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#838975 02/03/21 9:21 pm
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Kevin E Offline OP
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Hi all.

I’m thinking of putting the western style handlebars on my 1966 A65 Lightning.

I’ve only ever ridden it with the standard UK bars and because I’m getting on a bit now I’m wanting a more comfortable riding position.

What are your feelings on the difference between the two, assuming you’ve tried them both.

Am I right in thinking they’d make for a more comfortable ride?

Cheers,

Kev E

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Kevin E #838977 02/03/21 9:54 pm
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I've used both the "Western" and the "UK" style bars on my A65 and my A10.

With the lower, narrowed bars, there is less wind pressure on your chest at 60+ MPH, but to me the bike seems "twitchier" and not as stable, although that may just be me.

With the higher bars, the bikes are easier to control, but you are sitting up in the wind and hanging on tight if you are riding 55 MPH into a 15 MPH headwind, and it's not comfortable at all.

My A10 has the low bars; last year, I rode Shaun's A10 (just like mine except for the bars) which has higher, wider bars for a BSA C15, and I liked it a lot more than mine.

Really a personal preference thing! What works for me might not work for you ....

Lannis


"Why do you wear that thing, Dobby?" "This, sir? 'Tis a mark of the house-elf’s enslavement, sir."
Lannis #838980 02/03/21 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Lannis
I've used both the "Western" and the "UK" style bars on my A65 and my A10.

With the lower, narrowed bars, there is less wind pressure on your chest at 60+ MPH, but to me the bike seems "twitchier" and not as stable, although that may just be me.

With the higher bars, the bikes are easier to control, but you are sitting up in the wind and hanging on tight if you are riding 55 MPH into a 15 MPH headwind, and it's not comfortable at all.

My A10 has the low bars; last year, I rode Shaun's A10 (just like mine except for the bars) which has higher, wider bars for a BSA C15, and I liked it a lot more than mine.

Really a personal preference thing! What works for me might not work for you ....

Lannis

Plus 1

I like both but find with standard pegs that I’m doubled up with standard bars on an A65. Western bars in my opinion not only look better but make the bike easier to handle and throw through the twisties.

The downsides are wind buffering at high speed and if you suffer with a bad back and hit a bump in the road... because your body is more upright you feel the shock through your spine.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Kevin E #838988 02/03/21 11:54 pm
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Ok so big bars are for slow riders. Have I got that right?


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Originally Posted by triton thrasher
Ok so big bars are for slow riders. Have I got that right?

I guess so. With high, wide bars, and standard 60s BSA footpeg position, holding 65 MPH or so on the highway is pretty difficult for most. For me, certainly.

Lower bars that let you lean into the wind don't put as much strain on your arms, so (for the same amount of pain) you can go faster. If low bars let you go faster, then high bars (QED) must be for "slow" riders.

Lannis


"Why do you wear that thing, Dobby?" "This, sir? 'Tis a mark of the house-elf’s enslavement, sir."
Kevin E #839010 02/04/21 5:25 am
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I have low bars on my 500 which is great for twisty roads and short racey rides.

I have western bars on my 650 for touring. More wind resistance, but more horsepower so it evens out.

Body height and weight are relevant. I’m tall.

Last edited by Ginge; 02/04/21 5:26 am. Reason: Autocorrect

'51 C11 in a '54 C10L frame. Back on the road...
'70 Triumph Trophy 500. Next on the bench for a refresh!
'72 Triumph Tiger 650. Back on the road...
Kevin E #839023 02/04/21 1:01 pm
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I like the Western bar being 6'3" in imperial money... The point in regards to catching the wind is valid for sure.

Essentially my own A65s seldomly see motorway use. And I find the highbars suiting the rather awkwardly forward mounted foot rests quite well.

Cheers!

Phil


Best regards
Phil
Duesseldorf/Germany
'62 A 65 Star (disassembled)
'69 A 65 Lightning
'71 A 65 Firebird
'84 Yamaha SR 500
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Kevin E Offline OP
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Originally Posted by triton thrasher
Ok so big bars are for slow riders. Have I got that right?

I never mentioned 'slow'. Not once.

I wanted to know if they gave a more comfortable riding position?

I'm pretty sure you can be fast and comfortable.

I've always preferred it that way, but I have to admit that I do prefer fast riding with a fairing and preferably on the track.

It didn't matter that much to me when I was a youngster, but as I have matured and become a little weaker in my general build and body strength the idea of colliding with cars, lamp posts and garden walls etc has become seriously less appealing. wink

Kevin E #839040 02/04/21 2:54 pm
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My preference in handlebar shape for most of my bikes is the "Superbike" bend, which is supposedly the bend used on a class of racers in the eighties or nineties. It is slightly higher than the UK low bars and much lower than "Western" bars. Significantly, they are also pretty wide, which makes for good leverage in the twisties. My main complaint with the UK low bars, in particular the Triumph bars, was the way they kicked out at the ends, which made them uncomfortable to me. Most of the aftermarket handlebar manufacturers list a "Superbike" bend. I recommend it.

Ed From NJ

Kevin E #839093 02/04/21 11:26 pm
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My personal taste is for low rise - wide bars. I prefer a 32" wide set of bars. To me, that is the perfect width. A fair amount of my bikes are fitted with the EMGO 23-92401 Universal Handlebars.

Commando Specialties

or from another of my sources:

4 into 1 Motorcycle Parts

The prices for these vary greatly, so definitely shop around.


Jon W.


1957 6T Thunderbird 650
1968 T100R Daytona 500
1971 TR6R Tiger 650
1970 BSA A65F 650
1955 Tiger 100 - Project
1971 BSA A65 650 - Project
1972 Norton Commando 750 "Combat"


"Every time I listen to AC/DC, so do my neighbors"

Kevin E #839095 02/04/21 11:36 pm
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Handlebars are like women

No TWO feel the same to everybody.

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Kevin E #839101 02/05/21 1:27 am
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I went for a compromise on my A65 bitsa - I used bars for late '60s Triumph twins (U.S.-type). Rise is five inches vs. eight for the stock U.S. BSA bars. They came 32 inches tip-to-tip; I cut an inch and a half off either end to make them 29 inches. I find these bars comfortable, and with adequate leverage.

Prior to that, I had the BSA "home market" (low) bars. With those, I was getting a stiff neck on the 15-mile trip to work on the interstate, from holding my head up. Also, I found it impossible to maneuver on rough terrain with the low bars.

Regarding length, someone here, I think it was Bonzo, said to get the right length, do a pushup, and measure the distance between your hands on the floor.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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Mark Z #839159 02/05/21 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Mark Z
...Regarding length, someone here, I think it was Bonzo, said to get the right length, do a pushup, and measure the distance between your hands on the floor.

Gee, I need 18" bars.


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 Cyclone Competition Build
Kevin E #839161 02/05/21 5:07 pm
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I enjoy the stock "western" A50 / A65 bars

FYI, I noticed the EMGO (Taiwan) "western" bar is pretty close to stock, however the "UK Made" "western" style bar appears to be a bit smaller but with a similar bend

Just an observation worth mentioning should you go that direction


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Gary E #839280 02/07/21 4:56 am
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Originally Posted by Gary E
Originally Posted by Mark Z
...Regarding length, someone here, I think it was Bonzo, said to get the right length, do a pushup, and measure the distance between your hands on the floor.

Gee, I need 18" bars.

I know, I don't think I followed that advice myself.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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Kevin E #839291 02/07/21 11:27 am
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Having started out with UK low bars on my T140v then tried T120 60's wide bars now got Lightning US spec and the bike feels right handles well and IMO looks the part i find with higher slightly wider more comfortable probably an age thing laughing


Always remember there are 3 kinds of people in this world,those that can count & those that can't.
T140V 1974
GT750 1974
GT550 1974
TL1000 97s
Kevin E #839357 02/08/21 5:58 am
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Both my Triumphs use the aforementioned "superbike" bars, maybe 2-3" rise. I like the look and the way it puts more weight on the front wheel. However, they do beg for rear set pegs.
On the A65 I went with slightly taller bars, about 4" rise. That bike still has the original drum front brake. The cable bend is too tight with lower bars.
My first Brit bike, a '74 T150V had the stock western bars. 80mph tried to blow me off the seat!
These days the Trident and the Beemer are the only two bikes which ever see the interstate.
But, if I were to build a bike just to cruise around town I'd probably use higher bars.


Knowledge speaks. Wisdom listens.

71 A65L "Zelda"
92 BMW K100rs "Gustav"
72 T120V cafe project "Mr. Jim"
72 T150V "Wotan"
Kevin E #839380 02/08/21 12:53 pm
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What we old guys need is "ape hanger" bars;

1. We won't have to bend over to reach 'em

2. We can strap a piece of clear plastic to 'em as a windscreen,

3. The wind resistance against the plastic will slow us down to "safe" speeds.

4. The breeze around the 'screen will ventilate our armpits (deodorant no longer needed).

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Irish Swede #839382 02/08/21 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
What we old guys need is "ape hanger" bars;

1. We won't have to bend over to reach 'em

2. We can strap a piece of clear plastic to 'em as a windscreen,

3. The wind resistance against the plastic will slow us down to "safe" speeds.

4. The breeze around the 'screen will ventilate our armpits (deodorant no longer needed).

Sounds like a plan.

You could use various colours of plastic to highlight those of different age groups, and probably two toned for the born again groups... say "real age 70, but feel like im 20"


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
What we old guys need is "ape hanger" bars;

1. We won't have to bend over to reach 'em

2. We can strap a piece of clear plastic to 'em as a windscreen,

3. The wind resistance against the plastic will slow us down to "safe" speeds.

4. The breeze around the 'screen will ventilate our armpits (deodorant no longer needed).
And #5: We could more easily test our allergic reaction to bee and hornet stings in our armpits.


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 Cyclone Competition Build
Kevin E #839457 02/08/21 11:15 pm
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At 80mph+ there is no beating clip-ons and rearsets on long journeys but
laws being laws and the increased requirement for revenue collection by
police, 80+mph is becoming a thing of the past on roads here.
I like the late triumph t140 English bars on my t120 and find the 69 triumph
daytona bars are good on the a65. I find the western style fitted to either
is too wide for me and a little high.

Kevin E #839510 02/09/21 4:22 pm
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i'm using the stock bars from a 'us 73 trident on my a50 and i think they are as comfy and better looking that the high riser western bars it came with.

Kevin E #839717 02/11/21 3:33 pm
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Kevin E Offline OP
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Thanks for all the feedback guys.

I think I am going to go with the L F Harris western style bars, as I am not going to be riding the bike fast for any great length of time, so the wind pressure thing is not going to be too much of a problem for me. Although Burton Bike Bits are currently out of stock of the L F Harris bars I have heard that they will be getting some in within the next week, or so.

I have to admit that I like the look of the western style bars and I also think the chrome rear grab rail compliments them nicely at the rear end, so will be looking at fitting one of those too when I can find a decent one to buy. Burton Bike Bits are currently out of stock, unfortunately.

Cheers, Kev E

Kevin E #839723 02/11/21 4:13 pm
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Get the grab rail from SRM. I got mine a few years ago but found it much cheaper and was a perfect fit and good chrome.


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Kevin E #839724 02/11/21 4:21 pm
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Kevin E Offline OP
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Can’t find any on the SRM web shop Allan.

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