Measuring Handlebars

The Science (and Art?) of Measuring Handlebars

Straight up folks, THE most important thing to take into account here is to take your time. Don’t make it a rushed job on a Sunday night because you promised yourself to do it all weekend and didn’t get round to measuring everything up.

The old adage from carpenters in the trade of ‘measure twice, cut once’ applies here too. Granted, there is a little room for movement when it comes to fitting custom handlebars, it’s much better to spend a little more time on the measuring to start with.

Not all numbers are the same

You’ll find a number of sources on the net which spell all this out for you. Keep in mind that some parts of the World use inches and some use centimetres.  We use both :-)

What do I need to measure?

 BarCraft Handlebar Measurements

There are 3 critical elements that you will need to measure to ensure that the handlebars fit the bike. These are:

Diameter: Your handlebars will likely be either 7/8" (22mm), 1" (25mm) or 1-1/4" (32mm) in diameter. This is best checked using a set of callipers, but can also be checked by sliding off your throttle-side grip and measuring the end with a ruler or tape measure. 

Make sure to measure near the clamping area and also near the grips, as some bikes can use stepped or tapered handlebars with different diameters.

Clamping Area: This is where the handlebar bar clamps to the riser on your bike. Be sure to check that your risers are not spaced too far apart to fit this clamping section.

This is also the area on the bike where you will find the knurling. These are a textured section of the handlebar, which are used to provide extra grip and peace of mind that your handlebars are going to stay in place. While the knurls do not have to line up perfectly with your riser spacing, they should be in a location somewhere underneath your riser clamp.

Height:  As the name suggests the height is from the bottom to the top of the bar as shown in the diagram above. It is a good idea to check whether your bike will fit the new handlebars with its standard cables, or if they will need to be extended to reach taller bars. As a rule of thumb, most bikes can fit handlebars 3-4” higher than standard.

The rest of the dimensions are not critical, but should be taken into consideration for comfort reasons.

Width: People have different preferences on width. Some like them wide, others narrow, and plenty in between. It is a good idea to measure the width of your current handlebars, and compare with the new ones you are looking at.

Pullback Angle:  The best way to describe this is to imagine the handlebars up flat against a wall. The angle between the wall and the end tip of the bar is the pullback angle. Choice for comfort is important here. If the big fella in the sky has not been so generous in giving you the genes to be 5 and half feet tall or taller, you’re probably going to need a little more pullback than most.

Base Width: Check out the image above. The base width goes beyond either side of the clamping area. Base width can give an idea of how the bars will look with your forks.

Grip Length: This is the space where the rider grips the handlebars. Our standard 210mm length will fit pretty much all motorcycles.

Pullback: A little different to pullback angle. Smaller stature and/or shorter arms may call for a little more generous pull back length, or can help to sit you more upright on the bike and stop leaning forwards to reach the bars.

More information: Check out our FAQ’s page for a little more information.