How to Install Highway Bars on Motorcycles


Your motorcycle is more than just a means of transportation or fun; it is an investment of time, money and passion. No matter how safely you ride, the inevitable will happen. You will either have an accident or lay down your bike. When this happens, your main concern is protecting both yourself and the delicate engine components of your motorcycle. The easiest and best way to do this is to install highway bars, or crash bars, on your bike.

Things You'll Need

  • Reversible ratchet
  • ½-inch deep-well socket
  • ¼-inch deep-well socket
  • Extender bar
  • Highway/crash bars kit

Prepare the Bike

  • Remove the fuel tank to access the topmost mounting brackets. There usually are four to six bolts that hold the tank in place; remove these with the ½-inch socket and ratchet.

  • Pull out the two large "accessory bolts" on the bike frame, using the ratchet and ¼-inch socket.

  • Remove the oil pan bash plate from the bottom of the bike by unbolting it from the bracket using the ratchet.

  • Make sure everything in your highway bars package is in good condition: Look over all welds to make sure they are tight. Check all the bolts in the highway bars kit for cracks and off-threading, and make sure all brackets are straight and sturdy.

Install the Bars

  • Place the upper bracket over the fan housing, and bolt it down with the ratchet and appropriate socket using the high-strength bolts included in the kit.

  • Replace the fuel tank, and make sure everything bolts back into place tightly.

  • Bolt the lower bracket in place, using the ratchet and socket.

  • Install the spacers and adapter clips for the bash pan as appropriate to your model bike according to the instructions provided in your highway bars kit.

  • Mount the original cover back into place. The cover will not fit tight and flush; it's just for protection and doesn't require a seal.

  • Locate a bolt in a recess on each side of the bike at the rear mounting bracket. Remove the bolts one at a time with the ratchet.

  • Replace the factory bolt with the included long, high-strength bolt and spacer.

  • Attach the bars to the brackets and bolt them down tight with the included bolts, using the ratchet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set all the bolts in place using a medium-strength, removable-formula thread lock compound, which you can get at most automotive stores.
  • Keep the original bolts in case you decide to remove the highway bars.
  • The difficulty and application of your bars will vary slightly depending on the make, model and year of your bike and the make/model of your bars kit.
  • Never adjust the frame of your motorcycle without a full understanding of how your bike is built and works.

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