Tech Tip: Installing Ape Hangers
If you were to ask me “what’s the most common trend in motorcycle cruising bikes today?” I’d have to say it’s the increase in the number of bikers that are making the switch from stock or standard type handlebars over to ape hangers. I’ve seen everything from 10″ to 21″ or more in vertical rise in riding down the road.
With that in mind, we decided to make the move ourselves and report our experience here for your reference.
Choosing the right bars is really as personal a decision as buying the right set of pipes for your bike. Style, comfort, cost and local legal restrictions are just a few of the considerations. Remember there are some really important points to think about before you buy:
Now it’s time to really get organized. Get everything you need ready before you begin. It’s not a bad idea to have a note pad handy to refer to as you’ll be removing quite a few small parts so that when it comes time to re-assemble, nothing will be left to chance or a foggy memory before you drank that six pack.
Remove one piece at a time and remember what parts and screws go where…you don’t want to come up short or with too many parts left over when the job is complete.
Basically the first goal is to remove the stock bars, let the hydraulic lines and cable dangle, then clip the electrical wires at an even point from the switch housings.
You’ll want to start by carefully removing the top covers/clamps on the stock risers to detach the existing handlebars from the bike. You’ll want to disassemble the switch housings from both ends of the stock handlebars. Next is removal of the throttle cables from the right side grips & clutch cables from the left side levers. Hydraulic clutch and brake lines should be removed but remain in tact for the moment.
We really wanted to clean up the front end of the bike which makes hiding electrical wiring inside the bars was a must. The 1.25″ diameter handlebar tubing and slotted openings near the grip ends made the task a bit easier. Getting the internal wiring done right IS the single most time consuming part of this process. Making a mistake here is like sewing the patient back up and finding out you attached the wrong arteries, that patient just may not get out of bed!
the insulation is well worth the trouble
Make sure to only use shielded wires and avoid crimp connectors if possible. Soldering wires with heated shrink wrap will eliminate the potential of a crimp connection vibrating loose after miles and miles of road vibration. Take the time to safely install wires under the clutch perch. De-bur all wires and cables & make sure there are no rough edges or any sharp parts that can damage wire or cables.
Everyone has their own take on the best way to get all those wires through the handlebars. We’ve found that if you attach a string to one end of the wiring, plug the other end of bar, put the string down the middle, then blow into the bar…the string will come through a little easier.
Now that the electrical is complete, it’s time to take a much needed break and admire your hard work. Did someone say “lunch?”
to fuel you up for the remaining steps
OK so put down that tasty meal and let’s get back to work. It’s time to remove all of the cables and hydraulic lines and replace them with some shiny new braided steel.
A couple of key points to remember:
Cables,(clutch, brake and throttle), are much easier to install than hydraulic brake and clutch lines. So start with the cables first and finish with the hydraulic lines.
the last step. Speed bleeders are a must
Brake fluids can be corrosive to paint so be careful to protect your bike while filling and bleeding the lines. If any fluid does get on the paint, quickly use some water and a cotton cloth to remove the fluid. Water is supposed to dilute the acid or corrosiveness in the brake fluid.
Now it’s time to button things up. Install the throttle side grips first by inserting the two cables, (push/pull or throttle/idle), into the throttle grip or grip sleeve. Secure in place with the switch housing and test the throttle for proper operation.
Trouble shooting and preventative measures:
Be patient, plan ahead and work your plan. Keep everything, (mostly nuts screws and bolts), in a neat and organized space. Make sure no wires or cables are pinched or cramped.
As with most projects “THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS!”
the heavy lifting and for the clean installation
for donating those great looking Kong Bars
Barnett Performance Products for supplying the cables and lines