6 Best Cams for 96 Cubic Inch Harley

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Purchasing cams is a challenging process that proves to be even harder for beginners. However, you don’t have to worry about that anymore, as this comprehensive guide that we brought out, will help you in choosing the best cams for your 96inch Harley.

Too many cams and your Harley’s performance would be relegated. While a street bike would perform better than your classic with mild cams than more radical cams. So tread carefully while opting out for the amount of your best cam picks once you have been through this review which surely is wallet pleasing.

With a lobe profile tailored to utilize an engine’s potential to the maximum, the camshafts greatly enhance your Harley’s performance. With a higher lift on the lobe, offering an increase in the length of the valve stroke, the camshafts allow a greater amount of air to enter via inlet valves. Thus, increasing the power potential by a greater notch. 

This guide will provide you with a detailed review of our 6 best camshafts picks, for the 96inch Harley. Followed by a buying guide to equip you with all the pros, cons and best features the product has to offer, we have made it easy for you to analyze the type of cams that can be the fit best to your bike’s engine.

1. Fueling Reaper 574 Chain-Driven Cams for Twin Cam 1009

Pros

  • Amazing low-end performance delivered by the Reaper 574
  • Steady top and mid-end power
  • Well suited for modified cylinder heads
  • The smooth cam lobe design produces a noiseless and friction-free train valve
  • Provides riders with decent torque and compression 

Cons

  • The cams can be considered a bit pricey 

Fueling Reaper 574 cams rank first on our list for best cams for 96-inch cubic Harley. These Cams are powerful with a solid performance to enhance your riding experience.  These camshafts are perfect for modified cylinder heads as well.  Moreover, the smooth cam lobe design of the cams limits friction resulting in a smooth and noiseless valve train.

Reaper 574 Chain-Driven Cam produces more torque that consequently increases the compression and leads to enhanced throttle response, momentum, and fuel mileage.

Hence, it would be right to claim that Reaper 574 cams are all-rounders in ensuring great performance, durability and functionality.

Performance pushrods and lifters are recommended for Reaper 574.  The cams are suitable for the 96 inches Harley. However, apart from this, you can use it for 110 and 103 stock engines as well. Providing you with maximum mid and top-end power of 2100 to 6500 RPM, they do a world of difference in performance.

The  Reaper 574 cams also feature a 5754 valve lift with an opening intake of 15 degrees and a closing of 45 degrees along with a duration of 240 degrees.

2. S&S Cycle 551CE Easy Start Camshaft Kit 106-4947

Pros

  • Any engine can be started easily using these cams
  • Incredible low-end smooth power provided by the cams
  • Economical 
  • Enhances engine performance by a greater margin 
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Cams were reported to make tickle sounds
  • The instruction manual provides vague and unclear information

The S&S 551 camshaft kit includes two cams, gear covers, cam bearings, and a well-designed instruction manual. The 551 cams come with a metallic finish and strong build. The cams are designed for engines ranging between 96 to 106 CID with a ratio of 9:1 and 10:1.

With enhanced low and mid-end torque the 551 offers more control and power. 

Designed for modified touring bikes with a 96 inch CID and compression ratios of  9:1 and 10:1. The kit is extremely affordable even though it offers pricey service. With intake openings of 15 degrees and intake closing of 20 degrees, these S&S Chain Drive Easy Start cams appear as the best economical option to increase the performance of your Harley. 

Plus, these camshafts are installed in relatively less time with the flexibility of reusing the stock components. In addition to that, the easy start technology enables these cams to rev up any engine. Ridding you off the worry of compatibility and installation.

Moreover, the cams are strongest at the RPM power of 0-4000. 

3. Andrews 57H Chain Drive Cam Set

Pros

  • The installation of these cams result in an idle sound from the engine
  • Provides high torque gains and tremendous low-end power

Cons

  • The installation process is a bit complicated

This pick is from the well-known cams manufacturer: ANDREWS. So, if you’re a regular buyer of cams then, you may know that Andrews manufactures one of the most high-quality cams in the market.

What cuts it out for Andrews is their employment of innovative ideas to produce products that are of much higher quality. Plus, the incorporation of CAD and CNC system enables the manufacturer to produce solid camshafts without any human errors. Hence, giving Andrews an edge over the other manufacturers.

With such a promising reputation, the Andrews have come forth with another innovative piece, the Andrews 57H Chain Drive cams for Harley Davidson. Suitable and easy to install in the Harley engines of 96 inch, 110-inch CVO, and 103 inches limited, the camshaft’s best performance is at an RPM range of 2200-5600. Thus, guaranteeing greater power and performance.

This set of camshafts feature a splined Chain Drive design for better valve opening and closing. Moreover, the design of the cams allows the buyers to use them with Harley stocks for hydraulic lifters.

Along with ease of installation on both carbureted and injected models.

4. S&S Cycle 509G Gear Drive Touring Cam Kit

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Good value for money
  • Delivers incredible low and mid-range torque 
  • Comes with 180 PSI cranking compression 

Cons

  • Turbulent power delivery 

We’ve another pick from the S&S camshafts family. The S&S Cycle 509G Drive Cam Kit is specially designed for the models with 96-99 inch CID. This pair of cams have been constructed using the bolt-in design for improved torque. 

The camshafts are a good fit for the model ranging between 1999-2006, but are not suitable for the 2006 HD Dyna so, if you have got that model, you should consider skipping from this product to the next.

The predecessor of these camshafts: the 551 models, were a huge development and made history in the camshafts industry initially designed for 1999-2004 models by S&S. But, this 509 model makes everything better, and customers get great low and mid-range torque.It comes with 180 PSI cranking compression that means it doesn’t require compression release. In addition to this, it provides an idle of 4500 RPM power. 

The camshafts come in a complete set with one roller and ball bearing and other installation essentials. The cams are also available in two versions: one being the chain drive and the other gear drive in order to accommodate your bike in either aspect.

5. Fueling Reaper 543 Gear-Driven Cams

Pros

  • Enables the engine to start easily
  • Delivers greater top-end power with great low-end torque
  • Easy installation process
  • Provides better fuel mileage and enhanced throttle response

 

Cons

  • It’s slightly heavy on the pocket in terms of its price

The fifth cam that has made it to our list is the Fueling Reaper 543. These camshafts are designed for a different set of buyer audience. Precisely for people who want more top-end power, including a remarkable low-end torque. This pair of 543 camshafts offer more power than a 525 can.

Moving on, the lobe of the cams are extremely smooth and sturdy hence are effective in reducing the noise and producing a quiet valve train along with, generating the most smooth cruise power band.

The 543 camshafts have proved to respond well to the enhanced compression,  performance exhaust, and air cleaner with high flow.

Amenities of these camshafts include a smooth cam lobe and the ability to produce high top-end power with good low-end torque.

Moreover, the camshaft is designed with a bolt-in feature; for the 96inch CID engines. Plus, it’s very easy to start as well, which leads to improved throttle response and fuel mileage. 

The range of power it can best deliver is between the range of 1900-600 RPM. There’s a requirement of protection valve springs for the 1999-2004 models. While performance pushrods and lifters are also recommended for optimized levels of performance.

6. Andrews C Cam.525

Pros

  • Reliable product
  • Delivers high-end performance 
  • Wide range of torque availability 
  • Produces incredible top and mid-end power

Cons

  • Complicated installation process
  • No instruction manual provided 

The last best cam for 96-inch cubic Harley is by the Andrews. The C Cam.525 inch: which comes with a shiny finish, offers the promise of a high-quality build. The camshaft is suitable even for big engine bikes like the Harley Twin.

The CAD aided design of this cam ensures buyers, that it is free of any human errors, and therefore malfunctions as well. Thus, promising reliability and functionality to the buyers.

With this premium cam, the performance of your Harley Twin would be revamped to optimized levels with near to no factors rattling your classic ride. Along with the noticeable difference in performance before and after the installation of the Andrews C Cam.525.

The design and features of the Andrews C Cam.525 favor the 84 to 96 inches CID engines. It has a wide range of torque from 2000 to 7000 RPM. 

Suitable for big engines like the Harley Twin. However, it isn’t cut out for the 1984 Evolution Engine so, if you’ve got that engine, you’ll have to skip this cam from your potential purchase of camshafts.

Cams for 96inch Harley Buying Guide

When it comes to selecting the right camshafts, it often gets complicated for the customers as it involves a sweat-breaking staged process to comprehend, analyze and adjust your budget accordingly to the camshaft you narrowed down your search to and is best suited for your vehicle.

 On top of that, if you are stepping into the market as a rookie who isn’t familiar with technicalities this area offers then, it’s most likely you’ll end up or will be sneaked into making a wrong purchase and consequently putting your money to waste.

However, from here forth you can take a backseat and trust us to navigate you through the endless options with this buying guide we compiled so you make a well sound decision for your Harley Davidson.

The Intake opening of the cam

Alright, so first of all, I want you to understand the functionality of the engine in simple words. The engine is a continuous flowing process of fuel and air entering through combustion and exhaust. Just the way we humans inhale and exhale to make the respiration process work and generate energy to function.

Thus, the performance of the engine primarily depends on the flow. If you’re able to stimulate the flow of fuel and air, it’s going to reflect on the engine’s performance positively.

The cams act as valves in this process. The role of intake opening is to bring the air into the combustion chambers during the first phase of the process. However, the inflow of air isn’t direct but filtered. Hence, the smoother the filter is, the better will be the performance of the engine.

The timing and speed of the opening valve are very important for the throttle, fuel mileage, and emissions. So, if the speed is low by any chance and the intake valve opens earlier during the exhaust stroke. 

It can result in the gas being pushed back into the manifold leading to the contamination of fresh intake charge. However, sometimes the opening of the intake valve a bit earlier is important as well.

So, why does it need to open early sometimes? Well, sometimes the combustion chamber requires extra fuel and air. Hence, the intake valve has to open earlier so that the cylinder can be filled. Now, let’s move on to the importance of a high RPM.

Higher RPM helps the exhaust gas to pull the intake charge to the combustion chambers by emptying the residual gas from the cylinder during the early opening of the intake valve. Nonetheless, it does cause an increase in fuel consumption.

This early opening of the intake valve does have its disadvantages like poor throttle response, high fuel consumption, and emissions. 

Yet, it makes up for them with some advantages as well, for example, early opening of the valve means more intake of the fuel and air in the cylinder making the engine efficient and enabling it to receive an improved flow of air and fuel from the cylinder heads.

Similarly, the delayed opening of the intake valve has some benefits and drawbacks. The benefits include the smooth functioning of the engine at low RPM. However, it can limit the supply of enough fuel and air in the cylinders.

Closing intake of the cam

Amongst the four important elements of the engine: the intake opening, intake closing, exhaust opening, and closing. The one that affects the performance of the engine the most is the closing of the intake valve.

 The early closure of the closing intake is essential for that incredible low-end performance and torque. As it reduces fuel combustion by limiting the exhaust emissions, consequently increasing the RPM. Along with stimulating the momentum of the intake charge.

And when the RPM increases, the amount of time taken to close the intake valve also increases, which lets all the intake charges fill the cylinders and enhance the engine performance. But it should be kept in mind, that this delayed closure of the intake valve can cause problems if it’s not correctly optimized and maintained.

Moreover, if the closure is as well late then, the compression yield will be low, which can eventually deteriorate engine performance on every RPM.

 Nonetheless, a small amount of delay won’t cause any problem it would give the engine a good mid to top-end performance. As far as the early closure of the intake valve is concerned. It can be very advantageous for heavy bikes as the early closure delivers great-bottom end performance to such bikes.

The closing point of the intake valve is closely related to the engine’s dynamics, such as the compression ratio, which is further linked with the cam duration. If the valve closes early on low RPM with a mild cam, then the engine will be performing well. 

However, if it’s higher RPM then, it might not be good for the engine performance as there will be less amount of fuel and air be entering the cylinders.

But if there’s a higher static ratio being used with a mild cam then, there are chances of the mixture getting over-compressed, which can result in detonation and high compression loss. And at worst it can cause gasket and piston failure.

The opening exhaust opening of the cam

Although the exhaust opening doesn’t influence the engine dynamics like the other opening and closings, still it does make a slight difference, and we should have some knowledge about it.

An ideal opening for the exhaust is neither early nor delayed instead it’s the moderate opening of the exhaust valve that gives a clean mixture even at higher RPM. Also, the emissions are great as well with such opening of the exhaust making the engine perform more efficiently and effectively.

However, the low-end performance might suffer in the moderate opening of the exhaust valve so, if that is your priority then, you should look for cams that have a premature early opening.

The exhaust closing of the cams

Late opening of the exhaust valve tends to increase overlap and leads to gas going back to the intake valve. In contrast with that, if the exhaust valve closes late then, it means there will be efficient removal of the residual of gas.

Furthermore, this would signal the intake valve for more collection of the fuel and air as there would be more space even on high RPM. But with the exhaust valve closing earlier, you get a smoother operation of the engine.

Other important factors

We’ve discussed in detail the four valves and their opening and closings. However, there are two more factors to consider before purchasing cams namely: compatibility of the cams and installation.

Compatibility 

Everything requires compatibility. If you’re pairing an unsuitable cam with your engine then, it can negatively affect your engine. Hence, whenever looking out for cams, your first step should be looking at the compatibility of the cams and your engine.

Installation

Cam installation is a tricky process, especially for people who are beginners. So if you’re someone who’ve bought cams for the first time, do not go for the installation yourself. 

Ask an expert to do it and then, learn the process of doing it. Nevertheless, not all cams have a complex installation process but make sure you’re reading your instruction manual and following instructions strictly.

Durability

Whenever you’re buying something durability is a factor that is very important because what’s use is a product if doesn’t last long? Hence, when you’re buying camshafts for your vehicle make sure the build quality is good and the cams are durable. 

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the 6 best cams for Harley-Davidson. And I’m sure with the detailed information provided about the products and how to buy the right cams for your bike, you’re now all suited up to decide the right cam pick best suited to your vehicle’s engine.

This list includes the 6 best cams, but these aren’t the absolute options for you. Choosing cams solely depends on the engine’s requirements and your preferences.

However, as far as the research is concerned, we’ve done that for you in this article. So, if you think any of the above camshafts fit your requirement criteria, then go for it, and if not then, there are still more options available out there.

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