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grayracer513

Changed Bars, Improved Handling

55 posts in this topic

I always find it interesting when I teach myself something I already knew.

Last week I switched on a set of Pro Taper Contours in the Windham bend, replacing a pair of Henry/Reed bends by the same maker. The effect of this swap was a surprise, to put it mildly.

I set my son's bike up with a pair of these because of his size when we first got the bike, and never rode it with anything else on it. At the time, they seemed a little high for me. But, if you read my reviews of the bike from back around June/July of '06, I was impressed by how light and responsive the steering seemed, and how I could make the bike go more or less anywhere I wanted it to. Mine was never like that.

Mine always pushed harder the his, and always steered more like my old '03 than his bike (reluctant to turn in, stands up in turns) and I haven't ridden his bike for any length of time since just before I got my '06, so I attributed the difference to all kinds of things, including faulting my memory of his bike. I never suspected the handlebars. I was wrong.

The sensitivity of the aluminum framed YZ450 to small and seemingly insignificant changes in set up still surprises me after all this time. The Windham bend is 7mm higher, which I had thought would be helpful when standing for long periods during desert races. What I hadn't realized was that the way the bars are bent, they also move the hand position about 14-19mm farther forward. So as you might expect, the bars made it easier to stand and move around, but they also made it much easier to get farther forward on the bike without so much conscious effort, which helps cornering.

But the bars did something else, too. Whether it was simply that they moved me forward, or that the steering inputs are farther forward, the steering is much lighter, more responsive and precise than with the other bars. The effect is similar, although not quite the same as installing offset clamps.

Frankly, I am somewhat astounded by how much better the bike handles with this simple change. I've never had a bike so profoundly changed by a set of handlebars in all of my experience. The bike's response to mid turn corrections is vastly better than it was, as is the feedback and control I get when the front tire starts slipping. If your '06-'07 doesn't turn the way you want, try moving the bars up and forward 5 and 10mm or so. You might be surprised, too.

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I'm also a big fan of the Windham bend and recommend them to anyone regardless of height, they really don't feel too high.

Between the Windham bend bars, Rekluse e-axle and the forks slid up 7mm in the clamps my "old" 03 handles pretty good.

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If you don't mind me asking, how tall are you Gray?

About 5'10" (used to be 6'). My son is 6'3".

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Thats so ironic...I just moved to the Twinwalls after bending my stock 08 protaps. I tryed the Windam bend and I was kind of skeptic on the higher bend,but I went to Hangtown the next day and It really did seem as if I had more control of the bike. Call me crazy but thats what I noticed.

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I did the same thing Grey. I also bought a set of the Pro-Taper Accu-trax clamps with the 22.5 mm offset. I am amazed with the results.

I let out local hot shoe pro take the bike out for a spin for a couple laps.......he returned 15 laps later with the biggest grin on his face. Needless to say he and his crew are looking for their own sets.

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About 5'10" (used to be 6'). My son is 6'3".

Well I'm 6' and have always run the Henry/Reed bend, I guess I need to order the Windham bend and try it out as it seems that my bike takes alot of input from the handlebars. I run the Henrys on my 250f but that has applied clamps which move the bars 10mm or so foward from stock on that bike. Sounds like something worth trying.

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I recommend it.

When the bars are mounted in their centered position, so that the grips appear parallel to the ground when seen from the front or the side, look at the portion of the bars that rises from the clamp to the grip. When you view it from the side, that tube of a set of Henry bends mounted as above will line up with the fork leg almost exactly. With the Windhams, the rising tube rakes well forward with the grips still flat.

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It's a proprietary bend, similar to the old "YZ bend". It's said to be about 6-8mm higher than the '06 bars, but that would only make them about 83mm high, which IMO is still way too low, and they're too far back as well.

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I always find it interesting when I teach myself something I already knew.

Last week I switched on a set of Pro Taper Contours in the Windham bend, replacing a pair of Henry/Reed bends by the same maker. The effect of this swap was a surprise, to put it mildly.

I set my son's bike up with a pair of these because of his size when we first got the bike, and never rode it with anything else on it. At the time, they seemed a little high for me. But, if you read my reviews of the bike from back around June/July of '06, I was impressed by how light and responsive the steering seemed, and how I could make the bike go more or less anywhere I wanted it to. Mine was never like that.

Mine always pushed harder the his, and always steered more like my old '03 than his bike (reluctant to turn in, stands up in turns) and I haven't ridden his bike for any length of time since just before I got my '06, so I attributed the difference to all kinds of things, including faulting my memory of his bike. I never suspected the handlebars. I was wrong.

The sensitivity of the aluminum framed YZ450 to small and seemingly insignificant changes in set up still surprises me after all this time. The Windham bend is 7mm higher, which I had thought would be helpful when standing for long periods during desert races. What I hadn't realized was that the way the bars are bent, they also move the hand position about 14-19mm farther forward. So as you might expect, the bars made it easier to stand and move around, but they also made it much easier to get farther forward on the bike without so much conscious effort, which helps cornering.

But they did something else, too. Whether it was simply that they moved me forward, or that the steering inputs are farther forward, the steering is much lighter, more responsive and precise than with the other bars. The effect is similar, although not quite the same as installing offset clamps.

Frankly, I am somewhat astounded by how much better the bike handles with this simple change. I've never had a bike so profoundly changed by a set of handlebars in all of my experience. If your '06-'07 doesn't turn the way you want, try moving the bars up and forward 5 and 10mm or so. You might be surprised, too.

Kind of funny, but i was thinking to myself today how much my 08 KTM 450 SXF changed for me once i swapped out the stock renthal fat bars for a set of pro taper contour Reed/Henry bend bars. Ever since i made the swap, i actually dont suffer from arm pump anymore, i am not sure if it is a coincidence or not. Another thing i did that unfortunately YZF owners cannot do, is mount my bar clamps in the front position (KTM triple clamps have two places you can mount your bar clamps) which effectively forced me to move my entire body position further forward AND opening up the cockpit. It really is not in your head that the bar change helped you, it really did :thumbsup: . One thing i must note though, bar bend is just like suspension, it is always personal preferrence and my opinion is that any time a rider feels comfortable, he will go faster. What i am trying to say is that while the Windham bar worked for Grey, it may not work the same wonders for everyone else, the best thing to do is to consider if you are a tall lanky rider or more on the short side. You will find that guys who like the Windham bars are not necessarliy very tall, but definitely not very short. I personally love the Reed bend. I'm 5,9 - 5'10

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I really believe that it has to do in this case with the more forward positioning of the bars, and the way the front wheel responds to input at the grips. The way it "answers the helm" has changed to dramatically for it to be an issue of comfort alone.

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I was having a similar problem with my 00 426F so I bought a set of these

http://www.barrisersonline.com/forwardrisers78.html . I put them on and wow, they are tall. I run a cr high bend and with the risers they look like a set of freestyle bars.... However, I took it out on my first ride and they were a lot more comfortable to transition from sitting to standing. I ride mostly woods so I'm standing a lot. I will try them for a few rides before I decide to keep them on or get a slightly lower bar. I may have to go back to stock and go with the Windam bars.

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I tried the Windham bars and really like the height but the bars bend inward too much. I switched to the KX high bend (14mm above stock '06 YZ bars) and they let me keep my elbows out away from my body and get up higher on the tank.

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That puzzles me; Windham bend Pro Tapers have a 54 mm sweep (pull back), and the KX High has 56. :thumbsup:

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Frankly, I am somewhat astounded by how much better the bike handles with this simple change. I've never had a bike so profoundly changed by a set of handlebars in all of my experience. If your '06-'07 doesn't turn the way you want, try moving the bars up and forward 5 and 10mm or so. You might be surprised, too.

on my 07 i dropped the stock pro taper bar angle back into my lap -1 degree from 0. I am running the stock offset clamp and setting.

i went to Cahuilla all nervous that the change would suck. to my complete surprise i was riding better then ever. I had more control exiting corners at speed and was able to enter corners with much more confidence.

i still had the front end push mid turn but my increased confidence in the bike helped me hold my line even when the track got dry and sandy.

i can not wait to get my new set up out to the desert and rip me some soft sand.

x2 on being surprised in how much difference a very minor change can make.

go read Motocross Mags newest issue with the White YZ on the cover, they completly trash the 07 YZ and then make some improvements to it.

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Do you all find that less sweep helps your cornering and reduces arm pump? I have had the windham bend and liked them, but was considering the henry bend for the 08.

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I run the Windham bend also im 6'1 ..a friend of mine same height but a faster rider hates them to the point that he feels like hes riding a chopper.. he seems to think that the higher bars put you in a bad racing/riding posture he also brought to my attention the most pro/expert racers no matter how tall run mid to low bars.. who knows ? but I was thinking about going a little lower next crash haha

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