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1998 VT1100C
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1998 Spirit, and my stock bars move a fair bit when pushed on, and are sagging a little bit (they aren't quite straight). If you look close, looks like the bushings are starting to develop cracks.

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I've read in other threads about solid-mounting handlebars by using large washers, but the stock bushings extend past the top clamp (i.e. they're not flush or inset) so I can't see how that would work for me.

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I'm not sure solid riser bushings (e.g. as seen on TJ Brutal Customs website) would work either, it says they fit "Bikes With 34mm Riser Pocket" and my Spirit doesn't appear to have a pocket?

I've seen that you can drill them out, but that seems pretty drastic.

What are my options here?

Side note: new bars requiring new bushings/risers is not out of the question. I'm not a huge fan of the "go up and then back down" stock handlebars, I prefer my hands to be more "level" (more palm down), if anyone has any recommendations.
 

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1998 VT1100C
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I’m under the impression that they’re stuck in the triple clamp and not meant to be easily replaced. I tried to wiggle the bushings out but they wouldn’t budge. They don’t appear in the diagram in my FSM, nor are they mentioned in the front end removal/installation procedures (unless I missed something, I'm going to go back and re-read tomorrow).

(Also I noticed the torque value is missing for the two nuts under the triple clamp holding the risers down.)

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Looking at the parts diagram for your bike, they don't appear to be a replaceable item, unless someone here has found a workaround. If they were real bad, I think i'd be pressing out the old ones and turn some new solid bushings out of uhmw. You could even bush the solids with rubber if you drilled your centers to accommodate some rubber hose between the stud and the bushings. Where there's a will, there's a way.
 

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2007 VT750DC Spirit “chopper”
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The “solid riser” Washer bushing mod requires six large internal diameter washers, and two more washers that just fit over the threaded post of your risers so that it will clamp around the bushing to the metal of the tree. You’re actually looking to clamp around the internal metal collar of the bushing with washers that have a 3/4” or so internal diameter, measure the outside of the metal collar in the rubber bushings to be sure. Lowe’s had the washers i needed in the specialty parts bins, near the fender washers.

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here’s a terrible picture of my solid clamp bars, the silver washer at the bottom of this stack(top in picture, closest to the tree) is the key, and what you need six of to clamp around the factory bushing, two on top one on bottom. Ignore my large 1/2” bolts and the gold washers, that’s part of my 1/2-13 HD riser bolt conversion.


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Discussion Starter #6
Hey @Froth thanks for the reply. But I don't fully understand what you mean. You mention to "clamp around the internal metal collar of the bushing with washers", so this means your bushings are still in the triple clamp? If you take a look at photos #3 and #4 in my first post in this thread, the bushing with the metal collar is in the triple clamp (and protrudes a bit above and below the triple clamp), so where do these 6 washers go?
 

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Yeah, the oem bushing is still in the top triple tree clamp and helps to locate the bolts still. Two washers on top with an internal diameter as least as large as the outside of the metal bushing collar, one washer on the bottom, per side. This was what I needed, you may need more or less washers but they absolutely need to fit around the metal bushing center of the stock tree bushings.
 
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Those are 4 metal-sleeved bushings that are pressed in from the factory. Pretty much impossible to replace as the casting has a ridge in the center that the bushings are seated against. They will not drive out and no way I've found to get them out without tearing up the top triple-tree (top bridge in Hondaspeak) There are places that sell urethane bushings if you have a way to remove the old ones.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, the oem bushing is still in the top triple tree clamp and helps to locate the bolts still. Two washers on top with an internal diameter as least as large as the outside of the metal bushing collar, one washer on the bottom, per side. This was what I needed, you may need more or less washers but they absolutely need to fit around the metal bushing center of the stock tree bushings.
I'm still not getting you. I can't put a washer on top, as the bushing are not recessed or flush, they actually protrude out the top (and bottom). To explain further what I mean, look at image #3 in my original post. If I set a washer on top, it won't make contact with the triple clamp.

Those are 4 metal-sleeved bushings that are pressed in from the factory. Pretty much impossible to replace as the casting has a ridge in the center that the bushings are seated against. They will not drive out and no way I've found to get them out without tearing up the top triple-tree (top bridge in Hondaspeak) There are places that sell urethane bushings if you have a way to remove the old ones.

OK gotcha. Drilling out the stock bushings sounds like a winter project ;) (see about 1 minute into this video
). Once they're out, then I can think about if I want to fill that cavity with washers, and put bigger washers on the top/bottom like @Froth was saying, to solid mount my risers. Or look into a urethane bushing. In both cases, it sounds like I won't be able to measure the inner/outer diameter I need before the stock bushings are out.
 

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That thing was still in the scrap aluminum pile, each bushing hole is 0.600 to the center ridge, Top to bottom total including ridge is 1.390. Bore dia is 1.025 and riser stud is 12mm. Best I can tell with a dial caliper on that rather mangled one.... I was going to use Urethane as every little bit of vibration reduction is a good thing. The one I took apart was from Ebay "like new" Bike had been wrecked and it was bowed, had an 1/8" gap in the center using a straight-edge... Got a refund and they said just scrap it, so I did. I ended up just biting the bullet and ordering a new one from Honda as I didn't want the bike down while I experimented. The new one with fresh bushings is much better. than I had. The Urethane are pretty easy to machine to size in my lathe May still experiment next winter.......

One comment on the videos, You can drill the center steel part to 1/2" IF you use a slow drill and don't overheat it to where it tears loose. Use a cordless drill on low speed range. A new 1/2" bit is best and take your time, allowing it to cool for a few minutes every 1/4" or so. If you get it too hot to touch, it will tear loose from the rubber. Assuming you want to use Harley or aftermarket risers with a 1/2"stud or bolt....
 

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I'm still not getting you. I can't put a washer on top, as the bushing are not recessed or flush, they actually protrude out the top (and bottom). To explain further what I mean, look at image #3 in my original post. If I set a washer on top, it won't make contact with the triple clamp.
Pictures it is then.

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Washers come in thousands of sizes with differing internal and external diameters, you need something like those. I’m using this in a recessed bushing Spirit tree so you with your non recessed tree actually have an easier job to find washers since you don’t need to worry about external washer diameter really since your bushings aren’t recessed, internal diameter needs to be close to 3/4” and depending how thick they are depends how many you will need. With my tree and bushings and the washers I found two on top and one on bottom was just enough to clamp the risers around the stock bushing, while still using it for centering the bolt.

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Hope that clears the process up. This will effectively solid mount your risers, for anyone wanting to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks @Froth , great explanation, I get it now.

The advantage you have with that recessed area is if you have the washer size just right, there’s no chance of them moving/sliding around. In my case, I won’t have any “internal” washers, just top/bottom washers, so I expect I’ll have to torque them down quite a bit to ensure they don’t move around.
 
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