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Author Topic: Replace Handlebars on a Dirt Bike (KTM)  (Read 1222 times)

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Offline Postmaster

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Replace Handlebars on a Dirt Bike (KTM)
« on: November 09, 2015, 01:28:23 AM »
I know this is a simple task and something I have done many times, but I just felt like documenting how I do the process.  I am also trying out a new type and style of hand grips.

I have a 2015 KTM 500 EXC that I have had for about a year.  Several months, well about 9 actually, while going through some tight single track, I smacked a tree pretty hard.  Thank goodness for bark busters or I would have had a broken right hand.  The impact resulted in bent bars.  The stock bars.  I tried to straighten them out, but they still had a slight bend.

Back in September, I looped the bike while attempting a wheelie.  This resulted in additionally tweaking of the bars.

Both incidents can be directly related to...too much throttle and not enough ability.

I purchased some new bars and instead of the stock black KTM bars, I replaced them a set of Pro Taper -- orange of course.

Now, if any of you have ever decided to purchase new bars and wanted to research the different types of "bends," well, this is an exercise in futility.  Good lord!  There are so many different types of bends; some by racers names and some by manufacturers designation.  And don't even start with trying to open a discussion on any forum.....you'll be more confused than ever.

After several weeks, I finally found a site that gives you the best comparison of all the types of bends out there and who makes bars in certain bends and which colors.  The site is Rocky Mountain ATV.

I settled with Pro Taper Contour with a Windham bend.  This bend will raise the bars higher to make standing and using controls easier.  I also needed bars that were not as wide as the stock bars, so these would need to be cut down.

Anyway, here is my process:

The first thing to do is take all of the controls off the bars.



GPS ram mount














Naked bars



Next, remove these 4 bolts.



Bent bars gone.



Now is a good time to clean the areas that you can't normally get to.  I use WD-40 sprayed on a cloth and then wipe clean.




Here is a comparison to the stock bars and the new bars.  Doesn't seem like much, but it is a significant change.









Part of the goal when I bought new bars was to make them more narrow.  That means they will have to be cut down.  I noticed that these bars were 1/2" wider on each end, than my stock bars.  1/2" wider in total.  The majority on new bars are already marked for cutting locations so making the bars more narrow is really quite simple.  These particular bars were marked in 4 -- 1/4" increments on each side of the bar, which means you can cut these bars down by a total of 2".





I cut these bars down on the number 4 mark.  The bars were a 1/4" more narrow than my stock bars, so I shortened them by a total of 1 1/2".  Doesn't seem like much, but make navigating the tight stuff easier.  This also brings your hands closer together which places them in a natural, straight in front of you position.




Bars are also marked in the center so you can mount them in the center of you mounts.  They are also marked so you can roll the bars forward, away from you, or rear, towards you.  Each direction is given a positive or negative number, so you can easily adjust them to you preference.  I keep mine at a positive 1.  Just works for me.  You must also make sure the bars are center between the clamps by using the markings on the new bars.



Next, simply put the bars in the clamps and snugly tighten them down.  Now, get on the bike with your socket and feel the bars.  Move them to and away from you to get a feel of where you like them.  Once you fight the spot, tighten them down.



You can now put the controls and grips back on the bike.  It is never worth it to try and remove the old grips from the old bars and the old throttle tube.  Much easier to buy new ones.  Grips can be gotten for about $10 to $15, or they can get expensive.  Go ahead and buy a new throttle tube.  Motion Pro has them for about $12.00.

There is always the process of gluing on new grips and then safety wiring them on or several other different methods of making them stick.  Few things get as annoying as grips, especially the left side, turning when they should not.

However, this time I am trying something new.  I have been doing a little research and finally decided on EMIG grips.  These grips are of a different breed.  No gluing, safety wire or nothing.  The are held in place by an allen screw that tightens the entire grip onto the bar.  They will not spin.  The screw even comes with lock-tight already on it.



You simply slide the grip onto your bar, mine was really snug and I had to tap it on with a mallet.  Then you tighten down the screw.  That's it.  They even come with a new throttle tube.  You cannot use your old one.  The price is slightly more than new grips and throttle tube.   Total price is $24.00





"No Grip -- No Glory"




The throttle side is slightly different.  The grip is already made onto the tube.

The grips also come with three different "cams" for different bikes.  A chart in the package tells you which one to use.  You can also adjust the cam on the throttle tube so you can position the wording on the grip, where you want it.



Old and new.



Before you put the throttle cables back into the cam on the throttle tube, now is a good time to lube them.  I used some Strong Arm lubricant, but I'm sure anything will work fine.  Drip some oil into the cable sheathing and work the cables by hand.  Do this several times.








Now attach the throttle cables onto the new "cam," move the throttle tube to the position you like, and tighten down the clamps.





Now you simply put the controls back on the bars and adjust them, clutch and brake levers, to the position that you want, then tighten them down.

I have an aftermarket headlight switch on my bike made by SICASS Racing, so I can turn the headlight completely off.  The problem with a lot of aftermarket controls or switches, is that they often cannot be tighten down enough on the bars, so they move.  This can also happen when you use the stock controls on aftermarket bars.  Moving switches, like loose grips, is also annoying.



A little trick to avoid the slipping or moving, is to wrap about three layers of electrical tape around the bars where you are going to mount the control.  Tightens them up nicely.





Mount the controls on the right side and you are finished.




Now is a good time to go back and check EVERY bolt that you loosened or removed, then replaced.  Loose bars can be deadly.

You will notice that on the throttle side on the bars, that the kill switch and starter button control module is crooked.  I'm not real fond of it, but no way around it.  I shorted the bars and the switch was now at the bend of the bars.

You will also notice that I did not put the Pro Bend bark busters back on these bars.  On one of the hits, the bolt that was holding the bark buster bar onto the end of the handle bars was broken and ground down from the road crash.  I had to order a new set of mounting bolts from Pro Bend.  Both sides were $9.00 total.  WIll mount them when the new bolts arrive.

Total amount in bars ($67.00) and grips ($24.00), was just over $100.00.


Offline springer

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Re: Replace Handlebars on a Dirt Bike (KTM)
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2015, 03:26:40 AM »
 I rate this thread as;

 ;)

Offline Mulley

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Re: Replace Handlebars on a Dirt Bike (KTM)
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2015, 07:19:19 AM »
Great write up.  I'm sure this well help more than a few folks. It seems so simple once you've done it but the first time is a little bit confusing. I remember my first time. I didn't know which screw went in which hole. [emoji51]


The odi lock-on grips look like the ticket. You'll have to follow up on those. I think those will be my next grips as well.

Any tips for cutting the end off the grip to allow for bark busters? I know how I do it but there has to be a better way.

A good way to cut the bars off instead of using a saw is to use a copper tubing cutter, like plumbers use. They make it quick and easy and perfectly straight and smooth.



For mounting bark busters use a tap instead a friction holder. It's so much better.

I'm running these from Highway Dirt Bike on my DRZ. Install is super easy.  The tap comes with tape on it so you know how deep to go.



http://98.124.154.122/index.php?app=ccp0&ns=catshow&ref=av_inserts&sid=z1p3i2g8y56ic7o95a0a5tm105202qc1
2015 Versys 650 LT / 2016 Beta 300 RR / Suzuki DR-Z440S

Offline Postmaster

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Re: Replace Handlebars on a Dirt Bike (KTM)
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2015, 11:07:44 AM »
I used an electric hand cut off tool; grinder.  Took about 15 seconds.

Offline Shepcam

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Re: Replace Handlebars on a Dirt Bike (KTM)
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2015, 11:18:39 AM »
The tap comes with tape on it so you know how deep to go.


Quote of the year!! :o
« Last Edit: November 09, 2015, 04:43:50 PM by Mulley »
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Offline Mulley

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Re: Replace Handlebars on a Dirt Bike (KTM)
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2015, 04:43:06 PM »


The tap comes with tape on it so you know how deep to go.


Quote of the year!! :o


I was wondering who would catch that one. I should've known.
2015 Versys 650 LT / 2016 Beta 300 RR / Suzuki DR-Z440S