ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Fit Your Motorcycle To You

Updated on November 19, 2009

Handlebar Selection and Adjustment

Motorcycles come from the factory with handlebars designed to accommodate the average size person when he or she rides the machine as it was intended. Generally speaking, middle-weight street machines have medium width, medium rise handlebars; motocrossers have wide, flat bars with a center brace; road racers have low, flat bars or clip-ons; and cruiser / choppers have sit up and beg buckhorns.

Much of the design in handlebars is based on the assumption that the rider's back should parallel his calf. In addition, higher speeds require a lower crouch or more horizontal angle. Some provisions can be made to get closer to your ideal riding position by adjusting the handlebars and foot pegs. To adjust the handlebars, simply loosen the clampdown bolts at the center and rotate the bars to the position that feels most comfortable to you.

Be careful not to rotate them too far, especially if there are wires exiting from a hole in the center of the bars. If you decide to change the bars on your machine, be sure to get the proper length cables and to position the control levers correctly at the handle end of the bars: not 6 inches toward the center or 2 inches from the end. Sometimes a motorcycle you're working on might have control wires routed through it to the switches at the levers. These wires are not difficult to reroute if you first probe through from the end with a string or wire. Another helpful hint is to enlarge the entry and exit holes with a drill, but don't go over 7/16 of an inch diameter or the bars will be weakened.

Control Levers

Safe riding dictates that you can get to your front brake lever rapidly and smoothly. Clamp it radially on the handlebar wherever it feels most comfortable and adjust the lever travel to give you enough braking action to prevent the lever from touching the throttle grip.

If you have small hands, both the clutch and brake levers can be positioned closer to the hand grip. On the more expensive levers, you can simply mount them in a vise and bend them the required amount if you apply gentle, even pressure.

On some of the economy or Chinese models with brittle levers, you can slit a faucet washer from your local hardware store and slip it over the exposed inner cable. Carry a few extras since these washers tend to wear out and occasionally fall off. Be sure to maintain the proper clutch and brake action for your machine no matter which cure for the small-hands problem you select. Often this means reducing some of the recommended free play.

Shifter Adjustment

The shifter can be moved up or down a few teeth on its spline, but avoid the extremes for two reasons. A shifter positioned so high that your foot leaves the peg to shift affects your stability and control dangerously during shifts.

On the other hand, a low shifter is vulnerable to obstacles and could break off or damage the transmission in the event of a mishap. A competent welder can shorten or lengthen the shifter for you if it is necessary.

Again, avoid the extremes. A shifter that is too short is very difficult to operate, can blister your shifting foot, and even wear rapidly through your favorite motorcycle boots. An extended shifter can give the rider too much mechanical advantage on the shift linkage and damage it. Don't extend or shorten a shifter by more than one third of its original length.

Rear Brake Pedal

The brake pedal can be modified for length and positioning much the same as the shifter. Once again, the one-third of the original length factor should be observed. Be careful, however, that any welding is thoroughly checked before reinstalling the pedal. A little reinforcement can help to insure that the brake pedal won't bend or break.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Tim Quinlan 

      8 years ago

      Great advice. I didn't know you could adjust so many things. I'm going on my first 8000 km ride Thursday & my 2003 Road king, I bought it off a taller rider. My heels hurt after a few hours. Can you adjust the foot boards farther back to even the pressure on my feet? New hwy pegs help. How do you get the cover off to adjust the handlebars?

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks! Ride safe!

    • Hugo Diaz profile image

      Hugo Diaz 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      Nice hub. Love motorcycles!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)