Handlebar Adjustment

I finally set about doing something about the unsightly key scratches on my top clamp. I made a large rubber sheet cut to the shape and pattern of the entire top clamp area. I removed the handlebar brackets and lifted the bars to slide it into place. Unfortunately, it did not look very good so I cut it down and placed it only where the keys can scratch the finish. It is glued down with rubber cement and can be removed. It doesn't look the greatest but at least the key scratches won't get any worse.

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When replacing the handlebars I decided to try to remount them slightly rotated toward the rider and therefore with slightly lowered grips.

To adjust the bars, remove the plastic bolt caps with your fingernails. Be careful, they like to fly loose and hide in hard to find places. Loosen the 6mm Allen Bolts to loosen the handlebar brackets. Loosen the rear two (closest to the rider) first then the front two. There is no need to remove the bracket if only rotating the bars. One of the bolts on my bike was already loose and I could turn it by hand, not a good situation. Rotate the bars slightly toward the rider. Make sure to keep them centered. Tighten the top two bolts (away from the rider) first then the bottom two (nearest the rider). Torque down to 17 lb-ft, 23 Nm. Note the top of the brake reservoir will be slightly tilted where before it was level.

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After the above photos were taken I loosened the brake lever handlebar clamp and rotated the lever until the top of the brake fluid cylinder was parallel to the ground as in the 'before rotation' photo. The clutch lever was also rotated so that the two handles were felt to be at about the same angle.

The riding position is noticeably more aggressive. It's not like a full blown racing bike but I don't like that position anyway. That's why I got the bike in the first place! Then grips are also set a bit farther back in addition to being a bit lower. With the Corbin seat on my bike which is built to set the rider a little farther back, this makes the reach to the bars a bit more comfortable.

Factory Lower Bar Mount Installation

I decided to go ahead and try the Factory Billet Aluminum Lower Bar Mounts (Part # ABA-5LV91-60). These lower the bars by about an inch. I kept the rotated orientation described above so that the lowering would be additional.

They were ordered from Arizona Motorsports. The retail price from Factory dealers is $84.95. AZ lists them for $76.45. The additional 10% Owners Association discount lowers this to $67.96. Shipping is $9.95 for a total of $77.91.

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The first step is to remove the stock mount. Make sure the bike is level and on the centerstand. Start by loosening the two 14 mm lock nuts underneath. There is no room for a socket wrench so use the 14 mm wrench supplied with the Factory tool kit. Turn the wheel one way then the other to make more room. You can also raise the tank to make a bit more room for the wrench. The lock nut is stiff to turn so leave the top of the mount in place to make the nut removal easier. Unscrew these nuts most of the way off.

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Next, remove the top mounts. Remove the plastic Allen bolt caps with your fingernails. Be careful not to lose them. Use a 6mm Allen wrench on the hold down bolts. Loosen the rear two (closest to the rider) first then the front two. Lift off the top of the mounts then carefully lift the bars up and move them up and out of the way. Save the Allen bolts for reuse when installing the lower mounts.

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Finish removing the two lower lock nuts underneath and remove the lower portion of the stock mounts. Save the lock nuts as well as the large lower washer and small upper washer for reuse.

Try not to lose or drop the washers. I dropped one of the small upper washers and it disappeared underneath the tank. After a long, frustrating search on my knees with a flashlight I finally found it in the spark plug recess hole for cylinder #1. Ugh!

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These pictures show the comparison between the stock and lower mounts.

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Install the lower portion of the new mounts. The orientation should be such that the mount completely covers the rubber insulator in the triple clamp. Replace the small washer first in the recess on top and don't forget the large washer underneath. Watch the orientation of the lock nut which will be stiff to screw in. Screw the lock nuts most of the way but don't tighten yet so you can still adjust the position of the mount.

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Repositioning the bars is the toughest part. There are two degrees of freedom. Left/Right centering and rotation. It's difficult to make sure they are centered because you can't see the bars when you place the top of the mount over the bars. I just did the best I could with centering then holding the bars in place and finger tightening the Allen bolts. The rotation of the bars should be such that the top of the brake master cylinder is level. Make sure that the bars do not contact the tank at full right and left lock. I ended up with a tight clearance. Rotating the bars upwards would increase the clearance but I wanted them at that angle.

An idea sent to me from owner Bill Hines is to first mark the handle bar position while it is properly centered on the stock mounts with painters masking tape. This makes replacing the bars on the bew lower mounts much easier and ensures that they remain centered.

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Tighten the bolts on the top to spec (17 lb-ft, 23 Nm). The top piece of the mount is designed so that there should be a gap facing rearward. That is why you tighten the top (forwardmost) bolts first then the bottom (rearwardmost) bolts second. Finish tightening the bottom bolts (23 lb-ft, 32 Nm). I couldn't get a torque wrench in there for the bottom bolts so I just tightened them as much as I could using that rather short wrench provided with the tool kit. Replace the plastic caps over the top Allen bolts.

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Make sure the throttle and clutch cables do not bind excessively at full right and left lock. My throttle cable is a bit sluggish at full lock but does return quickly to full closed position. At center position it snaps back instantly.

Here is a comparison image of the bars before and after.

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The riding position is noticeably altered being more aggressive and forward leaning. There is much more an impression of being over the bars with the improved road feel that provides. I was afraid the position would be too uncomfortable for my bad back and recently weakened wrist but that was not the case. It is incrementally tougher on the back and wrists but not excessively so. For everyday sport riding or commuting it is recommended. For touring on long rides I would prefer the greater comfort of the stock mounts however.


From Mark Hunter:

I used another approach. Instead of just rotating the bars a little towards the rider, I stripped them completely. I removed the grips, loosened the levers, took off the ignition assembly, and anything else attached to the bars and then hung them around the cowl. I then completely removed the bars, flipped them 180 degrees right side to left and then rotated them away from the rider, all the way around till they touched the fork bolts. I then put all the stuff back on. The result is a riding position more like an R1. The only drawback is that the bars end up just shy of full lock left unless I can figure out a way to move the cluster deeper into the fairing.

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Last Updated: 02-19-2003

Copyright © 2001-03, Patrick Glenn, All Rights Reserved.
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The information presented here reflects solely my personal experience with my motorcycle and is presented for entertainment purposes only. No information presented here is to be relied upon for issues of rider safety nor to replace the services of a qualified service technician. Any attempts to follow or duplicate any of these procedures are done so completely at your own risk. By reading the information on this site, you agree to assume complete responsibility for any and all actual or consequential damages that may arise from any information presented herein.