How Can I Tell If My Harley Has Stage 1 Or 2?

Knowing what Stage your Harley motorcycle is at is essential since you'll have a good idea of the vehicle's modification. With the help of automotive experts, we will help you determine whether your Harley motorcycle is a Stage 1 or 2.

To tell whether your Harley motorcycle is a Stage 1 or 2, you'll have to know what components your Harley has. For Stage 1, you'll need to have an intake, exhaust, and tune. For Stage 2, you'll need everything from Stage 1 plus a cam upgrade.

Once you get a basic idea of what components are in what Stage, you can quickly tell the difference between the two Stages. For more information about the different stages of a Harley, keep reading below.

harley davidson rear view stainless pipes, How Can I Tell If My Harley Has Stage 1 Or 2?

Difference between Stage 1 and Stage 2

Having Stages for your vehicle is an easy way to determine what modification it has. And knowing what components are in a Stage will help you decide which Stage will fit your desired build for your Harley.

stunning harley davidson motorcycle inside the harley davidson garage

Below are the main difference between a Stage 1 and 2 Harley motorcycle.

Stage 1

A Stage 1 on a Harley increases the overall motorcycle's look, performance, and sound. With a Stage 1 upgrade, you can expect a 10% increase in the motorcycle's RPM range.

To gain more performance out of your motorcycle, you'll need more air being sucked in and be able to push it all out. A Stage 1 upgrade always has an intake, exhaust, and tune. All these parts working together can help airflow into and out of the motorcycle.

These upgrades are the foundation to increase the performance of your motorcycle further. You may be able to add other components before these, but they will not be able to reach their full potential.

With Harley's air intake, you have multiple options [depending on the model] to change its look; you can have a stock or performance-looking one. The intake and other components related to it have a smooth geometry which helps the airflow straight to the engine.

Sound is another thing Harleys are known for, and with Stage 1, you can have your exhaust that improves performance and have that distinct rumble that Harleys are known to have. You have two options with the exhaust: a slip-on, which replaces the mufflers, or a complete exhaust, which replaces the whole exhaust system.

Lastly is a tune; with all that new components, you'll have to tune your motorcycle to make it run at its full potential with its new parts.

A Harley bike does not sense the amount of air coming in; instead, it has a preprogrammed map. So if you have new components that help suck more air in, you'll have to tune it to peak performance.

Stage 2

A Stage 2 upgrade on a Harley will mean your bike has upgraded cams and adjustable push rods. A Stage 2 upgrade will require you to have all the upgraded components from Stage 1. Having Stage 1 components ensures your motorcycle can produce the proper performance output out of all these upgraded parts.

It's best to get a Stage 2 upgrade from Harley and its partners to avoid voiding your bike's warranty when upgrading it. Harley also offers different Stage 2 packages, a torque or power kit.

With a torque kit, your bike will take advantage of those lower RPMs giving you faster acceleration off the line and lots of power for passing speed. In contrast, a power kit will enable your bike to reach an RPM of 6400 and take advantage of the bike's mid to high-range RPM, which can give a higher top speed. 

Are There More Stages For A Harley Besides Stages 1 And 2

Yes, there are two more stages: Stages 3 and 4. With these Stages, you will need to modify your bike even more, significantly increasing your bike's power output and performance.

Below you can find the difference between Stages 3, 4, and the other two Stages.

Stage 3

In the Stage 3 upgrade, you can find modifications to your bike's cylinders and pistons. With Stage 3, your bike will get a big bore cylinder and higher compression pistons. All the upgrade parts that Harley dealerships offer in the Stage 3 package are bolt-on.

With a big bore cylinder and higher compression pistons, your bike can pull more air and fuel in and get a higher compression ratio, resulting in more powerful combustion. Harley has ensured that all the parts included in the Stage 3 package will work together seamlessly.

Other parts you can expect to see in Stage 3 are a larger diameter cylinder, custom pistons, performance cams, high-performance valve springs, high-capacity lifters, cam bearings, clutch components, and gaskets.

You can also expect a 24% increase in torque and up to a 39% increase in overall horsepower. Also, when you get the Stage 3 upgrade from a dealership, you'll still be able to keep the bike's warranty.

Stage 4

A Stage 4 upgrade typically has an injector, throttle body, and head upgrades. This Stage will have the highest power output out of all the stages, but even though it is the fastest, Harley has ensured that it is still reliable and durable. 

Stage 4 uses the same pistons and cylinders found in Stage 3. Other components in Stage 4 are a larger throttle body, cast aluminum manifold, custom ports, unique cam, high-performance valve springs, cam bearings, clutch components, and gaskets.

You also get badges that state your bike has been upgraded to Stage 4. You get an added 24% torque increase and up to 50% horsepower improvement for the performance increase. 

The Stage 4 upgrade is excellent for people looking for higher RPM horsepower. The whole kit stays as a bolt-on kit, so you don't have to remove the engine to install the upgraded parts.

What Styles Of Motorcycles Do Harley Offer

harley davidson motorcycles parked on the road

Right now, Harley offers five styles of motorcycles. Having multiple bike styles ensures they can have a bike to their customer's different needs and wants.

Below are the five different motorcycle styles currently offered by Harley.


A street bike has a long suspension trip, a short wheelbase, and liquid cooling. The street style of motorcycles offered by Harley is very modern looking. This style of bike is built for city use since Harley recognizes that urban riders have different needs.


A cruiser is a great motorcycle to ride daily. As their name says, they are purposely built to cruise anywhere, whether in towns or on highways.


A touring bike is excellent for long-distance traveling, and with Harley-made bikes, you can assure they will take you to your destination and back.


A trike is another excellent motorcycle style for driving long distances, with some rides saying these are more comfortable than touring since they have three wheels. Also, with their design, you may be able to bring along extra belongings on your trip.


With the popularity of electric cars increasing, Harley has also joined the trend. Harley's entry into the electric vehicle world is the LiveWire.

Is It Worth Upgrading Your Motorcycle


Deciding whether to upgrade your bike will depend on how you want the bike to feel. If you're getting a new bike and considering upgrading it simultaneously, it would be best to drive the motorcycle first to see if you like the handling and performance of it in its stock form.

Once you get a good sense of what the stock version feels like and seem to like everything, it's best to hold off on significant upgrades [you could upgrade the tires since this is a common thing to replace]. But if you feel something is missing or you start to feel the bike's performance is lacking, it's best to upgrade it to your liking.

Remember, upgrading your vehicle to the most powerful parts you can get your hands on is not always a good idea. Still, instead, you must build your bike to your driving preference because, in the end, you'll be the one who will be riding around on the motorcycle.


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Stages are an excellent, easy way to tell what upgraded parts are on the bike. Knowing what components car on your bike gives you an idea of why your vehicle is producing its current performance. Also, it will give you an idea of which Stage upgrade you should choose in the future.

Another essential thing to consider when looking for a new bike is the style since all these styles handle differently. The next thing to think about when you have a bike is if you need to upgrade it, the best way to know if you need an upgrade is when you feel your bike's performance is lacking.

For more automotive topics and tips, check out the following post.

Harley Davidson Is Not Starting, Just Makes Clicking Noise – What Could Be Wrong?

10 Harley Davidson Women's Leather Motorcycle Jackets You Should Check Out

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