin market

By Liz Hochstedler

Exhaust manufacturer appeals to new customers

In the metric world, Akrapovič is a well-known name. The 22-year-old Slovenia-based exhaust manufacturer has been named the best brand of motorcycle exhaust by Motorrad Magazine six years running and by PS Magazine for the past four years. The company has more than 50,000 Facebook fans, and its exhausts have been featured on the bikes of 63 racing champions.

But in the Harley-Davidson world, the name doesn’t resonate as well. However, Akrapovič is looking to change that.

At Sturgis in August, Akrapovič launched its first V-twin line, which includes full and slip-on exhaust systems. The new line was developed after Akrapovič’s research showed there was a hole in the market.

“We saw that there was definitely a need for a high-end product as far as quality is concerned and because we do everything on a very high end, as far as performance and quality, we wanted to do the same thing on the Harley side,” motorcycle division manager Michael Larkin said.

Akrapovič’s V-twin line mirrors its metric products in that the exhausts focus on performance and high quality. Each system is 100 percent stainless steel; it has a clean look and a unique shape. Everything in the system is manufactured in-house except the springs and the coating on the black pipes.

The slip-on line also offers an optional noise valve that allows riders to adjust the noise and horsepower output of their exhaust with a simple switch. With the system closed, the exhaust acts like a stock system in terms of noise and horsepower. When opened, the system produces a louder growl and an additional 2.5 hp, and if the noise reduction insert is removed, the bike will grow louder and push an additional 5 hp from stock.

The exhausts each come with a two-year limited warranty on any type of defect at any mileage, and they’re distributed by Akrapovič, Drag Specialties and Parts Unlimited.

Since the soft introduction in Sturgis, buzz has slowly been building about the new line.

Akrapovič’s slip-on for 2008-12 Harley-Davidson FXDF Fat Bobs is one of its initial products for the V-twin market. (Click image to view larger)

“It’s been pretty good,” Larkin said. “When we first showed it at Sturgis last year, we ended up getting a lot of beneficial feedback there, from both the end user and dealers.”

Sales are slowly picking up, and dealer interest is also peaking, especially since Akrapovič’s appearance at the V-Twin Expo. European sales of the V-twin line are fairing better, as the Akrapovičč name is better known on its home continent, but the company plans to work harder this year on educating prospective U.S. dealers and customers.

“As much as we know that we have what it takes to compete, our name needs to be out there more in the public eye, as well as the dealer eye,” Larkin said.

Becoming better known is the goal for 2012.

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