Handlebar replacement questions - noob here, please suggest - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Handlebar replacement questions - noob here, please suggest

Hey all,

I just got a 2011 Versys 650 last weekend. The handlebar on it is slightly bent inward on the brake end, apparently from a non-moving drop, by the previous owner. He even gave me a generic 7/8 replacement handlebar. I started to work on replacing and immediately realized that this one doesn't have the screw-in mechanism for the bar end sliders (weights). This new handlebar is also 1 inch shorter on either end and has a knurling on the clutch end. I tried to compare the height, width rise and sweep and except the width others seem to be pretty close. I also plan to install barkbusters storm and oxford heated grips along with the handlebars.

Questions:
1. Do you recommend buying a branded handlebar which is compatible? If so what do you recommend which is as close to stock as possible or may be a little lower (as long as I can lock the bike without hitting the tank).
2. Will I need the bar end weights even if I am installing the barkbusters storm hand guards? Looks like the one which is made to fit the 7/8 handlebars have it covered. But please correct me if I am wrong.
3. Anything else I need to be aware of? Or am I missing anything else?

Thanks much!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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I was looking at the Renthal Street Handlebars 7/8" (low or ultra low) for the replacement, if I were to buy new. Did anyone try these on their Versys?
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 04:20 AM
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No need for bar-end weights with an aluminum handlebar, especially with a tapered 1-1/8" aluminum handlebar with adapter. It's stronger than a steel handlebar, and transfers much less vibration... You can't and shouldn't go much lower at all.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 06:50 AM
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Barkbusters have a Versys specific fitment kit purchased separately that includes end weights that will work with the Barkbusters hand guards and your bike. They replace the stock end weights. You'll have extra vibration without end weights and the oem end weights will not work with the barkbusters.

You do need a bar with same threaded ends as your stock bar. For ergonomics you will also need a bar similar in shape, rise, pull back and width to the stock bars. There are also holes on the stock bars that align with protrusions on stuff like the throttle. If you have a drill press you can easily adapt them for this though. OEM is the safe bet but you may be able to find bars that guarantee fitment. If you go the aftermarket route consider aluminum.



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Last edited by twowheels; 09-12-2017 at 06:59 AM.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nimblerr View Post
2. Will I need the bar end weights even if I am installing the barkbusters storm hand guards?...
NOT IMHO.

I put ZETA XC hand-guards on BOTH my '08 and '09 after removing the bar-end weights, and over about 110,000 MILES between the two, I've NOT noticed any significant vibes.... Check my bar-ends in this pic.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 11:12 PM
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I've ridden my bike without bar end weights with oem handlebars, and there is a notice able increase in vibes although not to the annoying, hands hurt, level. Physics says a lighter bar like aluminum should transmit more vibration as mass dampens it, although it is also reported they may stand up better in a drop or minor crash and there is the obvious benefit of a weight savings.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
I've ridden my bike without bar end weights with oem handlebars, and there is a notice able increase in vibes although not to the annoying, hands hurt, level. Physics says a lighter bar like aluminum should transmit more vibration as mass dampens it, although it is also reported they may stand up better in a drop or minor crash and there is the obvious benefit of a weight savings.

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Like Edie and I already stated; much less vibration is transferred through aluminum handlebars, especially tapered aluminum handlebars. They are also much stronger and harder to bend compared to regular steel handlebars. They are a definite upgrade.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thank y'all for the inputs. I am planning to get the 7/8 aluminum (T6 alloy) handlebars with the standard size, not low or ultra low. The reason I felt I had to go lower was that my current handlebars are on risers and they were so neatly tucked in that I thought it was an accent in the block. I was also reading about the vibration transfer between steel and aluminum and I hear the steel bar tubular walls are thinner than the aluminum (but still lighter). I agree with twowheels that according to physics the aluminum bar should have more vibration transfer but reading up on other forums it seems like the vibration on aluminum bars in not anything more noticeable than steel, apparently, like you guys mentioned here.

Initially, I wanted to get the 1-1/8" bars but wasn't sure if the barkbusters would fit the tapered bars or not. I talked to barkbusters and they said the BHG-151 should fit most of the regular 7/8 handlebars. They do have one model for the tapered handlebars but I think I'll need other adapters and wasn't keen on investing more time on researching about this.

So my setup is going to be 7/8 aluminum standard height bars (if these are too short, I'll use the raiser, if not I'll get rid of it), Barkbusters storm BHG-151 and oxford heated grips.

I am also getting new tires. I hope my ride feels better after these. The current tires have decent tread but are hard. These are stock tires that came with the bike, with 5K miles on them.

Thanks again guys, for all your input. Helped me a lot.

Last edited by nimblerr; 09-13-2017 at 02:22 AM.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 08:42 AM
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There is a letter in this month's Cycle World service department in regards to a very buzzy Suzuki Bandit handlebar. The writer removed a bar end weight and inserted a length of natural rubber tubing that was just short of the total bar length. He used a tube that was small enough diameter to bounce around inside the bar. He claimed that approximately 90% of the vibration was cured by that fix.

Interesting, and definitely worth exploring as a cheap solution.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 11:02 AM
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NOT IMHO.

I put ZETA XC hand-guards on BOTH my '08 and '09 after removing the bar-end weights, and over about 110,000 MILES between the two, I've NOT noticed any significant vibes.... Check my bar-ends in this pic.
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Like Eddie and I already stated; much less vibration is transferred through aluminum handlebars, especially tapered aluminum handlebars. They are also much stronger and harder to bend compared to regular steel handlebars. They are a definite upgrade.
FWIW - I didn't mention using aluminum bars, as I have never done so.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Nice! The rubber tube workaround is good to know. If worst comes to worst, I'll resort to something like that. But I'm hoping not.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-13-2017, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Also, between Ed and invader, looks like I've got myself covered
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiley View Post
There is a letter in this month's Cycle World service department in regards to a very buzzy Suzuki Bandit handlebar. The writer removed a bar end weight and inserted a length of natural rubber tubing that was just short of the total bar length. He used a tube that was small enough diameter to bounce around inside the bar. He claimed that approximately 90% of the vibration was cured by that fix.

Interesting, and definitely worth exploring as a cheap solution.
Where would you find a "natural rubber tubing"?

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 10:06 AM
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Where would you find "natural rubber tubing"?
I've been wondering about that myself. I have some unused oil lines that I used on Brit bikes and perhaps I'll give that a try, although I'm not really bothered by vibration.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 10:15 AM
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Where would you find a "natural rubber tubing"?
Search Amazon for latex rubber tubing. A common method years ago for vibrating two-strokes was to insert 3 or 4 36 caliber lead balls into each end of a length of tube (3/8" OD I think). Each ball would be about 1.5" apart and 0.5" from end of the tube.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 02:53 PM
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Anyone have the 'specs' for the OEM Versys bars? Pull-back, rise, etc...?

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