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Old 12-08-2014, 08:17 PM   #1
mikem9 OP
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Handlebar Risers - Comfort vs. Handling

Has anyone changed your handlebar rise and noticed handling differences for your bike?

My Streetbike is a 2003 Suzuki Bandit 1200 S. It has a sports touring handlebar position. At my height and inseam, cycle-ergo.com says I have a 20 degree forward lean with the stock bars and risers. It never felt comfortable to me. The bars were too narrow, their angles hurt my wrists and I felt stretched out as I leaned forward in a way that hurt my neck and between my shoulder blades.

First, I changed the handlebars to some wider bars with a different bend. Those were an improvement.

Then I bought some GenMar Manufacturing risers that bring the bars 1 inch up, and 1 3/8 inches back towards me. The bike feels very comfortable now. But, yesterday I took it on a spirited twisties ride. It now feels a little "twitchy" in the twisties. I feel too far off the front tire now and it seems a little light on the front. I don't know how to describe it exactly, but I don't feel as "planted" on the bike through twisty turns.

Has anyone else had similar experiences in messing around with your bar rise? Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:31 PM   #2
Rgconner
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You shifted your weight back and that is what happens.

Try stiffening the back shock, see if it redistributes weight.

That does not work, try the COW maneuver in turns: Chin over Wrist.

Not that you have to be too extreme, but a little lean will shift weight forward.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:38 PM   #3
JBSmith
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I've messed with the bar height, width, and pullback on at least half a dozen bikes to accommodate back problems. Sounds to me like the wider bar, placed farther back, gives you more leverage at the grips than you're used to, sort of like going to power steering after driving with manual. All your steering inputs are magnified accordingly, which you feel as a twitchiness.

Your body is also a bit farther back than it used to be, transferring weight back and away from the front wheel slightly. Hard (or "spirited") acceleration amplifies the weight transfer. Whack the throttle in a corner and things could get interesting.

My advice, give it time. You'll get used to it. If you don't, you know where the stock parts are, right?
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:08 PM   #4
High Country Herb
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I hadn't thought about the wider bars magnifying steering input. If that is the cause, some bar end weights or a steering dampening might counteract it.

The weight shifted rearward because of the risers can be dealt with by leaning forward during aggressive riding.

I used 1 inch risers with zero setback, and didn't notice any handling change. My bars came wide from the factory, and I've always had head shake under hard acceleration. I thought about a steering dampener, but my shake always seems to settle, and those things are expensive.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:42 AM   #5
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There's a reason for the difference.



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Old 12-09-2014, 09:52 AM   #6
mikem9 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxtrapper View Post
There's a reason for the difference.
Ha! A picture is worth a thousand words. But, let's explore this: Why do some bikes with more of an upright handlebar position: ie: hyperstrada, GS1200, Multistrada, KTM Supermotard etc., handle so well and feel so planted? I assume it has something to do with the overall geometry of frame and suspension design?? After this experience I'm assuming that I've really messed with some engineering to try to achieve more of an upright position on my Bandit. Yes, more comfortable just cruising, but I've messed up the handling for spirited situations. Possibly even made the bike dangerous in those situations?
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:55 AM   #7
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on bikes with bars I like narrower bars unless I have a steering damper. wider bars feels like an 80s american car with 2 finger steering effort.

I also lower the front by pushing forks up in the triples. I live for front end feel. not enough feel/feedback and instant response and I hate the bike.

in the curves I tend to move up against the tank too.


superduke R is the only bike where I RAISED the front ride height. the trail/angle is way too agreesive.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:56 AM   #8
High Country Herb
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That seems pretty extreme. I'm wondering if there is something else going on...

I'm just grasping at straws here, but is it possible that you have the risers for the wrong diameter handlebar?

If it feel that bad, I recommend taking one piece back to OEM at a time to find out where the problem is. Might as well do the easy part first, and work on the risers. If they are adjustable, try eliminating the setback first, then eliminate the rise.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
Ha! A picture is worth a thousand words. But, let's explore this: Why do some bikes with more of an upright handlebar position: ie: hyperstrada, GS1200, Multistrada, KTM Supermotard etc., handle so well and feel so planted? I assume it has something to do with the overall geometry of frame and suspension design?? After this experience I'm assuming that I've really messed with some engineering to try to achieve more of an upright position on my Bandit. Yes, more comfortable just cruising, but I've messed up the handling for spirited situations. Possibly even made the bike dangerous in those situations?
I've been down this road too
It's my guess that the bar width is the source of the twitch, I'd just trim the bars back to the width of the stock bars...or better yet install the stock bars with the risers and give that a go.
I'd just try different combos, test ride, and not over think this.
Have you rolled the bars forward/rearward at all, for a different feel?
jmo
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:10 AM   #10
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
Has anyone changed your handlebar rise and noticed handling differences for your bike?

My Streetbike is a 2003 Suzuki Bandit 1200 S. It has a sports touring handlebar position. At my height and inseam, cycle-ergo.com says I have a 20 degree forward lean with the stock bars and risers. It never felt comfortable to me. The bars were too narrow, their angles hurt my wrists and I felt stretched out as I leaned forward in a way that hurt my neck and between my shoulder blades.

First, I changed the handlebars to some wider bars with a different bend. Those were an improvement.

Then I bought some GenMar Manufacturing risers that bring the bars 1 inch up, and 1 3/8 inches back towards me. The bike feels very comfortable now. But, yesterday I took it on a spirited twisties ride. It now feels a little "twitchy" in the twisties. I feel too far off the front tire now and it seems a little light on the front. I don't know how to describe it exactly, but I don't feel as "planted" on the bike through twisty turns.

Has anyone else had similar experiences in messing around with your bar rise? Thanks for any thoughts.
I put a 1/2" riser on the superbike bars a 550 Zephyr has, for similar reasons. I don't have any issues and actually raised the rear and put a lower profile tire on the bike too, to quicken the handling.

You need to ride it for a while to get used to the changes. I took it a bit easy to start, but now can work the bike pretty hard.

I find the MX/Enduro/Flat track kind of set up best for me. A bit more upright and a bit wider bar with good leverage. I'll compensate for any additional twichiness.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:22 AM   #11
Dranrab Luap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxtrapper View Post
There's a reason for the difference.




I learn something new every day. I always thought the sport bike riding position was more about aero than precision.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:25 AM   #12
foxtrapper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
After this experience I'm assuming that I've really messed with some engineering to try to achieve more of an upright position on my Bandit. Yes, more comfortable just cruising, but I've messed up the handling for spirited situations.
The bikes geometry or engineering has not changed. The change is in the geometry of you to the bike.

Quote:
Possibly even made the bike dangerous in those situations?
For hard push it to the limit riding, perhaps. For overall generic riding, doubt it.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:26 AM   #13
Dranrab Luap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
Ha! A picture is worth a thousand words. But, let's explore this: Why do some bikes with more of an upright handlebar position: ie: hyperstrada, GS1200, Multistrada, KTM Supermotard etc., handle so well and feel so planted? I assume it has something to do with the overall geometry of frame and suspension design?? After this experience I'm assuming that I've really messed with some engineering to try to achieve more of an upright position on my Bandit. Yes, more comfortable just cruising, but I've messed up the handling for spirited situations. Possibly even made the bike dangerous in those situations?
My guess is that it's just different. Not good or bad relative to safety or handling, just different. I have added risers to 3 different bikes. It simply took a little time to adjust. If I had to guess, I'd guess that the different feel is attributable more to less weight on the bars than anything else.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:33 AM   #14
Johann
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I liked Renthals (or more accurately cheaper replica bars) on a Bandit. Very big improvement in leverage for low to mid speed turns but made traffic work more difficult and an increased sense of vagueness at high speed which I always attributed to the barn door aerodynamics of an upright seating position on a naked bike,
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
Ha! A picture is worth a thousand words. But, let's explore this: Why do some bikes with more of an upright handlebar position: ie: hyperstrada, GS1200, Multistrada, KTM Supermotard etc., handle so well and feel so planted? I assume it has something to do with the overall geometry of frame and suspension design?? After this experience I'm assuming that I've really messed with some engineering to try to achieve more of an upright position on my Bandit. Yes, more comfortable just cruising, but I've messed up the handling for spirited situations. Possibly even made the bike dangerous in those situations?
Just because the bars make it easier and more comfortable to sit more upright, that doesn't mean you can't make adjustments to your riding style when you want to get your weight back over the front.
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