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Old 05-26-2015, 08:37 AM   #1
txtinman OP
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What is the optimum handle bar height?

I have a 2015 GS. I think I may need risers to help with shoulder and neck discomfort I get when riding for more than a few hours. Is there a way to determine the best height of the handle bars, or is it just trial and error?
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:52 AM   #2
RudyBoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txtinman View Post
I have a 2015 GS. I think I may need risers to help with shoulder and neck discomfort I get when riding for more than a few hours. Is there a way to determine the best height of the handle bars, or is it just trial and error?

In my experience the are a few factors that contribute to neck and shoulder aches and pains, with two big ones being simply excess muscle tension from the mind not being used to long rides, and fatigue from muscles that are not yet used to long rides. For those issues, the best cure is simply more long rides - great medicine! :)

As for risers, I found that having my hands at or below the height of my elbow is best - when my hands were much above my elbow it seemed on long rides my hands would go numb (or close to it). I found risers to be most useful for off-road riding to improve riding position while standing. In the end I removed them and just ride stock now.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:16 AM   #3
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Since we're not all built to the same dimensions I'd guess it's trial-n-error. On an 05 GS I added Rox risers that were about a inch, inch and half(?) higher with about 1 to 2" pullback. Worked good for me to get rid of the pain between neck/shoulder. I'm 5'10" and don't know how long my arms are?
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:43 PM   #4
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Optimal would be what fits you best. My buddy and I are both 6-4, and he prefers his bars lower than I do. So find what works for you without weakening your response time to vehicle maneuvering.
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Old 05-26-2015, 02:24 PM   #5
Snakehips
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I have fitted the Touratech 25mm (1") Risers to my 2015 GSA which make a big difference, especially when standing on the pegs when off roading.
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:00 PM   #6
bone13
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rule of thumb I have heard for optimal bar height is handle bars at half your height.

to get your rise height, with bike on center stand measure from the center of the end of your bar straight to the ground (measurement a)
then measure from the top of your footpeg to the ground (measurement b)

a-b= bar height

divide your height by two and then find risers/bars to match your bar height to half your own height.
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bone13 View Post
rule of thumb I have heard for optimal bar height is handle bars at half your height.

to get your rise height, with bike on center stand measure from the center of the end of your bar straight to the ground (measurement a)
then measure from the top of your footpeg to the ground (measurement b)

a-b= bar height

divide your height by two and then find risers/bars to match your bar height to half your own height.
Never heard of this but I'm going to try I it to see how close I am.

I like my bar position, I'm just curious.

BTW: Why does peg height come into play? I've lowered my pegs but I don't feel how that affects the bars. I can see how seat height would affect bar feel.
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Old 05-26-2015, 05:51 PM   #8
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There is no way (or formula) to adjust the handlebars, every bike and every rider are sized and shaped differently.
It's like adjusting the seat and steering wheel in your car, move it around until it feels right, then take it for a ride and don't be afraid to make more adjustments until it works right on long trips.
This is also the reason that handlebar risers come in various sizes in roughly 1/2" increments, you wouldn't think that half an inch would make much difference but it can.
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:46 PM   #9
longslowdistance
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to the OP: Bar risers are definitely worth a try.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1054672

Be aware that some risers will require rerouting the lines on your moto, like the rox 1 1/2" or higher. Not a big deal. I preferred not to move the lines - looked a bit sketchy to me (although clearly people do it all the time with no problems), so I used the Touratech 25mm. Works for me.
Rotating the bars also affects the geometry and may affect wrist, back and neck symptoms.

Bicyclists say the bike should fit you and not the other way around. They bring adjustment tools along on a ride to allow frequent tinkering until their position is dialed in. Why should it be different on a moto?

longslowdistance screwed with this post 05-26-2015 at 08:57 PM
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:20 PM   #10
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I think it is strictly personal preference, what's optimum for one person is not for another. The handlebars on my '14 GS are too high, I wish I could lower them.
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:56 AM   #11
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I recently have been looking at how to solve my shoulder pain issue. I think I hurt my right shoulder doing pushups after many years of inactivity and a desire to get stronger. Apparently if you do not use the corrrect form in doing pushups, it can not be good for your shoulders,, especially if you are an old FF.
I am going to be trying this over the next few months.
This from a pdf I found: (kudo's to the orginal author, who ever he is)
****Found this about shoulderpain***
Do you suffer with shoulder pain on the bike?
I have found that neck and shoulder pain on the bike can stem from 2 places:
1. incorrect bike position
have a professional analyse your bike position if you believe this is the
problem but remember, even if your position is correct you still need to
have correct function and muscular balance.
2. bad function and muscular control of the neck and shoulders in bike
position
I refer to this as ”the turtle”. This is where the rider looks like he has lost
his neck in his shoulders, his arms are straight, and resting on the bones
with no muscular control. This is the lazy way for your arms and does
NOT support your neck and shoulders.
Most shoulder/neck pain can be lessened by the following:
try this check next time you're out on your bike:
1. Relax your grip.
You don’t need to strangle your handle bars ( what have they done
wrong?) Think like you are playing the piano, fingers soft and ready for
action only when needed eg braking, changing gears etc.
2. Elbows are shock absorbers
If you ride with your elbows locked out over any rough surface ( most
roads in Belgium and the rest of the world) the impacts will go directly to
the neck, which causes the muscles to spasm, leading to pain ( if you are
watching Paris- Roubaix, I garantee there will be no straight arms over the
cobbles). Try to release the lock in your elbows to a soft elbow. I only
mean a very small bend in the elbows so the muscles have to support the
shoulders, and you are not just resting on your bones. So when you hit a
bump in the road, you can react immediately, also giving you a better
control over the bike.
3. "The turtle”
Check if your shoulders are not up by your ears.....(ref to picture removed)
In good muscle function on the
bike these muscle are soft and not doing too much work. but if you are a
turtle they will be overworked and normally painfull.

If you want the pdf with pictures, PM me.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:29 AM   #12
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I thought I had a torn rotator cuff because the pain in my shoulder was so bad. After mri I was diagnosed with impingement. Basically the shoulder joint is compressed and putting pressure on the nerves in my shoulder giving me pain at the back of the shoulder sometimes, the front other times and the bicep often.
Chiropractor didn't help, physical therapy with exercise to spread the joint out helped tremendously.
Sometimes after long riding days the shoulder flares up again. I do the exercises with resistance bands at home and after a day or two of exercises the pain is gone.
I do ride with an proper upright posture with my abs doing a lot of the work, not my arms, and my hands have very little pressure on them if any. I did add risers to my ST1300 and to my new GSA. Rox 2" pivoting risers on the GSA. Set just as slightly back as possible and still tighten the bolts..the rise is more needed than the setback for me and I don't want to degrade the wonderful handling of the bike by setting the bars back too much.
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:51 AM   #13
rboett
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I hear you about impingement.
Many years ago I had pain in both shoulders when I lifted my arms above my head. A friend of a friend suggested getting to a corner of a room, or small doorway. Putting my arms up, elbows out and stretching into the doorway, or corner. Fixed me right up. That summer I had been waterskiing a lot and crewing on a sailboat. My muscles were pulling my shoulders forward and causing the impingement.

Try that stretching to see if it makes a difference.
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:59 AM   #14
txtinman OP
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I think my arms are too short to allow me to relax while riding. I find myself with stiff arms and have to remind myself to ease up. If I sit all the way forward it is easier to relax my arms. I'm thinking the Rox pivot risers are what I'll try.
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:37 PM   #15
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Handlebar rotation is also very important, in order to get your wrists straight in the horizontal plane (left-right). On my bike I raised and brought back the bars, and then rotated them forward a bit, which aligned the grip angle better to the direction my hands were coming from. Getting my wrists straight both in the up-down and left-right direction got rid of the numbing.
If you change your shoulder posture, you probably have to adjust the grip angles as well.
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