We get a lot of questions about bar installs. Hopefully this little tutorial will help someone. There are a lot of ways to do it, but this is the simplest way we know, with the simplest of hand tools. We jacked around a lot and still did it in 90 minutes.
What are dimples and why?
Stock Harley switch control pods have wires that run out of them and through the inside of clutch and brake perches. The underside of the bars have dents or "dimples" for these wires to hide in, otherwise your controls wouldn't fit over the wires.
Yes, the best way is to ditch all that spaghetti and lose the pods, but that's another day. This is for the the guy who wants to keep his pods and use them on bars without dimples.
Why run smooth bars anyway?
1. If you make custom bars or have a set made, most builders can't make dimples.
2. If you buy bars from someone who offers them with dimples (say, er, Biltwell) then you may want to shorten them. The dimpling process slightly ovalizes bars and the throttle side will take some work to get the throttle tube working properly. Smooth bars give you the flexibility of shortening them as much as you want without worrying about ovalized ends or dimples in the way.
3. If you have switch pods now but think you'll clean up the wiring down the road and ditch them, smooth bars are a good choice. Once all you have are perches and grips or just grips and a throttle housing, dimples are kind of ugly.
For this experiment we used our friend Mike D
. (the other one) and his 2002 Street Boy Bob Fat FXWTF with stock bars and controls, minus the turn signals. Your experience may vary but probably not by much. Keep in mind if you are changing bar dimensions dramatically you may need different throttle cables, wiring and front brake lines, etc. In this case it was easy as it all fit using the stock parts on Biltwell Tracker bars.