How to Choose Motorcycle Handlebars

Written by amelia allonsy
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How to Choose Motorcycle Handlebars
You should choose motorcycle handlebars that suit your personal style, are capable of handling the motorcycle and are comfortable enough for long rides. (motorcycle image by Goran Bogicevic from

Motorcycle handlebars come in a variety of sizes and styles that may contribute to function, comfort or style. If you are replacing your handlebars, you should consider each of these factors when making your choice so that you choose the motorcycle handlebars that are right for you. You don't want to decide purely on aesthetic appeal because your handlebars may be very uncomfortable. Similarly, if your decision is based only on comfort, you might choose handlebars that don't work or are lacking in style. You can cruise with confidence knowing you like the handlebars you chose.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Measure the existing handlebars on your motorcycle if you need to replace them, but you are comfortable with the size and position. Measure the height from the centre of the handlebars and the width from tip to tip.

  2. 2

    Sit on your motorcycle as you would if you were riding the bike. Your back should be comfortable and your feet should reach the pedals.

  3. 3

    Raise and lower your arms until you find a position comfortable for you. Set your arms wider and closer together until you find spacing that is right for you.

  4. 4

    Measure the height and width that you determined to be most comfortable and choose handlebars that most closely fit these measurements. If you have particularly long or short arms, you may need to have the handlebars custom fit.

  5. 5

    Visit a motorcycle dealer and test different handlebar types until you find the right type for you and your riding preferences. For instance, tall and wide ape hangers are more suited for cruising, while short, narrow-set handlebars are better for speed bikes.

  6. 6

    Test drive a bike with the type of handlebars you like to make sure you can ride comfortably with your arms in that position. If the handlebars are too tall, your shoulders might get sore, but sometimes short handlebars can hurt your elbows and back.

  7. 7

    Ensure the handlebars you choose are large enough to turn the motorcycle with ease. Test similar types of handlebars on a bike close in size to your motorcycle.

  8. 8

    Decide on your budget before choosing and purchasing handlebars. You may need to choose a handlebar style made with a more affordable material.

Tips and warnings

  • Consult with a motorcycle salesperson for help with your decision. It is their job to know the bikes and accessories that work best for different customers.
  • Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles or state police barracks to see if some handlebar styles are outlawed in your state. Ape hangers handlebars are illegal in some states.

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