Just added my V&H Bigshots
I was fairly certain I had an exhaust leak, both from the noise, and from the carbon that was appearing for no rational reason from under the heat shield on the pipe for the rear cylinder.
I was able to get a good deal on a new set of V&H BigShots so I finally pulled the trigger. They arrived last night and I went to install them. When I took out the bolts for the rear cylinder the head pipe essentially fell off. It had cracked almost perfectly cleanly at the weld all the way around.
I got the new pipes installed easily enough. When I first fired it up in the garage I thought they might be a bit too loud, but actually riding has proven this is not a problem. It is definitely louder than the stock (even with the exhaust leak), but really this is only noticeable when you get on the throttle, or at idle. While cruising at a steady speed they are quiet enough, they aren't going to get tiresome or cause any headaches (at least for me, can't say about everybody around me).
Installation TIP, follow the instructions and install the heat shields first. Lots of reviews of this exhaust have people claiming that you are better off installing the heat shields last. I tried that, and although it does let one get to the bolts easier to mount to the head, the hose clamps are impossible to bring together and start if you do it this way. I ended up having to take them back off, install the shields, and put them back. That trick may be great for some models, but not the Vulcan 1600, it just really isn't hard to install them with the heat shields in place.