Ok, so I finally got the lower baffle out of the pipe last week. First thing I noticed that the pipes were considerably louder. (no ****, right?)
Second thing that I noticed was that I lost a bit of power in the lower RPM band. No dyno or anything, other than SOTP, but it definitely felt more sluggish. The best that I can describe is that the engine seemed to hit it's stride in 3rd gear rather than in 2nd gear like before I took the baffles out. Also, the idle seemed a little rougher, although there was no popping on decel.
Did some research in the interwebs and discovered that removing the baffles probably caused a loss of HP and torque.
I considered buying some Big City Thunder baffles, but they don't make one that fits my pipes, as the diameter at the end of the pipe is 2 1/2". I did not want to go back to the "stock" Hard Krome baffles...then I stumbled across something called a "lollipop" baffle.
Well, I do not own a welder, and I have no idea how to use one in any case...so I improvised. Took a trip down to Lowes and bought some 1 3/4" thumbscrews, lockwashers, and nuts. Installed them into the stock holes for the original baffles. Took all of 10 minutes to install, and for less that $5 in parts I got my HP and torque back, the idle is smoother, and the pipes are still loud!
Pics will be forthcoming in the next day or so.