If you’re thinking of swapping out those old handlebars, it’s important to take accurate measurements first. Otherwise your new bars might not fit quite right. but how to measure motorcycle handlebar diameter?
Luckily, measuring everything is pretty straightforward. Knowing all these key details will help you choose replacement bars that are an exact fit. It may sound like a bit of work now but it’ll save loads of hassle later if they don’t line up right! Let’s find out how you can do motorcycle handlebar measurements.
How to Measure Motorcycle Handlebar Diameter
The measurement of a motorcycle handlebar includes measuring the diameter, width, pullback, height, grip length.
The diameter is one of the most important measurements, since it needs to match up with your existing handlebar mounts and grips. You’ll want your new bars to work seamlessly with the rest of your setup.
Checking the diameter is as simple as using a tape measure. Just wrap it around one end of the bar where the grip has been removed. Make sure to get an accurate read by going all the way around.
Most bars will have a diameter of either 7/8 inch or 1 inch. Harleys typically come with 1-inch bars, while Japanese and European brands usually use 7/8 inch. It’s good to know which one yours has so you order replacement bars in the same size.
You can also double check the diameter where the other grip is still on. Sometimes bars are tapered so they slope gradually from a thicker center down to the ends. But in general, stick with the 7/8 or 1 inch sizing and your new grips should slide right on.
The width of the handlebars makes a difference in how the bike feels under you. Wider bars can provide better control, while narrower bars may feel more nimble. Measuring your current width is a good starting point.
To get the measurement, you’ll need a broomstick or yardstick. Having a second person help can also make this easier.
First, sit on the bike holding the stick across the outer edges of the bars. Make sure your hands are in a comfortable riding position.
Now have your assistant measure the distance between your hands. Jot that number down and also take note of whether you think you’d prefer bars that are slightly wider or narrower. A half inch difference either way can change the ergonomics.
Measuring your existing bars is definitely recommended before shopping for replacements. Subtle variations in width can hugely impact how the bike feels under you in turns or at speed. Use your first measurement as a baseline, then you’ll know right away if new bars seem like a better fit.
When measuring pullback, you should think about your individual riding position and comfort level. Pullback refers to how far inward the bars curve toward your body.
To define it more clearly, imagine the handlebars lying flat against a wall. The pullback angle is how much they bend away from the wall toward you, the rider.
Measuring pullback distance is simple with a string. Tie one end to the center of a broomstick laid across the bars. Then attach a washer or nut to the other end of the string and hold it out in front of the bars. Have your assistant measure from the washer to the center point between the bars.
Your height and arm length will affect your ideal pullback. Shorter riders generally want more pullback for an upright riding stance. Meanwhile, taller folks may do fine with less bend.
Don’t forget to consider this ergonomic factor when shopping. Adjusting pullback is an easy way to customize your riding position for comfort and control.
When measuring handlebar height, you must note a few key dimensions:
- Overall bar height is the distance from the lowest point at the base all the way up to the highest point near the center.
- Grip height refers to how high your hands rest at the end of the bars.
To measure overall height, lay a yardstick across the top of the bars at their peak. Have your helper measure from the bottom to the yardstick.
For grip height, lay the yardstick across just above where your hands go. Then measure from the base of the bars up to the yardstick’s level.
Double check that any new bars you get will have enough total rise to accommodate your bike’s wiring and cabling without needing extensions. As a general rule, most handlebars can increase about 3-4 inches over stock.
Taking these key height measurements will help you evaluate riser or bar options and their potential to change your ergonomics for better or worse.
Additional Tips for Motorcycle Handlebar Measurements
A few other notes when measuring handlebars:
- Check the riser spacing (distance between them). Bars need enough room at the mounting point.
- Jot down the center bar width for fit reference.
- Note the degree of bend if your bars have an angle to them.
It’s super important to measure your existing bars as accurately as possible for reference points when shopping. Even small deviations from stock could feel off.
And don’t forget – double check all your measurements against the specs for anything you’re considering! Better to re-measure twice than end up with bars that seem “close enough” but don’t quite line up right.
Taking the time to record all the key details about your current setup will help you find the perfect replacement bars.
Motorcycle Handlebar Diameter Chart
|Diameter (inches)||Common Brands|
|7/8″||Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, KTM, BMW, Ducati|
|1″||Harley-Davidson, Indian, Triumph, Victory, Buell|
|1-1/8″||Some late model Harleys (2000s+)|
|1-1/4″||Found on some cruiser-style bikes and choppers for extra wide feel|
- Most sportbikes, standards and touring models use 7/8″ bars
- Cruisers, bobbers and choppers often have 1″ or larger diameter
- Always double check your specific bike’s stock bar size
- Tapered bars may vary slightly at grip and clamping areas
- Aftermarket accessory bars come in a range of diameters
FAQs About How to Measure Motorcycle Handlebar Diameter
What tools do I need to measure my handlebar diameter?
The main tool needed is a tape measure. You can also use calipers for a more precise measurement. Having a friend help is recommended.
Can I measure my handlebar diameter with just a ruler?
Yes, you can use a ruler to measure the diameter if you don’t have a tape measure. Just be sure to wrap it all the way around the bar end for an accurate reading.
My bars have a stepped diameter, how do I know which size to get?
For tapered or stepped bars, measure the diameter at both the grip end and the clamping area. Buy replacement bars that match both measurements to ensure proper fit.
What should I do if my handlebar measurement isn’t exact to a standard size?
If your bar diameter is between common sizes like 7/8″ and 1″, choose the larger size as bars are generally rated by their minimum diameter. Better to be slightly loose than too tight.
Can I change my handlebar diameter when replacing bars?
You can choose a new diameter but will need to also change out your grips and switch bar clamps/risers to match. Stick to the stock diameter when possible for an easier installation.
How do I know if my bike uses metric or standard sizes?
Japanese, European and most modern bikes use metric (7/8″), while Harley and some American brands use standard (1″). Refer to your owner’s manual or OEM part specs for confirmation.