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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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Old 30 Apr 2010
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XT600E - Handlebar upgrade

Is an upgrade on the standard handlebars necessary for a potential African trip ?

Its been suggested that the standard bars bend easily in a fall and I should get the Renthal Fat Bars.

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Old 30 Apr 2010
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It takes a fairly serious crash to bend even the stock mild steel bars. But no doubt the Renthals would be far stronger. The main thing to add are "bark buster" type handguards. These protect levers, brake reservoir, cables, perches and such. But they also strengthen bars a lot.

Cheap solution could be to simply add bark busters to the stock bars.
This would add quite a bit of stiffness to them.

Bark buster not only protect levers and other controls but also save your hands in a fall.

Lots of riders think they've bent handlebars after a fall but are mistaken. What happens is fork tubes twist a bit in a fall, making bars feel out of alignment. Simple to straighten out.

The main thing to consider when getting new bars is the bend, the height,
and overall comfort. Many riders install bar risers to raise bar height. Bars come in various bends, important to find one that works for you.
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Old 30 Apr 2010
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Hi, I recently changed the bars on my Xt600e, I used the enduro or dakar High bars.
The change process mean't that I reviewed the position of everything I hang on to and gave the opportunity to fit the bark busters too.
In fairness I am not sure if the bars are physically better, but I now ride the bike everyday 'cos it feels like it was made for me.

The bars were not too expensive but were the best investment I made on the bike so far, each time I look at the clocks I see nice shiny new bars, it really has made my bike much nicer to ride too, just do it I have no regrets and the bars are claimed to be much stronger for your Africa trip.
'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars' Oscar Wilde
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Old 30 Apr 2010
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The Barkbusters are in the mail . Bought a pair online earlier today....quite excited to receive them.

Thank you both for the advice.

There are so many bits and pieces that one can buy for the bike, my little ol XT could end up the price of a beemer. I think for now, based on your comments, with the original handlebars being fair impact resistant...I'll prob put my cash towards more pressing purchases.....Motorbike Pig Freak, oh you do tempt me though !!

Bought the Acerbis 23l tank today....receive my center stand last week, now its fitted. This weekends project is to fit the power socket and investigate the possibility of making a screen.

Following that, next cash out-lay will be towards a sump guard...then rear luggage rack and pannier frame.

Living the dream...

Thanks again !
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Old 1 May 2010
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the first thing i did on my xt and well most of my bikes was change the bars , alloy are much tougher than standard but only one problem you cant as far i know straight out then out as i once found while in the middle of morocco ,if you heading out anywhere that parts arent than easly to buy i would go for the rental fat bars which are extremly tough or just keep standard easly to straight or weld bars.
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Old 1 May 2010
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Alloy are harder than steel but in a serious fall, they are likely to snap rather than bend like steel.

My standard bars didnt even bend in a 70mph crash on gravel/sand although the steering bar clamps were ripped out of the top yoke !! LOL


If you really must change, Renthal "DAKAR HIGH" bars work great on every overland bike i've ever seen them on, including my DRZ
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2001 NX650 Dominator.

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Old 1 May 2010
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if you change to fat bars you will have to change the risers too. not needed imo the normal 7/8" renthals are strong enough.

the oem steel bars are ok but i prefer renthals, which are stronger and dont need the brace (unless you're going off road). i didnt like the welded brace on the steel bars, getting in the way of mounts
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