Are wide handlebars better than clip-on handlebars or vice-versa? Maybe; maybe NOT. How about we examine this matter together? Great!
Making custom enhancements and modifications to motorcycle parts is a practice or let me say, a culture that may never go out of fashion.
For different reasons, people may see the need to make a few tweaks here and there on their bikes – “the color maybe; or the tires? The handlebars most definitely!”
Switching up colors would be an understandable choice of modification for a regular person who probably knows very little about motorcycles.
However, it might take some explaining to help them understand why changing handlebars is also a reasonable upgrade and certainly not a waste of money, if done right.
The handlebars are a crucial component in a motorcycle; on them will you find the throttle, brakes, switches, horn, and clutch, whilst also functioning as steering.
Saying this is one of the major powerhouses of a motorcycle wouldn’t be an overstatement.
The decision on the type of handlebar to install isn’t based on just looks or trends but also on several other factors, many of which will be in line with a rider’s personal preference.
The debate on which is superior between wide handlebars and clip-on handlebars is not one that’s really ever going to produce an indisputable winner, each one has capabilities that set them apart from the rest, with respect to their contributions to a rider’s overall biking experience.
Table of Contents
What Are Wide Handlebars?
If you already took a guess, I’m pretty sure you guessed right or almost. Wide handlebars are basically handlebars that have more width than regular handlebars.
The standard width of regular motorcycle handlebars (which you can measure from the center of the left grip to the center of the right one) is between 500mm and 600mm while that of wide handlebars is typically around 700mm and even more.
What Are Clip-on Handlebars?
As the name may already suggest, clip-on handlebars are directly attached to the upper fork tubes of the motorcycle as opposed to the conventional mounting on handlebar risers or a separate triple clamp.
These types of handlebars are popularly used in motorcycle racing because of the extra control they offer riders through the ability to achieve an aggressive riding position.
This means that a rider can maneuver his motorcycle easily enough while on a high-speed ride without lagging.
Before I begin the comparison between wide handlebars and clip-on handlebars, I believe it’s important for us to first consider some of the factors that may influence the choice of handlebars that are perfect for us.
Some of these factors are;
- Comfort: Handlebars that force you to take riding positions that aren’t natural or comfortable for you are most definitely not the right choice. The right choice will not only allow you to be positioned comfortably, they’ll also give you more control over steering and maneuvering. Comfort is relative and will not be the same for every single biker.
- Riding style: There are various riding styles preferred by different riders therefore, handlebars are manufactured with consideration of this riding style.
- Dimensions: The height and width of handlebars should be suitable enough for a rider’s own height, weight, and riding style.
- Compatibility: The type of bike you have also determines what handlebars to go for. Mounting styles, dimensions, etc. must be compatible with your bike’s needs.
- Durability: Considering the fact that handlebars are a very crucial part of a bike and also have a large say in how the general riding experience of the rider turns out, durability cannot be overemphasized.
- Material: Be it aluminum or steel, the material used in manufacturing handlebars comes with its own pros and cons which should be considered before making payments.
- Cost: For some people, price is top on the list of the factors they consider and that’s not unreasonable. Cost-effectiveness is also a factor that plays a part in determining which handlebars are better.
- Appearance/Aesthetics: Handlebars apart from their more technical usage also form part of the overall look of a bike which is why the specific look a rider desires is put into consideration.
Difference Between Wide Handlebars & Clip-on Handlebars
Just as I have said before, neither of the two can be undisputedly selected as better than the other. However, the specific needs of a rider will determine which is better.
Here is a comparison between wide handlebars and clip-on handlebars
|Wide handlebars||Clip-on handlebars|
|Riding position||Allows for a forward-leaning and aggressive posture||Rider maintains a rather upright posture|
|Maneuvering||It is easier to maneuver and control when not in high-speed racing conditions||Designed for high-speed riding conditions because it gives more stability|
|Customization||Mirrors and GPS units can easily be attached||It does not offer as much as a wide handlebar does in terms of what attachments can be added on|
|Weight distribution||May shift more of the rider’s weight to the rear thereby making the distribution of weight uneven. This might even affect the control||There is a better and almost even weight distribution with clip-on handlebars from the front to the rear of the bike|
|Alignment||They are more durable and will rarely become misaligned.||Due to the aggressive nature of its usage, they tend to become misaligned, therefore requiring more maintenance|
|Comfort||Riding in an upright posture reduces fatigue on long rides||Fatigue, especially on your back is almost always certain if a rider embarks on a longer ride.|
|Cost||Usually less expensive||More expensive|
Wide handlebars will be a better choice if;
- You desire more control in maneuvering
- You embark on long-distance rides
- Do you intend to install mirrors, GPS units, or a smartphone mount
Clip-on handlebars will be the better choice if;
- You use your bike for racing
- You desire stability while on high speed
- Do you like an aggressive riding position?
Your personal needs are what really determine the better choice between both handlebars and it is important to put compatibility into consideration also to avoid getting handlebars that won’t fit on your bike.