Want to step up the engine performance? A proper camshaft is undoubtedly going to help you!
By installing cams, you not only increase the engine’s power, but it will also last longer. As such, you have to make sure you choose an efficient cam. Various cams are available, but not all of them are worth the investment.
So how exactly are you going to pick the ideal one?
In this article, we will tell you how to find the best cam for 96 cubic inch Harley, so you won’t have to worry about that.
We have selected 6 cams for 96 cubic Harley that are performing very well according to the users. We have reviewed each of them thoroughly so that you will have a clear understanding of them, which will enable you to make the right decision.
So let’s get started!
Our Favorite Cam for 96 Cubic Inch
Best Cam for 96 Cubic Inch Harley Reviews:
1. Feuling Reaper 574 Chain-Driven Cams
This Feuling Reaper 574 camshaft comes with a wicked powerband that is suitable for modified engines. Plus, there is an incredible bolt-in as well, which is dedicated to a 96-inch stock engine. This camshaft is highly suitable for 96 cubic inch Harley. Apart from the 96-inch engine, this camshaft is also ideal for 103 and 110-inch stock engines.
You will be getting excellent low-end performance with this very cam, and if we talk about the power, you will be getting good top and mid-end power. Don’t worry if your motorcycle engine has modified cylinder heads, exhaust and intake system, and increased compression ratio; this camshaft responds well with those.
The cam lobe design is very smooth, and that creates a very quiet and smooth valve train. With this cam, you will be getting 2100 to 6500 RPM power. And there are a few things you will have to keep in mind if you purchase this cam; it will require performance valve springs if the engine is 99-04. The lifters and pushrods are also necessary.
- This cam delivers incredible low-end performance.
- You will get a smooth mid-end and top-end power.
- Suitable for modified cylinder heads and others.’
- Delivers excellent torque.
- Smooth cam lobe design.
- Little expensive.
2. S&S Cycle 551CE Easy Start Camshaft Kit
On the second, we have the S&S Cycle 551CE. It is not only a camshaft; it is a complete kit that includes all the necessary items. The manufacturer has specially designed this camshaft for the 96 – 106 CID engines, and the suitable compression ratio for this camshaft is 9:1 to 10:1.
It is a bolt-in cam that is dedicated to the stock and decently modified touring bike engines. You can expect great low end and mid-range torque from this same camshaft. This camshaft is the strongest at 0 to 4000 RPM.
If you install this camshaft into your motorcycle engine, you will notice an increase in performance. The stock starter can also start any engine with this camshaft. This particular camshaft is very reasonably priced. All the parts you need are included in this kit, including cams, cam bearings, gear cover gaskets, as well as for instructions for installation.
- This camshaft makes the engine start easily.
- Delivers great low-end smooth power.
- It gives good torque.
- Comes at an affordable price.
- Comes as a complete kit.
- Increases engine performance.
- The instruction isn’t clear.
- The cam makes a light tickle sound.
3. Andrews 57H Chain Drive Cam Set
Andrews is a pretty well-known cam manufacturer, serving the market with good quality motorcycle cams for a very long time. What separates them from most cam manufacturers is their innovation. They are always bringing or trying to bring something new. For example, they grind and design all their camshafts by CNC manufacturing and CAD programming. Not every manufacturer does that.
Due to the CAD and CNC use, their cams come out being highly powerful, great performers, and extremely reliable. These are exactly what every cam user wants. If you own a Harley engine, install this Andrews cam onto that, the power increase you will get to see will amaze you for sure. Talking about the engine, this cam is suitable for 96-inch, 103-inch limited, and 110-inch CVO engines. And this very cam performs at its best at 2200 to 5600 RPM range.
It is a splined chain drive camshaft and it comes with one more item and that is bearings. It comes with two types of bearings, 1 roller and 1 ball-bearing which you definitely going to need. This cam is specially designed to work with the Harley Davidson hydraulic lifters and it does it incredibly.
- It gives high torque gains.
- This cam is super easy to install.
- The engine gives an idle sound.
- Delivers great low-end power.
- The installation is a little complex.
4. S&S Cycle 509G Gear Drive Touring Cam Kit
Here comes another camshaft from the mighty S&S Cycle. This one is the 509G model which has a bolt-in design. It is a very high torque cam that is suitable for 1999-’06 models, however, this cam isn’t for 2006 HD Dyna. It delivers 180 PSI cranking compression so it doesn’t require for release of compression.
This gives idle RPM of 4500 to 88 CID stock compression ratio engines. The previous versions of these 509 cams were 551 cams which was a big success and they used to work on the 1999-’04 engines along with the stock valve. However, with this 509 model, you are going to get incredibly low and mid-range torque. That being said, the power might be a little bumpy, you will have to get away with that.
It is a full kit that includes the bearings and other items needed for the installation. The installing process is pretty easy. On top of that, this cam is easy on the wallet, since it comes at an affordable price. And this cam is available in two different versions as well, chain drive and gear drive, pick the suitable one.
- Very easy to install.
- Comes at a very affordable price.
- Gives great low and mid torque.
- Includes necessary items for installation.
- Delivers 180 PSI compression.
- The power delivery is slightly bumpy.
5. Feuling Reaper 543 Gear-Driven Cams
Another Fueling Reaper cam and this time it is the 543 gear-driven cam model. This one is a suitable camshaft for those who need high top-end power along with good low-end torque. The 543 camshafts will give more power than the 525 cams and the low-end torque wouldn’t get sacrificed as well.
The cam lobe design is pretty smooth and the layout of it maintains a quiet valve train and this also delivers an extremely smooth cruise power band. It is a bolt-in camshaft that works extremely well with 96-inch and 103-inch stock engines. Apart from those, this cam goes well with the 88-inch and 95-inch engines as well.
With this cam you will get a very smooth and easy start, it also improves the fuel mileage and throttle response. Improves compression ratio, or high flow air cleaner or modified performance exhaust, this cam will respond very well with these.
If you are picking this cam for 99-04 engines then valve springs will be required. And it will be good if the engine has pushrods and lifters, though it isn’t mandatory but is good. And lastly, the RPM range you will get with this cam is 1900 to 6000.
- Makes the engine start very easily.
- You will get great top-end power.
- Good low-end torque.
- Easy to install.
- Delivers great RPM range.
- Improves fuel mileage.
- The price is a bit high.
6. Andrews C Cam.525 in. lift for Big Twin
And here we are looking at the last cam of the list which is the Andrews C Cam.525 inch, big twin. In case you don’t know,
Andrews always grinds their cams by cam design capable computer. So you can expect reliability from it. With good performance and good reliability, this camshaft offers both. Installing this cam on the Harley twin cam engine will make it perform extremely well.
It is a highly suitable cam for most of the big street engines. The torque range of it is from 2000 – 7000 RPM. And fits Harley’s 1978 to 1954 engines. The mid-range and top-end power of this very cam are incredible. Whether it is a dirt bike engine or street riding, the performance will be top-notch.
- Highly reliable camshaft for Harley.
- Offers great performance.
- Delivers 2000 to 7000 RPM torque.
- Great mid and top-end power.
- The installation process is a little complex.
- Doesn’t come with the instructions.
How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Cam?
Well, choosing a motorcycle cam is really hard. And if you are a beginner then there is a 90% chance that you will end up with the wrong camshaft for the motorcycle. There are a bunch of things that you will need to know right before you purchase a cam.
However, this very section will be discussing the Four major features of a motorcycle camshaft and these features are what separates a good camshaft from the bad ones.
This is going to take a while since there is a lot to talk about these four features but this is going to be extremely beneficial for you without any doubt. So without further ado, let’s get down to it.
Intake Opening of the Cam
If we simply think, the engine is a continuous flowing process where air and fuel come in through combustion and the exhaust. The better the flow, the better the engine will perform, this is the general rule of thumb. If you can improve the air and fuel flow at any stage, it will surely improve the performance of the engine. By performance improvement, we mean the engine will perform more efficiently.
In case you don’t know, let me clear this. What intake opening does is, at the beginning of the opening phase it brings the air into the combustion chamber. Now the air doesn’t come directly into the chamber, it comes through filters and the smooth or better the filter is, the better the airflow. And that results in improved engine performance.
The intake valve opening point is critical to the throttle valve, gas mileage, and emissions. When the speed is low and the vacuum condition is high, during the exhaust stroke if the intake valve opens early that will cause all the exhaust gas to go back to the manifold and they contaminate the intake charge which is fresh. So this is the last thing you would want. The early intake valve opening isn’t pleasant sometimes. That being said, sometimes early opening is necessary.
We know it is getting complex and you might get confused, but we are trying our best to make it as simple and understandable as possible. However, let’s focus!
In order to give extra fuel and air, the intake valve needs to open early, which will give the intake charge more time to fill the cylinder. When the engine RPM is high, the early opening of the intake valve at that time will make the exhaust gas help draw the intake charge via the combustion chamber by removing the cylinder of residual gas. That being said, it will also increase fuel consumption.
Premature opening of the intake valve normally means low throttle response at low – medium RPM, increased emissions, and high fuel consumption. But there are some advantages as well. If the valve opens early that can increase the volumetric efficiency of the engine, the engine will get improved air and fuel flow from the cylinder heads.
Talking about the cylinder heads, in improving the air and fuel flow, porter heads work better than stock heads.
On the other hand, if the intake valve opens late then there is a benefit. It makes the engine operate smoothly when the engine is at low RPM and Idle.
Intake closing of the Cam
We have already discussed the intake opening point, and now we will be discussing the intake closing point. In later sections will be discussing the exhaust opening and closing point. Among these four what is the most important is the intake closing point of the cam. It has a bigger effect on the engine’s performance compared to the other three.
The early intake closing point is very important from the low-end responsiveness and torque. It lowers fuel consumption by reducing exhaust emissions. And the RPM is increased, the intake charge momentum will also get increased. And because of that the intake charge continuously keeps flowing into the combustion chamber. The higher the RPM of the engine is, the later the intake valve should be closing and this is to make sure that all the charges have been made into the chamber. That being said, closing late is surely going to create an issue, so it needs to be well optimized and balanced.
Do you know when exactly the intake closing point occurs? The time when the air stops flowing into the combustion chamber is when intake closing takes place. If the intake closes too late that will cause poor compression yielding along with very poor engine performance on every RPM.
If the intake closes a little late, that will make the engine have a medium and good top end, though not the best end. And when the intake closing takes place early, it turns highly beneficial, especially for the heavy bikes since it will deliver incredible bottom end performance.
The intake closing point is very closely related to the engine’s dynamic. You can say, related to the compression ratio, which depends on the cam duration. The early intake closing point of a mild cam will work fine on an engine that is performing at low RPM. And on higher RPM the intake valve will get closed even before a high amount of fuel or air flowing to the cylinder which will make the high RPM performance suffer.
If along with a mild cam a high static compression ratio was used in that case there is a high chance that the mixture will get over-compressed. And that will result in high compression loss and detonation. In the worst case scenario, it can cause piston and head gasket failure.
Exhaust opening of the Cam
The exhaust opening point has a very minimal effect on the engine compared to other openings and closings. However, since it does make a bit of difference it is wise to learn about it as well. Exhaust valve opening makes the cylinder pressure bleed-off from the combustion chamber in order to decrease the engine torque.
That pressure was supposed to push the piston downwards. That being said, the exhaust valve still needs to open early so that it can allow enough to scavenge the cylinder fully.
Early opening of the exhaust valve helps to scavenge even the high RPM engines. However, the early opening exhaust will cause you to lose the bottom end and it also makes the mid-range end pretty lazy. On the other side, the late exhaust valve opening maintains pressure on the piston for longer periods and that improves the low RPM performance. Plus, it lowers the emissions as well.
Cam exhaust valve that opens semi-early, they scavenge cylinders pretty nicely and therefore that gives cleaned cylinder mixture even at high RPM. That being said, in a semi-early valve opening the low end might suffer a little but mid-range will be pretty well.
If we talk about the stock cams they usually open late. The primary purpose of opening late is to increase the burn time and get over the emission test effortlessly. But that also comes with a disadvantage, due to the late opening the engine might suffer pumping loss.
Exhaust Closing of the Cam
Late exhaust closing and early intake valve opening, both have the same effect on the engine. Both will cause increased overlap and enables the reversion back up the intake. On the contrary, if the exhaust closes late, that will remove the used gases from the chamber. Plus, it will also deliver more vacuum signals to the intake even when the RPM is high. When the exhaust closing happens early the engine operates very smoothly.
Here comes another highly important factor that you should consider right before purchasing a camshaft. The camshaft you are picking needs to suit the engine. Not all camshaft suits all engines. So before you make the purchase ensure if that will work with your motorcycle engine or not.
Cam installation could be very hard, especially for beginners. If you don’t have any prior idea, do not try to do it yourself. Go to someone who has done that before. However, not all camshaft installation is the same so make sure the cam you are buying comes with an instruction guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How Many Horsepower is a 96 cubic inch Harley Davidson?
Ans: The 96 cubic inch Harley Davidson has around 66 horsepower. This isn’t a very high horsepower range, because the 103 inch Harley Davidson engine delivers a higher horsepower rate.
Q: What CC is a 96 cubic inch Harley?
Ans: The 96 cubic inch to cc Harley Davidson engine is 1584 cc.
Q: Why 203s Are the Best Cam for Twin Cam 88 Harley-Davidson Engine?
Ans: The 203 cam comes with a heavy breathing pipe, or you can call it a ventilation pipe. And what this pipe does is, remove the gas escaping pressure from the crankcase. This is exactly why 203s are the best cam for the twin Cam 88 Harley engine.
We know it is very confusing when you are going through all these for the first time. But don’t be worried, it will take a while and you will understand everything. However, if you have gone through the list of 6 best cam for 96 cubic inch Harley, you must have chosen one for your motorcycle engine. We hope that you end up installing the ideal camshaft and do let us know how that goes so that others will get benefitted.
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