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Do It Yourself Tech: Change Your Motorcycle’s Handlebars for an Easy Reach

Part 1: Harley-Davidson Street 750 ergonomic upgrades to help a short woman ride better

By Tricia Szulewski, Editor
1/1/2021

Sometimes it’s the simplest thing that attracts women riders to a particular motorcycle. In the case of this Harley-Davidson Street 750, it was the sissybar/luggage rack accessory mounted to it that drew MAD Maps founder Jenny Lefferts to it. In fact, she lovingly refers to it as a “purse holder.” You see, Jenny’s 1993 Sportster 883 doesn’t have any room for storage, and frankly, the Sporty is just not as comfortable and fun to ride as it was 25 years ago when she bought it.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar jenny lefferts
When Jenny Lefferts took the Harley-Davidson Street 750 out for a spin she rediscovered how much fun motorcycling can be with a comfortable, easy-to-ride bike. After almost 20 years of riding a temperamental Sportster that she only later found out isn't set up to fit her smaller stature, she bought this Street 750 and modified it to fit her body and personal style. Here she is on the streets of San Francisco with her customized bike sporting the Motochic Lauren bag WRN reviewed here. The luggage rack that initially attracted her to this bike was reinstalled after this photo was taken.

The first thing to do when buying any motorcycle is make ergonomic adjustments to things like handlebars, levers, footpegs and foot controls, seat, and suspension. You need to easily reach the grips and have a relaxed bend in your elbows with feet and hands comfortably able to use all the controls. This might mean swapping some parts for aftermarket accessories that offer a different fit.

 
In order to achieve the perfect fit on her Street, Jenny, who is only 5 feet 3 inches tall, worked with several industry pros, including Declane “Irish” Malone and San Francisco Harley-Davidson’s (SFHD) Todd Gregson who helped her find the right parts to order and install so they'd all work together without any surprises.

harley davidson street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar dominion grips
In this article, we show how to install Harley-Davidson’s reach handlebar (#55800224, $69.95 and Dominion grips (#561-00233, $89.95) that bring the grips two inches closer on the Street 750. Often when replacing handlebars or risers that bring the grips closer to you, you need to replace the cables and brake lines with longer ones. Jenny upgrades the Street to use Magnum Shielding’s braided Pearl Black series (brake line #4686SW, $74.95; clutch cable #42272HE, $84.95; throttle/idle cable #43372, $67.95 each).

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar stock 750
Jenny’s Street 750 as purchased—stock except for Screamin’ Eagle slip-on and air cleaner, H-D Typhoon wheels, and the Harley quick-release sissybar/luggage rack that initially drew Jenny to it.


harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar remove mirrors fairing seat tank
Support the Street on a lift and remove the seat, tank, bars, fairing, mirrors, and hand grips. Bleed the brake fluid and remove the front brake line and control switch housings.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar clamps tighten
Place the Harley-Davidson reach handlebar between the clamps and tighten the stock bolts using a 6mm Allen bit.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar magnum clutch and throttle cables
Run the new Magnum clutch cable down the backbone of the bike following the same route as the stock cable.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar left switch housing clutch perch
Loosely install the left switch housing and upper clutch perch on the new handlebar.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar install mirror
Install the stock mirror using an 8mm socket.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar install clutch boot
Slide the stock clutch boot onto the Magnum cable.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar install magnum clutch ferrule cable
Install the Magnum upper clutch cable ferrule into the clutch lever.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar magnum cable jam nut
Then screw the stock upper jam nut onto the Magnum clutch cable.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar lower jam nut
Guide the end of the cable into the lower perch and secure it with the lower jam nut.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar clutch cable
Insert the end of the clutch cable into the actuator.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar jam nuts
Use two 14mm wrenches to tighten the jam nuts to the lower perch.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar zip tie cable
Adjust the cable, leaving 1/8 inch of free play then zip-tie the cable in place.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar dominion grip
Slide the left H-D Dominion grip onto the handlebar where it is held in place by the left control housing.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar screwdriver control housing
Use a Philips head screwdriver on the two stock screws to tighten the control housing.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar master cylinder socket
On the right side, reinstall the front brake master cylinder using an 8mm socket.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar brake light switch
Plug in the front brake light switch terminals. They should just barely reach now.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar magnum brake line
Use a 12mm wrench to install the Magnum brake line, crush washers, and stock banjo bolts.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar triple tree clamp
Use a 5mm Allen wrench to reinstall the P-clamp under the lower triple tree to hold the brake line in place.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar caliper
Use a 12mm wrench and the supplied crush washers to attach the banjo bolt to the caliper.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar banjo bolts torque
Torque the banjo bolts to 14 ft-lbs.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar throttle cable
Next, attach the lower end of the throttle cable and the idle cable to the throttle body.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar switch housing
Insert the idle and throttle cables into the lower switch housing and secure them by installing the retainer using a #2 Philips screwdriver.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar throttle notch
Slide the throttle grip onto the handlebar and insert the throttle ferrule into the notch.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar throttle ferrule
Rotate the throttle grip around and feed the idle ferrule into the other notch.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar control housing
Then use the Philips head screwdriver on the two screws to tighten the right-side control housing and set the cable free play.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar master cylinder cap
Remove the master cylinder cap using the Philips screwdriver.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar bleeder valve
Then connect a brake bleeder to the brake caliper bleeder valve.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach brake fluid
Fill the reservoir with DOT4 brake fluid and bleed the brake line. Reinstall the master cylinder cap and give the brake lever a few squeezes.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar tank
Reinstall the fuel tank and fasten the ground wire to the fuel pump backing plate with the stock nut.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar fuel line
Reinstall the fuel pump and the fuel crossover lines, using a new clamp. Then installs the bolt securing the rear of the tank.

harley street ergonomic upgrade reach handlebar
Here's what the new bars, grips, and cables look like. We’ll finish Jenny’s Street ergonomic upgrades in the next article with a new seat, footpegs and engine guards.



This series of Harley Street installation articles originally appeared in the now defunct
American Iron Magazine.

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