story and photography by Jody Levitan
[This Heli Modified TracStar HeliBars Review was originally published in the July 2010 issue of Rider magazine]
A short time ago on the Rider Blog I lauded the virtues of the Kawasaki Ninja 650R, including how it’s a great bike for novices and relative novices like me. One of its nicer features is an upright seating position that makes for a more comfortable ride over greater distances. Recently, I had the chance to spend some seat time on a 2009 Honda CBR600RR, an all-out sportbike with a track-oriented seating position that contributes to making it one heck of an E-ticket ride. It would be nice to enjoy all of its performance with a more upright seating position like the Kawi’s for longer rides, though. When I mentioned this to Editor Tuttle he suggested I put some HeliBars on the CBR and see what happens.
First off, the customer service department at Heli Modified was great. I got the TracStar HeliBars handlebars and risers in no time, with everything needed for easy installation. The kit consists of two clip-on handlebars in a nice black anodized or glass-bead finish, a couple of bolts and directions. The bars use all the stock cables and hydraulic lines and retain the factory bar-end damper weights.
A friend installed the bars without a hitch in less than an hour. They are 1 3/4 inches taller, 5/8 inches more rearward and 3/4 inches wider (stock width is 25 inches), with all the controls still packed neatly into a small space. Since they are carved from a single extruded aluminum billet, there aren’t any handlebar-tube clamps between the fork tube clamps and brake master cylinder, clutch pivot and switchgear, so they can be mounted closer to the top triple clamp. This feature alone optimizes bar angles, height and width changes.
Following installation I sat on the bike, went to reach for the grips and was amazed at the difference. Granted it doesn’t result in a bolt-upright seating position, but I only wanted a little more comfort. It didn’t take long to get used to the new seating position. Since I’m not riding on a track, the added height is a nice reprieve for my wrists and back over longer distances, yet it’s not so high that it compromises the sporty seating position and feel of the bike. Priced around $300, I would say the TracStars are worth it if you want to add a little more comfort to the thrill of a bike like the CBR over a longer haul.
For more information: Visit HeliBars or call (800) 859-4642