VIDEO: Motorcycle Handlebars 101: Handlebar, Grips and Riser Info

Looking for new, custom motorcycle handlebars and not sure if you need dimpled, non-dimpled, 1 inch or 7/8 inch handlebars? Not sure why the handlebar grips you bought have two different size holes? Questions about handlebar risers and which ones you should get? No worries, this video will answer these questions and more! 

Check out the Lowbrow Customs YouTube channel to check out all of our videos. We spend a lot of time and effort creating motorcycle how-to videos, product reviews and event coverage for your enjoyment, please let us know what you think. Click here to subscribe to the Lowbrow Customs YouTube channel and stay in the know!

You can read a full transcription of this video below:

Hey guys and gals, Todd from Lowbrow Customs here again, today we're going to talk about handlebars and grips and stuff like that, if you like this video, you can subscribe right here.

Okay I know this has been talked about before but we're going to talk about it again, we do get a lot of questions all the time about dimpled and non-dimpled. Well for you Harley guys this is definitely going to apply to you, most imported makes don't do this this is a Harley thing, you have a lot of different bars on the website, they'll be an option for you to choose when you're purchasing your bars that will say 'dimpled or non- dimpled.' If you do have a Harley Davidson, you should probably choose dimpled.

Now I'm going to tell you why, here's what we're talking about right here, see this indentation on the bottom of the handlebar that coincides with the wires that are coming out of the switch housing, obviously there's no wires in this switch housing because it's been guarded but anyway if it did have wires when it's installed on the handlebar, the wires need some place to go.

By having the dimple, they don't pinch the wires. Harley wasn't quite smart enough to figure out any other way to do it, I can tell you I have what I've done in the past, I'll tell you a little tip here a little secret that some people know, some don't but you're going to know now.

If you want a bar that you really like a lot and it's not available dimpled you can take your dog grinder, if you have one and you can just cut a slot on here, that will give the wire someplace to go because basically when you put these two halves together there's a big bundle of wires coming out of here, it will have some place to go.

Incidentally whenever you're changing your bars, you're going to put your master cylinder on, you want to be careful that you're not pinching the wires in between this clamp housing or that can cause some problems even if you don't notice it, it can pinch a wire, then you push a switch and nothing happens because the wire's getting grounded out or you blow a fuse not a good scene.

For you guys with most Japanese and vintage bikes, you'll be fine with a non-dimpled bar or I said if you find a bar doesn't have a dimple but you really want to run it you can. One other thing that I want to talk about here while we're talking about switching handlebars is cable and brake-line lengths, I don't know how many times I worked at the shop, I would get handed a work order would say put these new bars on a motorcycle.

I'd push the bike over to my left, I'd go get the handlebars, go back over and I'd take one look at it and I'd go - I'm pretty confident these are not going to be long enough for these bars are up there like this one the stock bars are down here like this. Real easy way to figure the stuff out is you can go to our website,

you can see how tall these new bars are, you can take a piece of string, a piece of wire, you can go from where your existing parts are now, run along there and go, "Okay is this brake line going to be long enough to get back to my master cylinder on the handlebar or do I need to order a new brake line?"

Real simple way to handle brake lines is you can use AN3 fittings, you'll have a fitting that will thread into here with a banjo, then you'll have AN3 that will thread on that, then you can run it down to your caliper done, piece of cake. If you want to do a two piece where you bolt part of it up underneath the bottom tree you can have a fitting there with two AN3 where you have one going to the caliper, one going to the master cylinder, pretty simple, really easy to get the absolute correct perfect length on your brake line.

There is a multitude of clutch and throttle cables in over-sized lengths, there's also some information on the internet about what bars will go on what bike without swapping any cables or brake lines. It's something else to take into consideration when doing a bar swap, is it going to work right or am I going to have to spend more money and get some more parts to make it work right?

So you're not stand there in your garage with your bars off your bike, discover you can't go for a ride today because your stuff just isn't going to reach your new handlebar.

Another thing we get very frequently in emails and phone calls is, "I just received my grips and they are two different sizes." Well they're made that way on purpose. If you look at these grips you'll see one is larger than the other, smaller side going to go on the end of the bar. One inch.

The larger side is going to go over your throttle tube; it has to be a little larger in order to fit over it. I know we talked about this once before in another video, sometimes it's very easy to remove your old grip from your stock throttle tube and reuse it if you don't want to go through the hassle of that, or if you just want to save your stock grips and sell them to your buddy or whatever, we have these very inexpensive throttle tubes, dual cable, Harley style.

Put your new grip on there, bada bing bada bang. One other thing when changing grips, a lot of times I was working at the shop I'd have a customer bring his bike to the shop, he'd say, "Hey, I just put new grips on my bike and now my throttle doesn't return the way it used to," what I would find very frequently is when you are installing new grips, new throttle tubes, new bars. What they were doing was they were pushing this all the way on to the bar and tightening everything down so that the end of the grip is touching right here.

It's causing a drag, when they tried to work the throttle, it wouldn't snap back because it's dragging on the bar, any time you're changing bars putting grips on, as you slide it on you can feel it contact, you want to just move it back ever so slightly, then you'll find once you've adjusted your cables correctly that your throttle will snap back perfectly.

That is of course after you've checked your cables when you took apart, all right this style bar will accept a riser. We just started stocking these cool new risers, got a couple different flavors here, brass; these are for one inch bars, they come with some real long bolts.

If the bolts are too long for your application, you can cut them down on the size; also have them in black once again for one inch bars. Majority of Jap bikes and vintage European bikes will have 7/8" bars. A lot of bars we'll stock will have built in risers like this.

Basically you don't need any risers for this bar it's got threads in the bottom, where you're going to put it on your triple tree, put your bolts through the bottom, tighten it on down easy peasy. While we're on that subject, majority of Harley Davidson top triple trees, not all, but majority will have a center to center of three and a half inches, three point five inches. If you own a Harley you're looking at bars, or if you own a Jap bike and you wanna know, "Is this set of bars going to fit on my bike?"

Well if you don't have a three and a half to spread, it's not going to fit if you have a Harley, you can very easily measure it, you'll know before you place your order if your bars are going to fit, you're not gonna get them and go, "Crap these don't fit, this isn't the right width." On a riser type bar, not such an issue, one thing on those is what you want to make sure is that you have enough clamping area.

In other words as you put the two risers on to the triple tree, is there going to be enough here to put the bar on? Is the bar wide enough for, say you have a Japanese bike or whatever the case may be, you just want to give a quick measure. The majority of the bars on the website will have dimensional drawings, see someone there you like doesn’t have a dimensional drawing or you want to know something there that's not depicted, by all means pick up your telephone give me a call, shoot me an email. I'm here for you guys.

Another neat product we got over here we're going to show you, solid riser bushings. Harleys come with rubber, and a metal sleeve down the center, over time your bars start going like this, they get a little wobbly not a safe situation.

Nifty little kit we came up with, aluminum bushings take the place of your rubber mounts bada bing bada bang bada boom, done, simple, easy to install makes your bars super tight, they're never going to get loose without that rubber that's going to wear out in there.

Also available on our website,, very reasonably priced. This is just a small sampling of what we have available on our website, just wanted to go over the dimple, non-dimpled thing, the grips being two different sizes. Like I said already in the video, need help with anything by all means give me a call, I'm here Monday through Friday Eastern Time. My name's Todd, get those new bars on your bike and go for a ride.

Leave a Reply