Monday, 19 August 2019

W/NG Handlebar Upgrade

Updated: First published July 2018

Living with the W/NG for a while now - coming up two years, I have realised that I don't like the dropped handlebars as they make you hunch down over the front end. Since the W/NG is great for pootling about the countryside looking at stuff, it needs higher bars - and since I like originality in my bikes I decided to look around for a pair of the original Ariel bars, which are tapered from a 1" central section to 7/8" at the ends.

I was lucky enough  to pick up a set of taper bars from Guy Hovey, of the AOMCC. They looked a bit odd - Guy said they were bent, which they were marginally, and I managed to fix that with a plywood jig and a dose of burning MAPP gas. What was more 'disorientating' at least to the eye was the fact that they had been shortened by an uneven amount at each end, which made them look more bent than they were. Careful measurement with the dividers found that eventually, and I have described how I fixed that in this blog post. It should make a good guide to show others how to repair or extend motorcycle handlebars. You'll note though that the repair is not in a stressed part of the handlebar - it is less than 2" at each end. If the repair had been in a location with a significant bending load, I would have added a solid steel internal spacer to bridge the joint, probably about 2" long.

I'll post the pictures when I find them.

Onward and upward, I found a set of Czech-made levers on eBay, at a good price - good because they were for 1" bars. Not to be deterred and making good use of the mini lathe, I knocked up some brass spacers.

They are made from 1 1/4" brass bar:

Brass bar in the lathe, supported on the revolving centre


Turning the spacers

Drilling to 13 mm

Cutting the 7/8" bore


Parted off from the bar
You will note in these shots that only one of the spacers has both flanges - one has a flange machined off to accommodate the 'web' that the clutch and brake levers mount to.

Marking out for cutting

Almost there

Small flat required to clear the levers

All done

Moving back to the bars, I needed to establish the original length and make the appropriate extensions. Nev Hunter, Australian AOMCC member told me that the end to end dimension was 71.5 cm on his original W/NG bars. Mine was 63...


So, seeking some bent MZ bars from the scrap pile, I cut a couple of sections and squared them up in the lathe. Having squared up the cut ends of my tapered bars with a file, I aligned the two pieces with a piece of copper tube:


I tacked them up in a couple of places with the TIG set before welding.

We call this an autogenous orbital butt weld, when we are welding hydraulic tube together. I held the TIG torch in place and moved the bar to produce a neat peripheral weld:


Gas was set to 5 l/min and the current to 45A.


I used a 1.8 mm electrode, #4 shield. The electrode was fully shrouded and ground to a sharp angle to maximise penetration:


All done
I marked out the length using dividers, measuring inches from a centre point:


These marks show inches from the centre to each end:


I learned that the total length of the tube was 31 inches. Using Nev's information,  I made a square cut at the 15 1/2" mark at each end.


When I'd finished I squared those cut ends up in the vice. Happy with the result, I mounted up all the handlebar equipment to have a look:




Half an hour with some 60 grit emery tape saw them ready for some etch primer:


This is what we are aiming at:


And here we have the finished article:





Today, a year or so after I wrote this post I have updated the handlebar layout to reflect the longer grips the W/NG would have worn:


1 comment:

  1. Your blog is great. I read a lot of interesting things from it. Thank you very much for sharing. Hope you will update more news in the future.
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