Alistair Maclean's Web Site
Real Handlebars

Handlebars for a 996

I have looked at a range of handlebar options. Many involve putting risers on in place of the existing aluminium handlebar mounts, some replace the actual clip-on bar with a new bar with a rise built in. They all offer some rise but there are limits. The most notable limit is that the hydraulics reservoirs hit the fairing with about a 3 inch rise.

I have the feeling that I need the bars to come further back as well as rise and most of these products didn't offer that option. I would occasionally search on Google to see if something else came up. One day I tripped over something while searching with the key word being 'yoke.'

A website for a company in San Francisco popped up, they are StreetFighters USA. They sell a range of products for all manner of bikes to alter the handlebar position. They sell a top yoke kit for the 748/916, which should fit the 996 (probably the 998, too.) I spoke to them and the kit seemed to allow for retaining the fairing, so I order one. The kit itself is produced in Germany by a company called LSL Motorradtechnik Gmbh.

The LSL Kit

The LSL handlebar kit
The complete handlebar kit
The top side of the LSL yoke
The top side of the LSL replacement yoke
The lower side of the LSL yoke
The underside of the LSL yoke and its machining (nice piece)
The variance between bar positions
This shows the height and position change the new bar affords
The variance between bar positions
This shows how much longer the new bar is than the clip-ons
The variance between bar positions
This is a closeup of the positional change

There are several kit contents that I have no earthly idea about (a small pack of screws for instance). The kit is full of TUV certificates which is pretty impressive, if I were a German, fortunately NJ DOT could careless if I changed anything just so long as they get their tax. One thing that was missing was a comprehensive set of instructions. There were general instructions for fitting a handle bar, and other for doing the hydraulic hoses, but nothing that completely said 'this goes here, that goes there.' Instructions would make things easier.


Nothing is ever easy.

The kit is pretty complete except for one or two little things that come to haunt later. Installation is easy enough, but is time consuming. Its worth taking off the fairing, eventually I took off all the body work, right down to the airbox. The first big issue I had was that the yoke would not go on, it required jacking the bike in the middle and making sure that little or no load was on the fork legs before it gracefully slide on, assisted by the pounding of a rubber mallet. I put the aluminium bar on and checked it for clearence under the fairing. I was surprised to find that it actually got under the fairing even at full lock - that was until the controls went on!

The fairing needs to be trimmed in a lot of these handlebar swaps, so I was expecting to have to cut the fairing - I will be buying a suitable secondhand candidate so I don't totally trash this bikes body work.

The kit contains a fresh set of hydraulic hoses for the brakes and the clutch. I found that bleeding the clutch was a bit of a chore, so I took the opportunity to move the bleed nipple to the handle end of things. The reservoirs are remote on the Ducatis, meaning that the piston and fluid reservoir are seperate pieces. Using the clip-ons the angle the reservoirs are set at is fine, but with the new bars the angles are a little wrong. I may either attempt to cut new mounts for the reservoirs or move the reservoirs to between the handlebar clamps.

The bars need to be drilled to take the controls. They tell me this is an easy job, I haven't done it yet though, that is because...

Moving the starter button and emergency cut-off control showed that the wiring loom on this control is quite short, too short infact for anything but straight ahead. Long before the limits of steering lock the wiring is pulled taught. As there is no replacement in the kit, and no wiring extender either, I was not about to savage the wiring without a spare.

State Of Play

I worked back and removed the bar temporarily. I have a shopping list that includes:

  • A replacement used fairing
  • A replacement starter handlebar cluster
  • Possibly, an aluminium plate to move the hydraulic reservoirs to

While not currently on the bike, the promise of the radically altered seating still alures me, now what is the ebay URL....?

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