How to: Beef up your bar time
Beefy bars will let you fine tune your globe-trotting bike’s riding position
Don’t make it a stretch 1
Changing the bars allows you to tailor your riding position to suit your needs. Aftermarket bars are also beefier than stock items, which is useful for owners of adventure and off-roaders who ride on the rough stuff and use the bars to pick a bike up after a spill. After you’ve selected the appropriate bars for your model, it’s important to offer them up to make sure your existing cables, wires and hoses are long enough.
Remember the order 2
As it’s not always obvious which order your clutch/brake perch, switchgear and other items go once the standard bar has been stripped, take a picture of the layout. For example, on the left side you should have the bar end weight, then the grip, followed by switchgear, then clutch bracket and last of all the mirror mount. Keep the throttle housing attached for now and use a cloth to prevent anything scratching the tank.
3Dowel decision Many firms locate the switchgear, master cylinder etc with a dowel that fits into a hole in the bar. This is done to aid assembly at the factory and to prevent the components rotating if they become loose. The downside is that it stops you from adjusting the lever’s angle. You can either remove the dowel or take the time to measure the holes and drill ones in the new bars.
Make it flush 4
If you chose to remove the dowel, before you reach for the power tools try using a small pair of mole grips. Often all it takes is a bit of gentle persuasion via a twisting action to pull the pin free. If that doesn’t work then it’s time to take a small grinding tool such as a Dremel and use a grinding bit to flatten the dowel so that it’s flush with the switchgear.
Slide them in
Take the new bars in your left hand and the throttle assembly in your right, then slide the end of the bars into the throttle tube and rest the bars in the clamps. Refit the top of the clamps but leave the bolts loose enough to allow adjustments. If the new bars have reference marks use them to centralise the position, and then gently tighten up.
The route to perfection
Check the routing of electrical wires and your throttle and clutch cables. It’s really important that they are not tensioned in any way. Turn the handlebars to full lock on both sides and carefully check that all the cables and wires are free and not pulled tight. Refit any cable ties in their original position; fit them so they grip gently but they don’t need to pinch cables aggressively.
Loosen the clamps 5
When the bars are stripped down you need to loosen the clamps. Check to see whether the clamps have direction arrows embossed on them. With the clamps off, remove the bars from right to left, removing the throttle housing and tube out as one unit. This will save you time later as you won’t need to rebuild the throttle assembly.
Sit on the bike as if you were riding it and check you have the desired position. If everything is satisfactory torque the clamps up to the value specified by the manufacturer. Refit the switchgear, levers, mirrors and everything else that came off the original bars. Make sure they are at the correct position and at an angle that is comfortable to use.
Get a grip
It’s good practice to fit new grips when you fit new bars. Remove the old grips by gently sliding a thin flat-bladed screwdriver under the grip and squirting some brake or carb cleaner between it and the bar/throttle tube. The cleaner will loosen the grip meaning you will be able to easily slide it off. Refit the new grips by cleaning the bar and throttle tube with the same cleaner, then spraying again and quickly fitting the grip.