Knowing how to change handlebars on a Harley Ultra classic is an important skill every Harley Ultra Classic owner must possess.
Handlebars enhance your bike’s personality greatly. Swapping them for a new design that you are more comfortable with is a major way to adjust your motorcycle to fit you.
This puts you in complete control, thereby increasing your confidence level.
Suppose your handlebars are not giving you the result or performance that you need. In that case, you can invest in the ideal design of handlebars for your desired application.
A handlebar replacement is an easy project, provided you have a clear understanding of the process and the right steps to follow.
When you understand the tips on changing handlebars on your bike, you can easily and safely perform the replacement exercise independently in your home or garage.
Once you decide to change your handlebars or install a new design. The information provided in this article will help you achieve a successful project, ensuring you get the desired results or outcomes.
- 1 Why and when to change handlebars on a Harley Ultra Classic?
- 2 Cost
- 3 Time
- 4 Tools
- 5 Which size is perfect?
- 6 How To Change Handlebars On A Harley Ultra Classic (Step by step guide)
- 7 Secure your Harley
- 8 Check if everything is in place
- 9 Take out the seat and disconnect the battery
- 10 Disconnect the dash
- 11 Remove the gas tank
- 12 Remove the outer fairing and windshield
- 13 Disconnect the ignition
- 14 Detach the radio
- 15 Disconnect all the wires or electrical connections
- 16 Remove all connector housings and controls
- 17 Detach the grips
- 18 Run the wires through the new handlebars
- 19 Install the new handlebars
- 20 Do a test ride
- 21 Tips & Tricks
- 22 FAQ’s How To Change Handlebars On A Harley Ultra Classic
- 23 What method can I adopt to successfully run the wires into the handlebars?
- 24 When are wire extensions important/applicable?
- 25 What is the best installation advice?
- 26 Which riding position is most convenient?
- 27 What are the qualities of a standard handlebar wiring kit?
- 28 Which handlebars design or style is excellent for long rides?
- 29 Verdict
Why and when to change handlebars on a Harley Ultra Classic?
Motorcycle handlebars may break or bend in case of an accident. In this situation, you may need to replace the broken handlebars with a new set.
However, you don’t have to wait until your handlebars go bad or become unusable before you consider a replacement or upgrade.
There are other reasons for handlebars replacement. A Harley Ultra Classic owner who seeks a suitable, appropriate, or customized fitment for their motorcycle may decide to change the handlebars or replace them with a new design after a while.
Usually, a new and suitable handlebar enhances comfort and handling, guarantees easy control of the bike, and improves ride experience and performance.
Another reason for a replacement may be to improve the motorcycle’s appearance. A new handlebar increases the aesthetic value of your Harley Ultra Classic by making it more attractive and appealing.
This is a great way to alter the look of your motorcycle and also make a statement.
The cost of a new handlebar depends on the design and style. On average, investing in new handlebars costs between $89 and $400.
If you decide to hire an expert to conduct the installation and replacement. You may have to budget about $1200 for the entire project or exercise.
This covers the cost of a new handlebar, cable extensions, and labor.
When you have the skills and experience required to change or upgrade your handlebars independently, you can save as much as $600.
How long it takes to upgrade or replace the handlebars depends majorly on experience and skill level. If you are an expert, the whole process takes about an hour.
If it is your first time, it may take about 3 hours since you may need to read the installation manual as you go along with the installation.
We have read about people’s first installation experience on online groups and forums.
While some people declared to have spent almost a day changing their handlebars, it isn’t that hard in the real sense.
Ensure you have the necessary tools properly arranged and within your reach before you begin the exercise.
Also, consult the manual or installation guide, and follow the replacement steps carefully.
Your toolbox must contain the following items or materials. These are the tools you need to conduct a successful replacement exercise.
- Power drill
- New cables or wires
- New handlebars
- Allen wrench
- Torx bits
- Drill bits
- Socket set and wrench
- Wire cutters
- Needle-nose plier
- Rags or towels
Which size is perfect?
Ideally, the perfect size is the one that fits or works perfectly well for your application. In a short sentence, handlebars are not designed as a one-size-fits-all.
However, there is the industry standard. Usually, handlebars come in either 1-inch diameter or 7/8-inch diameter.
The 1-inch diameter is commonly used for almost all Harley applications.
Individuals or riders who desire fatter handlebars may consider either the 1 1/2-inch diameter or 1 1/4-inch diameter designs.
Once you have decided on the handlebar size of your choice, ensure you check the spacing on your risers.
Most Harley designs or models have a standard 3 12-inch on the center clamp area.
How To Change Handlebars On A Harley Ultra Classic (Step by step guide)
The replacement steps are useful and easy to follow for every Harley owner irrespective of their skill level (beginner or intermediate).
Secure your Harley
Get your bike on a sturdy surface. This ensures it is well-balanced and stable. The kickstand comes in handy in this situation.
Also, you can have the bike positioned on a jack for improved safety and a flat or smooth workplace. If you choose to make use of a jack, put it in place accordingly.
Check if everything is in place
You must ensure you have all your tools well arranged and easily accessible (within your reach).
Ensure you check that all the hardware or component of the new handlebar will fit in perfectly in the provided space.
Take out the seat and disconnect the battery
Take off the screw holding the rear seat in place to remove the seat. Upon successful detachment, disconnect your motorcycle’s battery.
The battery compartment can be found under the seat. You need to take off the side cover to gain access to it.
Disconnect the dash
Detach the bolt beneath the dash and then remove the screw at the top. For complete removal or disconnection, you will have to take the gas cap off.
Do not forget to put the gas cap back in its position upon removing the dash to prevent unwanted particles from entering the gas tank.
Remove the gas tank
Disconnect the bolt (s) holding the gas tank together. Remove the bolt at the front and base of the tank.
To completely remove the gas tank, ensure the fuel line beneath the gas tank is released and disconnect the overflow line. The overflow line can be found at the tank’s base.
Remove the outer fairing and windshield
The outer fairing, windshield, and windshield molding should also be removed.
Removing these components gives easy and complete access to the wires within the inner fairing, outer fairing, and bolts.
Disconnect the ignition
Remove your motorcycle’s ignition.
Detach the radio
Disconnect the radio system from the inner fairing. Upon the disconnection, release or slacken the handlebar clamp cover, and then take off the handlebars completely from your bike.
Disconnect all the wires or electrical connections
Start by disconnecting the handlebar wiring. Remove all the wires from each harness clip.
You can release the clips using a screwdriver (flathead) and then get the insulation around the plastic housing removed.
While trying to unpin the wires, it is safer and more efficient to use a de-pinning tool.
Remove all connector housings and controls
Ensure the pins inside all the wiring connector housings are unlocked or released. This aids easy removal.
Also, ensure all the switch consoles and control buttons on the handlebars are completely disconnected.
Detach the grips
Since you are replacing the handlebars with a new set, you may also decide to get new grips.
If you plan to reuse or install the existing grips on the new bars, you have to safely remove them and transfer them to the new handlebars later.
Run the wires through the new handlebars
Pass the wiring internally through the new handlebars. After the wires have been connected and safely extended, put them into their respective housings.
While trying to reassemble the handbrake lever, exercise patience and caution. The handbrake lever button is very sensitive and fragile.
Take it easy and ensure you do not damage the switch.
Install the new handlebars
Once all the necessary installations and connections have been completed successfully, you can install the handlebars on your Harley Ultra Classic.
Reinstall the gas tank, windshield, hand grips, and control buttons back to their positions.
Ensure all extended wires and connections are plugged back into their respective positions or compartments.
Also, do not forget to reinstall the brake and clutch cables.
Do a test ride
Now that the new handlebars have been successfully installed on your bike. You need to confirm if they fit well and deliver the appearance, positioning, and performance you desire.
You can take your bike to the driveway and test ride it. While riding on the motorcycle, try to swivel the handlebars into various positions of your choice.
Tips & Tricks
- First thing first, your safety. Working on your bike is not only messy, but it can also be unsafe.
- Ensure you consider the necessary safety precautions to avoid getting injured or getting your shirt and trouser stained.
- You need an ideal workplace. Choose an area with a flat surface, such as the driveway or garage.
- Wear a mechanic’s coat or jacket, gloves, and safety glasses before you begin the replacement process.
- Make sure all the necessary tools are well arranged and positioned for easy accessibility. This way, you save time.
- Ensure the old handlebars and the new design are relatively similar and can be directly and easily swapped out.
- Nevertheless, the process may sometimes require additional customization and adjustment to ensure a perfect fit.
- Any component or hardware removed from the bike and will still be applied or installed on the new handlebars must be well stored and protected from dent or damage.
FAQ’s How To Change Handlebars On A Harley Ultra Classic
What method can I adopt to successfully run the wires into the handlebars?
Normally, running the wires through the handlebars is not an easy task. This task can be frustrating, and it takes a long time with numerous attempts to get it done.
For a successful exercise, pass a solid cable through the handlebars. Next, connect the handlebars wires to the solid cable, and use the cable to pull the wires into the handlebars.
When are wire extensions important/applicable?
If the new handlebars are taller than the old ones, the stock wire won’t be sufficient or long enough to be connected to your bike. Hence, the need for wire extension.
Once the wires are extended, you can then easily plug them back into your Harley Ultra Classic.
What is the best installation advice?
Do not rush the installation process. When you take your time to make the necessary adjustments, it guarantees a great return on the resources (money and time) invested in the project.
In addition, you will notice an excellent improvement in your bike’s performance.
Which riding position is most convenient?
Convenience or comfort is subjective to each rider based on factors such as the seat’s condition, the handlebars style or design, the motorcycle’s design or style, and the seating position.
Also, your height plays a significant role in determining the best or most comfortable position for you.
However, bikes with a neutral upright position are generally considered to deliver incredible comfort and convenience by most riders.
The neutral upright position is also regarded as a standard riding position.
What are the qualities of a standard handlebar wiring kit?
When investing in a handlebar wiring kit, go for a design with necessary components such as wires, heat shrink, and connectors.
If the colors of the wires are similar to the existing ones on your motorcycle, that is a big plus.
Which handlebars design or style is excellent for long rides?
Just as your height plays a significant role in determining the best riding position for you, it is also a major factor when considering the handlebars to invest in.
Irrespective of the handlebars you install on your bike, how comfortable or miserable your rides (both long and short distance) are depend majorly on how you position yourself.
So, the ride quality is not just a factor of the style and design of the handlebars. Your sitting position also plays a big role.
Now that you have a complete understanding of how to change handlebars on a Harley Ultra Classic.
You can independently and successfully replace your handlebars with a design and style of your choice at the comfort of your home.
Once you have fine-tuned or chosen a suitable handlebar angle or position for your preferred operation.
Complete the installation process by ensuring that all the necessary controls and connections are in place and appropriately adjusted.