The 101 Association, Inc.
For the preservation and enjoyment of 1928 to 1931 Indian Scout Motocycles
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Handle bar heights

  • 19 Apr 2018 6:14 PM
    Message # 6111621

    I followed a link from years ago about straightening handle bars from the AMCA. It was written by Tom Faber on how to straighten bent bars while on the bike attached. I wrapped the bars with leather as suggested to aid in the distribution of force. Got a piece of tublicar steel 1 1/2” inside diameter 5’ long of 16 gauge. He explained that the steel used back then was low carbon and should be bent cold, not heated. Well my son and I tackled the job and it really worked nicely. Do a little at a time! My question centers around the height of bars from the ground on it rear stand. Not taking the bars off of the bike I followed the dementions as best as possible from the 101 bible book. Being at an angle on the bike, its kind of hard. That’s why Im asking if someone has there 28-30 101 on a concrete floor on its rear stand  what is the distance from the floor to the bottom of the handle grips?

    Many Thanks,

  • 20 Apr 2018 4:01 AM
    Reply # 6112223 on 6111621

    I am going to dispute that , Harold. Bending steel induces stresses along the radius of the bend. The sharper the bend , the greater the stress. Rebending cold adds to new stresses, and the material will form cracks . If you drop a motorcycle, and bend the bars a minor amount, a small adjustment MAY not do too much harm, but any major realignment is likely to cause dangerous weakness in the material. 

    If you have any doubt about this, place a small strip of mild steel in a vice and bend it a few of times back and forth. It will eventually break. If you heat the material to a nice red and repeat the same operation, it will not. It is what blacksmiths have been doing for a millenium, for a reason.

    Last modified: 20 Apr 2018 4:59 AM | Anonymous
  • 20 Apr 2018 9:59 AM
    Reply # 6112457 on 6111621

    If there are micro cracks I can’t see I guess that’s right . But I don’t see any cracking at all. Also why did Harley and others make a tool for straightening frames and bars to bend cold?

    Any idea on the distance from the floor to the bottom of the grips?


  • 20 Apr 2018 6:47 PM
    Reply # 6113095 on 6111621

    Handle height from the floor is a very bad baseline to compare between bikes since it depends on the tire height, tire pressure, state of front fork with all moving parts there, the state of the fork spring and not the least the state of the rear stand. All that makes the height different on every bike you measure on. On my bike one side is 36-1/2" the other is 37-1/2" and both the handle bars and my rear stand are crooked and bent, possible in different direction! 

    You have to use your own bike as base, bend the handle same height as the other one. If not satisfied bend both bars, out or in, up or down until you find a comfortable ride position that suits your body. The bars can take bending without cracking to a point, but don't accept a handlebar with collapsed flat areas on the tubes, cracked brazing, electric welded repairs or spliced bits. It's your safety and life! 

    Be aware that the bars is a vital part for the road handling of the bike! They has to be clamped firmly to the forks, with sound headlight stalks or screws! The handlebar function as a upper "triple tree" and stabilize the entire fork, so it is a vital item. The top nut clamping force is important but "in the view" and not overlooked as often as the clamping force the headlight stalks has on the fork ends. 

    If you notice any black powder or running "rust dust" around the fork ends where the handlebar is clamped, that is a tell tale that the fork is moving/shifting in the handlebar clamps and that must be adressed without delay.

    Last modified: 20 Apr 2018 7:11 PM | Carl-Erik Renquist
  • 20 Apr 2018 11:28 PM
    Reply # 6113371 on 6111621

    Thanks Carl! 

    Haven’t noticed any of your cautions but will keep looking. I must be close even though your variables are very valid. Since I have straighten them they are 36” from the floor, close. Other measurments match the R&O manual guidelines.

    Thanks again,

  • 21 Apr 2018 3:14 AM
    Reply # 6113459 on 6111621

    Harold, from the couple of pics you sent me, your bars look like they have already had some serious manipulation and repairs, the tubing does not look to be clean , smooth and uniform. Take care. It is always easier to spot previous repairs with the bars off the bike and minus paint and filler......

    Seeing as I use heat unless there is only one minor bend to straighten, I normally have the bars paint free and bead blast them. Much easier to see cracks and welds.  Grease inside bars then needs a LOT of flushing with cleaners and thinners to make sure there is no grit left to foul up the control cables.

    On the subject of an actual bend height, The way I repair the bars is to clamp them flat to a welding bench and mark the bends out as per drawing. I occasionally make bars higher if someone has long legs, I would recommend sitting on the bike and trying to work out where you want the end of the bars to be with your feet on the footboards, and bear in mind that you ideally want the bars to clear your knees/thighs at full lock, something that can be an issue with the standard bar for the longer legged rider.  Then you can adjust the bend to ensure that the rise is ok for you personally and the grips remain at the same angle 

    Anyone got a good source for repro bars? If someone can refer me to somewhere that can make the centre castings I can look into it, have a good welding and fabrication shop in the same building I work out of. 

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