“I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars no handlebars” is the signature lyric of Flobots’ hit song Handlebars. With it, they wanted to express the power and freedom that comes with having so much control over your bike that you can even ride it well hands-free. Nothing is holding you down, and you’re free. And while this lyric might make sense for bicycles, it doesn’t mean the same for their two-wheeled motor cousin – the motorcycle.
A crucial part of the motorcycle is the motorcycle controls, which are located on the handlebar itself. That being said, the handlebars need to be easily accessible and easy to use. After all, motorcycles aren’t just for fun- they’re powerful pieces of machinery, so you must be responsible for how you use them, and how you take care of them. Without the handlebars and the many controls mounted on them, you won’t be able to do what you need to – operate your motorcycle in a safe and responsible manner. If you want to replace the handlebars on your motorcycle for whatever reason, consider several things before choosing the right replacement.
The Technicalities of Handlebars
It goes without saying that your handlebars need to be attached somewhere on your bike. They’re fixated on the top of the fork, so you should make sure the replacement handlebars you get fit it. They need to match the technical characteristics of the bike, but even more importantly, the handlebar needs to have the right motorcycle handlebar controls for you.
With that in mind, the handlebar needs to be big enough to fit all of the necessary controls. Also, if you want a better grip and more stability, you should get a handlebar with handgrips, or just get a pair of handgrips separately. They’re cheap, but super beneficial and can make a huge difference in how you handle your motorcycle. Consider them a safety accessory, just like helmets.
If you want to switch gears or disconnect the engine from the drivetrain, you need to press the clutch. You can find this lever in front of the left handle grip at the handlebar. Or, let us say you want to speed up, then you need to use the throttle. The throttle allows you to regulate the engine’s power by controlling the influx of air and gas. You do this to increase the engine’s rotations per minute (RPM).
However, the handlebar doesn’t only contain these two controls that make you go faster. You will also find devices that are crucial for your safety and the safety of others. For example, both the rearview mirrors, light switches, and the horn are located on the handlebar. Without them, you are lost, and you won’t be aware of what’s happening around you. Furthermore, if you want to brake and stop, you need to use the front brake lever that’s located at the front of the right handgrip on the handlebar.
Moreover, you steer, control, and balance yourself using the handlebars. They also help support your weight. Taking all of this into account, you must get suitable handlebars that can easily accommodate all of your motorbike controls. Everything must be well-fixed and easy to use. Consequentially, you must maintain and keep the handlebars operational. There’s always the risk of your handlebars becoming detached or loose due to old age, damage from driving, etc. You should regularly check them for any possible malfunction.
The Comfort and the Style
Of course, it’s not all just about the controls and the use, it’s also about the style and the comfort they offer while driving. If you want to find the perfect motorbike handlebar controls for you, you need to consider how they feel during use and how they look. The handlebars are, after all, the easiest part to change to better match your motorcycle’s style.
In terms of comfort, you need to take into account the dimensions of the handlebar. The three dimensions you need to pay attention to are height, pullback and width. If you feel as if the bars are too high for you, and you aren’t able to reach them; then you need to get bars with a lower height. Vice-versa, if they’re too low and you feel as if you’re leaning forward, you should get higher ones. You measure the height from the bottom of the bar to the highest point. The pullback refers to how far your grips come back. You can either have them closer or further away from your body. Lastly, the width is the distance between the two bars. The wider they are, the better leverage, but the harder they’ll be on the arm muscles.
On the other hand, style is also important as it determines how you show yourself to the world. If you have a sportbike and drive fast, you probably want handlebars that improve your motorcycle’s aerodynamics, in which case it’s best to get clip-on handlebars. They’re easily adjustable and offer a forward-leaning rider position. They’re smooth and thin, allowing for an elegant, powerful look. But, they’re not ideal for long rides, as you do lean forward. Similarly, drag handlebars offer a short and minimal style. If you have a cafe-racer, cruiser or motorbike, these are great as they offer a lot of maneuverability. However, if you want to cruise through the country, you should consider cruising handlebars. They are wider and offer a rear-sloped feel.
All in all, you should never compromise on the quality of any part of your motorcycle, especially the handlebars, as they’re the most important connection between yourself and your motorcycle. And if you’re not sure how to further improve your experience, you can also get special handlebar grips that can heat your hands or grips that dampen the vibration from the road. Even more, you can get handguards to protect you from any rubble while driving.