VTX handlebar swap

My friend Mark came over yesterday and we swapped my handlebars and riser on the 1800 Neo. Mark had given me the chrome riser block from his Retro, and I had the VTX logo filled with red paint. The bars are from Flanders and are black, the grips and stock Harley Davidson black rubber grips.

I had already removed the left grip so we were ready to start. First, loosened the screws hold the switch housings and the screws hold the clutch and front brake reservoirs. We left them snug but not tight, just enough to keep them from turning on the bars as we worked. We loosened and removed the nuts holding the risers to the triple tree, and pulled the bars out and forward of their usual position so that we could remove the switch housings from the bars. Then we replaced the bars and measured the distance from the end of the bars to the reservoir clamp and wrote the measurements down.

Then we removed the old bars again and put the new bars in place, putting the nuts on finger tight for now. Then we removed the screws from the reservoir clamps and clamped them on the new bars, closer to the end than they should be. This was just to allow us to get both reservoirs off the old bars, we will position them properly later. Now, the old bars and risers can be set aside. We used our measurements and set both reservoir clamps where they should be and tightened them down snug, but not fully tight.

Wrinkle number 1: I am using Harley grips and the diameter of the throttle sleeve is larger than the Honda sleeve. Out comes the Dremel tool and a small burr. We carefully enlarged the opening at the end of the right side switch housing until the new grip/throttle sleeve fit and would turn without binding. Wrinkle number 1 solved.

Wrinkle number 2a and 2b: The housings both have a small stud that fits in a hole drilled in the bar to prevent them from turning on the bar. The left side one was easy enough to measure from the old bars, and we just drilled a pilot hole and then progressively larger bits until it seated properly. Wrinkle 1a solved. On the throttle side, I positioned the grip and sleeve and then the lower part of the housing so that the grip would turn without binding. We didn’t measure the old bars as the grips are not the same so it seemed logical to just make the housing locator hole based on the new grip. We drilled it out and it fit fine. Wrinkle 2b solved.

The rest was just tightening the riser block nuts to 70 ft-pounds and snugging up all remaining bolts. I then had to reinstall the tank and console before I could ride it to make any final adjustments to the reservoir angle. I left the throttle side alone as it seemed correct, but I did twist the clutch side a bit. I tightened those bolts and that adjustment was completed. All that remains is to install the left grip and this project is done.

Time to ride.

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