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Changing the handlebars on your BMW R9T

Changing the handlebars on your BMW R nineT can make a huge difference to both the look and comfort of your ride. The R nineT is so versatile that it'll happily welcome anything from a pair of clip-ons to a set of comfort bars and, in practice, swapping them over is also a pretty easy mod to carry out at home. However, there are few things you'll want to consider before getting stuck in - the most notable point is that the controls of the R9T are screw mounted through the handlebars and that means that you'll need to have a locating hole drilled in order for them to be fitted. Unit Garage are aware of this, and tailor their product specifically to the BMW market, so they offer their handlebars pre-drilled. This is a super convenient option if you're not too confident on where to start with power tools, and their handlebars are extremely well put together so it's a win win all round.

Have a browse of all handlebars and accessories here.

If you're not too keen on the UG bars but don't want to have to drill anything then it's maybe worth considering refinishing your current handlebars. Choosing this option allows you to get a new look without doing anything more than taking them off, handing them to a finisher for a week or two and then refitting them. We highly recommend anodising the bars over powdercoating them because it'll leave a cleaner finish and not give you any clearance issues if the powder-coat gets inside all of the drilled holes. 

If you're fitting pre-drilled bars to your bike then the tutorial below will show you everything else you need to know in order to get your new bars fitted, even if you've never tackled a custom mod on a motorcycle before. For those of us that are happy to get stuck in at the next level, we've added a section about drilling the bars at the end of the tutorial, too. This method will allow you to fit a whole host of bars to your machine.

One last note, if you have heated grips on your R9T then you can still carry out this mod. The heated grip elements sit between a plastic tube (see images below) and the grip, as such, you can remove your grips without having to worry about damaging them or affecting their use.

Tools Required;

  • Torx drives in sizes T8, T15, T30, T45, T50
  • Torque Wrench that covers from 8Nm to 40Nm (for clip-ons you will need a ½” drive Torque Wrench which goes up to 100Nm)
  • Small flat blade screwdriver

If you plan to drill the bars then you'll also need a drill with 2.5mm drill bit and 3mm ream.

Time Taken;

Depending on whether you need to drill the bars this mod should take around 1-1.5 hours but please don't rush it. Add an extra hour for fitting clip-ons.

Removal

TIP: Take photos as you strip the bars down, they'll make the refitting process a lot easier!.

    Right Hand Side.

    The right hand side is the slightly trickier side to change because you need to make sure you consider the throttle cable as well as the controls. Locate your bike somewhere sensible, ideally upright, and with space to walk around it. There will be a few small screws removed during this process so make sure that you're working in an area that you can find something if you drop it! Also, you don't need to take off your tank as per our images, we just did this mod alongside some other work that required the tank to be out of the way.

    TIP: We always cover our tanks when in place whilst working on handlebars to protect the paint.

    Start by removing your bar ends (OEM BMW bar ends use a T50 Torx), then undo your mirror perch bolts using a T30 bit and remove your brake master cylinder from the handlebars. This can be gently cable tied out of the way until it is refitted - don't turn it upside down or it could allow air into the brake lines.

    TIP: Make note of the angle of the handlebars by noting down the distance between the ball end of the lever and the floor. This will give you a good reference point for refitting back to OE position, as your replacement bars won’t have the marks the OE bars do.

     

    Take your T8 Torx bit, ideally a small screwdriver or T-Bar type, and undo the small screw at the bottom of the switchgear. You'll see two holes at the bottom of the switchgear but only one has a screw inside, the other is a drain hole.

     

    This will allow you to gently unclip the bottom half of the switchgear and place it neatly to one side. 

     

    From the underside of the switchgear, you'll now see two plugs which can both be unplugged. The first, smaller plug is located into the switchgear with a small plastic clip and can be pulled out in order to unplug it. If you have a non-heated grip model of R9T then this may just have a blanking plug fitted. The larger plug can simply be pulled out once the heated grip plug is out of the way.

     

     

    Use your T8 bit to undo the second screw that will now be exposed after you have removed the electrical plugs. This will allow the top of the switchgear to be removed from the handlebars and expose the final bolt holding on the throttle grip tube.

     

    Grab your T15 and undo this last bolt and you're good to remove everything. As you can see in the image below, the whole assembly is sat on a plastic tube that keeps everything together. I often leave the grip on the bar at this point and remove it once the bars are removed from the clamps, alternatively, you can undo the screw at the front of the cable casing on the bars, unscrew the adjuster at the back and remove the cable out through the top.

     

     

    Left Hand Side.

    The left hand side is a little easier than the first as it only has one screw to deal with and no throttle cable. Use your T15 to undo the screw located under the very inside edge of the left hand grip. Go steady when you undo this as we've seen a few of these overtightened before and this can cause the plastic in the mounting tube to crack. When you come to refit this screw, tight enough is good enough, don't go mad - it's plastic, it's not a wheel nut, it will split. With this screw removed, you can now gently rotate the switchgear to make it easier to remove the plugs.

    TIP: Fold the rubber of the grip right back out the way with unscrewing and fitting. If you don't, the rotation of the Screwhead rubs a hole into the rubber of the grip.

    Gently unclip the small cover on the inside edge of the switchgear, this will reveal two plugs. As per the right hand side, one is for the heated grip (non-heated grips will have a blanking plug) and one is to send messages from the switchgears. Use a small flat bladed screwdriver to release these gently. Once these have been unplugged, the switchgear and plastic tube mount will slide off of the end of the bar.

     

     

     

    At this point you can remove the left hand side mirror perch using the T30 bit and sensibly position the clutch master cylinder out of the way.

    TIP: Make note of the angle of the handlebars by noting down the distance between the ball end of the lever and the floor. This will give you a good reference point for refitting back to OE position, as your replacement bars won’t have the marks the OE bars do.

    Once the current handlebars are clear of controls, all you'll need to worry about is removing them from the handlebar clamps located on the top yoke. We often add a cover to the tank at this point to make sure nothing drops onto it and damages the paintwork.

     
    Use your T50 and T45 to undo the four mounting bolts on the handlebar clamp, remembering that once this has been loosened off then the bars are likely to spin downwards so be ready to catch them. These bolts are likely to have had Loctite applied when fitted so may be tough to get started at first. Once the top of the clamp has been removed then the lower parts are located on pins, this means that they could either wobble off or (depending on whether the bike has had a tough life) be stuck in place/corroded on. This isn't a problem if you're simply changing the handlebars using the OEM equipment but may be something you need to address if you're looking to add clip-ons, new risers or refinish them.
     

    Fitting Clip-On Handlebars.

     If you choose to fit handlebars to your R9T then you'll need to remove the top yoke in order to fit them directly to the fork tubes. This requires a few additional tools;

    • 36mm Socket, ideally with a half inch drive
    • A long bar or ratchet to undo the stem nut, ideally with a half inch drive
    • Plastic wedges or small bar to wedge open the clamps
    • Torque wrench that will tighten up to 100Nm

    Top Yoke Removal

    Undo the steering stem nut ensuring the socket is firmly on the nut and a rubber glove is in between them for protection. Once this is undone, place the nut and the thin washer in a safe place. 

     

    Now undo the T40 bolts that are holding the top yoke fork clamps on. The top yoke clamps may well need a plastic spacer between them to release their grip on the fork tubes. 

    For the removal of the top yoke, we advise; the bike be jacked up on an appropriate and safe jack or stand, so that the front wheel on the bike is just touching the floor but with no weight on it. You can now slide the top yoke off the forks and stem. Be careful of the fine thread on the steering stem.

    You can now fit the clip-on handlebars purchased for your bike, being sure to follow exactly the manufacturer's installation instructions. Slide the yoke back onto the steering stem, use the plastic spacers in between the fork clamps to aid the install if required. Do this before you tighten up your new handlebar clamps around the forks.

    As with the removal, be careful of the thread on the steering stem, DO NOT FORCE anything on, it should go on with a smooth motion. Once on, remove the plastic fork clamp spacers if used. 

    Refit the spacer and steering stem nut, adding Loctite to the thread on the nut. Using the same method of protection used when removing the stem nut, refit and torque up to 100Nm. 

    You can now torque the fork pinch bolts T40 to 19Nm.

    Drilling

    Tools: 

    • Marker Pen
    • Centre Punch 
    • 4mm Drill bit
    • Drill

    Left Hand Side Switchgear

    Spray a little lubricating fluid onto the end of the LH tube. This will aid the sliding on and off of the grip and switchgear. 

    Slide the switchgear on, just past the point where the tube is flush with the end of the handlebar and, looking across the handlebars from the side of the bike, align the flat of the indicator switch toggle button parallel with the bike when sat level. 

    Holding the grip and switchgear in place, peel back the rubber on the LH grip and mark the hole. This is now your mark to indicate where to drill through the handlebars, this hole needs to go all the way through both sides of the handlebar tube. Remove the grip tube before drilling!

    Once drilled, de-bur the holes, refit the grip and bolt up. Don’t over tighten, it’s only plastic.

    Right Hand Side Switchgear

    Slide the throttle tube on, 2mm past the point where it would be flush wit the end of the bars. It is important to make sure the throttle will not rest up against your bar end once fitted.

    Align the throttle cable body in the same position that it was located on the OEM bars, we find this is best angled ever so slightly towards the ground. 

    Screw the T15 bolt up into the bottom of the tube gently. This will be your mark for where you need to drill up through the bar.
    Remove the screw and the throttle tube. 

    Centre punch the mark on the tube, this is now your mark to drill up through the centre on the bar at this point, through to the other side. 

    Once drilled, de-bur the holes and refit the throttle tube by bolting T15 through from the top. IF in doubt, simply remember that this is the reverse the process you did to disassemble. This bolt only needs to be hand tight - tight enough but not over tightened, it’s only an M3 bolt. 

     

    Refitting.

    For refitting, the process is simply to reverse the removal process. Use the photos you took whilst you took everything off, you smart little cookie you. Here are some handy torque settings to remember;

    • T8 Screws to RHS ignition switch; hand tight, do not over tighten.
    • T15 for Throttle tube; hand tight, do not over tighten.
    • T15 for Left Hand Grip tube; hand tight, do not over tighten.
    • T20 for Throttle tube cable cover; hand tight, do not over tighten.
    • T30 for Master cylinder perches; 8Nm. Take caution on 2014-16 models on the Clutch perch, these are cast plastic and can crack. Be sure to tighten evenly and in increments. You have been warned.
    • T45 for Handlebar clamp; 19Nm
    • T50 for Handlebar clamp; 38Nm - The two larger front bolts must be tightened down fully first before tightening the two rear T45 bolts.

    Have a browse of all handlebars and accessories here.

     

    Small disclaimer; we have fitted dozens of handlebars to R9T motorcycles using this method so we know that it is fool proof so long as you check everything first for damage/anything that might hinder your progress and refit everything carefully and using the correct torque settings. We're not going to take responsibility or liability for heavy handedness and fitting issues. If you have any questions then contact us first by emailing piercitycustom@gmail.com

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