Lower Bars Experiment - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-20-2008, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Lower Bars Experiment

I was tweaking some things at the front of my Versys this morning and decided to try a different set of handlebars just to see if they would fit.

What you see below is, I think, an old set of Flanders Superbike Replica bars. Compared to the stock Versys bars, they have about two inches lower rise and a bit more pullback. Width appears to be the same. On my sportbikes, these bars felt wide and as high as apehangers, but on the Versys the position seems very natural.

The controls do touch the tank at the extremes of travel. I did not notice the reduced clearance except while pushing the bike to park it. Since the stock bar-end weights do not work with this bar, some vibration did get through on my initial test ride. The vibration seemed acceptable. I took some generic bar-end weights from another bike and put them on the Versys. I'll see how it works this weekend. The stock end-weights are quite hefty.

I am 5'4" and felt as though my arms were too high with the standard Versys bars. This fixes that. I also wanted to have a bit more forward lean. These bars are not much more forward than the Versys bars, but I do like the pullback angle better. I have two other sets of old handlebars, one of which is much flatter and narrower. Maybe I'll try those later.

It's nice to have a modern bike with adjustable ergonomics!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 07:44 AM
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Lower bars

I am intrigued with your experiment and look forward to your results.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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The rain finally left so I took the Versys out for a spin. I have close to 200 miles on it with the different handlebars.

I turned the bars up to where they would just clear the bodywork. I preferred the sweep in the previous position, but this is not too different. I used the rubber inner parts of some other bar-end weights to attach the stock Versys weights. It works fairly well, but I want to find weights or plugs with sliding metal couplings to more firmly attach the Kawasaki weights.

What is different? Two things stand out most in my mind. First, it feels as though I have a good steering damper installed. The steering is a little slower and heavier but still lighter than my other bikes. The front seems much more firmly planted in front of me. I felt the stock setup was nicely light but perhaps just a bit too much for my taste, especially when hitting rough pavement mid-lean. The lower handlebars make the Versys seem more like a 'normal' sportbike if you know what I mean.

Second and more important, I feel significantly more confident in the bike. I am used to steering with my body as much as with my arms, and the lower bars help with that. My legs do not do much more than before, but I now have more weight on my wrists and it seems easier to more precisely countersteer. The most noticeable difference is in long, fast sweepers. The bike tracks very stable and true as always, but I now feel more in control. I might be getting more front end feel or it might be because I am more used to this sort of riding position, but I know I felt much more confident in pushing the bike harder.

Vibration is nearly the same. I think the aforementioned change to the end weights will reduce the vibes a bit more, though it really is not significantly different from the standard Versys setup. Because I put more weight on the bars, I noticed vibes moreóbut that could be the different gloves I wore. On the other hand (sic), with the standard Versys handlebar I would get a slight pain in my right thumb heel: This does not happen using the lower bars. My wrists definitely got used more today but I experienced no soreness as I would with a different bike.

A somewhat unexpected bonus was that the new seating position more or less obviates the forward slope of the seat. I did not feel my undies tightening up over the course of today's ride. In fact, it seems as though I can sit in three distinct positions (far, middle, near) with greater effect on handling than before. I attribute that to a more balanced position whereby I push myself back more than before.

I think I will leave the lower bars on for a while. I wanted to lean just a little more forward and have a more natural reach (in terms of height) to the controls and that is what I got. Indeed, I was surprised that I can grip the front brake lever much more effectively. I discovered this when a cager suddenly stopped and turned in front of the car in front of me. Very nice. It all is reduced to feel and comfort. I am willing to sacrifice a little comfort for increased feel, which then translates as more confidence for me. Be mindful that I am relatively short, so using lower handlebars might not produce the same results for you.

The images are not fuzzy because I look fat on the bike, they just came out that way. Geez, I look like a hedgehog or something.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 03:42 AM
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Hi there,

Nice try with these bars ! The standard bars give a rather awkward hand position placing your hands on a slight upward position (I'm 174cm tall) and prompting, me at least, on a more forward position than I would like to. I tried tilting the bars backward to the bodywork limit, but it didn't do much.Your modification seems spot on to what I think woud suit me. I tried a web search for "Flanders Superbike Replica bars" but didn't find much. Have you maybe got the bar's specifications (width, rise, pullback) or are you aware of another motorcycle's bar (TDM 900 ??) with similar characteristics, in order to search for it ?

Regards,
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 07:10 AM
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Some specification of the Bar will be helpful.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 08:25 AM
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Those look great! One of my only concerns about the Versys (I don't currently own one) is the awkward and silly-looking (to me) bars.

I have used Pro-taper aluminum fat-bars on two V-stroms I had with AMAZING results. The stiffer bars improve steering and front-end feel ALOT over the soft, flexy stock steel bars.

Adding 7/8" to 1 1/8" adaptor risers and a lower-rise bar resulted in approximately the same height, but with less sweep on the straighter, dirt-oriented fat bars.

DRASTIC improvement!

bars2.jpg

2011 Versys
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-15-2010, 09:58 AM
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I also tried some lower bars I and felt the same improved planted feeling of the front end on the road, felt like a more aggressive race posture but I liked the stock bars for the comfort so I took my stock bars to Cycle Gear and got something in between. I ended up with the Pro Taper ATV mid and really like em. I cut one inch off both ends as I like my bars at about 30 inches like on my off road bikes (KTM 200)
the Pro Tapers are wider where the bend comes up from the riser and puts the mirrors out wider so I can see past my shoulders now.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 02:11 AM
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The stock bars just barely clear the tank as is. Do the lower bars have any problem clearing the tank without having to rotate the bars into a weird angle just for clearance?
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 09:33 AM
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When I tried the low bars I have, the controls did touch a bit. With the Pro Taper ATV mid's there's no problem. I should mention that after cutting the ends of the bars shorter I had a problem mounting my Acerbis road guard hand guards. Because of the taper ID in the bar, the inserts would not go in all the way. I took a 9/16 drill bit and drilled the bars to make the insert fit.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 04:45 PM
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I'm not using the bar end weights and I do get vibration. It would be nice if someone like Speedy could make a nice looking billet riser with some sort of rubber mounting for the bars. plus I think the stock riser is a sorry looking piece, looks like Kawi didn't take the time here. I think my Honda TransAlp had rubber mounted risers.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 12:16 PM
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Rizoma fat bars with Rox riser with Rizoma bar end plugs (not bar end weights). Perfecto!! Great riding position and no vibration. Rizoma and Rox are quality pieces.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 02:56 PM
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Does the Rox riser replace the ugly stock riser?
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 03:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garet55947 View Post
Rizoma fat bars with Rox riser with Rizoma bar end plugs (not bar end weights). Perfecto!! Great riding position and no vibration. Rizoma and Rox are quality pieces.
I would love to see this setup. Pics please?
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 09:27 AM
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+1 Me Too!
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-22-2010, 10:31 AM
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+1 here is well.

09 Versys In Go-Fast Green
Acerbis Pro Pack Handguards
Ogio Tailbag
Ogio Saddlebags
Vortex 44T Sprocket
Wolo Bad Boy Air horn
Trackside 12 volt power adaptor
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 08:16 PM
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you can buy a metric threaded rod coupler, which is basically a long nut and epoxy it to the end of the bars, then screw your stock weights in. I also run the atv mids and they're a great compromise bar, but I had to remove the crossbar for the vibes. Now it's great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nytrydr View Post
I'm not using the bar end weights and I do get vibration. It would be nice if someone like Speedy could make a nice looking billet riser with some sort of rubber mounting for the bars. plus I think the stock riser is a sorry looking piece, looks like Kawi didn't take the time here. I think my Honda TransAlp had rubber mounted risers.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 10:19 AM
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I have acerbis road guard hand guards installed so no weights for me. Ive seen some run the hand guards off the end of the weights but that put the guard too far away from your hands and makes the bars too wide for getting through tight spots.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 10:39 AM
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I have the acerbis guards also and am missing my bar end weights. My once-reliable left mirror now vibrates like it's have a seizure.

09 Versys In Go-Fast Green
Acerbis Pro Pack Handguards
Ogio Tailbag
Ogio Saddlebags
Vortex 44T Sprocket
Wolo Bad Boy Air horn
Trackside 12 volt power adaptor
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ag_streak View Post
Those look great! One of my only concerns about the Versys (I don't currently own one) is the awkward and silly-looking (to me) bars.

I have used Pro-taper aluminum fat-bars on two V-stroms I had with AMAZING results. The stiffer bars improve steering and front-end feel ALOT over the soft, flexy stock steel bars.

Adding 7/8" to 1 1/8" adaptor risers and a lower-rise bar resulted in approximately the same height, but with less sweep on the straighter, dirt-oriented fat bars.

DRASTIC improvement!

Attachment 7417
I changed to Pro-taper/Rox risers setup. Like it alot
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