Custom-Modified Helibars

A message I posted to the SuperHawk mailing list on 6/16/98.

Due to my short torso & arms, the oem VTR handlebars were too low & forward for me to be comfortable beyond 300-350 miles/day. I was too stretched to be able to flex my shoulders rearward or arch my back rearward and change position. My neck didn't care for the acute angle it had to assume to hold my head up, particularly with the wind at faster speeds. The drop angle on the bars was also excessive (for me) causing wrist pain usually by early afternoon.

I bought the VTR Helibars and was disappointed that the only thing they really addressed was the wrist angle. This did help. With tylenol, I have been able to survive 500-mile days; but several days in a row was still too much.

Earl Minkler, my riding partner for the past 15 years, came to my rescue last week. With his machine shop, we were going to do some custom handlebars. He looked at the oem aluminum bars & the steel Helibars, and decided that the Helis were going to be the easiest to modify. I had worked out the design changes that should fit me and still allow the bars to *almost* fit the confines of the tank & fairing.

The oem & Helis are typical clip-ons that have the center-line of each bar aligned with (pointed towards) the front edge of the fork tubes. At the fork-tube clamps, their rise was less than an inch.

The customized Helibars have their centers now aligned with the rear edge of the fork tubes; so they are 41mm (1.6 in.) further back and have been extended upward (at angle of the fork tubes) 2 inches taller. The *nice* drop angle of the original Helibars was duplicated in the new position.

Over this weekend, ...

I drilled a hole thru each fork stop on the lower triple clamp and used stainless hardware (lock nuts w nylon inserts, bolts, & washers) to "shim" the fork stops on each side by 3/16".

Using Goodridge SS/teflon brake hose & fittings, I made up new front brake & clutch lines. Re-routed the existing throttle cables & handlebar wiring to fit. With everything on the bars, I set the fork-tube clamp angles to allow 1/8-1/4" clearance between the bars and the tank at the new fork stops.

With the fairing remounted, I checked front clearance to the rear of the fairing "ears" & saw that the bars wanted another ~1/4" of travel beyond. I then used some 1/8" x 1.5" aluminum bar stock and made some fairing-frame extensions that would bolt up behind the fairing ears where the mirrors attach on the outside. These help turn the flimsy fairing ears up & out (at & past the mirror mounts) and gave me the 1/4" movement I needed at the rear for the bars. They also made the rear of the fairing & windscreen much more "solid".


The reduced fork-stop angle is now about the same as I remember the Duc900SSes I've ridden. I can live with that.

Catfish ...
Mike Chaplin <catfish at endorphin-express dot com>
Concord, Ca.