Whether you ride a cruiser, sport bike, dirt bike, ATV or a different type of machine, you likely constantly dream of ways to get the most out of it. After all, customizing your bike is part of the fun of being a motorcycle enthusiast. If you want to rework your motorcycle’s handlebars, you also probably need to run new cables. Of course, you also need to know the best way to measure motorcycle cables to be sure you have enough length to finish your project successfully.

Your motorcycle’s stock handlebars may not live up to your standards. If you regularly experience wrist strain, arm fatigue or back soreness, replacing your handlebars may be the solution. Still, before you replace your handlebars, you must be sure you know how to fit new cables. Fortunately, measuring motorcycle cables isn’t exactly rocket science. With the right tools and approach, you choose the perfect replacement cables for your bike’s new handlebar setup.

Getting Started

One of the easiest ways to customize your motorcycle is to install new handlebars. That is, upgraded handlebars change both the look and functionality of your machine. Nevertheless, replacing stock handlebars requires more than simply attaching new ones to your bike. You also must have sufficient cable to connect essential systems to your new handlebars.

Before you start any project, you need to gather the tools for the job. Fortunately, you don’t need much equipment to install your new handlebars on your bike. When it comes to measuring cable, you only need a couple items: some thin guage wire and a tape measure.

Installing Your Handlebars

To know how long your cables should be, you must first install and position your bike’s new handlebars. Installing handlebars is usually not an all-day project. On the contrary, you can likely uninstall your motorcycle’s old handlebars by removing a few bolts and disconnecting some cables. Before you get to that point, however, you must be certain you have purchased replacement handlebars that fit your bike.

As you may suspect, handlebars come in a variety of sizes. To choose the right fit for your machine, find replacement handlebars that match the diameter of your existing ones. If you don’t, you are apt to have difficulty inserting your new handlebars into the clamp.

After you have identified the correct diameter and ordered new handlebars, loosen your bike’s controls. Be careful not to remove the hardware completely, though. Instead, allow sufficient wiggle room to slide your bike’s controls off your old handlebars. You may also need to remove your bike’s handlebar grips to access its controls.

After you have removed your bikes controls and handlebars, you are ready to fit your new set. To install your upgraded handlebars, follow manufacturer instructions. If you ordered the correct size, placing your new handlebars on your machine should go quickly.

Measuring New Cable

Following the installation of your new handlebars, you are likely to notice that your existing cables are not long enough or are too long. The best way to measure motorcycle cables is to follow a three-step process to determine the correct length for your new cables.

Step 1: Run Tracing Wire

To begin measuring, run the wire in the desired path. When using template wire, though, you have to be careful to protect both you and your bike. Because your machine may be hot, you want to allow sufficient time for it to cool off to keep from burning yourself. You also must realize that tracing wire can scratch your bike’s paint, chrome and other finishes.

For success running tracing wire, you must follow a couple rules. First, you must not bend sharp angles into your wire. Instead, allow wire to flow naturally from point to point. Also, you must not stretch the wire, but rather give enough slack to match the installation of your bike’s stock cables.

Step 2: Measure Your Stock Cable

After you run tracing wire, you need to know the length of your bike’s existing cables. To measure the length of your stock cable, use a reliable tape measure. Be careful not to measure the free ends of the wire, though. You only need to know the length of the housing.

Step 3: Do Some Math

Finally, to know how much cable you need, you must do some math. If you have traced the cable path correctly, the calculation is the easiest part of determining cable length. Simply compare the length of your bike’s stock cables with the length of the trace wire. The difference tells you how much cable you need to purchase to finish your handlebar customization. When ordering new handlebar cables, you need to know the plus or minus measurement. As long as the length of the cable you plan to buy falls within the range, it should be sufficient to reach your new handlebar assembly.

Ordering New Cable

After you have installed your motorcycle’s new handlebars and correctly measured the cable you need to connect essential systems, you are ready to order new cable. As you probably know, cables come in many different styles.

To ensure you are purchasing cable that improves your bike’s performance, look for a high-quality product. For example, Motion Pro Replacement Control Cables have a tempered-steel housing and inner polyethylene sleeve to boost their longevity. They also have high-quality connectors that resist both corrosion and stripping.

Further, you must determine if replacement cables fit your bike’s existing systems and your new handlebars. While you know how long cables must be to reach your motorcycle’s handlebars, you also want to know if they integrate with your bike’s fuel and braking systems. Rather than guessing, use the select vehicle tool to refine your search to include only products that work with your bike.

Now that you know the best way to measure motorcycle cables, it is time to tackle your handlebar upgrade. Before you start, though, you must be sure you have the best motorcycle cables to do the job correctly. Rather than leaving your bike’s performance, condition and value to chance, order top-quality components for your custom job today.