It seems as if there is a tough-guy stigma to having apehangers on your bike. Maybe back in the days of the outlaw biker on his super-raked chopper this was accurate, but in the case of bagger apes, it couldn't be further from the truth. Some people ride tall bars because they look cool. Some ride them because they feel more comfortable. With as many questions that come to us from our readers regarding what size bars they should run, we thought we would shed some light on fitting apehanger bars on an FL-based bike.
We first wrangled up a few of our pals who range from 5 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 5 inches and made them sit on our shop Road King while we measured them and fitted them with a corresponding Burly Brand apehanger that ranged in size from 12 to 20 inches in 2-inch increments.
Instead of just taking into consideration a rider's overall height, we broke their bodies into three sections and measured their inseam, torso and arm length. By measuring these three sections, we quickly figured out that leg length is usually the largest difference from one body to another. This really would have nothing to do with choosing a handlebar, so the torso and arm length measurements were what we needed to properly fit a rider to the right height handlebar.
Burly Brand supplied us their collection of apehangers.
Taking cues from our local suit tailor, we measured from the rider's waist to the top of the shoulder. We then measured from the top of the shoulder to the tip of the middle finger. Of the five men we measured, the torso was largely the same, whereas the arm length was drastically different. Another thing we figured out was that a rider's size also greatly changed their riding position while on the bike.
After all of this measuring, the funny thing we found was that if the rider sat on the bike, closed their eyes and put their hands in front of them where they felt best, it was very close to the measured size we picked for them. This location, which is just slightly higher (1 to 2 inches) than their shoulders when they're sitting on the bike, seems to be the best position when talking with experienced apehanger owners as well as our personal experiences.
No matter if you heed our suggested fit guide or not, just remember that if you feel the need to monkey around and get some apehangers, check your local laws to see just how tall of a handlebar you can legally get away with without having Johnny Law on your tail. B
5' to 5'4" - 12" handlebar
5'5" to 5'8" - 14" handlebar
5'9" to 5'11" - 16" handlebar
6' to 6'2" - 18" handlebar
6'3" to 6'5" - 20" handlebar
20-inch Burly Apes on a Road King