So, I’ve been asking myself lately, “What does the perfect Road Glide handlebar look like”. Well, the truth is, I’m not quite sure. I definitely know an ugly handlebar when I see it, but when it comes to the “perfect” Road Glide handlebar, that’s a little difficult to describe. I guess, for me, I like a handlebar that is a little “edgy”, but not over the top. I tend to be drawn to thicker handlebars because I feel they flow better with the thickness or diameter of the front forks they are connected to. A thin handlebar combined with thick forks just doesn’t look “right” to me. IMHO, all aftermarket handlebars for Harley-Davidson touring bikes should come standard in the 1.5 diameter thickness. The thinner bar should be the option, not the other way around. Another feature my “perfect” Road Glide handlebar needs to have is angles. Handlebars with only curves (traditional ape hangers) don’t fit the Road Glide. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with Road Glide’s fairing–the shape of it. It just looks better with a handlebar that has at least one sharp(er) angle to it. Anyways, I’ve rambled too much. Here are some handlebars I think look good on the Road Glide. If there is a handlebar I didn’t include in the list, it’s either because I didn’t know about them, or um… I wasn’t a fan. Sorry.
Lucky Daves – The San Diego Bar: Ok, I wasn’t a fan of t-bars on ANY bagger, however… over the years, they have grown on me. Why you might ask? Well, mx-style t-bars are extremely comfortable. Just ask anyone that has them on a dyna or FXR. They’ll tell you they love them. They put your hand in a really comfortable position, and for the Road Glide, they actually look really good. Mounting them can be tricky because Harley-Davidson didn’t really intend for those type of bars to be put on the bike, but with a little ingenuity, you can make it happen. Factory 47 offers a bracket that allows you to mount t-bars to a Road Glide or Road King, and many others just drill through the plastic nacelle-thingy to mount them. In terms of my favorite t-bar… its hands down got to be the San Diego bar by Lucky Daves. This bar has the nicest bends of them all, and is made in the US by skilled craftsmen. It looks killer on the Road Glide and is super comfortable. Its narrow, aggressive, and just a really great bar to put on the Road Glide if you wan’t to go the t-bar route. For more information on the San Diego bar by Lucky Daves, visit www.LuckyDaves.com.
Bagger Nation – Monkey Bars: The famous Paul Yaffe Monkey Bars. They just look like they belong on the Road Glide. If you’ve never heard of this bar, you’ve been living under a rock. It’s almost a perfect handlebar, except that it only comes in 1.25″, and it’s a pain the in the crackola to wire–so i’ve heard. I’m also not sure how I feel about the meathook at the bottom of the bar. For more information on the Monkey Bars, such as price, heights available, etc… visit www.baggernation.com
Factory 47 Cycles – Malo Bar: The Malo is currently my favorite handlebar on the market. It’s REALLY nice. Why do I think its soo nice? Well, for one, it’s clean looking. While it has the edgy “meat hook” at the top, it tones itself down with a simple squared bottom. This brings me to my next point–the handlebar’s bottom. The bottom of of this handlebar matches the exact width of the forks. As someone who pays particularly close attention to design details, this is a big deal to me. I hate when the bottom width of a handlebar sticks out past the forks. It just looks disproportionate to me, especially on the Road Glide where you don’t necessarily have all that much room to the left or right of the forks in the fairing. Another reason why I love this handlebar is because its available in the thicker 1.50″ bar. Can’t get the Monkey Bar in that thickness, but you CAN with the Malo! Why am I “hung up” on 1.50″ bars? Again, it’s the details. The thicker (diameter) front forks come up and through the Road Glide’s fairing, and in my opinion, having a measly 1.25″ flowing up from it just doesn’t cut it. Its like seeing dudes with a massive upper body and twig legs, or vise-versa–looks funny. The thicker 1.50″ handlebar flows much better into the forks. Step back and take a look at your Road Glide from the side–you’ll see what I’m talking about. Last couple tidbits about this bar. The Malo is made in the USA, and it’s available in show chrome or powder coat black. The guys over at Factory 47 Cycles also advised me the that they file down the inside of the bars to remove any burrs. This ensures you won’t get your internal wires sliced during or after installation. For more information on what I believe will be the new “go to bar” for the Road Glide, visit http://www.factory47llc.com. FYI, a while ago we posted up a short vlog with some additional information on Factory 47. click HERE for that.
LA Choppers – Prime Apes: The folks over at LA Choppers have a nice handlebar designed for the Road Glide called “Prime Apes”. This handlebar features a “meat hook” at the top, and a curved bottom. Looking at the bar from the side profile, there is also a slight bend, similar to those found on handlebars designed for Street Glides. The bottom of the bar is a little wider than I’d like, but other than that, I think it looks good on the Road Glide. For additional information on the Prime Apes, such as price, heights available, etc… visit www.lachoppers.com
Carlini Designs – Evil Apes: I love these Carlini “Evil Ape” handlebars. They incorporated a really slick bend in the handlebar that looks killer. These bars are only offered in a 1.25″ diameter. Boo! They look really nice on the Road Glide and their quality (because they are Carlini…of course) is top notch. For additional information on the Evil Apes, such as price, heights available, etc… visit www.carlinidesign.com
BR Customs – New Wave 2: BR Custom’s “New Wave 2” handlebars are a great looking choice for the Road Glide. Their handlebars are made to order, so don’t expect to receive them a week or so after you’ve placed your order. I’ve been told wait time is typically no less than a month, but I’ve heard they are worth the wait. For additional information on the New Wave 2s, such as price, heights available, etc… visit www.brcustomcycles.com
R.I.S. Designs – Crush Tube Apes: The Crush Tube Apes by R.I.S. Designs are probably the wildest looking handlebar of the bunch (featured on this post). The vertical portion of the handlebar is actually flattened or “crushed”. Pretty unique designs. From what I’ve heard, you can still internally wire these handlebars. I believe they used a 1.50″ for this handlebar. I guess it would be pretty hard to internally wire 1.25″ diameter bars if they were crushed. So yeah, pretty interesting looking bar. As radical as it is, I think it works on the Road Glide. For additional information on the Crush Tube Apes, such as price, heights available, etc… visit www.motorcyclebilletbling.com
Todd’s Cycle – Strip Bar: The Strip Bar is a straight to the point, “no frills” handlebar that looks excellent on the Road Glide. It doesn’t incorporate any of the “meat hooks” found on the Mad Dogger of the Monkey Bar, but it does have a similar geometry. It this handlebar was available in the thicker 1.50″ diameter, it would be sweet. This is a great handlebar for someone who wants something nicer than their stock bar, but not too flashy. For additional information on the Strip Bar, such as price, heights available, etc…visit www.toddscycle.com
Arlen Ness – Modular Mini Apes: The Modular Mini Apes by Arlen Ness are, what I believe to be, the first customizable handlebar with the Road Glide in mind. These bars allow you to adjust the wrist angle of the handlebar. Since the handlebar can be taken apart, it makes internally wiring these a breeze. I think these look pretty sweet on the Road Glide. For additional information on the Modular Mini Ape, such as price, heights available, etc…visit www.arlenness.com
Ballistic Cycles – Relaxer Handlebars: The Relaxer Handlebar by Ballistic Cycles looks really cool. It’s pretty different (as you can see) from the rest of the handlebars featured in this post. It’s not an ape, but a beach bar or drag bar of sorts. It has a low and fast profile that looks great on the Road Glide. If its name is based on how the handlebar feels, then this bar should be pretty relaxing on the wrists during long putts. For additional information on the Relaxer Hanldebars, such as price, heights available, etc…visit www.ballisticcycles.com
Klock Werks Adjustable KLIP HANGER Handlebars: The KLIP HANGER Handlebars are one of the newest additions to the Klock Werks parts line. They are pretty unique looking handlebars. They look great on the Road Glide, and best of all, they are adjustable. I’m guess they are also pretty easy to internally wire. For additional information on the KLIP HANGER Handlebars, such as price, heights available, etc…visit www.kustombaggers.com