Motorcycle enthusiasts are constantly seeking ways to enhance their riding experience and maximize comfort. One popular modification that has gained traction in recent years is the adoption of clip-on motorcycle handlebars. These innovative components can significantly impact the overall feel and performance of a motorcycle, making them an appealing option for riders looking to optimize their bike’s handling capabilities.
Clip-on handlebars are an aftermarket addition designed to replace the stock handlebars on a motorcycle. By attaching directly to the fork tubes, these adjustable bars provide more range than traditional handlebars, allowing riders to fine-tune their ergonomics and find the perfect balance between comfort and control. Additionally, those who participate in racing favor clip-ons because they enable an aggressive, forward-leaning riding posture that improves aerodynamics and overall performance.
To make an informed choice about upgrading to clip-on handlebars, it is important to know what their main benefits are as well as any possible downsides. Motorcycle fans can figure out if clip-ons are the best option for their riding needs and tastes by carefully weighing these factors.
What Are Clip-Ons For Motorcycle?
Clip-ons are specialized handlebars for motorcycles that offer a more aggressive and aerodynamic riding position. They are typically made of two parts: the handlebar itself and a clamp that attaches to the fork of the motorcycle. The primary purpose of clip-ons is to improve handling and performance during high-speed riding, such as on racing circuits or twisty roads.
Material-wise, clip-ons are usually made of aluminum or carbon fiber, providing a lightweight and durable option for riders. With their sleek design and functionality, they are a popular choice among sportbike enthusiasts. Clip-ons come in different sizes and can often be adjusted for optimal ergonomics, allowing riders to fine-tune their riding position to match their personal preferences and body type.
The installation process for clip-ons varies depending on the specific motorcycle and clip-on model. However, it generally involves removing the stock handlebars, loosening the fork clamps, positioning the new clip-ons, and then tightening everything into place. Riders need to ensure that the clip-ons are properly aligned and that there are no obstructions in the way of their motion during riding.
When compared to traditional handlebars, clip-ons offer several key advantages:
Improved aerodynamics: The lower position of clip-ons enables riders to tuck their body closer to the motorcycle in a more comfortable riding position, thereby reducing wind resistance and enhancing top speed.
More responsive handling: Due to their positioning, clip-ons allow for more direct feedback from the front suspension, leading to quicker steering inputs and increased cornering precision.
Customizability: With adjustable clip-ons, riders can tailor their riding position to better suit their preferences and body type, resulting in improved comfort and control.
It’s worth noting that clip-ons may not be the best option for every type of rider or motorcycle. For example, they might not be suitable for long-distance touring, as the forward leaning position could lead to discomfort over extended periods. Furthermore, some motorcycle models may require additional modifications to accommodate clip-ons, such as relocating the gauge cluster and light controls.
Purpose Of Motorcycle Clip-Ons
Motorcycle clip-ons provide improved handling for riders. They are designed to offer a more aggressive riding position, which allows for better control and maneuverability. With clip-ons, the rider’s weight is shifted forward, resulting in increased front-end traction and cornering capabilities. This can be especially beneficial for track or performance-oriented motorcyclists.
Improving Bike Aesthetics
Another aspect of motorcycle clip-ons is their contribution to the overall look of the bike. They often give off a sportier, more streamlined appearance. This is because they typically replace the original handlebars with a lower, narrower design. The addition of clip-ons can not only enhance a bike’s aesthetics but also complement its overall style and design.
Adjustable Riding Position
Clip-ons are popular for their adjustability, allowing riders to modify their riding position as needed. This can be particularly useful for those looking to find their preferred handlebar height and angle or those requiring different setups for various riding conditions. Adjustable clip-ons can ultimately improve rider comfort, leading to a more enjoyable and safer riding experience.
Types Of Motorcycle Clip-Ons
Standard clip-ons are the most common type of motorcycle clip-ons. They are designed to replace the conventional handlebars on sportbikes or other motorcycles with a more aggressive riding position. The standard clip-ons typically have a lower height and a more forward position compared to the stock handlebars, promoting better control and handling.
Some features of standard clip-ons include:
Made from high-quality materials such as aluminum or steel
Adjustable tube angles for customized riding position
Removable and replaceable tubes in case of damage
Raised clip-ons offer a higher handlebar position for those who prefer a more upright riding posture. These are especially suitable for riders with taller statures or those who find the aggressive position of standard clip-ons uncomfortable during long rides or commuting.
Key aspects of raised-height clip-ons:
Increased bar height for increased comfort and control
Adjustable clamps to fine-tune the bar angle
Suitable for a variety of motorcycle types and models, including sportbikes and naked bikes
Both the standard and raised-height clip-ons provide different benefits to riders depending on their preferences, riding style, and physical comfort needs. The choice ultimately depends on the rider’s intended use of their motorcycle and their requirements.
Installation Process Of Clip-Ons
Before beginning the installation process, gather the following tools to ensure a smooth and efficient process:
Wrench set: Used for loosening and tightening bolts and nuts.
Allen key set: Essential for handling hexagonal sockets in clip-on fasteners.
Rubber mallet: Helpful for gently tapping clip-ons into place without causing damage.
Tape measure: To measure accurately and ensure proper fitment.
Remove the original handlebars: Begin by loosening the bar end weights using an Allen key. Then, remove the grips, levers, and switch gear from the handlebars. You may need a Phillips screwdriver for some switch gear. Once these components are removed, unbolt the handlebar clamps and remove the original handlebars.
Prepare the fork tubes: Clean the fork assembly where the clip-ons will be mounted. This ensures a secure fit and helps prevent slippage. Measure the desired mounting location on the front forks using a tape measure.
Install the clip-on brackets: Slide the clip-on brackets onto the fork tubes, making sure they’re properly aligned with the previously measured mounting location. Gently tap the brackets into place using a rubber mallet, if needed. Once in place, loosely tighten the bolts with an Allen key.
Attach the handlebars: Insert the new handlebars into the clip-on brackets. Position them according to your desired riding position and angle preferences. Once you’re satisfied with the positioning, tighten the handlebar clamp bolts securely using a wrench.
Reinstall components: Reattach the levers, switch gear, and grips onto the new clip-on handlebars. Make sure everything is snug and properly adjusted before tightening the bolts and screws. Finally, reinstall the bar end weights to complete the process.
Congratulations, you have now completed the installation process! Ensure all connections are secure and test your motorcycle for proper functionality and control.
Choosing The Right Clip-Ons
When selecting clip-ons for your motorcycle, there are several factors to consider to ensure the best fit and performance.
It’s crucial to choose clip-ons with the correct handlebar diameter for your specific motorcycle. Most clip-ons come in common sizes such as 35mm, 36mm, 37mm, 41mm, and 43mm. Check your motorcycle’s specifications or measure the fork diameter to ensure you choose the right size. Remember, a snug fit is necessary for optimal handling and safety.
Clip-ons are typically made from different materials that offer varying degrees of strength, durability, and weight. Some commonly used materials include:
Aluminum: Lightweight and corrosion-resistant, aluminum clip-ons offer excellent strength-to-weight ratio. However, they might not be as strong as steel options.
Steel: Steel clip-ons are generally stronger than aluminum ones, but they are also heavier and more prone to corrosion if not properly treated.
Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber clip-ons are both lightweight and strong, but they may be more expensive than other materials.
Choose a material that balances your needs for weight, strength, and cost.
The cost of clip-ons varies depending on the brand, material, and design. Higher-priced options often feature better materials, craftsmanship, and adjustability. Set a budget for your clip-ons, but keep in mind that quality and safety should be prioritized. Don’t skimp on essential components, as it could compromise your motorcycle’s handling and your safety. Remember to research and compare products within your price range to make the best choice.
Maintenance of Clip-Ons
It is essential to regularly inspect clip-ons to ensure their optimal performance. Start by checking for any loose bolts or damaged parts. Pay attention to the clamp area, as it may show wear or fatigue.
Additionally, examine the handlebar ends for any cracks or bends. Ensure the bar tubes are securely fastened and aligned with each other. A well-maintained clip-on system promotes safety and enhances the riding experience.
To maintain the appearance and longevity of clip-ons, regular cleaning is crucial. Follow these tips for effective cleaning:
Remove dirt and debris: Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the clip-on and surrounding area. Avoid using abrasive materials, as they may scratch the surface.
Detach components: If necessary, disassemble the clip-ons to clean hard-to-reach areas. Keep track of all components to make reassembly easier.
Use gentle cleaners: Choose a mild cleaning solution, such as soapy water or a non-abrasive motorcycle cleaner. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the materials.
Dry thoroughly: After cleaning, make sure to dry all components completely. This prevents moisture build-up, which can lead to corrosion.
With proper maintenance and care, clip-ons can provide an excellent riding experience while ensuring safety and performance.
Potential Disadvantages of Clip Ons
Clip-on handlebars may cause comfort issues for some riders. Ergonomics play a significant role in long rides, and clip-ons might not be the best choice for everyone. They can lead to awkward riding positions, causing discomfort or pain, especially in the wrists, back, and neck.
Additionally, clip-ons may not provide enough vibration damping. This could result in rider fatigue and make longer rides less enjoyable. Riders need to consider their riding style, personal preferences, and the motorcycle’s intended use before opting for clip-on handlebars.
Installing clip-on handlebars may pose some challenges, especially for inexperienced riders or those without proper tools and knowledge. While clip-ons can offer adjustability and customization, the installation process may be more time-consuming and complex than installing traditional handlebars.
Furthermore, clip-ons may require additional modifications to the motorcycle, such as relocating cables, wires, and brake or clutch components. This could increase the installation time and complexity, leading to potential issues if not done correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do clip-ons affect motorcycle handling?
Clip-on handlebars change the riding position and can improve the handling of a motorcycle. By lowering the conventional handlebars and moving them closer to the rider, clip-ons provide a more aggressive posture. This position allows for better weight distribution and control, especially during cornering and braking.
What size clip-on handlebars should I get?
The size of clip-on handlebars depends on the diameter of your motorcycle’s fork tubes. Measure the fork tubes, and choose clip-ons that match this measurement. Additionally, consider factors such as the width, angle, and rise for optimal comfort and meet your riding style preferences.
Is there a difference between branded and universal clip-ons?
Branded clip-ons are specifically designed for a particular make and model of motorcycle, ensuring an optimal fit and compatibility. Universal clip-ons, on the other hand, are designed to fit various motorcycles, offering more flexibility and potentially a lower price. However, universal models might not offer the same level of fit and finish compared to true clip-ons or branded options.