Grappling With A Decision Over Handlebars

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November 18, 2010 | By: Jake Herring

As I sit here at my desk waiting for the next tech chat to pop up on my screen, I find myself tasked to write something that will grab your interest. But to tell you the truth, all I can think about is what kind of motorcycle handlebars I want to put on my new bike. It’s not like I need new bars or that mine are uncomfortable. Like most Harley riders, I just want my bike to be different from the other two-dozen Street Bobs rolling around town.

Customizing your motorcycle shouldn’t be a stressful or complicated task. The deal is to make decisions that make sense and that you’re happy with the results. Simple as that. Some things I keep in mind when making a decision are the costs, the fit and finish, warranty, quality and, of course, style.

First off, I want to pick a style and look for the motorcycle that matches my preferences. For instance, I like a tall, straight riser and V-rod bars or a tall set of T-bars. Unfortunately the ’08 and up Dyna Street Bob has integrated risers on the top tree. As a result, unless I change the triple tree, I’m going to have to go another route. And that’s OK with me. I don’t mind change or the extra time and cost associated with such a decision. These types of hitches can come up on any application, which is why it’s so important to do some research in advance or consult a technician for help.

Now that I’ve nailed down my look, there are a few more decisions I have to make. For instance, do I go with a tall bar or a short flat track style bar? Do I choose chrome or black to match my blacked-out bike? Do I want to go to the trouble of changing all my cables? I’ve got to sort through all these questions running through my already overloaded mind.

Once I’ve answered all the questions to my own satisfaction, it’s time to decide which brands, finish and determine the costs of the products I’m about to purchase. Quality is a big issue when I think about what I’m going to strap to my beloved bike. Along with quality comes ease of installation. For instance, some handlebar manufacturers smooth out the welds on the inside of the bars and pre-run a piece of string through them, which makes internal wiring a snap.

Often, you pay more for the better-quality parts that come with a longer warranty, easy installation or detailed instructions when purchasing the product. Sometime the term, “you get what you pay for,” really comes into play when you are pulling out the dye grinder or cleaning threads out of a chromed component.

Decisions like these apply to nearly any part you add to your motorcycle, whether that be new handlebars, an exhaust, grips, foot pegs or floorboards. If you truly love your motorcycle, as most of us do, then measure twice and cut once before purchasing parts for your motorcycle.

Happy hunting and I hope we all make the right decisions.  Later…

Comments: 10 Comments | Categorized Under: Tech Tips

Comments (10)

Prices today are NOT for bikers and they never were intended for bikers. Sorry guys, but an unwashed bug covered rat bike has more stories to tell then your shiny chrome sittin in a garage! DON’T TREAD ON ME

14″ Burley apes on my 02 FXD love them, not the cost. I am not that wrench worthy so I took it to the dealer. Total cost with bars, cables, etc. $1,100.00
OUCH!!!

Oh!…t,
It is not that hard to figger what bars you want. After the 500 “$” in bars wires and cables, you got a dealer or an Indie asking 500 – 600 more to install them if you can’t. Times are tight and unless you are a part time enthusiast Lawyer, you gotta be selling drugs to afford to customise what you can’t build your self.

But thanks….

As a retired NYPD officer, I was there when the state of NY was tracking the effects of Seat belts. We were all told to check seat belts were worn when no injuries occurred and to check seat belts not worn (regardless of if the belts were worn) if injuries were sutained..I know from experience that seat belts work on front to reat, rear to front crashes. I’ve also seen many fatalities from being t-boned and being locked in place by a seat belt…..
I’ve also scooped up my share of gray matter, in my time on the job. I frequently saw survivors who would hape preferred to have died as a result of their injuries, rather than face a lifetime of skin grafts and relying on the care of someone else to get on with their life or pushing them around in a wheelchair.
I’m a big boy, and I can weight the risks I want to take, I don’t want anyone telling me what I need to wear.

If you’re going for tall bars, check the law. I have 18″ apehangers on my Road King, and there’s a local HiPo that just loves to pull me over. The locals generally don’t even look. I’m only 5’10″ so when I sit up straight my arms are level, but if I get caught slouchin then my hands are over my shoulders. Never get a ticket, Just harrassed. Also, I live in Sturgis, if you’re coming to the rally, ALL the cops are extra diligent that week and love to pull over tall bars. Gives ‘em an excuse to check you and your paperwork out. Love my hangers. Would go taller if I could.

My boyfriend just got a set of the Club Bars from LA Choppers and he loves them.

I am a minimalist. I do not put anything on my bike unless it is absolutely nessesary and functional.
As for handlebars,on my FXWG’81 Wideglide I’m using 10″apehangers with 3″original risers. This gives me this water level grip for my arms and makes my ride very comfortable for various type distance rides.
As for the posistion of the rider,this depends on the length of his or her arms and some time should be taken to adjust the handlebars accordingly.
Never adjust the handlebars just for looks while compromising comfort. At the end of the ride it will be our back that hurts if we do not keep this in mind. Remember this is your bike and it should be according to your riding needs not looks.

If only you could go into the shop and try the bars on the bike before forking over a few hundred bucks. Sit on YOUR scoot and feel they way they fit you. That, I think would be the best solution. Too bad there isn’t a shop out there that will let you do that.

Well; in my experience the fact that you are one of the few that ride a Street Bob it already puts you in a small crowd. Everytime I go out to places where bikers hang out most people say “what ya got there a sportster?” I am like naw, it’s not exactly a sporty. I like the way my baby apes look, feel and respond on the road.Wouldn’t change a thing.

The worst thing about buying handlebars is ordering off the web or a catalogue. There are so many measurements. I was trying to replace my apes, the originals were cracked, and I thought I ordered the same thing but they ended up about 2 inches shorter.

The measurements take in height, bends, width etc. etc. almost impossible to know what your getting unless you can get them in your greasy hands.

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