Words and pictures: Alan Dowds
THERE are times when you may need to fettle with your handlebars. The obvious one is if you have had a whoopsie and broken or bent one in a crash. But you can also swap them for new ones to alter your riding position and make your bike sportier of more comfortable. That's what we're doing here – fitting Helibars to a 2008 Kawasaki ZX-6R. These £340 bars are slightly wider and higher, and reach further back, so they give a more relaxed riding position without radically altering the bike's character: an essential modification for those of us approaching decrepitude. There are often cheaper ways of achieving a similar result, by using bars from another bike model, but you'll have to do some research on forums to find out what fits.
1: Get set
As usual, this stuff is often easier with the bike up on stable stands, though it's not essential. Check you have all the tools needed - big socket for the steering stem nut, Allen bits or sockets for the top fork pinch bolts, screwdrivers for the switchgear. A torque wrench is also recommended: steering is serious stuff. Overtightening could wreck bearings. Equally, you don’t want anything coming loose.