So, a few weeks back I decided to swap my stock '07 883L bars with drag bars (PN 56558-95) . I wasn't convinced I would like them, so I didn't want to spend money on new cables and such. Just a quick and dirty trial to see if I liked them. I wanted to be able to ride with them to see how it felt as I had concerns about my back.
I posted in a couple other threads about it and got asked several questions. I ended up swapping back to the stock bars for my trip to the XL List Kansas City Rally (>3000 miles, see my ride report here
). But, I REALLY liked the bike with the drag bars so I knew I would be returning to them once home. Well, I've been home for about 24 hours...time to change back. I did a search and couldn't find any How-To posts on the subject so I figured I would take lots of pictures and do a short write-up since there's often questions on the subject.
WARNING/DISCLAIMER - I rarely look at my service manual...I probably should, but don't. I probably do some things they don't recommend or have a different approach on. Please, refer to your manual and take everything I say as rubbish. This is just what works for me, not necessarily the "proper" way to do things.
Ok, this whole process is really short. Even taking photos, it was about 45 minutes to an hour. If your replacing your grips or swapping cables at the same time, it would definitely take longer. With stock grips, well I think you'll have to replace them as the left grip is glued on if I remember correctly. That would still only take a few extra minutes.
Tools you'll need:
- 1/4" Hex Drive (Allen wrench) - I use a socket with extension for this.
- 25 Torx - I use a folding wrench for these.
- 27 Torx - I use a folding wrench for these.
- (2) 3/8" open-end wrenches - Adjustables would probably work?
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Diagonal Cutters (for cutting zip ties)
- Some cardboard - I like to use the light cardboard from an oil filter box, but anything will work.
Let's get started...
If you care about your paint, you should probably use a towel over your tank and also over your headlight eyebrow. I don't care...just thought I'd mention in case you do.
I should also mention, both sides are the same process. Since I'm not swapping grips, it's not an issue. If you have stock grips, plan on replacing them or doing things differently since they are glued on.
First things first, put a piece of cardboard in the levers. The first time I read that somewhere online I thought people were joking. After reading a million threads about guys wrecking their brake light switches I've concluded they are NOT joking. All it takes is a little paper or card board wadded up and stuck in behind the lever. On 2007 and newer bikes you'll want to do this on both levers as they have a switch on the clutch side (older bikes just do the brake/throttle side). The point of this is there is a little contact switch that makes contact with the lever when it is completely released. You want to hold the lever slightly depressed while moving things around so this little switch's tit doesn't get broken off. I used the cardboard from a oil filter box folded up a couple of times (look closely below and you'll see it shoved in there right next to the bottom of the mirror stem):
The stock low bars have 4 wire holders, I remove them with needle nose pliers. It ain't pretty when I'm done, but they come out (and I've been able to reuse them!).
With that out of the way, loosen the switch housing screws. This takes a 25 Torx wrench. No need to back them out far, just a turn or two loose will work. (If you are replacing the grips or throttle cable, you might as well back them the whole way out.) There's two screws for the switch housing, one on top and one on the bottom:
Next loosen the clamp screws for the lever perch. There's two screws, top and bottom, size Torx 27. Take these screws VERY loose (you will end up eventually taking them out, but there's probably no need to yet).
With both sides loosened up, undo the clamp holding the bar. Be forewarned...if you don't have a helper, the bars will swing down and possibly (read probably) hit the tank at this point!
This is a 1/4" Hex Drive (Allen bolt). Set the speedo on the eyebrow (that you covered before with a towel, right?).
Completely loosen the screw holding the lever perch clamps. Be careful, there are little plastic washers that hold the screws captive. It's not a big deal if these get messed up it just makes it a little more cumbersome during reassembly. Here's pic showing the little nuts:
Also, as you remove these screws, hold onto the lever...it will just drop off. Just let the master cylinder (or on the other side the clutch lever/cable) hang off to the side for the time being.
Now by moving the bars off to the side you should be able to easily slide the switch housing off:
Everything just hanging off:
Time to clamp the new bars in place! Just place the bars in the clamp and reassemble. Just draw the screws down, don't tighten yet as you'll want to make adjustments to their angle. I am careful at this stage to center the bars as it's a bit difficult once the clamp is in place to see if they are truly centered.
Now this might end up being controversial...proceed with caution. The brake line, how it is run in the stock configuration, won't work with the short bars (it hits the clamp for the speedo). I simply loosen the bango bolt (12 mm socket) and leave it slightly loose while I line everything up. And when I say loose, I mean just
so I can rotate the brake line. I do recommend bleeding the line if you loosen it...but I haven't bothered!
One of my next projects is replacing the brake line and front caliper...so I'll worry about it then.
I do have to temporarily clamp the master cylinder onto the bar to break the bolt loose:
I really recommend leaving that loose only as long as you have to get the right side setup. And have rags ready, you'll get at least a drip out of it. AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT SQUEEZE THE LEVER WITH THE BANGO BOLT LOOSE
... You will end up with a mess...ask me how I know.
To start reassembly, you'll slide the switch housings on and roughly into place and snug the switch housing screws (don't tighten as you'll likely still need to adjust). You'll want to make sure the wires coming from the switch housing are tucked into the dimples. Again, many guys bitch because their electrical stop functioning properly after doing a bar swap...it's because they aren't careful here and pinch a wire (or two). Take your time.
Then mount the levers, making sure they seat TIGHTLY against the switch housing (if you don't get this right, your brake light won't work). With the brake side, you'll need to swing the brake line around to clear the bars and speedo clamp/bracket. Once you get this roughly in place and snugged up, tighten the bango bolt.
Now, you have everything snug but not tight. It's time to check for clearances. With these short bars, the switch housings will be VERY close to the tank. This may take the longest out of the whole ordeal. Have patience. Time now will might save your tank from dings. It took quite a bit of fiddling to get, but I have a little bit of clearance on either side. The throttle/brake side is EXTREMELY close (less then 1/8"):
Also, try sitting on the bike to see how the levers are positioned:
Once you like how everything is set up...tighten down ALL the bolts. For the bar clamp, I usually do both bottom bolts then the two top bolts. I read on here something similar to that and that a cross pattern doesn't work as well. I'm sure the manual would tell you the exact procedure. I tend to wing it...
You'll need to spend some time aiming your turn signals and mirrors. You may have to loosen the stem of the mirror to reposition it enough to work. Some guys swap the mirrors to the bottom...I haven't yet but probably will eventually. Also, I pull all the wiring back to the left side of the neck and zip tie the excess there. The clutch cable is clearly too long. I just try to keep it clear of the front fender/tire. Also remember, the clutch cable can't have sharp bends in it. I also use zip ties to hold the throttle cables to the forks.
I've also found every time I change the bars I need to readjust the throttle cables (the clutch seems fine). Its simply takes two 3/8" open end wrenches to loosen the lock nut on the adjuster (under the rubber bootie).
I won't get into the throttle cable adjustment (there's a few good posts around here on how to do that, see chrishajer's post here
...it's for carb bikes but the same idea applies), but will say if you follow your service manual (at least in 07) it's wrong and you will be confused. Just make sure there's no binding and the throttle opens and closes fully (check with the bars turned to full lock in either direction).
Now just go out and ride! (put long pants on first though!)
Here's before and after photos:
There's probably some other stuff...but that's about it. If I remember anything else, I'll post it up.