New Handlebars.
John Brookes
Back to the


FITTING NEW HANDLEBARS - An simple job or what!

When riding my Royal Enfield Sixty-5 I found that I was always leaning slightly forward. This aggravated my back. Viewing the alternative options in the Hitchcock catalogue, I decided to get one that had a greater rise.

The ones I went for were Part No 91/371. This was for two reasons. The first was that they looked good and the second, they gave the greatest rise and rearward curve without having to replace the cables.

The part was ordered, together with a new set of handlebar rubbers, and came two days later.

Although there is nothing difficult to the replacement it turned out not quite as straight forward as I had hoped. I envisaged that I would unscrew the two electrical switch units, release the front brake and clutch retaining bolts, undo and remove the handlebar clamp nuts and bolt, replace with the new bars and, hey presto, all would be done. Not so!

The first job, after removing the mirrors, was to remove the left hand rubber. Hitchcock's had said they could be removed but it was quite a job and the easiest way was to cut them off. Next I released the left hand electrical units. Having slackened off the screws I found that the unit would not slide off. I slackened the clutch lever unit and slide it toward the centre so that I could view the electrical unit. I noted that it had a pin locator into the handlebar. Slackening some more allowed the pin to clear the bar but the cable and wires were not long enough for the units to clear the end of the bars.

No problem! I will remove the handlebar retaining nuts and bolts so that the handlebars are free. This worked well and the units and levers from both sides were removed.

When it came to relocating them onto the new bars there was a slight problem. In no way were the existing cables long enough and there were no locating holes in the new bars to accommodate the pins in the electrical units. Right! I wrapped masking tape around the bar where I had to drill the location hole, marked each end, 145mm for the left and 155mm for the right hand side. Wanting a snug fit I drill a 4.5mm hole. However this was insufficient so it was enlarged to 5mm. What about the cables? Upon inspection I noted that the throttle, clutch and valve lifter all run along the frame under the petrol tank. OK, off came the tank. No problems here just two nuts to remove and push the bolts out.

The three cables were twisted around the frame obviously to take up the slack. I untwisted the and gave them as straighter run as I could to the Headlight unit. When tested I found that by pulling the cable out of the headlight unit they were in fact long enough. To ensure I did not damage any of the electrical cables, I removed the headlamp sealed beam unit. Then there was the front brake cable. This had to be rerouted completely. The cable was original routed from the brake though the adjusting unit then up through a rubber retainer attached to the mudguard, through a guide in the headlamp unit, then through the cable outlet on the right had side. I rerouted it from the adjusting unit through a retainer and the bottom of the fork gaiter, removed it from the guide tin the headlamp and out of the cable outlet. It was now sufficient to attach to the brake lever.

All was now well and I reconnected everything. Installing, first the left hand side parts, then the right. All were left slack at this time. The handlebar retainer was repositioned and the nuts and bolts fitted. I adjusted the handlebars to the best position I could find, ensured that they were central and secured them. The left and right hand electrical units were positioned in the locating holes and secured. Levers were set to the right position and tightened and the left hand rubber installed. I did not change the rubber on the throttle. I replaced the tank and reconnected the petrol feed pipe. The front brake was re-adjusted, mirrors reinstalled, and a quick check around confirmed that there were no spare components lying about.

I reinstalled the battery (I have it on an optimizer charger during the winter) and kicked her over. The engine started and all circuits functioned correctly. However, the engine was racing, maybe about 2500 to 3000 rpm. I adjusted the throttle cable adjusting screw and brought it down to about 1000rpm. I will have to adjust it properly when the engine is warm after a run out but NOT in this weather.

So, what is the verdict? Yes all the cables are long enough and Yes, the seating position is much better, so far! There were no insurmountable problems but it was certainly not as straight forward as one would have thought. The upshot is 'If I can do it, anyone can!!


Handlebars.jpg (214743 bytes) Handlebars2.jpg (286406 bytes)