Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation builds some of the best built bars in the industry. If you are like most bikers you want to customize your bike. The handlebars and seat are two of the easiest ways to change how your bike feels and rides. If you are a Road King owner like myself the stock Harley-Davidson bars might have the nostalgic look you fell in love with but as far as comfort it’s not there. On long trips you will feel a burning sensation between your shoulder blades and neck area from leaning over too much.
Searching for new bars can be as troublesome as anything with all the different bars on the market and not knowing how they will sit on your bike once installed can drive a man mad! Looking for more comfortable ride, good wrist angle, and keeping your budget in mind, is always tough. If you have the time and some mechanical skills you can install the bars yourself (invite a buddy and bring some beer) it will take a while especially if you are running wires internally. Nice round bends make for a much easier wire pull then the Monkey Bars 90 deg bends, but with a couple of tips it can be done and will save you a ton allowing for you to upgrade your bars. I opted for this option after researching online tons of good videos on handlebar installation. The steeler wanted close to $1500 for the install, we did it for around a third of the cost.
After finding the bars on Ebay with no tax and free shipping my bars were on their way and came in three days. Now the prep work begins. I went down the hardware store and picked up some 16 gauge wire to extend the bars +8 and some nice thin chain link (good tip for angled bars) cut to about four feet to pull the wires with. You will need a soldering set including shrink wraps and a heat gun or lighter. I also went down to my local HD dealer and picked up some new Polyurethane riser bushings (recommended anytime you upgrade to a bigger bar) and a one piece top clamp needed for all 2007 and earlier touring models. The HD stock bushings are made of cheap rubber and the upgrades ranging from $35-50 depending on where you get them is well worth the price.
After gathering all the items we started tearing apart the nacelle and gathering parts keeping them together and organized. This is not a difficult task just time-consuming many rings and bolts to take off. Once the wiring and risers are exposed start dismantling the handlebar, throttle, clutch etc.
- Tip: It helps to have a nice work area when internally wiring your bars. It can get frustrating so just take your time and be patient especially with these bars. Chain is used because the weight flows through the bar easy and the wires can be attached by tape making for an easier pull. Make sure not to bundle all the wires in the same area creating a larger bundle that will have to go through the corners. Stagger your wires to create less drag. Also some type of lube helps to get it past 90 deg bends.
Before taking off old bars, unscrew risers and replace old bushings with new Polyurethane ones. After running wires solder everything back up, install bars and plug-in your wiring harness. Set the angle you want your bars at and replace the Nacelle headlight and you’re good to go. All this took a few hours but doing it yourself allows you to learn more about your bike and that’s always a good feeling.
- Review: After having the bars on for a couple of months I have to say these bars are awesome! Comfort has been elevated so I can now lean back a bit in my seat and the rise is perfect allowing my arms to be straight across taking shoulder pain away. I have gone on a couple 500-600 mile trips and these have made the biggest difference in my opinion. The bars are 1.5 ” and feel like a solid beefy bar. The welds are strong and the width is good as well. If you’re thinking about upgrading your bars then I would take a strong look at Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation Monkey Bars! If you can do the work yourself then the price isn’t a huge issue. I get lots of compliments everywhere I go and the bars just feel badass! Keep tuned for more good reviews and how to segments.