Bagger Bar Breakdown

Bagger Bar Breakdown

Choosing Handlebars for your Harley-Davidson


Two moto-vloggers passionate about traveling and the open road.

Over the years, we've covered hundreds of thousands of miles on our Harley-Davidsons, exploring the back roads of America on various bikes experimenting with different handlebars throughout the process. There are a lot of factors in making a motorcycle comfortable for the long haul while still bringing that performance feel for spirited riding and we'll be sharing some of that here.

What options are there?

When it comes to aftermarket handlebars for your Harley-Davidson, there are tons of options: traditional ape hangers, meat hooks, straight T-bars, moto-style T-bars with risers, and the list goes on. Each has their positives and negatives, but today we'll be sharing what we've found to be the best overall option for all of the riding we do.

For us, the moto-style handlebar and riser combo has been a great option as you can tailor a fit that is perfect for you.

Want a taller setup? Increase the riser height or go with a higher bend on the bar.

Want it closer to you? Choose pullback risers, bars with back-sweep, or even a pullback plate or top tree.

Too wide or narrow? Pair your risers with a handlebar width that fits your needs.

While a lot of this information can apply to other Harleys like Softails, Dynas, and FXR's, this write-up is specifically to explain a few different options we like for baggers.

Top Tree & Gauge Relocation OR Riser Adapter?

The main difference between the two options is that the adapter plate keeps your gauges in their stock position and relocated the riser mounting position to fit around the gauges through the nacelle and the Top Tree and gauge relocation option removes the nacelle completely and relocates the gauges to your risers.

This choice will be determined by preference and riding style as well as budget. The riser adapter option only requires handlebars, risers, perch clamp, and adapter plate, so it is a bit less expensive, whereas the gauge relocation kit typically is paired with the Thrashin' Road Glide Top tree along with the gauge relocation kit, bars, risers and perch clamps.

Riser Adapter

The purpose of the Street Glide and Road Glide Riser Adapter is to mount to the riser holes on the stock top tree which are directly beneath the gauges in the plastic nacelle. By pulling the mounting location CLOSER by 1 5/8" and UP by 2 3/8" the risers can then be mounted in between the gauges and the rider without the need for a gauge relocation. Something to keep in mind is that the 2 3/8" height increase should be considered when determining your total handlebar height from the top tree.

Typically, we recommend sticking with the 6.5" pullback risers with this option as the gauges are still 90% visible in their stock position behind the riser by anyone 5'7" and up. The taller the riser, the less visibility of the gauges, unless the gauges are relocated.

Typically, the parts will be less expensive compared to the ladder option but installation labor would be on par or more expensive as their is cutting required for the nacelle along with a few different steps like removing the lock and re-mapping the ignition to the handlebars. Something to consider is the handlebar lock function is lost with this setup. Pictured is the most popular combo: 6.5" pullback risers and high bend (5.5") bars.

Gauge Relocation

This is the preferred option by many and has various advantages over the riser adapter setup. Not only does the Thrashin' Top tree have TWO mounting positions for the risers, giving more adjustability but it also has a hidden integrated lock and a much cleaner look. With this setup, the risers are mounted directly to the top tree without the use of a riser adapter, so the height of your risers in combination with the height of your handlebars are the only two variables when calculating your total handlebar height.

With this setup, you can choose Thrashin's tallest riser setup (9.5" pullback risers) and still have FULL VISIBILITY of your infotainment system and gauges. The gauge relocation housing mounts to your risers in between the risers and the dash and can be pivoted and mounted exactly to your liking depending on your height, riding position, and general preference. The most popular combination of bars and risers we see are 9.5" pullback risers and mid-bend handlebars (4") for a total height of 13.5" from the top tree.

Build your bike YOUR way!

Whether you're a bar hopper or crossing state lines, there's a handlebar setup that's right for you and your specific needs. If you have any questions or need help setting up your ride, give us a shout at and we'll get you covered!

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