Most motorcyclists don’t pay much thought to how their handlebars are positioned, but adjusting them can make a big difference in comfort. If you’ve ever felt like your bike tilts to one side while you’re riding, you know what I’m talking about. While some riders panic and think it’s a bent fork leg, it’s usually an issue with the handlebars. In this guide, I’ll show how you can straighten out motorcycle handlebars.
How To Tell If You Have Bent Handlebars
Whether you ride motorcycles or are just an enthusiast, you must know that a good seat isn’t the only essential for a comfortable and safe ride. You have to make sure that the handlebars don’t have any bends and are completely straight. But do you figure out if handlebars need straightening? Here are a few things to look out for.
For starters, check the bars to make sure they’re at level with each other. If not, they need straightening. Then, it’s possible that your bike leans to one side when you’re riding. This can make motorcycle riding dangerous and puts you at risk of accidents. And if not that, you’ll experience serious discomfort on long rides.
Some people would install an aftermarket seat to be comfortable without knowing what exactly is causing the problem.
You should also check the grip area and brake lever. If they’re misaligned, it’s a sign that you have a bent handlebar.
Why You May Have Bent Handlebars
You may end up with misaligned or crooked bars if you’ve dropped the bike on its side or knocked it over. Other times it can happen is when you crash the bike into something or the bolts come loose. Maybe you put your motorcycle on bike stand for some maintenance work and it fell.
Whatever has disturbed your handlebars’ stock position, you will have to get hands-on with your motorcycle to fix bet handlebars.
There are three bolts securing the handlebars to the bike. Two clamp bolts hold the bars to the head, while the headset clamp bolt helps align the headset with the rest of the frame. Whether you’re fixing the handlebars on a road or mountain bike, the process is quite similar.
How To Tell Your Handlebars are Bent by Looking At The Bar Clamps
In some cases when there’s just a slight bend, it’s difficult to tell. In that case, sit on your bike and make sure it’s upright. Then, stand up so you’re looking down at the bar clamps. Then, draw a visual line between the handlebar clamps and the top yoke. If the line isn’t straight, it means that the bars need fixing.
How To Tell Where The Bars Are Bent
If you can’t tell where your handlebars are bent, you’ll have to take them off the bike and remove any accessories on them including the clutch and the brake lever. What you have in front of you now is the stock bars.
Set your handlebars on a flat surface. Check to see if all four points of your handlebars are touching the flat surface.
I recommend using a granite countertop, as it’s highly accurate. Cement slabs aren’t ideal as they allow too much variation in height.
Now, if all four points touch the flat surface, it means the bars are straight. If not, you’ll see which three points are touching and which isn’t. This way, you can spot where the bend is.
Of course, if the bars have taken up too much damage, you may need to replace them with new bars.
What You’ll Need to Fix Bent Handlebars
There could be many reasons why your handlebars are a slightly bent. Maybe it’s because you fell or they’ve gotten old. It could be because you got a new bike and can’t get used to the bars. Regardless, you need the right tools.
For one, you require a socket wrench that matches the bolts on your bars. Then, you’ll need pliers to loosen up the bolts. Once, they’re loose, use the wrench to turn them. After your bars are in the desired position, tighten the bolts with pliers. You’re all set! You can use simple tools to fix your bent handlebar.
How to Straighten Out Motorcycle Handlebars for a More Comfortable Ride Without Any Damage
Fixing bent handlebars to make them straight is among the most common adjustments riders make to their motorcycles. This helps improve aerodynamics, comfort, or just give the bike a new look. But remember to be careful when making adjustments, as you may end up with a damaged handlebar otherwise.
The easiest way to do this is by loosening the bolts holding them in place. Then, slowly bend the handlebar until they’re straight. Lastly, tighten the bolts again and check if everything is in place before riding your bike.
How To Fix Handlebars if They’re Bent Down or Backward
First, check the bar ends to see which one is bent. Then, turn the wheel all the way so it’s in the opposite direction of the bent bar end.
Grab the grip with both hands and lean the motorcycle over. Using the weight of the bike, jerk the bent handlebar in the right direction.
This is an effective way to fix the bend in your handlebars when there’s an obvious bend and you don’t have many tools on hand.
Maintenance Tips to Remember
Once you straighten the bars, it ensures a stable riding position when you’re out on the road. It also prevents the risk of the bike suddenly changing direction and heading towards obstacles like traffic.
A quick way to address the issue is to use a special straightening tool that you can easily find at plenty of motorcycle shops.
Insert the straightening tool into the bar end and twist it until the bars look balanced. This only takes a few minutes and helps keep your motorcycle in great shape to ensure a safer ride.
Fixing bent single-piece handlebars
If your motorcycle handlebars are a single piece, start by removing them from the rest of the motorcycle. Check for any obvious signs that it’s bent, like cracked metal or paint. If you see these, it means the bars are definitely bent.
The bars need to be symmetrical, so you should check this using an angle finder. Place it on each bend of your handlebar and compare it with the angle of the same bend on the other side. If they’re not the same, it means the bar is bent somewhere.
In this case, opting for replacement aftermarket bars is the easiest way to fix the issue. They’re not very expensive and are a more reliable solution.
FAQs on Straightening Motorcycle Handlebars
While plenty of riders have straightened their motorcycle bars before, it can be intimidating for people who’ve never done it before. Here are some of the most common questions they tend to ask.
How do I fix bent motorcycle bars?
So the best way to straighten them out is to use a hydraulic press. If you don’t have access to one and bending them in place doesn’t work, use a hammer and anvil.
How much does straightening motorcycle handlebars cost?
The cost can depend on the type of bars on your motorcycle and severity of damage. You can expect to pay somewhere between $50 and $100 for a professional to straighten them.
Is it difficult to straighten motorcycle bars?
It’s only difficult if you lack experience. But with some patience and appropriate tools, it’s easy to fix bent bars.
How do I know if my motorcycle handlebars need straightening?
There are a couple of signs that the handlebars are bent in some places. Start by checking to see if the right side is at the same level as the left.
Then, look for bends or kinks in the bars. If you spot any, they need straightening.
Not to mention, if your bike is leaning to the side while riding, it’s a significant sign that the bars are bent.
Are there any risks of fixing bent handlebars?
When you try fixing bent handlebars, you risk damaging the bars or even the bike’s frame. Even so, these are minor risks that you can avoid by carefully following instructions and using appropriate tools.
Can I fix a bend in the handlebars myself?
You don’t need a professional to fix a bend in your handlebars, so long as you have the right tools and know what steps to take. Of course, if you’re unsure, you can just take the bike to a mechanic. They have equipment that can accurately measure how bent the bars are, and can fix them without any damage.
What do I need to fix the bend in my handlebars?
You should get a wrench set that comes with both metric and standard sizes. This way, you don’t have to worry about it matching the bolts on your bike. You’ll also need a pair of of pliers.
If you spot a bend in your handlebars, you have to straighten them out to avoid the risk of accidents, especially when riding at a high speed. And now that you know what tools to use and how to fix it, it’s a simple process that you can do at home. Even if you’re feeling unsure, you can always get help from a mechanic. Whichever way you opt to fix the bend, doing so increases safety. Of course, just make sure you do it carefully to avoid damaging the bars.