Friday, January 15, 2010

Handle bar for Royal Enfield Bullet

Most of the passionate Royal Enfield owners will have faced the dilemma of chosing the proper handle bar for their ride.

Some makes there selection based on aesthetic appeal and some selects it from a usability point of view. My take is to give priority to the usability part without losing out on the aesthetic appeal. The experience gained by me in chosing my bull's handle bar is shared here

The bullet which I bought came with a short handle bar, which has a touch of classic feel associated with it.

I just loved the majestic appeal which it gave to the Royal ride.

The seats were of the low slung type for the rider and slightly raised one for the pillion

A close up view of the handle.

and the seats

After one month of usage in this mode, I felt some uneasiness in the wrist after some long rides. But I felt this might be the initial syndromes. After six months or so I started developing severe pain on my right elbow, for which I have to consult a doctor, who rightly advised me to find the activity, which when done is causing maximum pain. I soon found out that it is while twisting the accelarator, I am feeling this. This pain was aggravate after my solo ride to Idukki (Click here to read the trip log). My wrist was bandaged and it was diagnosed as tennis elbow and the doctor advised me not to activity which aggravates this. I was horrified to hear this as I could live without my bull.

After a careful analyis of different elbow positions while twisting the accelarator, I found out the following

1. When the hand is dead straight, the twisting action of wrist is sure to exert the elbow muscles. I was feeling pain, when I kept the hand straight and tried to twist the elbow

2. When the elbow is bend, the twisting action is not straining the elbow. I noticed that the low slung seat, resulted in a relaxed riding position and we tend to either sit straight or lean backwards, which eventually increased the distance to the handle. So we have to keep our hands dead straight for giving the throttle.

So now I had two options

1. To change the seat to a flatter one. This will increase the height of the rider's seat. In this seat, people often tend to lean forward, so that the elbow will have a slight bend. But the higher seat means, the Centre of Gravity will also be high and high speed cornering is sure to take a hit. I don't want to lose out on the sitting comfort offered by the low slung seat during my long rides through those beautiful ghats where I enjoying scratching the footpedal on floor.

2. To increase the height of the handle bar. This will bring the handle bar closer to our body and hence we our elbow will be bend. For high rise handle bar there are a lot of options.

1. The bullet electra handle bar
2. The RD 350 handle bar
3. The bullet thunderbird handle bar
4. The aftermarked buttlefly handle bar which resembles a thunderbird handle, but is slightly wider.

I decided to try out any one of these and then if found not good will select the next one.

The first one, I got hold of was the RD handle bar, which was slightly wider than the standard bullet electra handle bar.

Fitted this on my bull. Just see the difference in height between the two bars

Even with the bandaged hand, when I rode with this handle bar, I was not feeling any pain at all. I was releived and decided to keep this handle for my next long ride.

This was closer to me as well.

The low slung seat and the high rise handle

After the next ride (Click here to read about this ride) which covered about 500km a day, I was extremely convinced about this handle and I did not test the other high rise handle bars.
But during this ride I noticed that there is excessive vibrations on the handle bar, which was not there with the short one. This vibrations start once I take of my one hand from the handle. The moment I keep my hand it will die down.

Then I understood the importance of handle bar weights which is normally screwed to the ends of the handle. The original short one had handle bar weights. In this handle I had put a handle bar grip with a chrome cup at the end. Soon I put the original handle bar weights to the ends of the handle and voila the difference was amazing.
I am wondering about the worth of small and simple things in solving real world problems. What I thought of was having a mere cosmetic item was having such an importance was not known to me.

The weights were screwed in after welding a nut inside the hole of the handle bar.

The things I learnt are
1. Low slung seats needs high rise handle bar
2. High RD handle bar is adequate because of it height and also due to its increase width and lean towards the rider.
3. Handle bar weights is a must

I did many long rides and never did the pain in elbow came again. You can read about my rides here (


deeps said...

thats one bike i havent tried yet...

Immanuel said...

YES,I also tried fitting a standard bullet handle for its looks,but alas!eneded up with the wrist pain when using a throttle...,my older one when I bought came with the butterfly handle, though the handle of the standard one gives a macho look but gives pain as well :) Ur review is execellent !

kaa said...

I am in the process of rebuilding my bike, a '90 standard. i too want the dampeners. do the nuts come with the dampeners or are they separate? and all that needs to be done is welding the nut?

btw you write very comprehensive and well thought out reviews. thumbs up :)

Anonymous said...

thanks a on my way to get both - seat and handlebar..and your analysis just helped me make up my mind...
thanks again
timmy verghese

Suresh said...

thats a great way to educate on Handle bars....and the handlebar weights completes it

Rup Saha said...


I have booked classic 350cc as i am crazy about its looks.but i found thunderbird is more comfortable while riding as you don't feel that you are ridding a heavy bike.

I had a ligament tear on right hand and shoulder i feel the lil bit pain while taking test ride for classic.

can i put thunderbird or any other bike handle bar on classic which will give me more comfort? but again look will become worse?isnt it ?plz suggest.....

regards dev

prathamesh said...

Hi I am prathamesh prasade..

facebook link:

I have a classic 350 n I am thinking of changing the handlebar n the seat.. your this blog post was really helpful bro..

add me on Facebook.. I need your suggestions.. thank you..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your article. I have Classic 350. Original handle looks good but not really comfortable. Planning to change it.

Ashwin Kumar Narayan said...

need your advise. I have been riding the machismo for 10k kms nw. i have started developing a pain in my elbow jst as u have mentioned in ur blog. Is it advisable to change to RD350 extended arm handle bar.where in bangalore did u buy the RD handle bar.
Thanks & regards
Ashwin said...

Hello Ashwin
I bought the RD handle bar from Thiruvananthapuram. But it is not available now.
In Bangalore my bro tried to get one(JC Road), but was unsuccessful. He later bought this from a Delhi based supplier's online website which sells RE products.
The Bullet electra's handle bar also is an extended one. You can go for it if u like the looks. I prefer the RD look though.

Billy Voola said...

Even I am also using RD350 extended handle bar. with Chrome handle weights. Very Comfortable and looks great

!> | \/ /\ said...

That was a neat a precise write-up Subu, you completely echoed my thoughts and experiences with the stock handlebar of my RE Classic 350. Except that I had opted for a Classic 500 handlebar which completely reduced the pain and vibration. The riding position is also an important aspect one should consider..if u agree!!

sahil said...

i am planning to buy a classic but feels little uncomfortable during the test drive i love the height in electra but lukwise ilove classic so can u suggest me any solution to this??

Anonymous said...

hi if anybody has used thunderbird or butterfly handle on machismo.or electra can u plz share your views and experience:-) TIA

Anonymous said...

Mate, I am presuming that you got the handlebar replacement done in Bangalore. Any suggestions of good mechanics/garage where you got this done? Including the addition of weights on the RD handlebar.


Mazhar Ali Khan said...

Hi I need genuine classic 350 handle bar I resides in Delhi if any one have plzzzz whatsapp me 9899663418...Mazhar

Abdul Hafeez said...

Hi subu,
Good review on handle bars. I was planning to replace my stock high rise handle bar for my standard 350 with the short handle bar but after reading ur review I prefer the ride comfort and stay with the stock high rise bar

Abdul Hafeez said...

Hi subu,
Good review on handle bars. I was planning to replace my stock high rise handle bar for my standard 350 with the short handle bar but after reading ur review I prefer the ride comfort and stay with the stock high rise bar

Balasubramanya M said...


I too changed my handle to RD extended one. It feels comfortable.

Subhendu Pattnaik said...

Do you change long cables with the RD 350 handlebar or it can be fitted with
the stock cables

Subhendu Pattnaik said...

Do you change long cables with the RD 350 handlebar or it can be fitted with
the stock cables said...

Stock cables was enough for machismo.. dont know whether its ok for uce

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Pooja Rathor said...

Awasome blog..Thanks for sharing
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