Motorcycle handlebar

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A right clip-on handlebar on a Suzuki with twist throttle control, brake lever, and ignition switches.
One-piece handlebars on a Ducati bolted to the triple tree with a short riser.
Ape Hangers

Motorcycle handlebar refers to the steering mechanism for motorcycles. Handlebars often support part of the rider's weight, and provide a mounting place for controls such as brake, throttle, clutch, horn, light switch, and rear view mirrors.

Types of handlebar[edit]

24 inch rise ape hanger motorcycle handlebars

Handlebars come in a variety of types designed for particular types of riding.

  • Adjustable - typically clip on style which clamp to the fork tubes either above or below the top triple clamp. While most clip on style bars allow adjustments by rotating fore and aft around the fork tube or sliding up and down, Convertibars and LSL bars incorporate a fork clamp which allows an adjustable riser to move independent of the clamp. Convertibars and Apex bars also allow hand angle adjustment. Adjustable bars can allow riders to fit their bikes to their preferred riding position.
  • Beach bars — similar to cruiser bars, slope back toward the rider to allow a relaxed riding position.
  • Clip-ons — popular on sport bikes, in which two separate short handles are attached directly to the fork tubes, as opposed to a one-piece handlebar attached to the top of the triple tree.
  • Clubman bars — common on cafe bikes. They clamp to the triple tree and are angled forward to give the rider a more aggressive riding position.
  • Cruiser handlebars — long and slope towards the rear of the motorcycle so that the rider can sit upright.
  • Drag bars — nearly straight across to create a forward-leaning and aerodynamic riding position.
  • Motocross bars — tubular bars that are clamped onto the triple tree. They are common on motocross and off-road motorcycles, as well as dual-sport, streetfighter, and supermoto bikes.
  • Z-bar — any sharply angled handlebar with either long or short straight rise sections, which are sharply angled upward from the mounting points and again sharply angled to the handgrip and control area.
  • Ape hanger handlebars — a type of bar that rises far above the mounting location so that the rider sits up and may have to reach up to use them, hence the name. They are popular on chopper motorcycles. Commercially available in heights up to 24 inches. Many riders report that when their hands are above the level of their heart for extended periods - their hands will become numb. City riding often doesn't pose this problem as riders typically lower their hands during stop light breaks. To avoid numbness during long highway trips, some riders utilize throttle locks occasionally so they don't have to pull over to lower their throttle hand to their side as needed. Some motorcycle manufacturers install cruise controls[1] which would allow the lowering of a rider's throttle hand occasionally. Some jurisdictions have regulations on how high the handgrips may be above the seat,[2] while others base regulations upon the rise of handlebars alone.
    • Buckhorn handlebars — a variation on the ape hanger, but shorter, and always with a curved back section directly before the part of the bar that mounts the handgrips and controls. They are often called "mini-apes" (miniature ape hangers), but a true buckhorn must be rounded on top, never with the sharp angles of a Z-bar on the top.


Handlebars are made from hollow metal tubing, typically aluminium alloys or chrome plated steel but also of carbon fibre and titanium, shaped to the desired contour. Holes may be drilled for the internal routing of control cables such as brake, throttle, and clutch. Risers hold the handlebars above their mounting position on the upper triple tree or the top of the fork, and may be integrated into the bar itself or separate items.

Bar-end weights are often added to either end of the handlebar to damp vibration by moving the bars' resonant frequency away from that generated by the engine. Electrical heating elements may be added under the handlebar grips to provide comfort to the user in cold weather.


There are several size parameters that describe most motorcycle handlebars.

  • Width from grip to grip may vary from 30.5 to 37 inches (770 to 940 mm).
  • May rise above triple clamp up to 24 in (610 mm) or more, called ape hangers when very high, or may drop a few inches below, called clubman bars.
  • Pullback, the distance grips are behind their mounting location, may vary from 4.25 to 17 in (108 to 432 mm).
  • Diameters vary; commonly 78, 1, and 1 14 in (22, 25, and 32 mm), though oversized bars of 1 141 12, and 1 34 in (32, 38, and 44 mm) may reduce to 1 in (25 mm) at the grips so standard controls may be mounted.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harley Part Number 77196-08 & Part Number 77197-08 depending on model and year
  2. ^