Change Harley Handlebars

High-rise bars, or “Ape Hangers,” are an iconic Harley customization.

Harley Davidson motorcycles are a popular choice for those who wish to customize their machines. The bikes that started the “Chopper” craze are often seen with cut fenders, stretched frames and elaborate paint jobs. However, one of the easiest and most dramatic modifications is a new set of handlebars. They can be fitted in minutes and will completely transform your stance and riding style. If you don’t like the results, they can be returned to normal just as quickly.


1. Lay out the blankets or towels over your gas tank or front fender. When you remove the controls from the existing bars, you will be limited to where you can put them due to the length of the cables.

2. Start at the outer edges of the bars and work inward towards the forks. Remove the throttle assembly by loosening the Allen bolts and separating the two halves. The brake and clutch levers work in a similar way, using two semicircular pieces bolted together around the bar.

3. Take each piece off one at a time and lay them gently onto the covered fender or gas tank. Take care not to twist or pull on the cables or hydraulic lines. When all the controls have been removed from the bars, take off the covers on the bar mountings. Depending on the model, these might be pop-off plastic units, or they might be secured with a Phillips screw.

4. Loosen the bar mountings using the 5/16 wrench. Work in a cross pattern, loosening each of the four mounting bolts until you can rotate the bars freely. Remove all four bolts and the two semi-circular brackets and lift the bars out.

5. Fit the new bars and replace the brackets. Tighten them in the same cross-pattern until the bars are sturdy and solid. Replace all the levers and controls in the same order you removed them.