Why Do Some Motorcycles Have High Handlebars?

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There are a lot of motorcycle lovers who prefer to modify their bikes according to their liking. Some might like it with high handlebars while some with low.

Keep in mind that high handlebars are also known as Ape Hangers, so you would understand right away when someone is referring to them.

It is also worth mentioning that the height of the handlebars can depend on the motorcycles as well. People also think that riding with high handlebars can be uncomfortable, but the riders strongly disagree with this.

These riders like having the handlebars around their shoulder length, but they can refine the height to make it more comfortable. Furthermore, people do not prefer riding high handlebars for day-to-day adventures.

So, why do some motorcycles have high handlebar? You may ask? Well, first of all, it makes the rider look confident and makes the bike more luxurious. Moreover, since the bars are closer, it is more comfortable.

But most importantly, it does not ruin the handling makes the rider’s body posture better, especially for people who have back problems, and those who are used to this style of cruising have also said that they can go at high speeds.

Make sure to read this article in its entirety so you can have a better understanding of Ape hangers on some motorcycles.

Why Do People Prefer High Handlebars?

If you are wondering how these high handlebars work for your motorcycle, then read my in-depth guide

The stock motorcycles would have a custom-built chopper and enormous raked front ends and high handlebars.

These high handlebars were first introduced in the late 60s. They were known to be quite fascinating to look at but, most importantly, outstanding riding experiences.

It is said that changing the handlebars of the motorcycle is quite popular. Nowadays, many people prefer buying an aftermarket handlebar or a custom-made one.

Keep in mind that excessively high-rise handlebars are not recommended for day-to-day rides as they can affect blood circulation and ruin body posture.

Other than that, high handlebars are perfect for cruiser motorcycles and are well known to be laid back because the riders maintain an upright posture throughout the ride.

And brands like Royal Enfield and Harley Davidson have a wide range of OEM ape handlebars manufactured to deliver the best cruising adventure.

Are High Handlebars Uncomfortable?

This mainly depends on the rider and his/her preferences. It can be comfortable for most people because if the bike is given more width on the handlebars, it can make it more leverage and makes it easy for riders to control the bike, meaning excellent handling.

Keep in mind that high handlebars are mainly used by riders who have back problems. This might be news to you, but yes, this can encourage riders to have a more upright posture rather than a hunch which can result in bad posture and be quite painful after the ride.

However, make sure that your body type is accurate enough for ape hangers. This way, it will also keep your shoulders relaxed and lessen strains on the wrists and elbows. Other than that, you also want to make sure that the motorcycle you are riding is accurate for high handlebars.

And if you think you can modify your bike by lifting the seats higher, this would work great too. You just want to make sure that you are not stretching your arm to reach the handlebars as that can be uncomfortable, and after the ride, your arms and shoulders will be aching in pain.

Do High Handlebars Affect Handling?

Yes, high handlebars can affect the handling of your motorcycle, but you might not be able to notice it as much since it does not make a huge difference. But how exactly does this feature change the handling?

It is stated that once you elevate your handlebars or even lower them, there will be a change in the center of gravity.

This does shift the gravity and affects the way you are riding it. Some even say that the response, while you are turning, might be slower than usual.

This is mainly because you will have to lean the bars over an extended distance to make the motorcycle into a curve.

Do keep in mind that it will not negatively affect the safety or handling but simply change the responsiveness of agile cornering and performing rigid radius turns.

However, various high handlebars are designed to be extra-wide. This allows the rider to have more control, so it will be a comfortable ride.

All you need to do is get the right size of handlebars considering your height and your motorcycle. That’s not all.

High handlebars are also closer to the rider, so they do not have to stretch their arms too much, but do keep in mind that when customizing, they shouldn’t be too close to the chest because handling the bike will be too hard.

What Is The Right Size For High Handlebars?

As you may know, handlebars are said to be one of the most important parts of your motorcycle.

Choosing the right size for high handlebars is also important because handlebars are mainly used to control the steering and better handle your bike.

This is also a major safety feature, so the height must be accurate and comfortable, so you do not have back pain or neck pain, numbness of shoulders, arms, and wrists, or end up in an accident.

With that being said, here’s what you need to know to get the right size of high handlebars:

1. Choosing The Right Width

It is highly recommended that people match the handlebars’ width with their shoulders. When it comes to off-roading, wider handlebars work efficiently because they provide stability and tough terrain.

Besides that, for inexperienced riders, the 46 centimeters G Series gravel bars by Enve are said to be a perfect choice.

They have the perfect width and assure stability and slowdowns steering so riders can have more reliance and handle comfortably.

Many experts also said that if you go for narrower handlebars, the bike can go faster. So for faster speed, it is suggested to go for a width of 42 cm or 40 cm for bars.

2. Choosing The Right Shape

When it comes to the shape of the handlebars of your motorcycle, the main concern should be how well it offers the aerodynamic position when it comes to riding in the deep drops.

The perfect option for riders would be the Omega and Ergonova handlebars because they are said to be extremely comfortable and allow the riders to have better shoulder position and handle better.

It is also said to put the deep drops at the best location. Other than that, compact handlebars are also amazing since they put the hood and drop closer to each other so you can control them easily and make sure you have a better torso and arms position.

Are High Handlebars Illegal?

In many states, the height of handlebars is concerning. This is why you need to choose the accurate height limit because many motorcycle riders get stopped by police officers and get asked questions. In some cases, people were also given a warning ticket.

The main reason why this is serious is that police and highway safety facilities explained how high handlebars could hurt the steering ability and control mechanical undertakings such as the throttle body and brake systems.

When it comes to high handlebars like the Ape Hangers, they can be quite dangerous to ride with because many high handlebars are at the head level while some are higher than that.

This is not acceptable in the U.S. and Canada. Other than that, some safety advisers also mentioned five concerning factors that you need to know about high handlebars:

  1. High handlebars can make it extremely difficult for riders to steer the motorcycle.
  2. The high handlebars can make the rider’s posture quite uncomfortable because the hands and arms are placed above shoulder level.
  3. This can reduce the blood flow to the arms and hands and result in the rider feeling exhausted and numb, which can be quite dangerous while steering.
  4. If a rider is steering with exaggerated high handlebars, it can be quite difficult to control during serious situations because there are high chances of losing control.
  5. This can cause serious injuries due to the accident. It is also said that these problems do not happen with standard handlebars arrangements.

Things To Consider Before Getting High Handlebars

If you are planning to get high handlebars, you might have to think carefully about that decision because it is not easy for everyone to handle. There are also some limitations that every bike rider has to follow, such as the height limit.

So here are the things you should consider:

  • The design and manufacturing of the motorcycle: Depend on the height, and weight limit of the motorcycle and whether the seats can be modified to extend so the rider can sit comfortably with the high handlebars.
  • Height of the rider: If the rider is short, then riding with high handlebars can be difficult because you would have to stretch the arms to reach the bars.
  • This can also affect the body posture since you would have to lean forward. This can also affect the blood flow and cause pain to the body.
  • It is more about fatty than how aesthetic the bike might look. Looking at major factors like comfort, aerodynamics, ergonomics, practicality, handling control and safety concerns.
  • You might have to thoroughly research these things or try a bike with high handlebars before you can make this decision since controlling the bike can be hard for some people.
  • Check if your motorcycle is large and heavy: This is mainly for shorter riders because larger bikes with high handlebars can be difficult to cruise around, take turns and handle well. It will also put you in a difficult sitting posture, and you would certainly want a more relaxed position as well as ride.
  • Make sure that when you are seated on the motorcycle with high handlebars, the back, and your neck are straight.
  • This will assure you that your posture is perfect with the bike, and once you grab the handlebars, it is also accurate. It will also make sure that you have a more fatigued free riding and handling.

Are High Handlebars Good For Long Rides?

The main purpose of high handlebars is explained to provide extra comfort, a better sitting posture, and reduce pain in the back, neck, wrists, arms, and shoulders of your body.

Now people also suggest that using handlebar risers can make the experience better because they can be installed to increase the height and make them placed closer to the riders, so they do not have to stretch their arms too much.

Besides all that, installing risers for long rides is the best choice because it will prevent you from putting too much pressure on your wrists, they can also protect your torso from stresses on the muscles, joints as well as ligaments on the hands and so on so you can have a comfortable ride throughout.

Can You Install The Handlebars Yourself?

Although it is not a difficult job, many people say you should have a company with you when installing the new bars. There are also some important tools that you will need to get the job done, though.

And these are as follows:

  • Hand shift chopper
  • Long throttle cable
  • Electrical wirings
  • Break cables and lines
  • Brake hoses

You need to know that you can easily get all these tools in a handlebar conversion kit, so make sure to buy a lot rather than each item separately, as that can cost you a lot more. Other than that, the installation process can take up to 10 minutes if you are an expert.

But if you are someone who does not know how the installation is done, then it is better to contact a professional and get it done easily.

Now, if you have a motorcycle with internal wires in it, it can be quite difficult to do, which is why an expert would be required to get it done for you.

Pros And Cons Of High Handlebars

This information will help you make a fair decision on whether getting high handlebars is good for you or not.

So without further ado, here are some of the pros and cons that you need to know about high or ape hangers handlebars:


  • Provides extra comfort while riding.
  • It makes the posture of your body better as you will be seated with an upright back.
  • Relaxed shoulders and arms.
  • Make sure you do not put pressure on your wrists.
  • Lifts your chest.
  • Provides better visibility on the mirrors
  • It adds to the aesthetic of your motorcycle, making it look more luxurious.
  • Fun to ride in because of better handling and shifting.
  • Make sure you do not have to lean forward to reach the handlebars.


  • You will notice extra wind resistance as the speed increases on your motorcycle.
  • Many people end up installing the handlebars inaccurately or extra loosely. This can affect the handling, which can be quite dangerous because you will have no steering control and end up in an accident.
  • High handlebars can increase the vibration, especially in handle grips.
  • Cannot install them above the shoulder length as they can cause numbness to the arms, wrists, and shoulders.
  • Illegal in many states.

How High Can Handlebars Be?

This information is crucial for you, so you do not go against the state laws. Two states, Washington and Wisconsin, allow the motorcycle’s handlebars to be around 30 inches but not more than that.

This means that it can be 30 inches higher than your motorcycle seats. But multiple states, Alaska, Alabama, West Virginia, Michigan, etc., allow a maximum of 15 inches above the motorcycle seat.

Other than that, only one state, Nebraska, allows the handlebars to be 15 inches only, which is from their buckle point on the motorcycle.

Other than that, you should also know that one state, Oklahoma, prohibits the height of the handlebars from being too high or more than the rider’s eye level.

Furthermore, according to California, the handlebars must be positioned accurately so that the rider’s hands on the grips of the bars are not more than 6 inches above the shoulder height when they are seated.

Lastly, States like Arkansas, Kansas, Montana, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, etc., have no restrictions on the height of the motorcycle handlebars.


I hope this article benefited you in finding all the answers relevant to why do some motorcycles have high handlebar?

If you are a motorcycle enthusiast and plan to get these ape hangers for your bike, it is certainly a great choice.

They work well on almost all motorcycle types and models, ensuring that the body posture is upright and provide better performance.

Additionally, the size and height of the handlebars also matter a lot, so be sure to get the accurate ones that match your body and motorcycle.

Though you might have to look through the laws of the state, you live in so you do not get stopped by police officers every time and end up paying fines.

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