Handle Bar Chopping

I'm one who enjoys throwing dirt in virtually any type of setting, however, the more time I spend in a wooded setting, the more consideration I give to the idea of chopping about an inch off of each end of my handle bars. Obviously this is not a revolutionary idea, but I have spend an embarrassing amount of time pondering both the pro's and con's of such an action (don't laugh, this is how I cope with my workday). Shortening the bar width would (hopefully) make some of those tight squeezes between trees a little more manageable at speed, however, with a narrower width would obviously come less leverage, if even a negligible amount. In addition, some over anxious hacksaw action could create a situation where aluminum hand guards become impossible to (re)install. I just though it would be interesting to obtain some first hand testimonials of bar chopping projects gone both good and bad.


My buddy did that to the bars on his XR650. He loves it. I took it for a spin through the woods behind his house - I noticed the shorter bars as soon as I sat on it but once I got going, it didn't cross my mind. I guess you get use to it just like anything else. Keep in mind this is his woods bike. He's also got a 00'CR250 for motoin', he left those bars alone.


Not sure why you say cutting the bars will affect mounting of hand guards. Most of my riding buddies run gaurds and have cut down bars. I use Renthal bars and have run Moose bar mount and Cyra triple clamp mount guards on my bike.



97 KDX220, 86 TTR225, 99 WR400f, WR timing, throttle stop trimmed, air box lid removed, White Bros head pipe, silencer and air filter. De-octopussed. Works frame guards and Thumper Rad Guards, Scotts steering damper. Odometer and headlight removed. Cycra Pro-Bend hand and mud guards. YZ stock tank, IMS seat and number plate. Renthal Jimmy Button "highs" and Renthal Soft half waffle grips. AMA, SETRA, Happy Ramblers MXC, Rausch Creek MXC, Tower City Trail Riders.

I highly recommend cutting the bars if you're an avid woods rider. I wouldn't go as far as 1 inch, I normally cut 3/4 of an inch and that is plenty. It will definetely make you faster in the tight woods and you don't give up alot of handling. I also ride some MX, I'm sure handling would be better with that extra 1.5 inches but I don't notice it because it's what I've always done. One more note, I always mount bark busters and I've never had a problem with the trimmed bars, I do recommend using pipe cutters but I have done it with the hack saw.

good luck


I have cut the bars on every bike I have owned since racing enduros. I usually co for about 29-30inches side to side. Any more than this and thing will get tight with perches etc. Traditional bark busters will also work at 29 inch, I am not sure about triple calmp mounted versions. Some guys I race with cut a section out of the middle of their bars and weld them to keep the amount of area for levers. I am at 29 in. on my YZ and have some additional mounts on my bars and everything fits fine. One slight problem is the front brake line as it exits the master cylinder can be in the way of the bark buster. I solved this by moving the line out of the detent on the cylinder mount and rotated it higher. This also allows better movement of the cable with the front forks and the sometimes tend to crimp, even more so it you drop your forks at all. Handling with the cut bars is not a problem except for deep sand because of the increased sensitivity of the steering. It moves hand position slightly forward which is welcomed on the YZ if you are over 6 ft. Otherwise, no problem. It makes riding tight woods much easier and allows you to cruise through those tight sections of enduros when you are going 30mph and they send you between two 3 foot caliber oak trees that are 30 in. apart!! :)

Take care, Keith

I have some expertise in this area. I agree with what has been said about shorter bars. I have used 29"to30" for years. Handling is a little quicker in very tight woods. In recent years I have gone back to full length bars because I feel that I have more control on a motocross track. It's too odd going back and forth. That's just me though. Most guys that I ride with think you're a terd for cutting bars or even having hand guards. Screw em, I don't break nearly as many levers on hills as they do. Oh. by the way it's a bummer to have to buy the larger bar mounts for the Pro-tapers.

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