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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The bars on my newly acquired '73 CB500 are just too high (rise?) and angled back (pull?) for me. I'm thinking I want something flatter/lower and straighter. I'm certain I don't want full-on cafe racer bars with the grips down at the level of the headlight. I've read that superbike bars are a good in-between. Looking around online has netted a lot of options - ranging from $19 to $100+.

Is there a "normal" width for superbike bars? Or, do they get cut down to preference? Any guidance here would be great.

Oh, it's worth noting that while this CB is nice it is far (!) from a museum piece... lots of parts have been swapped, modified, faded, rusted... dented. My goal is to bring it back and keep it true to the O.E./era, e.g. not a brat, cafe racer... but not a 1973 brochure cover clone either.

Thanks!

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. is the internal wiring critical or just a cleaner look? And, to confirm - I need 7/8" not 1" right?

Man... I'm going to look back at these questions in a few years think "Holy %&$* I was a newb"
 

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I'm pretty sure your stock bars are internally wired. If you don't run the wiring internally with new bars, you'll have to modify the switch housings for wire clearance (grind slots in them), and the external wires won't look as clean as running them inside the bars. Yes, you need 7/8" handlebars. Personally, I would never convert internal wiring to external - it just looks bad to me.
 

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^^^all above absolutely correct - I use the same 400F replica bars from 4into1 and they're great. Nice height, not too tall, proper holes for wiring inside the bars and as good a price as you'll find for bars like that - and yes, the correct 7/8" size
 

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I put 400F bars on my 450, 100% better than stock imo. The ride position is comfortable too.
 

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I agree with 83XLX the CB400F bars are the way to go. Internal wiring is a little more difficult to do but worth the cleaner look. Here are a few photos of my 1971 CB350 with the 400F bars and 1975 CB550/750 control switches on them.

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Oldzasker, I would advise looking around some of the usual vendor's sites. Look for those with detailed drawings or better yet, side by side photos of various style bars. In my own experience, you can't really tell what bars "fit" you personally until you sit on the seat and hold onto them. I know that last bit doesn't help much, but as I said, that's my personal experience. As well, each bike "sits" differently. There are so many factors that can enter the picture, but in the end, if they don't look good to YOU, you will not be satisfied no matter how well they feel and work. ;)

Tony Foale once experimented with these bars. He's someone who knows a thing or two about motorcycle design and performance. Weird as they look, he claimed they were the most ergonomically comfortable and offered great control. ...but they are butt ugly! :D
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For the same reason (sorta) Tony found those odd bars comfortable and providing easier control, I personally prefer bars with considerable pullback and nearly parallel (to the frame) grips on a street bike. Off road however, I'm inclined toward more straight grips that give instant leverage when it's needed when you're manhandling the bike in contrast to the smoother turning pavement bound riding. It really is a personal, situational choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
This is great - exactly what I was hoping for: insights, opinions, pics... links! Thanks guys. I'm going to order the 400F bar. But, to your point Oupa, I'm going to keep an open mind almost think of this as a "test" bar. I mean, at $28, it's not a huge gamble.

Is there anything else I should buy/replace while I'm swapping the bar - you know, those "since you've got the ____ apart, go ahead and replace ___"

Thanks again.

EDIT: Wow... 4into1 charges $19 to ship a $28 handle bar. Their shipping fees are as oldschool as our bikes.
 

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The only thing that comes to mind is new grips if you need them. If you want to reuse your old ones, they may be difficult to remove from the bar and throttle sleeve. I've found that working a thin, flat-blade screwdriver under the grip and then sliding the spray tube from a can of WD40 down beside it and squirting it will break them loose. You may have to do that in 2 or 3 spots on a stubborn grip. The WD40 will evaporate and the grips will stick to the new bars just fine.
 

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I have always used lighter fluid(the kind in a zippo) and it has always worked great for removing or installing grips. An air compressor also works well.
 

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ANYTIME you're contemplating an online order, consider shipping before pulling the trigger!

Most vintage-type bars are pretty reasonable unless you're looking for something specific that sellers know isn't widely available. ;) Generic bars though, are widely available from multiple sources and ebay is a perennial favorite. You're absolutely correct on the "try" prospect. Be sure to attend any local swap meets to! Even if you're not looking for parts, it's usually just plain fun. :D

+1 on the new grips. Once again, look around. You should be able to find decent ones for <$20. Hopefully a lot less than $20! If I know there is no chance I'm going to re-use them, the easiest way I've found to remove old grips is a butcher knife held flat against the bar and pull to the end of the grip. It's not pretty but it sure is effective! :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If the throttle appears to functioning well, should I just get new grips? Or, is the sleeve just a standard thing to do when changing a bar or grips? Thanks!
 

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Yeah, if the sleeve is ok, I'd reuse it. My '69 still has the original throttle sleeve on it.
 
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