One of the unique things about owning a Sportster, as with most other Harley Davidson motorcycle models, is the ability to customize the look and the ride. Many riders will choose to continue with the shorter, more compact stock style of handlebars, while others may choose to customize to ape hangers for Sportster models.
What to Consider for Safety and Comfort
There are several different factors that will come into focus when selecting the best ape hangers for Sportster bikes. What any rider and bike owner will find is that not all ape hangers are right for all people. As these handlebars do keep the arms in an elevated position, it is important to choose the size and shape as well as the height that is comfortable on a personal level.
Many riders find that stock handlebars aren’t comfortable and the switch to ape hangers isn’t just for appearance. If keeping the arms lower causes numbness, tingling or pain in the shoulders or the back when riding for long distances, changing positions of the arms with the higher ape hangers may be just what is required.
There are a few classic elements that make up the group of handlebars that are often referred to more simply as just “apes.” These bars then have a slight upward angle from the riser mounting point and then go almost straight up to the specific height and then out again for the handles.
There are different “standard” heights of ape hangers for Sportster bikes, and many riders prefer the shorter sizes of twelve to sixteen inches. For someone that is taller or that has longer arms, the 18-inch height may be very comfortable.
While not ideal for many riders, there are custom designed ape hangers that can be significantly higher. In general 24 inches is about limit and these may not be a great option for more than just short rides, but they will add to the look of any bike.