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Best Motorcycle Handlebars for Short Arms

Best Motorcycle Handlebars for Short Arms

Looking for a comfortable motorcycle with a relaxed riding position can be difficult if you are a shorter rider. Most motorcycles are designed for average-sized riders. The ergonomics of a motorcycle largely depend on the type of handlebars installed. Replacing the handlebars changes the rider’s posture and the motorcycle’s comfort. Most motorcycles, including cruisers and touring bikes, are designed to ensure an upright back for comfortable long-distance rides. However, having shorter arms means that you will have to stretch to reach the handlebar grips.


You may find it difficult to access the switch controls, brake lever, and clutch lever. Also, you can lose your grip on the handlebar while making turns if you have shorter arms. Read this article to learn about the best motorcycle handlebars for short arms.

1. How to Check If a Motorcycle Handlebar is the Right Fit for You

If you are a shorter rider, select a motorcycle after checking the handlebars by following these steps:

  • Sit on the motorcycle and reach the handlebar grips.
  • Make sure that you do not have to stretch your arms significantly to reach the handlebar grips.
  • Make sure the riding position is comfortable.
  • Sitting slightly forward to reach the handlebar is normal, but make sure your arms are not completely stretched.
  • Your elbows should be slightly bent while holding the handlebar grips.
  • Check to see if you can comfortably rotate the handlebars without losing your grip.
  • Make sure you can reach the brake and clutch levers.
  • Make sure you can reach the switch controls.

2. Which Motorcycle Handlebars are Not Good for Shorter Arms?

The following motorcycle handlebars are uncomfortable if you have shorter arms:

The ape hangers and mini ape handlebars are high-mounted, making them difficult to reach for shorter riders. They are mostly mounted to the clamps at a 90° angle. Meanwhile, flat/drag handlebars and beach handlebars are low-mounted to ensure an aggressive riding style. These handlebars are mostly installed on café racers and sports/muscle cruisers. Flat/drag handlebars and beach handlebars are also uncomfortable for shorter riders as they require riders to fully stretch their arms while leaning forward. Turning a corner is also difficult as riders can lose their grip on the handlebars. Wide handlebars are also uncomfortable for shorter riders as they have to stretch and spread their arms apart significantly to reach the grips.

3. Handlebars for Short Riders

3.1 Sweptback/Pullback Handlebars

If you have short arms, you should pick sweptback handlebars. Sweptback handlebars are tilted towards the riders, allowing them to comfortably reach the grips and ride with an upright back. These handlebars are mostly mounted on cruisers and touring bikes since they ensure a comfortable posture for longer rides.

3.2 Handlebars with Pullback Risers

Flat or beach handlebars can be comfortable for riders with short arms by installing pullback risers. This handlebar riser acts as an extension and connects to the handlebars with a clamp. Risers are usually installed to increase the height of the handlebars. Installing upright high risers will put the handlebars out of reach of shorter riders. However, curved risers can help riders with short arms reach the handlebars while maintaining an upright posture.

4. Best Motorcycle Handlebars for Short Arms

4.1 Reach Handlebars

Reach handlebars are designed by Harley Davidson for women and shorter riders. If you are between 5 ft 3″ to 5 ft 8″ tall, reach handlebars are ideal. You can also install curved risers to make it more comfortable for longer rides. Reach handlebars have the right pullback, width, and height for shorter arms, making slow-speed maneuvers, handling, and turning tight corners easier.

4.2 Buckhorn Handlebars

Buckhorn handlebars are also a comfortable option for riders with short arms as they have a greater swept back angle. Riders with short arms can comfortably enjoy long rides in a laid-back riding position with buckhorn handlebars.

4.3 Custom Handlebars

If you are a shorter rider and cannot find a motorcycle with comfortable stock handlebars, you can consult a custom builder to design custom handlebars that suit your riding style. You can have the desired pullback angle and install risers to adjust the ergonomics per your preferences.

5. Motorcycle Handlebar Adjustments for Short Arms

You must be able to reach the handlebars, switch controls, clutch lever, and brake lever. Being unable to reach the handlebars, controls, and levers will make riding unsafe. Also, if the rider has to move his/her hand to toggle the light switch or horn, it can be distracting.


Apart from replacing or modifying the handlebars, there are aftermarket adjustable clutch and brake levers available that allow you to switch their positions as per your preferences.

6. Final Words

Handlebars are used to steer the motorcycle and improve control. Handlebars within comfortable reach of the rider ensure better maneuverability and comfort. Unfortunately, most motorcycles are designed for average-sized riders. In the same way, most stock handlebars are uncomfortable for shorter riders. However, there are several options for shorter riders to ensure comfortable rides, including replacing the stock handlebars with sweptback reach and buckhorn handlebars and installing curved risers. Hand controls, including the clutch and brake levers, can also be adjusted using aftermarket levers.


If you want to customize your motorcycle to better suit your riding style, Viking Bags offer several good-quality aftermarket parts, including handlebars, seats, sissy bars, crash bars, fairings, and backrests. If you love going on long motorcycle trips, Viking Bags has several luggage options available, including saddlebags, backpacks, and tank bags.

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