Let's talk about Aftermarket Handlebars - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Question Let's talk about Aftermarket Handlebars

I'm planning to do a 2,500mi roadtrip here at the beginning of June, so I'm partially using it as an excuse to get in some mods that I've been wanting to do for a while now. One of which is handlebars. The Versys is my first bike and I have not always made the smartest decisions, so my OEM handlebars are rather beat up. Additionally, I'd like to raise the bars up a bit.

I'm planning to use Rox 2" Risers, but I'm not sure what bars to go with. I'd like to go with 1 1/8th, a bit narrower than OEM, a little bit less pullback/sweep, and as high as I can without compromising OEM cables.

For those of y'all that have swapped yours or just know a lot more than I do, what bars would you recommend I go with?

I did try searching "handlebars" in here as well as a variety of searches on google, but 6 pages in I wasn't able to find anything. If I'm just completely missing a thread somewhere that answers these questions, let me know and I'll go read it!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 04:20 PM
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Dirt bike handle bar like taper or HD handle bars with metric should do the job. Kinda like Yamaha or Honda rebel handle bars.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-29-2019, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Crimson Apple View Post
Dirt bike handle bar like taper or HD handle bars with metric should do the job. Kinda like Yamaha or Honda rebel handle bars.
That's what I ended up doing. Unbolted the stock bars, checked to see if their height would still work with another 2in added (Rox anti-vibe risers), then stripped them down and went to a local store and compared them against what they had there. Ended up with Mika Metals Pro 1 1/8th bars, the risers shipped today, new grips just arrived, and I'll be ordering a G2 throttle tamer this evening. If I'm gonna do it, might as well do it all right?

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 09:49 AM
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With regards to handlebars.... Iím still new to the Versys thing and I was riding yesterday for a couple hours. I was noticing a fair amount of vibration in my hands and am wondering is that common on the Versys? Iím wondering if weighted bar ends are helpful. Is this common? Iíve got a 2014 650 with 3000 miles and am going on a 3000 mile ride the end of the month and am hoping to mitigate some of the vibration. Any thoughts/insights would be appreciated.

Also, I apologize if this hijacked the thread...

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BUSdrivr View Post
With regards to handlebars.... Iím still new to the Versys thing and I was riding yesterday for a couple hours. I was noticing a fair amount of vibration in my hands and am wondering is that common on the Versys? Iím wondering if weighted bar ends are helpful. Is this common? Iíve got a 2014 650 with 3000 miles and am going on a 3000 mile ride the end of the month and am hoping to mitigate some of the vibration. Any thoughts/insights would be appreciated.

Also, I apologize if this hijacked the thread...
It's a 650 twin, you're gonna get some vibration. I also am trying to minimize them (though I never found them to be a problem, just figure if I'm going to do it I'll do it right). Anti-vibe risers are one option, though it's expensive - $110 for a blem Rox Riser, $137 for Motowerk, and $146 for a non-blem Rox.

Bar ends are going to be your next cheapest option. You'll see inserts as well, which vary in people's opinion of whether or not they work and how well, but in general more weight = more dampening. You can either pick up some bike-specific ones, or if you measure the interior dimensions/have aftermarket bars you can go with some of the more universal ones that use some form of expander. There's a million options (believe me, I spent about 2 hours the other night trying to decide), you can either go for the heaviest, cheapest, or prettiest.

Cheapest would be grips. A cushier grip, whether it's fancy gel or just thicker/softer rubber, should help transmit less vibrations to you.

The setup I'm going with:

Rox 2" Anti-Vibe blem risers/adapters
Mika Metals Pro 1-1/8" bars
Progrip 714 Grips (figured if they'd work on the '80s yamaha 600cc thumper I had, they'd work here)
Sato Racing Short Bar ends + Inserts.

Sato makes the heaviest bar ends that I'm aware of with their Full Size Stainless Steel set weighing in around 1lb. Adding in the inserts (7oz/side) would add nearly 2 lbs to your bars. I went with the short because I didn't want to go that long or expensive ($90+s&h), and figure I'm good enough on vibration management with the rest of the mods. I don't know though if they make any that'd work with the OEM bars. The OEM bars for the '09 are threaded, vs most aftermarket that are just hollow. I didn't mention changing bars because I haven't really found any solid information on what does and doesn't reduce vibration - some people say steel, others aluminum, some 7/8" and others 1-1/8", braced vs unbraced, sizes, bends, etc. I went with the larger bars for durability and fitment, not vibration, so YMMV there, but it may be worth an upgrade anyways for fitment or to get some really beefy bar ends in there.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 02:15 PM
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...I’m wondering if weighted bar ends are helpful....
All three of my V650s came STOCK w/ bar-end weights, but on BOTH my Gen 1s I removed the weights when I added ZETA XC handguards. I've NEVER noticed any particular vibes, and that is over MANY miles on both. My Gen 3 '15 came w/ handguards and weights which I left in place, and I've NEVER noticed any particular vibes.

Here's a pic of my '09 w/ guards but NO weights.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-01-2019, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 09Greeny View Post
It's a 650 twin, you're gonna get some vibration. I also am trying to minimize them (though I never found them to be a problem, just figure if I'm going to do it I'll do it right). Anti-vibe risers are one option, though it's expensive - $110 for a blem Rox Riser, $137 for Motowerk, and $146 for a non-blem Rox.

Bar ends are going to be your next cheapest option. You'll see inserts as well, which vary in people's opinion of whether or not they work and how well, but in general more weight = more dampening. You can either pick up some bike-specific ones, or if you measure the interior dimensions/have aftermarket bars you can go with some of the more universal ones that use some form of expander. There's a million options (believe me, I spent about 2 hours the other night trying to decide), you can either go for the heaviest, cheapest, or prettiest.

Cheapest would be grips. A cushier grip, whether it's fancy gel or just thicker/softer rubber, should help transmit less vibrations to you.

The setup I'm going with:

Rox 2" Anti-Vibe blem risers/adapters
Mika Metals Pro 1-1/8" bars
Progrip 714 Grips (figured if they'd work on the '80s yamaha 600cc thumper I had, they'd work here)
Sato Racing Short Bar ends + Inserts.

Sato makes the heaviest bar ends that I'm aware of with their Full Size Stainless Steel set weighing in around 1lb. Adding in the inserts (7oz/side) would add nearly 2 lbs to your bars. I went with the short because I didn't want to go that long or expensive ($90+s&h), and figure I'm good enough on vibration management with the rest of the mods. I don't know though if they make any that'd work with the OEM bars. The OEM bars for the '09 are threaded, vs most aftermarket that are just hollow. I didn't mention changing bars because I haven't really found any solid information on what does and doesn't reduce vibration - some people say steel, others aluminum, some 7/8" and others 1-1/8", braced vs unbraced, sizes, bends, etc. I went with the larger bars for durability and fitment, not vibration, so YMMV there, but it may be worth an upgrade anyways for fitment or to get some really beefy bar ends in there.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I understand that there will be some vibration and am fine with it... I just noticed my hands were pretty numb after only a couple hours. Maybe thatís just because Iím getting old Iím not sure. I appreciate the info you posted and will look into a few options and go from there... maybe Iíll just stop bitching and just ride.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-02-2019, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I understand that there will be some vibration and am fine with it... I just noticed my hands were pretty numb after only a couple hours. Maybe thatís just because Iím getting old Iím not sure. I appreciate the info you posted and will look into a few options and go from there... maybe Iíll just stop bitching and just ride.
Try just grabbing some cushy grips and making sure that the rest of your bike is solid. There's some vibration, but it really is pretty minimal especially for it being a 650 twin. If your bike is shaking like a Harley or buzzing like a two stroke, you may have some other issue.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-03-2019, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Update: Well, I finally got most the handlebar parts in today (still waiting on G2 throttle tube), and had a grand old time of it.

Meaning everything went wrong.

I thought my handlebars had a 14mm ID, and so I ordered Sato Racing bar ends and weights that were 14-19mm. As it turns out, my bars have a ~13.89-13.91mm ID and seemily a bit narrower further down, and the SR weights are dead on 14mm with a 15mm anti-vibe rubber sort of ring. Meaning...they don't fit. Even after ~2.5hrs of trying and sanding and trying and sanding. I can't get far enough down into the handlebars and I can't sand the in-handlebar weight pieces down enough to fit. So, I've got an 8.75" long 37/64" (14.684mm) drillbit on order with Home Depot that should get here next mid next week and some cutting oil on order from Amazon (because even though it's a mm or less I need to go about 7" deep and just sandpaper wrapped around a drillbit was warming it up). Next friday or sooner, we'll bore the ID of the bars out and slap the bar ends on, but otherwise everything should be able to go together this weekend and be ready for riding the next.

Shame on me for being lazy and not using my dial caliper the first time for such a close fit, but bravo to Sato Racing for the precision that these parts are machined to.

Test fitting:



Rough comparison to old bendy bar position:



It's already a nicer position, and I expect to get much better once the pegs are lowered and the Seat Concepts seat arrives.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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All finished! Or close enough to it. Still waiting on a drill bit to get in so I can drill them out and install the bar ends, but she's back to being rideable.







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