What about MY bike?

If you have a bike that is not mentioned in the application finder, call me at 763 234 7242 to discuss it.  I may already fit your bike but not know it.  I may be interested in working with you to make a product to fit. That normally comes under custom work, but for the more popular applications, I would cut you a special deal, since I want the opportunity to fit the bike anyway.  PLEASE let me know if you would like these weights, but have an application they will not fit. I will come out with new flavors in the order of these requests.

Why so nervous about aluminum handlebars?

Fatigue resistance of the metal. Steel has nearly infinite fatigue resistance within its elastic limits (meaning as long as the vibration never bends it so hard it can't spring back.) We made our weights as heavy as we could, while sticking out minimally, looking good, and above all, not overstressing any other part of the bike. We are confident that steel bars can handle the added stress. Aluminum is another story. Aluminum has a finite fatigue resistance. This means that persistent vibration anywhere near the elastic limits, will eventually cause the piece to crack in two at the place with the most severe flexing due to the vibration. For this reason, Aluminum structures that are subject to vibration, or other repetitive dynamic loads, must be dramatically overbuilt, to keep the flexing way down. I am sure the OEM's have done the extensive testing and sophisticated modeling to determine that Aluminum handlebars will not crack off in normal use. However, our line of weights is pretty extreme. In some applications, you can feel that the tips of the bars vibrate less than the instrument pods. This means that the handlebars may be flexing MORE in some places, than they do without weights, just to take the vibration away from your hands. Thus the risk of metal fatigue goes up. It MAY be safe on Aluminum, anyway. But we have not done the testing, modeling, or calculations to determine whether it is, or not.

How do they work?

AAAAAyyyyy!!! Bar-end weight theory: As your motorcycle runs, the handlebars form a resonant mechanical system. That is, the bars tend to shake at certain frequencies, in certain ways. The lowest frequency, or fundamental, is a motion you could call, "flapping." This is where the center of the bars, between the clamps, is motionless, and the tips of the bars are vibrating most. This is typically the strongest mode of vibration, and the first one you should attack. If this frequency is any component of the characteristic frequency spectrum of your motorcycle, then the bars start to flap away, bothering your hands. There are three ways to solve the problem.

  1. Stop the vibration. Many aspects of motorcycle design can come into play to check vibration at the factory. Details of crankshaft design, firing order and angle, mounting location, and counterbalancers can be used in concert to make for smooth running. If the engineers who designed your bike were skillful and careful about these factors, as they affect vibration, you can stop reading now- you don't need this product.
  2. Dampen the vibration. From an engineering standpoint, dampening means eliminating the resonant frequency of the handlebars. The proper way to do this is with a precisely designed flexible attachment between the vibrating part and a solidly mounted part, in other words, a shock absorber. The flexible attachment must be tuned to exactly oppose the specific frequencies of resonance, so vibration put into the bars will not be allowed to build up in them and hurt your hands. Unfortunately, there is no proper way to dampen the handlebar motion, without a mechanical linkage from the outside of the bars to the frame of the bike, other than the bars. There are products out there which purport to dampen handlebar motion, but they can't technically "dampen" the fundamental frequency, since there is no linkage between the bar ends and the frame. That is not to say they don't "work." I haven't tried them, but I know many who are quite satisfied with them. Why, if they aren't dampening the bars from flapping? The higher-order harmonics of the resonant frequencies should be effectively reduced by, say, inserting a combination of weight and viscoelastic material into the bars. Due to the physics of the situation, the higher the vibrational frequency, the less weight is required to disrupt the motion, and the less solid the mounting point of the dampening system needs to be. So having a heavy elastomer all the way through the bars would be great for the higher harmonics, with the internal motion of the elastomer discouraging the formation of standing waves in the bars. But that lowest resonant frequency, the flapping motion, is typically the strongest. For that motion, all that elastomeric stuff in the bars is only as good as its mass. In other words, it operates just like plain weights- it lowers the resonant frequency, and discourages the tips of the bars from changing speed quickly. This brings us to the last means of vibration control.
  3. You could change the resonant frequency. When operating in this mode, the closer the weight is to the tips of the bars, the more effective it is. Solutions that involve equal mass throughout the length of the bars, have only a fraction of their mass working for the cause. The rest is dead weight. As a rule of thumb, any mass between the first two curves of the bar from center, is dead weight, and any mass at the tips of the bars is fully effective. That's why our bar-ends are designed to maximize weight just outboard of the bars. They are 12.5 oz. per side or more, and every ounce hits home.
How do bar-end weights change the resonant frequency and reducevibration?

Resonant frequency is the frequency at which an object "rings" if it is moved. When you hit a tube with a hammer, and listen at the end of the tube, you are hearing the audible portion of its resonant frequency spectrum. The "fundamental" is the lowest note. In handlebars, this is the frequency made by the bars "flapping." By flapping I mean that the bar clamps stay put, while the tips move most. This fundamental frequency is typically the strongest frequency, thus the first one to attack. Weights on the tips of the bars reduce vibration by moving the resonant frequency lower, away from the frequencies generated by the engine. This happens for the same reason that a heavier guitar string sounds lower, under the same tension, than a lighter one. Because the effectiveness of a weight in reducing vibration this way reduces to zero as the weight approaches the bar clamp, I was careful to keep as much weight outboard of the bar ends as possible. All the weight is concentrated where it is most effective- right near the bar-ends. All the weight is within 2.5" of the bar ends. There's no dead weight as with solutions that go all the way through the bars. By moving the resonance lower, it typically moves further from the frequency of the engine, which reduces the build-up of vibration in the bars dramatically. The other way to look at it is in terms of inertia. By solidly mounting the weights to the ends of the bars, the bar-ends gain a great deal of inertia, which means that they are much more reluctant to change speed. Since the flapping motion involves the bar ends accelerating this way and that in rapid succession, any weight on the ends reduces this motion. When you are trying to contain vibration by changing the resonant frequency, solid-mounting is the way to go. Any flexibility to the mounting muddies the effect of the extra weight, hurting the cause.

Will all that weight on the bar ends slow down theresponsiveness of my bike?

Theoretically, yes, a little. However, people typically report that responsiveness is not affected by measures like these. I have even heard of people pouring molten lead into their bars, filling them to the brim, (a few times the mass of our bar-end weights) and saying their handling was unchanged. Why wouldn't you notice a slow-down in turn initiation? A way to understand this is with the concept of resonance, and its effect on the ability of the bar ends to change speed, discussed above. The fundamental frequency of the engine (67 Hz, for a single, operating at 4000 RPM) is at least 130x the frequency of a rider's steering input. (0.25 - 0.5 Hz.) That means that a weight which is sufficient to seriously discourage the engine resonating with or flapping the bars, is inconsequential to the much lower frequency involved in steering the motorcycle.

Can't I just tough it out and save money?

Maybe. If you are lucky, you have very good circulation, well-routed nerves, strong wrists and hands, and you can tough it out. But long days in the saddle can wear you down, and in the long run, it's best to take care of yourself. Depending on you and the bike, vibrations can get seriously harmful to your health. Vibrating bars can worsen carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, aggravate circulatory problems, cause numb or tingling hands, etc. If this happens to you, take it seriously. Most of these problems get aggravated more, the more they get aggravated. Give your wrists a break! See our article about Hand Trouble for more information.

What is different about the Smooth City tm series bar-endweights and throttle locks, compared to the original designs?

On the good side:

-We can fit many more bikes, with more finishes and more options. -It is easier to fit yet another bike.

-Weights and throttle locks have internal clearance adjustment features, to ease installation and reduce the need for fiddling with the rest of the bike to make them fit.

-Our Pounders tm heavy weights are a fresh new design, replacing the older Dragonfly tm design for our one-pound units.

On the bad side:

-Hollow-Tube fitments are slightly harder to tighten down.

-Hollow-Tube fitments are not as super-tough as the original ones, as their bending strength is now limited by the tensile strength of the screw that goes through them, rather than the stout machined nose that goes into the bar.  but they are still stronger than some of the bolt-On fitments for some OEM designs.

-There are more pieces in a kit.

I ran out of shims, or the screws that came are the wronglength.  What do I do?

You can steal a few shims on the left side, since no clearance is necessary between the left grip and the weight.  Otherwise call me, 763-234-7242, and I will set you up.  I will want to know details, to judge whether I should change what is in the kind of kit you bought.

Do you sell spare parts?

Yes, to returning customers.  We make sure to carry all consumable things, like expansion nuts, and your odds with old hardware are good.  No guarantees about any pre-Smooth City bar-end weights, we have been liquidating them.  Call our sales line to order 612-868-9881

Do you sell your nice screws alone?

No.  Right now we cannot do that gracefully on an administrative level.  Maybe someday we will be prepared to do it, but we need to concentrate on the core business now.  However, we go to a great deal of trouble to see that customers are satisfied with their installations, and this can mean shipping odd screws and other parts for their unusual bikes.  If our application chart indicated that we could fit their bike, and their Handlebars are OEM, we do not charge for this extra effort.

I have aftermarket "HotGrip" heated grips. I currently need toreplace them (due to age/wear) and would like to add Salamanderends. I am assuming installation will require cutting ends of gripsopen. Do you forsee an issue with these particular grips (theyrequire epoxy onto handle bar and throttle sleeve)?

You can cut a hole in the ends of Hot GripsTM grip heaters no problem.  Just don't cut off the end.  Generally, any heated grip with an inboard power feed (that doesn't feed out the end of the handlebar) is fine with our products.

Hot GripsTM have been available for several years with open ends, and those are ideal for our products.

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