Handlebar Wiring: Plain, Dimpled, Internal Wiring & Throttle By Wire

Plain, Dimpled or Internal Wired Handlebars: What’s the difference? 

If you have been looking at our Handlebars, you may have noticed a choice of different “Wiring Options”.

It is crucial to select the right option for your bike and style you’re after. Let’s walk through the options, to help figure out which is right for you.

Don’t forget, if you’re having trouble finding the right bars for you, feel free to Contact Us and we’ll help you out with the best customer service in the industry!

In A Nutshell

Here’s the short and sweet version of which Wiring Option suits what bike:

Plain: Japanese Cruisers, Triumph, Vintage Harley-Davidson with External Wiring.

Dimpled: Harley-Davidson Big-Twin & Sportsters with External Wiring and Cable-Operated Throttle.

Internal Wiring + TBW: All Internal Wiring applications (all makes & models) and Harley-Davidson with Electronic Throttle (TBW).

Wiring Options from BarCraft Handlebars


Plain or Smooth Handlebars have no features or holes in their handle-grips. This style is most commonly used on Metric Cruisers including Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki & Triumph. It is also used on vintage Harley Davidson’s (made before 1982), and all bikes with ⅞” handlebars (including Harley XG Street models, most 250cc cruisers and vintage British bikes).

In this handlebar wiring set-up, the control switch & throttle housings clamp onto the outside of the handlebar. Same goes for the clutch lever, brake lever, & mirror mounts. 

Plain smooth handlebar wiring diagram for motorcycle

This is a very straight-forward setup, in which the electrical wiring is run externally (usually zip-tied to the handlebars).

This option may also be suitable if you are planning on doing some custom work for integrated switches.


Dimpled Handlebars are used on a lot of Harley Davidson models. This includes all Sportsters, and most Big-Twin’s with 1” bars and cable-operated throttles. 

The “Dimple” is an indentation (not a hole!) in the handlebar, for the electrical wires to travel through. This dimple allows the wires to pass underneath the switch housing and lever mounts, and then run externally (down the outside) of the handlebars.

Dimpled handlebar wiring diagram for harley davidson

You can check if your Harley needs Dimpled Bars by having a quick look underneath the mirror or brake lever mount on your current handlebars.

Internal Wiring + TBW: 

Internal Wired handlebars have slotted holes machined in them, allowing the electrical wires to be routed through the inside of the handlebars. This gives a very clean, tidy look to the bike, especially with taller Ape Hangers.

This wiring option is suitable for all bikes with 1” handlebars, where you would like to run the electrical wires inside the handlebar for a clean, custom look. It is also the required option for any Harley Davidson that uses an electronic throttle, known as “Throttle By Wire” (TBW).

The “TBW” part of these bars refers to the notches machined into the throttle-side tip of the handlebar. These slots are used to accommodate the electronic throttle sensor on Harley TBW models.

All BarCraft 1-¼” handlebars also come with Internal Wiring slots and TBW notches as standard.

Internal wiring handlebar diagram for throttle by wire

It should be noted that these bars can still be used on any bike (including Harley Davidson) that do not use an electronic throttle. The throttle-side grip is 12mm shorter on these bars, so just leave a small gap at that end when you install your throttle twist-grip. This does not have any effect on the function or operation of the bike.

Internal wiring handlebar diagram without throttle by wire

If you’re unsure which option is required for your bike, we have an extensive Fitment Table included in all of our handlebar product pages. Just find your bike in this table to confirm the correct standard wiring option.

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