motorcycle 101 guides

Things You Need to Know When Buying Ape Hangers

Things You Need to Know When Buying Ape Hangers

Ape hangers can make a motorcycle look cool and comfortable. However, they have always been controversial due to their height. Some motorcyclists believe that ape hangers offer an awkward riding position, obstruct the rider’s vision, and make steering and handling more difficult. To put restrictions on custom builders and motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy installing inappropriately tall ape hangers, motorcycle handlebars height laws were introduced. However, these restrictions imposed differ between U.S. states.

If you prefer a unique motorcycle look and more comfort on long-distance rides, an ape hanger handlebar with the appropriate height, pullback angle, and thickness is a good option. Read this article to learn everything you need to know about buying ape hangers.

1. Height and Position of the Ape Hangers

The height of ape hangers is the feature you should consider most before buying them. Not all ape hangers ensure a comfortable riding position and an upright back. It largely depends on personal preferences. Some riders feel more comfortable with the handlebar grips being above shoulder height. However, other riders believe that ape hangers are more comfortable when the height of the grips is below or at shoulder level. This position ensures better vision, an upright back, and comfortable arm positions. If the handlebar grips are above shoulder height, your arms will go numb during the ride. Also, make sure to abide by the handlebars height law applicable in your state when buying ape hangers.

2. Rider’s Height and Size

The rider’s height and size must match the height of the ape hangers. Just because an ape hanger handlebar is comfortable for someone else does not mean it will be comfortable for you. If the ape hanger handlebar grips rest at shoulder height, it may rest at chest level for a rider who is taller than you. A bigger rider requires wider ape hanger handlebars to ensure safe handling while turning corners.

Luckily, ape hangers are available in different heights and widths. Make sure to try out different ape hangers before buying one that offers the best comfort on longer rides.

3. Seat Height

If you replace the seat after installing ape hangers, your riding position, arm position, and body posture will change. If you are also planning to replace the seat, make sure to do it before buying ape hangers.

4. Thickness

If you want the motorcycle’s front to look cleaner, make sure to buy an ape hanger that is 1.25-1.5 inches thick so that the cables and electric connections can be installed inside the handlebars. Thick ape hanger handlebars are slightly heavier than ones with a 1-inch thickness but have more strength and rigidity.

5. Different Ape Hanger Designs

Ape hangers are available in different designs, including curved, pointed, wide, and narrow. The ape hanger designs provide a different look, feel, and comfort. For example, traditional ape hangers with curved edges tend to be wider than the ones with sharp edges and pointy meat hooks. After choosing which ape hanger’s design you want, make sure to also check the width and height of the handlebars and make sure their overall design complements the motorcycle.

6. Pullback

The pullback on a handlebar provides more comfort and a laid back riding position, especially for shorter riders. However, the handlebar must have a reasonable amount of pullback since a steep pullback angle can cause discomfort due to riders being forced to bend their wrists too much.

The traditional ape hangers with curved edges usually have reasonable pullback angles. Ape hangers with sharp edges and pointy meat hooks are usually straight with no pullback. Some custom-made ape hangers have steep pullback angles which put the arms in an uncomfortable position and reduce the steering and handling capabilities of a motorcycle.

7. Are Ape Hangers Illegal?

Not all ape hangers are illegal. There are different restrictions imposed by motorcycle handlebars height laws in different U.S. states. Some states, including Alabama, Texas, Michigan, Alaska, and Florida, allow riders to install ape hangers below or at least 15 inches above seat height. In Georgia, riders are allowed to install ape hangers that are 25 inches above seat height.

States like New York, Arizona, Illinois, and Massachusetts restrict riders from installing handlebars above shoulder height. In Nebraska, you cannot ride a motorcycle with handlebars that are 15 inches tall above their mounting position. In California, the handlebars should not be more than six inches above shoulder level. Several U.S. states have no restrictions on handlebars height, including New Mexico, North and South Carolina, Colorado, and Kentucky.

8. Pros and Cons of Ape Hangers

Pros of Ape Hangers Cons of Ape Hangers
Ensures upright back Hinders view
Comfortable riding position on longer rides Motorcycle’s front end becomes heavier
Less back pain Handling and steering become difficult
Provides cool look Difficult slow-speed maneuvering
Provides motorcycles with a customized look Produces excessive vibrations
Reduced wrist strain Requires more strength to turn the handlebars
Available in different sizes and designs Hands can become numb
Available in different thicknesses and weights Reduced aerodynamics

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

9.1 Are Ape Hangers Safe?

Ape hangers are safe as long as they are not too tall. If you are a beginner, do not start riding a motorcycle with ape hangers as they make maneuvering, handling, and turning corners difficult, especially if they are above shoulder height. Though ape hangers ensure an upright back for comfortable rides, the arms can become fatigued and numb due to the high position. The slow-speed maneuvering is also difficult with ape hangers due to the motorcycle’s heavier front end.

9.2 Are Ape Hangers Worth It?

Ape hangers are one of the most popular modifications among custom builders and motorcycle enthusiasts. They improve the motorcycle’s aesthetics and the rider’s back posture to ensure a more fun riding experience.

10. Final Words

Riding a motorcycle with ape hangers is fun and comfortable. An ape hanger handlebar ensures an upright back and comfortable posture for longer rides. However, the arms become numb and fatigued due to the higher handlebar grips. Before buying ape hangers for your motorcycle, make sure to test the height, width, thickness, design, and pullback angle of the handlebars.

If you love customizing your motorcycle, Viking Bags has a wide range of aftermarket parts, including handlebars, sissy bars, crash bars, seats, backrests, and fairings, available at their online store. You can also transform your motorcycle into a better touring bike by improving the storage capacity of the motorcycle. Viking Bags offer different luggage options, including saddlebags, sissy bar bags, tank bags, and handlebar bags.

Reading next

What to Do After Buying a Used Motorcycle?
What to Do After Buying a Used Motorcycle?

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.