Beginner motorcycle riders need to stay away from extreme aftermarket handlebars!
Another factor that can be overlooked yet become a real problem for a rider is related to the handlebars and their position/location in relation to the rider (and their arm’s length). The worst situations are where the rider simply has to reach too far to reach the handlebars whether that is because of a rider who has a shorter than average arm length, the handlebars are rotated to an awkward positioning (i.e., many handlebars’ positioning can be altered by loosening some bolts and rotating the handlebars forward or backward and tightening the bolts down again), or the handlebars are of a radical style/design (e.g., this Wikipedia article shows some good examples of abnormal handlebar styles … check out the “ape hangers” as these odd (to me) style handlebars are gaining in popularity in some cruiser bike circles).
In any case, if you’re not willing to pay to have them replaced (this can be quite expensive if the modification involves changing the length of brake/clutch cables and other potential complications) or adjusted, then buying a bike with awkward handlebars should be a “deal-breaker” kind of issue. This is because not only do odd handlebar configurations lead to uncomfortable riding as the handlebars may force you into a position/posture that is anything but natural or comfortable, but they could be so awkward that they present a challenge to simply operate the motorcycle safely.
So, no matter the cause (i.e., rider with shorter than normal arms/height, awkward design or positioning) if adjusting or replacing those handlebars to make them comfortable and/or natural feeling is not something you are willing to do, that motorcycle should vanish from your list of candidates for your beginner motorcycle.
This article was designed to focus on one particular factor involved in choosing the best beginner motorcycle. For a complete guide covering all the decision points in finding a great beginner motorcycle, visit our Ultimate Guide to the Best Motorcycle for Beginners click on the image below.