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  1. #1
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    Default Handlebars Back Pain

    Trying to get the ergonomics right on my 84' Low Rider. I am 5'7" 160 lbs. Currently have drag bars on 4.5" pullback risers. Mid controls which I recently converted to have been a huge improvement over the aftermarket forward controls. I run either a LePera slim seat or a Mustang Regal depending on the length of the destination.

    My problem is I get mid-upper back pain relatively easy with this setup. I find I have to lean in a bit too much and low which is probably the reason for the pain. I love the look of drag bars personally but if I have to completely change things to combat the pain I will.

    Oddly enough, my old bike, a 1977 Sportster, had narrow H bars and I felt comfy as hell on that bike.

    Should I try taller 8.5" pullback risers?

    I rode a bike once that had buckhorns and they felt super comfy.... not the biggest fan of the look but buckhorns are cheap enough to try.

    As the bike stands now:

    Here is the setup my Sportster had which was comfy as hell! Probably because it was a smaller motorcycle...


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    Looks like you've got plenty of cable to go taller.
    Try the longer risers first
    Low rise "super bars" are a close look to the drags.
    You could go tough guy with some pulback T bars once you know where you want your hands.

    Alternatively, Harley makes several "reach" bars for shorter armed riders. But they aren't going to have anything close to a drag bar look.

    Get us a pic of YOU on the bike, with your hands where you think you'd want them to be.
    Might get some better suggestions.

  3. #3

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    i never like the position of low bars combined with forward controls. With mids, low bars are comfier but for me a nice set of low-ish 8" rise ape style bars are the comfiest

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    The narrow bars/riser setup on the Sporty worked due to weight and the risers elevating the bars. You could copy that setup. Both bikes run similar front ends and have mid controls so it should be quite close with the bike weight being the major difference. Wider hand grip width addresses weight by offering more leverage.

    For big twins more distance between hand grips gives better leverage so contemplate how your upper back and shoulders feel at different hand positions.

    Figure out the best position for your hands and spine. Your body will tell you what it wants. Concern with trifling bar style details vs. your extremely valuable back and neck is questionable because minor position differences make major load differences make more or less pain. (I've had C3/4 fused, a shoulder replacement and am waiting on lower back surgery eval because fuck doing more painful damage then trying to heal when I'm even more ancient.)

    Buckhorns fit a lot of people and cheap stock HD stainless takeoffs should be easy to find.

    For a given grip width, angle and height it doesn't matter how you get there, just that the grips are where they should be.

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    I agree with you. That is a sweet looking shovel with those bars and risers. It's set up like I would want like the Sturgis was. My softail has pullback risers but instead of going with drag bars I went with sportster style bars similar to a Deuce but with 1.25" bars. I also hate buckhorn bars. My last softail had the mini apes from a dyna wide glide which is similar to buckhorns but look better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky View Post
    Looks like you've got plenty of cable to go taller.
    Try the longer risers first

    You could go tough guy with some pulback T bars once you know where you want your hands.

    Get us a pic of YOU on the bike, with your hands where you think you'd want them to be.
    Might get some better suggestions.
    Got some 8.5" pullback risers on the way and a friend is giving me a set of old buckhorn take offs from an FXR. So I have some new options to try. Definitely trying the risers first as I prefer the drag bar look and obviously easier to swap risers.

    Dyna/FXR T bar look is growing on me. I'm thinking I can somewhat accomplish the look and feel with the taller riser/drag bar combo which will also keep it "old school" to what I believe will suite the Shovelhead better in the aesthetics department. Function over form always for me (which is why I run a front brake, front fender, blinkers, bags, mirrors, shit why am I on CHOPcult LOL) but the T Bar SOA look on the old FX frame aint warmed up to me yet. If this were a Dyna or FXR I'd have a set of Biltwell T Bars on there yesterday.

    Will get a photo of me on it with the current setup.... don't laugh too hard though!
    Last edited by garystaven88; 05-13-2020 at 3:16 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    The narrow bars/riser setup on the Sporty worked due to weight and the risers elevating the bars. You could copy that setup. Both bikes run similar front ends and have mid controls so it should be quite close with the bike weight being the major difference. Wider hand grip width addresses weight by offering more leverage.

    For big twins more distance between hand grips gives better leverage so contemplate how your upper back and shoulders feel at different hand positions.

    Figure out the best position for your hands and spine. Your body will tell you what it wants. Concern with trifling bar style details vs. your extremely valuable back and neck is questionable because minor position differences make major load differences make more or less pain. (I've had C3/4 fused, a shoulder replacement and am waiting on lower back surgery eval because fuck doing more painful damage then trying to heal when I'm even more ancient.)

    Buckhorns fit a lot of people and cheap stock HD stainless takeoffs should be easy to find.

    For a given grip width, angle and height it doesn't matter how you get there, just that the grips are where they should be.
    Absolutely Farmall, hoping with 8.5" pullback risers on the way I can somewhat emulate what I had on the Sportster but of course it will be a bit wider with the drag bars (which is a GOOD thing as this Shovel weighs a bittt more than the Sporty!).

    As you know all too well, backpain is noooo good. As soon as I recognized it I knew I needed to fix it asap. It started with ditching the forwards.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by tradarcher View Post
    I agree with you. That is a sweet looking shovel with those bars and risers. It's set up like I would want like the Sturgis was. My softail has pullback risers but instead of going with drag bars I went with sportster style bars similar to a Deuce but with 1.25" bars. I also hate buckhorn bars. My last softail had the mini apes from a dyna wide glide which is similar to buckhorns but look better.
    Much appreciated thank you! If I find the end result to eliminate backpain are buckhorns then so be it..... BUT.... I'm going to try everything I can before going to em LOL!

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    I made a pair for an old Iron worker that had taken way too many falls. He sat on the bike with a grip in each hand in the position that they hurt the least, I measured carefully and photographed then built a jig to hold the center section and the short lengths of tube that would hold the grips and controls. With the two ends at different angles nothing looked right so I welded up some chain and it looked like modern art but he could ride again.
    Dusty

  10. #10
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    The chain solution was slick. Whatever it takes to get back in the wind.

  11. #11
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    Installed the 8.5" pullback risers. Complete night/day difference. MUCH better body positioning for me. I first tried mounting them with the rubbers and knew they would easily flex. They did. Installed the poly mounts and was worried I'd get crazy vibrations. Under normal riding no. I do notice a bit more buzzy feeling in the bars about 80 mph but I'm not hanging there for long periods anyway.... it's a Shovel.

    Personally I prefer the look of the low risers but function over form here. Just need to clean up the cabling/wires.





    Last edited by garystaven88; 05-22-2020 at 6:44 PM.

  12. #12
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    I run solid mounts with apes and don't get undue vibes. Most of what that old frame geometry inflicts on riders is due to unfixable able rear suspension geometry but the cure when pretty but useless fail as degenerative disc disease progresses is a plunger seat or police saddle of whatever type.

    The nice thing about HDs is huge seat selection so it's easy to have more than one for any bike.
    Last edited by farmall; 05-23-2020 at 4:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    Over the winter I swapped out my mini apes on a short riser to drag bars on 4 1/2" pull-back risers.

    As soon as I get her up and running I will know if this will work on this bike. I went back to running boards last year, my damn legs are too damn short to run forwards, lol.

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