Can handlebars be straightened?


#1

Bike dropped, handlebars bent making the right side farther back than the left. So it feels as if you are turning a bit to the right to go straight.

Can a mechanic straighten them or does it need replacing? Replacement cost is £98.02 (excl. delivery). plus I have no idea what to do about transferring the heated grips so would need to add labour to get someone to do it for me.

Just had a big service, new chain, and need new tyres very within the next 500 miles. Also need to replace a panel (£98.81), indicator lens (£15.25), and the muffler cover (£51.13), though that can wait. So a bit of an expensive time already.

Not sure if I am just unlucky or really bad at riding. Another one where it feels like it is not my fault, but thinking that makes it feel like I am making excuses.

Went to make a right turn into a lay-by, and the next moment I was laying on the ground. This is where:

And this is what it looks like now:

Trying to avoid the mess on the left I missed the pile of road-coloured gravel in the middle. So finished off straightening after the turn on it and you can see where it sent the tyre instead. No time to do anything about it, straight over,

You should be able to sue the council for that. Though I am guessing that is not possible or they would not have let their roads gets into such a dangerous state.

My thumb is very sore and stiff, but not swollen and at least I did not break anything this time. Though I am not as important as the bike, I can be repaired for free!

Very fed up.


#2

I’m not a mechanic so can’t give any advice on the main question but all I can say is - I am, personally, VERY careful whenever I see gravel. If it’s an option, I don’t take the road covered in crap like this and just find a detour. If it isn’t, I take it very slowly ensuring that I can catch the bike if it falls.

Regarding sueing the council - I don’t think anyone gives a flying one about such things. It might be worth complaining just so that you feel like you’ve done something but don’t expect anything to get done.


#3

Technically bars can be bent back into SHAPE but they’ll have a physical weakness at the bend point and you really should replace them.
Ignore the RRP, you can buy aftermarket bars for less than that. Depending on your abilities, swapping the old bits onto the new bar won’t be that difficult. you just need some hairspray to loosen the heated grips off of the old bars and to stick them back to the new ones.
You also need the torque setting for the handlebar clamps.


#4

I am normally very careful with gravel too, I would avoid it but so many car parks where I want to go (countryside locations etc.) use it that it is impossible to avoid completely. But when I do I am very slow and often waddle rather than ride on it.

Had I noticed that pile on the lay-by I would have tried the other side of it or not used it at all. In this case I was so fixated on the obvious gravel I missed the pile that was probably the leftovers from the last chip and spray surfacing, so it blended into the road.

The weakened metal is what I was worried about, me_groovy, and so why I asked here before calling a mechanic and looking like an idiot! I am not sure what the proper torque setting is, but I installed bar risers without it being a problem so am okay with that aspect of it.

I suppose my only concern with aftermarket bars is that the Honda ones have inner weights, not just the ends, so worried that something else may not be compatible and so vibrate more. Which with it being a commuter bike (CB500F) and my arthritis then anything to reduce that is important. A quick eBay search and the top match is Renthal bars for £39.95 (with free delivery).


#5

Renthal bars are very good, top quality, probably stronger than oem Honda bars. I swapped a pair on after an off bent my stock bars.

Yes, the Honda bars do have weight in the ends and bar ends, the Renthal have a slightly different bar end bolt size, so you’ll need to factor in some compatible bar ends too. I’m using an R&G pair which are pretty weighty too.

Also, if you do swap to Renthal, bear in mind they won’t have the locating holes for your switch gear. So you can either drill a hole as needed (but invalidate Renthal warranty), or sand down the locating peg and wrap some tape round to stop the switch gear rotating around. All in all about an afternoons work if you’re new and are taking your time. Trickiest part will be removing heated grips, depending on glue used. They often start to spin on throttle, so many super glue them on…


#6

If I was a gambling man I’d wager your handlebars are deformed rather then bent. Yes, bent handlebars can be straightened. No, deformed handlebars cannot be reformed.

To bend or straighten pipes, tubes etc requires a former to support the walls. Bending a pipe or tube without a former creates a collapse of the wall at the point of the bend and a weakness, bending it back again only weakens it further. Even if the bending back is done using a former, the former will not be the correct shape to support the already collapsed tube wall and further weakness will be created.

Note also that deformed handlebars are an MOT failure.


#7

Speak to Big_D, he may be breaking a bike with same or similar handle bars.


#8

Totally lost on most of that, NT, but in short I take it to mean you are saying they need replacing. Incidentally, how can you tell the difference between bent and deformed?

And thanks Arfa, it sounds like that is the best option, then. The Honda ones do seem too fragile, going by my experience and online posts, and Renthal ones are normally an upgrade over OEM. And presumably being stronger would have a similar effect to the inner bar weights with vibration.

The bike is nonetheless rideable, after checking everything was otherwise okay I managed another 170-odd miles yesterday. It was a tad disconcerting at times, but I kept not noticing until after having to stop and set off again.

But I want to get them done as a priority, and given the cost of labour I guess I will need to learn to do it myself. A pity you cannot get them pre-drilled, but I would rather risk the Renthal warranty than risk messing about with more expensive OEM parts.

Although my thumb is proper swollen today, so that will have to wait for now.


#9

basically
no you shouldn’t try to straighten bent bars


#10

In short they need replacing and the difference between bent and deformed…

Bent pipe or tube will maintain its circular profile all through the bend. Deformed pipe or tubing will have flats, wrinkles or kinks (and therefore weaknesses) through the bend.