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Old 02-05-2010, 11:43 PM   #1
paolohn
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Lightbulb Straight handlebars = tighter turns?

My bike's a 2001 Yamaha VStar classic [XVS 650] and I was wondering if changing the factory handlebars for straight ones would improve the bike's ability to take turns. I'm thinking that maybe the fact that changing handlebars changes the riding position, and this has an effect on how curves are taken. Opinions? Thank you for your time.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:15 AM   #2
A Star Ride
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If you were to put a straight bar (drag bar) on that bike, you'd be leaning onto it which likely be less comfortalble, and possably unsafe considering if there is weight on the grips, you have to balance that too to prevent unwanted "steering". Also, it may hit your tank at full steer.
Myself not being a sportrider, I'd say lower center of gravity should always result in better handling, but your going to have your grips about 4 inches forward and 6 inches lower, thats a pretty big egronomic change.
I'd recommend a "straighter" bar not a straight bar, also the FREE alternative would be to loosen the tree and just rotate the bar toward you and downward, getting it closer to you rather then further (again check for clearance, and re-level master cylinder & adjust lever angles). Your riding position may actually be raising the overall center of gravity though, but your bike isnt designed to handle great, it's designed to handle as well as they can engineer it without compromising the styling points.
Good luck
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
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Wow, thanks a lot for the info! I didn't even know the name was "drag bar" I'm such a newbie. Given the info, I might not tamper with the way it is for a while now. Though making better turns is important, as my city is filled with uphill curves. Again thanks!

What about tire width? Will wider tires give me more balance for tighter turns or will it just make it harder? Just curious. And you're right: I don't think my bike was designed to handle great, at least it wasn't made for curvy roads.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:50 PM   #4
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Regarding your tire size, visit the thread titled 1988 Hurricane CBR 1000. Deep discussion regarding tire sizing and what's recomended or not recomended and what differences the changes make. You, being a new rider probably wouldnt notice either way really.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:52 PM   #5
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Hey to the rest of yall, any other feedback on this guys handlebars or did I kill it?
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Star Ride View Post
Hey to the rest of yall, any other feedback on this guys handlebars or did I kill it?
You're good (okay).

I agree, drag bars are good for going straight, not so good for the turns. If the OP (original poster) wants to improve turning, my recommendation would be to either 1) go for wider bars or 2) keep the stock bars. Generally, wider bars = better leverage, but reach and overlap need to be considered.

As far as the tires issue goes, my understanding is that wider tires actually slow the steering response (but will often soften the ride). One solution may be to go for a skinnier tire, but then we get into the "is it safe to run one size up or down" debate. Going one size down may improve turning but may worsen comfort.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:51 PM   #7
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wider bars = better leverage, but reach and overlap need to be considered
Reach and overlap? I don't understand these terms. I'm 6'1 with long arms so I don't think I'm having any trouble with reaching for wider bars. And yes, Thicker tires would only make steering harder I guess :P I'm just randomly guessing, but in the end maybe I just need a standard/sport bike to handle all this curves my hometown has to offer. I love my cruiser though, the curve handling is just a minor setback.
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by paolohn View Post
Reach and overlap? I don't understand these terms. I'm 6'1 with long arms so I don't think I'm having any trouble with reaching for wider bars. And yes, Thicker tires would only make steering harder I guess :P I'm just randomly guessing, but in the end maybe I just need a standard/sport bike to handle all this curves my hometown has to offer. I love my cruiser though, the curve handling is just a minor setback.
Reach = imagine you're sitting on your couch in the motorcycle position. Now, widen your grip three inches on each side. Now turn your imaginary handlebars to full lock. Your arm, either left or right, will be further away from you with wider bars vs. narrow bars (more leverage, but also more reach). At 6'1", you shouldn't have a problem.

Overlap is when the bars might overlap with the tank. If they aren't high enough, smash goes your knuckes into the tank when you turn. It can (and does) happen.

I saw a short dude, approx. 5'4" riding a H-D with drag bars. He was bent almost all the way forward just going straight. I can't imagine how he would be able to turn safely (unless he turned with both hands) due to the raked-out front and drag bars.

As far as cruiser bikes go, I've seen guys hustle some Harleys and Honda Goldwings through some pretty tight stuff with no problems. For commuting, as well as the twisties, it's hard to beat the naked standard bikes: Suzuki SV650, Buell XB9S, Ducati Monster 696, Triumph Bonneville. (Disclaimer: These are the bikes I love!)

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Old 02-07-2010, 04:43 PM   #9
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I put drag bars on my Low Rider, but it was never a "handling bike" so it didn't matter that much. The buckhorns it came with were probably better.
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:05 PM   #10
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My tour deluxe has some very wide (stock) bars, and at full bore I do ether have to lean forward, or release the far grip, granted feet are down and I'm walking the bike.
If you feel your at your bikes cornering limits, decide if your really in that much of a hurry, or if you feel your more the sport type rider. The nakeds are more maneuverable then the cruisers, but not of race caliber so its a good middle of the road fit (or a vmax).
I have a touring criuser and I love my shiny bits, but if I were in the market right now I'd likely lean more in the direction of a true tourig bike. The shine only does ya good when its parked, and I'd rather just wash it like a car & go rather then spending an hour polishing things before I leave. I'm not even 40 yet and I want a BMW, WTF's wrong with me?
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