Author Topic: Handlebar fitment  (Read 1693 times)

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Blaqkfox

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on: May 01, 2022, 01:39:57 am
Trying to figure out why my handlebars aren't straight.

It seemed like my bars were just slightly bent. The bike has been dropped atleast once before (not by me thankfully, but the previous owner).

I ordered some new bars, and just finished installing them. Only to find the crooked-ness still exist.

Ive always suspected my forks were a little twisted, but this isn't my first rodeo with twisted forks. The handlebar to casque or whatever that headlight housing is called, don't seem to line up. If the headlight is straight on the bars are ever so slightly crooked.

These new bars I ordered are genuine RE (supposedly... I mean they did come a plastic bag labeled as such and came from India). But I apparently ordered a different style, these are more like dirt bike bars. Im not sure I love them but I didn't love the ones that were on it either so its whatever.

These bars are a lot more narrow I noticed, which is actually good, it was a tight squeeze to get this bike through the door of the shop.

Unfortunately, the bars didn't bolt right up. I had two major issues...

the top chrome bolts next to the stem nut for the chrome handlebar clamp would not line up for love or money. I tried for an hour but the holes refused to line up. I ended up breaking out the stepped drill bit to enlarge the hole up top on one of them and had to tap them with a hammer to get them into place.

Im guessing this is more due to thicker chrome plating in that area or something of that nature? maybe the holes weren't drilled square back in India? would explain why my bars are just crooked enough that I notice when I lay hands on them...

The bars are the same 7/8ths size as the old ones btw so its not like I accidentally ordered 1in bars or something like that.

It was also difficult to get the controls on the bars placed appropriately since they were more narrow. Im running the larger and deeper 7in headlamp so things are TIGHT in the housing. But thats really my doing more than anything I guess.

In my attempts to situate everything appropriately I accidentally over torqued the clutch lever clamp and broke it  :-\

So I guess ill be ordering a new set of levers. which is kinda needed anyways, idk why but mine are golden, looks like somebody maybe tried to paint them years ago or something.

Any recommendations on levers and bars to run?

Heres what I have now...







This is what the old bars looked like that I didn't love either...



-Adam


Adrian II

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Reply #1 on: May 01, 2022, 04:16:16 pm
It is ENTIRELY possible that the handlebar clamp area of your headlamp casquette (or nacelle if you have an old Triumph, it's all their fault) was machined slightly off. New or at least better ones shouldn't be too difficult to find. Other wise you can try slackening off the forks in their mounts, bouncing the front end up and down a few times with the front brake on and re-tighten everything to see if indeed there was some fork misalignment.

Handlebars are entirely a matter of personal preference, I ended up with a set of Triumph T140(?) semi-western bars. I am quite tall at 6'2". Whatever bars you fit, don't forget to drill for the little 5mm locating nubs on the switchgear bodies.

For cosmetic reasons I also junked the casquette/nacelle/ugly lump thingy altogether in favo(u)r of one of Hitchcocks' alloy cafe racer top yokes which kept the speedometer, ignition switch and ammeter in roughly their original positions, which avoided the need for any re-wiring. This let me use a traditional 7" headlamp with one of H's 1950s headlamp bracket kits (trimmed by ⅜" at the tops to fit this particular yoke) to keep it all nice and neat (still with stock bars at that stage).





There are other after-market styles of top yoke that will fit the OEM triple tree. Or you can raid the vintage Redditch parts bins... My current Electra-X is (very slowly) being customized into a street-tracker. If other projects don't keep getting in the way I might even finish it one day.



Oh yes, before I forget, torque wrenches have no business being anywhere near an Electra-X, especially any alloy casting!

Hope this helps.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...


Blaqkfox

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Reply #2 on: May 02, 2022, 03:31:56 am
Well I took a closer look at it today, and if the bars are straight the cassette is off and vice versa.

Could this simple be from forks being twisted?

My front fender is tweaked from the forks being twisted. Been like that since I got it.

I suppose I should just loosen the clamps up and see what happens, less talk more do.

I did ride it today even with the broken clutch lever bracket, fortunately it doesnt really move the way its wedged in place from the cable and handlebar switch so it still rides normal, and the new bars really grew on me. Its not as comfortable of a wrist position as the old bars, but it feels much more nimble and responsive with the more narrow bars. I quite like the action of it actually.
-Adam


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Reply #3 on: May 02, 2022, 12:04:04 pm
I suppose the quickest way to check whether the handlebar mounting position in the casquette is correct, is with a totally straight piece of ⅞" tube or bar and some measurements. If you have the bars straight and the headlamp is pointing slightly to the left or right you have a faulty casquette. If the headlamp centers at 90° to some straight tubing in the handlebar mount but the WHEEL is off to one side or the other you have got your forks in a twist.

If the previous owner managed to drop the bike it is possible that the frame itself might be bent, though this is less likely.

Slacken off the front wheel axle nut, the pinch bolt on the other fork leg, the front fender bolts, the two clamp bolts on the bottom yoke/triple tree, and the clamp the clamp bolt (an allen screw) for the steering stem at the back of the casquette. Push the bike up with the front wheel against a suitable wall for the reset game of front end bouncy-bouncy(!). if you're worried that the front brake could be pulling things over to the left.

More extreme symptoms of something wrong could be down to slightly bent fork stanchions or even the frame, but you have other things you can check first.

A.
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Blaqkfox

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Reply #4 on: July 07, 2022, 11:09:07 pm
Bit of an odd question, but have you ever installed a different set of bars, on any bike really, and had it just hurt you to ride?

I put those new bars on and went for a ride and now ive had costochondritis (inflammation of the ligaments that connect to the sternum) for like two weeks and haven't been able to ride.

At first I thought it was because I went on the longest bike ride ive ever been on, and then I thought it was my backpack so I got some saddle bags, but I just tried to ride again and it really hurts. Granted maybe its just im not all the way healed up yet, but I can get on my Buddys trail 90 and im fine the whole time, but go for even a leisurely 15 min ride on the enfield and suddenly I have terrible chest pains.

I don't get it. I feel fine and commutable and relaxed when I ride, but it just randomly starts to hurt. its the weirdest thing. I did take off the bar end weights come to think but I can't imagine that would be it.

at any rate the bars weren't the issue, these new bars are crooked still, so its gotta be something with the forks or headlight housing, ill probably put the old bars back on. The new bars felt nimble and more responsive, but the old bars were more commutable.
-Adam


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Reply #5 on: July 08, 2022, 12:54:48 am
You might have to play with the riding position and choice of handlebars until you get it right. Try different shapes of bar until you find something ergonomically correct. The UK importers have several custom versions of he Electra-X, their final offering before the EFI models took over was the Electra-Woodsman, this had rear-set footrests, odd for a trail bike, but they'd obviously had some feed back about the riding position.

I don't think a slightly-off steering adjustment/fork alignment would cause the pain you describe, though it's better if everything DOES line-up properly. Would a fairing or even just a wind-shield help by reducing wind pressure?

A.
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allanfox

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Reply #6 on: January 26, 2023, 04:11:48 pm
on my Electra X I thought I had the same problem, all looked a bit twisted when you looked down when riding it.   Turns out the tank is a bit twisted, welded together on the slight wonk. Once I got my head around that  I just stopped looking down and 'presto' happiness!!!

The bars are straight but you are lining then up with a twisted tank/nacelle?


Paul W

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Reply #7 on: January 28, 2023, 04:04:57 pm
The fuel tank on my 2004 350 Bullet Electra is also "wonky". It leans to the left, to the extent that my left knee has partly worn away the top coat on that that side!

It looks like the top and the bottom pressings of the tank weren't properly lined up when the two were welded together. One day I might get around to fitting a nice chrome or ally replacement if I win the lottery.
Paul W.


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Reply #8 on: January 28, 2023, 04:45:18 pm
My old Electra-X tank (a black and chrome replacement for the original) always looked crooked, but I think it was just the paint job wasn't symmetrical. Disconcerting, though.

I did buy an autojumbe RE tank cheap that made seriously wonky as an emergency spare. Never used it!

Alloy tank, you say?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/155378712613

A.
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Paul W

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Reply #9 on: January 28, 2023, 10:00:52 pm
I also mentioned the need for a lottery win….
Paul W.