You ask we answer. Here's the latest in our "Ask a Mechanic" series.
Q: What are clip-on handlebars?
A: OK, for starters, not sure if you're talking dirt bikes or motorcycles so let me say clip-on handlebars do not have a dirt bike application. Clip-on handlebars are primarily used on street bikes or sportbikes but can technically mount on any motorcycle with front forks. So, yes, you can put them on your dirt bike but that would be weird.
A clip-on handlebar literally clips on, or mounts to the front forks of the motorcycle instead of the traditional triple tree bolt-on method. Clip-on handlebars are actually two pieces compared to the one piece bar you commonly associate with handlebars. They are performance parts in the truest sense due to the adjustability. This is what clip-on handlebars look like:
Smaller cruisers and other motorcycles that people convert into café racers commonly have the one-piece handlebars replaced with clip-ons to change the look. But you won't see them on Adventure bikes or long distance cruisers that allow the rider to sit back in a relaxed position.
Clip-on Handlebars Advantage
You might be asking why you would want clip-on handlebars. This style of handlebars does have some advantages including:
- Adjustable to rider preference
- Engages racing form by requiring rider to lean forward
- Lighter than conventional handlebars
Because these bars require the rider to get into a racing stance using them for general riding can cause strain and fatigue.
By the way, faux clip-on handlebars, as they are called, offer a cool visual piece on bikes these days but you cannot adjust these bars to personal preference.