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Saturday, January 8, 2011


A mass-produced motorcycle has to be built to fit a range of different-sized riders. The riding position of the VFR1200 is a great compromise between comfort and sportiness but it doesn't quite fit my 5'9" frame to a "T".

The seat is very supportive and comfy, but only when your bum is scooted all the way back in the saddle. For my limited height and reach, this makes the distance to the handgrips a bit of an uncomfortable stretch.

Heli's handlebar kit for the VFR brings the grips up 2 inches higher, 1 inch closer, and an inch wider. I picked up a set second-hand from a member at VFRDiscussion who bought them new but preferred the stock position.

Heli posts a great set of installation instructions on their site so I won't bore you with a step-by-step tutorial, but I'd like to offer some tips for adjusting them.

The Helibar kit is of quality design and manufacture. The welded and machined pieces are heavier and feel sturdier than the cast aluminum stock clip-ons. They are powder coated with a rich glossy black finish and it is clear that a lot of design and testing was neccessary to get the dimensions perfect while retaining the stock cables and hydraulic lines. The cockpit on the VFR is built to a very specific fit, with only the exact amount of room available for the handlebars to swing between the windshield frame and fuel tank. The Heli designers were clever enough to provide the more comfortable position while retaining the stock cables and lines by simply re-routing the throttle cables. This is specified in their instructions.

The helibars don't have a metal "tab" like the stock bars to locate them at the right angle, so it is up to the installer to get it just right. The right handlebar with its throttle assembly and brake master cylinder leaves the least room for adjustment, so I aligned that side first. I turned the bars all the way to the right, then turned the bar as far rearward as it would go before the starter button touched the tank, leaving about 1mm of clearance. In this position, when the bars are turned all the way to the left, there is just a hair's width between the throttle cables and the windshield frame. I adjusted the left bar to match the angle, using a set of digital calipers measured between consistent reference points.

In addition to the recommended cable re-arrangement, I also adjusted the brake line a bit. Once installed, it formed a dangerous-looking kink right below the banjo bolt on the master cylinder, so I very carefully loosened the bolt and turned it a few degrees to give it a more natural path. Be careful if you try this not to loosen it too much or you could introduce air into the brake line.

I won't get a chance to ride the bike until at least late March, but just sitting on it in the garage I can tell that it's going to be a lot more comfortable for me.

Here's a comparison of the Helibar on the left and the stock clip-on on the right.
The added height and "pull-back" ar ea little more obvious here:

Not a lot of room for error:

Helibars installed:

Brake banjo rotated clockwise a few degrees to relax the line:

Finished product:


  1. Have you seen the multiclipon from abm.
    Ther is a lot of options with it.

  2. That's a fine piece of equipment... I especially like the calibration marks. More than double what I paid for the helibars though.

  3. Hey TSK I have spoken with rapid bike whey have a evo box under construction .you can read about the EVO box under rapid bike's home page.

  4. Hi, Could you elaborate on how the installation improved the riding position? Any more comfortable. Do you find the footpegs to be too high?

  5. Marc: I can't give a thorough review on the riding position because I haven't really ridden it yet. It snowed 20cm in Calgary yesterday so riding season just got a little further away. I can say from sitting on it that it feels more relaxed for me, as I found the reach to the bars to be a bit long. The footpegs are a bit high. I don't have long legs but they are still bent at a fairly acute angle while riding. I can imagine taller people getting sore knees after long rides.

  6. Phobe, 2 quick qustions. Are they VFR 1200 Helibars or off another model? I bought a set on friday and there seem to be 2 main differences.

    1) the bolts are in a different position. they seem to face more directly out the side of the bike, and are an allen key set up.

    2) The distance between the edge of the throttle/control housings and the clamps on the clutch and brake master cylinders seems to be about 5/8inch.

    just interested. Seddo

  7. Is your bike a DCT? There are different helibars for that model. I bought mine second-hand so I can't verify their origin but they are definitely meant for the VFR1200 and they fit quite well. I did have to re-configure all the controls to get everything to fit just right.

  8. Phbe, No just the manual. The part number stamped on the inside is HB01048. They are fantastic. Had a ride today, although I will have to move the clutch control closer to the grip as the ball on the brake level gets under my little finger.

    Have you given any type of throttle lock a thought. I am thinking to try the vista one as shown on the Ozblackbird site.

    BTW fantastic blog


  9. I just ordered up a Kaoko throttle lock. I'll post a new entry when I install it.

  10. Hi,

    Can you now comment on how installation improved the riding position?


    Sasa - Major

  11. Stock bars killed my lower back after a 200 mile ride with nothing more than a fuel stop. Ordered and then installed Helibars on my non-DCT VFR. Another 200 mile ride left me cold and tired, but my lower back was fine. The helibars allow me to move around and shift through a much wider range of seating positions.

  12. Is it possible to install DCT type helibars on a non-DCT bike?