Perfect Project For A Long Winter Day
(Thanks to Jeff Henon)
(Gadget Note: The following instructions and measurements are for the Yamaha RoadStar. Please check carefully (measure twice cut once) to be sure measurements supplied apply to your particular bike, adjust accordingly. The actual instructions should be applicable to most makes.)
Running wires inside your handlebars is pretty time consuming and requires patience. The following instructions detail how to do it. The one thing that makes the way I did it nicer than most is that I covered the only area where the wires would be visible with 1-3/8” chrome valve stem covers available from any auto parts store (see figure 1). Here’s the instructions:
- Detach the wires and switch control housings from the handlebars, cut each group of wires about 6 inches from the switch housings. Remove the silver insulation over these wires. Put the switch housings away, because you won’t need them for a little while.
- I chose to run the wires through the top triple clamp for a cleaner appearance with chrome caps to cover the wires between the triple clamps and the handlebars. (This requires drilling 2 holes in the triple clamp, which may not be for somebody who hasn’t much experience with this kind of work). You could also just run them in front of the triple clamp and up into the holes in the handlebars.
- To drill the holes through the triple clamp: Using a metal punch, mark a point on the front of the handlebars next to where the riser clamps split. This gives you a point to line the handlebars up and to accurately rotate them 90 degrees. Remove the handlebars. With a metal punch mark 2 points on your triple clamp using the dimensions from figure 2. Drill a small 1/16” hole to start with. This way you give the bigger drills a better hole to center on, as well as can make any small changes before you commit to drilling the final hole. I used 2 drill bits, a 13/32” for the hole and a 7/16”. Start with the 7/16” bit first and drill till you have a wall about 1/16” high. Finish the hole with the 13/32” bit. This gives you a lip for the chrome covers to sit in (see figure 3 for sort of cross sectional view.)
- The silver insulation is too thick to fit through these holes, so cut it off. You want to cut off enough so that when you pull the wires through the holes in the triple clamp, the insulation is flush up to the underside of the triple clamp and you have enough slack to turn the handlebars lock to lock.
- Put the handlebars back on and rotate them towards the gas tank so that the mark you made on the handlebars in step 3 is rotated 90 degrees from where it’s supposed to be. Using the metal punch make 2 marks 5/8” inside the handlebar clamps on the handlebars. This is the same dimension you used for marking the holes in the triple clamp, since the wires are going to travel in a straight line between these 4 holes. Using a 3/8” drill bit, drill the holes in the bottom of the handlebars.
- Rotate the handlebars so that you can drill holes where the switch housings go. The left side has so many wires that I drilled two holes for them to come out of. Look carefully at the inside of the switch housings, and you’ll see where there is space for the wires to go. I can’t stress enough how important it is to visualize where the wires are going. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the end result should look like before you pick up the drill.
- For the left side, you need to drill 2 holes using the dimensions from figure 4. The left hole is 3/8” and slightly above center while the other hole is 1/2” and slightly below center. I ran the wires for the hi-lo beam switch through the first hole slightly above center on the bars and the rest of the wires through the second hole slightly below center.
- For the right side, use the dimensions from figure 5 to mark the handlebars. Use a 3/8” bit to drill the hole. Now that your done drilling, clean up all of the holes with a file or dremel tool so that there aren’t any sharp edges to cut the wires.
- Solder on extensions about 12” to the wires coming through the triple clamp and cover the joints with heat shrink tubing.
- The 1-3/8” chrome valve stem covers are exactly the right length, but you’ll need to take a 1” grinding wheel to the end with the smaller opening to create a seamless appearance where the covers meet up with the handlebars (see figure 6). Grind just enough so that you don’t change the overall length of the cover, but have a smooth arc that will follow the diameter of the handlebars. Slide the covers over the wires coming through the triple clamp.
- Your in the home stretch now. Fish the wires through the handlebars. Baby powder helps (Thanks Alex) make this job easier. If the wires are too flimsy to go through on their own, take a wire coat hanger, cut and straighten it out and tape the wires to one end and feed them through. Unless you have exact color matches for your extensions, you should label each wire as you fish it through to avoid problems later.
- Unbolt the handlebars and set the chrome covers in place between the triple clamps and handlebars. This is kind of a juggling act so take your time and get someone else to help you. Once everything is in place tighten the handlebars down.
- Pull the wires as snug as you can get them pushing them through the triple clamp and pulling through the holes in the handlebars.
- Doing one wire at a time, trim the extensions so that you have about 3” outside of the handlebars. Solder it to the wire coming off of the switch housing and covering the joint with heatshrink tubing. You should have about 9” of wire hanging outside of the handlebars when finished.
- Push the wires into the handlebars towards the handgrips, the opposite direction of where the wires are coming from. You can pull them from the openings on either end of the handlebars with needle-nose pliers if you have both grips off. Finish screwing everything back together and your done. Good luck.
Jeffrey M. Henon