So I have been looking for more aggressive handlebars to put on my V7 Classic. The stock ones were nice but I wanted a better “look” and also a little more weight on the front tires. My Parilla 250 has VERY aggressive clip-ons that are fine for such a light bike; for the V7C I thought that something that was a little more upright but lower than stock might be the ticket.
I posted on a few forums, and many chimed in and recommended the Laverda “Jota” replica bars available from numerous places on the web. They are fabulous looking setups, but I wanted to see exactly how little I could spend and actually get some really decent bars. The other choices were “swan neck” styles, and I did consider them, and finally dropped them when I’d have to take the triple trees apart to get them on the forks. Well within my mechanical skills. Still, I want to make it cheap and easy.
A good friend recommended Norman Hyde “M” bars. I didn’t have pictures, and I’d ridden and written about Triumphs, for which these bars were actually made. The clearance for the M bars is a substitute for the “Clubman” bars on other cafe bikes. I bought my bars on eBay for about $45 bucks, and a set of cheap, nice bar-end mirrors from Amazon for another $19 plus shipping.
Fit and finish were awesome. Installed in about an hour. The cables were a little crowded, but everything ended up fitting nice. I discarded the bar end weights that came with the original bars, and I saved them to install on a friend’s Aermacchi project that I’m completing. The bar end mirrors installed quickly, and the adjustability and quality were damned nice. Allen bolts in two different sizes do the clamping and holding.
I gave it a short ride around the block. Everything was tight, but it’s Detroit, it was February and it was dark and cold. I pulled in knowing that the install was sound and everything worked well when riding around the block.
And then it rained and froze for two days.
When the weather finally broke, I pulled the bike out of my man cave and threw a leg over. First thing I noticed was the narrower bars caused me to twist the throttle and rev the engine, which is uncomfortable, to say the least. Glad to say that after a few days this has completely disappeared.
It’s been a few days’ riding now, and I have over 100 miles with my hands on the new setup. In a word, delightful. Slightly less wind blast than the standard posture, and waaaaayyyy more feel. The front wheels dance under my direction like they have never done before. Fast and slow corners are much more comfortable to set up and navigate through. The new position and the bars’ size and shape compliment this bike so well that the first thing I’d do is ditch the stock ones and put these on.
Comfort is another area. I ride big miles on the Guzzi. It’s over 20K miles since I purchased it in August of 2009, with a couple of really miserable Midwest winters to keep me off the road for extended periods. I require bars that are comfortable on my arms and keep my back in a nice straight posture. The Norman Hyde “M” bars are exactly what the doctor ordered.
Oh, and bar-end mirrors for me and my new setup?
For the first time ever I can actually see exactly what’s behind me. I don’t have to move my shoulders around to see traffic. I don’t have to squint to make out what the size, density and speed of things approaching from the rear are. No vibration, no wiggle, nothing at any speed or RPM range.
So I can see everything behind me, ride comfortably with even greater confidence, and rock a nice cafe bike look for about $75. What’s not to like?