Pros and Cons of Ape Hangers

handlebar discussion for motorcycle

Ape hangers provide raised hand position for comfort, style, and visibility. Pros include reduced strain on shoulders, individualized bike look, and enhanced safety through better traffic awareness. However, cons such as limited steering control and increased wind resistance can impact maneuverability and stability. Understanding legal restrictions on handlebar height and installation costs are important considerations. A deeper look into the benefits and drawbacks of ape hangers can help you make an informed decision on whether they are the right fit for your riding experience.


  • Comfort and ergonomics vary, reducing strain but may be uncomfortable for shorter-armed riders.
  • Style and customization define a unique look, offering personalization and visual appeal.
  • Increased visibility and safety due to height, aiding traffic awareness and quick decision-making.
  • Handling and control improve with heightened visibility, stability, and better posture.
  • Potential hazards include limited steering control, wind resistance, and strain on shoulders from extended use.

Comfort and Ergonomics

The comfort and ergonomics of ape hangers on motorcycles can vary considerably depending on the rider's preferences and body type. Ape hangers, known for their high, upward-reaching handlebars, can offer a unique riding experience. Some riders find that the raised hand position reduces strain on their shoulders and back, providing a more comfortable ride, especially on long journeys. The extended reach to the handlebars can also create a feeling of freedom and openness while riding.

However, the comfort of ape hangers is not universal. Riders with shorter arms or those who prefer a more relaxed riding position may find ape hangers to be uncomfortable or even straining. The higher hand position can lead to increased wind resistance, causing fatigue more quickly, particularly at higher speeds.

Additionally, the extended reach required to grip the handlebars can affect the rider's maneuverability and control over the motorcycle.

Style and Customization

When considering the style and customization aspects of ape hangers on motorcycles, it is evident that these handlebars play a significant role in defining the overall look and feel of the bike.

Distinctive Appearance: Ape hangers are known for their tall and extended design, creating a visually striking element on the motorcycle. Riders who value individuality and want their bike to stand out often opt for ape hangers to make a bold statement.

Customization Options: These handlebars offer riders a wide range of customization options. From choosing different finishes like chrome or matte black to adding personalized grips and accessories, riders can tailor ape hangers to suit their unique style preferences.

Complementing Different Bike Builds: Whether it's a classic cruiser, a sleek chopper, or a vintage bobber, ape hangers can be incorporated into various motorcycle builds to enhance the overall aesthetic. Their versatility in fitting different styles makes them a popular choice among motorcycle enthusiasts looking to customize their ride.

Increased Visibility

When considering the heightened visibility aspect of ape hangers, it is important to acknowledge the safety benefits that come with the added height. The elevated position allows riders to have a clearer view of the road ahead, potentially reducing the chances of accidents.

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Additionally, the aesthetic appeal of ape hangers can also contribute to making motorcyclists more noticeable to other drivers on the road.

Safety With Height

Enhanced visibility due to increased height is a key safety advantage associated with ape hanger handlebars. This heightened position offers riders a better view of the road ahead, allowing them to anticipate and react to potential hazards more effectively. The increased height of ape hangers can greatly enhance safety in various riding conditions.

Here are three specific ways in which the added height of ape hanger handlebars contributes to a safer riding experience:

  1. Improved Traffic Awareness: Ape hangers elevate the rider's line of sight, making it easier to spot surrounding vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles, thereby reducing the risk of collisions.
  2. Enhanced Maneuverability: The elevated position provided by ape hangers allows riders to have a broader view of their surroundings, enabling them to navigate through traffic more smoothly and make quick decisions when needed.
  3. Better Communication: The increased height not only improves the rider's visibility but also makes them more visible to other road users, enhancing overall communication and reducing the chances of being overlooked in traffic scenarios.

Handling and Control

The heightened visibility provided by ape hanger handlebars not only enhances safety but also greatly impacts the rider's handling and control of the motorcycle.

With the rider's hands positioned higher than traditional handlebars, ape hangers offer increased leverage and stability, allowing for better control during maneuvers. The elevated hand position promotes a more upright posture, distributing the rider's weight more evenly, which can enhance balance and agility, especially when maneuvering through tight spaces.

Moreover, the raised grip position offers a broader field of view, enabling riders to have better awareness of their surroundings and potential hazards on the road. This increased visibility can help prevent accidents by allowing riders to anticipate and react to situations more effectively.

Additionally, the improved sightlines can make lane changes and turns smoother and safer, as riders can more easily spot approaching vehicles or obstacles. Overall, the enhanced handling and control facilitated by ape hanger handlebars contribute to a safer and more confident riding experience.

Aesthetic Appeal

Heightened visibility, a key aspect of ape hanger handlebars, enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of motorcycles equipped with this unique handlebar style.

Distinctive Look: Ape hanger handlebars elevate the front profile of the motorcycle, creating a striking visual impact that sets it apart from traditional handlebar styles. The raised position of the bars draws the eyes of onlookers, making the bike stand out in a crowd.

Customization Potential: The increased visibility offered by ape hanger handlebars opens up a world of customization possibilities for motorcycle enthusiasts. Riders can further enhance the aesthetic appeal of their bikes by adding unique grips, mirrors, or tassels to complement the elevated handlebars.

Improved Safety: In addition to their aesthetic benefits, ape hanger handlebars contribute to improved safety on the road. The heightened position of the bars provides better visibility for the rider, allowing them to see over cars and obstacles more easily, thereby enhancing overall safety while riding.

Potential Safety Hazards

When contemplating ape hangers on motorcycles, it is important to acknowledge the potential safety hazards they present. These elevated handlebars can increase the risk of accidents due to reduced stability and control, especially for inexperienced riders.

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Additionally, handling challenges may arise from the need to exert more effort and strength to steer the motorcycle effectively.

Safety Risks Involved

Riding with ape hangers poses notable safety risks due to the compromised handling and decreased control over the motorcycle. These risks include:

  1. Limited Maneuverability: Ape hangers alter the ergonomics of the motorcycle, forcing riders to extend their arms higher than usual. This positioning can make it challenging to steer efficiently, especially when negotiating tight turns or sudden obstacles on the road.
  2. Reduced Stability: The higher grip position of ape hangers can lead to instability, especially at higher speeds or in windy conditions. Riders may struggle to maintain a firm grip on the handlebars, increasing the likelihood of accidents or loss of control.
  3. Delayed Reaction Time: With ape hangers, riders may experience delayed response times in emergency situations. The extended reach to the handlebars can slow down the reaction needed to brake or maneuver quickly, putting the rider and others on the road at risk.

Handling Challenges Posed

Maneuvering through tight spaces and making sharp turns can be particularly challenging for riders with ape hangers due to the altered handlebar positioning. The higher placement of ape hangers can affect the rider's ability to navigate with ease, especially in congested urban areas or winding roads. Here are some handling challenges posed by ape hangers:

Challenge Description Potential Hazard
Limited Steering Control Ape hangers can reduce the rider's leverage and control over the handlebars, making it harder to execute precise steering movements. Difficulty in avoiding obstacles or sudden hazards.
Difficulty in Low-Speed Maneuvers Due to the extended reach and higher grip position, low-speed maneuvers like U-turns or tight cornering can be more challenging to perform. Increased risk of tipping over the motorcycle.
Wind Resistance and Stability The elevated handlebars increase the rider's exposure to wind resistance, affecting stability, especially at higher speeds. Potential loss of control or wobbling when facing strong winds.
Strain on Shoulders and Arms Extended periods of riding with ape hangers can lead to increased strain on the rider's shoulders and arms due to the higher and wider arm position. Fatigue, discomfort, or potential muscle injuries over time.

Handling and Maneuverability

Effective control and precision in steering are crucial aspects to take into account when evaluating the handling and maneuverability of motorcycles equipped with ape hangers. The unique design of ape hanger handlebars, which notably raises the rider's hands above shoulder level, can have a significant impact on how the motorcycle responds to steering inputs and maneuvers.

Here are key points to ponder regarding handling and maneuverability:

  1. Increased Stability: Ape hangers can provide a sense of stability due to the wider grip and higher positioning, allowing riders to have better leverage and control over the motorcycle, especially at higher speeds on straight roads.
  2. Reduced Maneuverability: The higher placement of ape hangers can make tight turns and quick maneuvers more challenging, as the extended reach to the handlebars may limit the rider's ability to make swift directional changes.
  3. Adaptation Required: Riders switching to ape hangers may need time to adapt to the altered riding position and steering dynamics to maintain excellent handling and maneuverability in various road conditions.
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Legal Restrictions and Regulations

When considering motorcycles equipped with ape hangers, it is important to be aware of the legal restrictions and regulations that may impact their use on public roads. Ape hanger handlebars, known for their tall and upward extension design, can vary in height, and different jurisdictions have specific laws regarding how high handlebars can be positioned above the seat.

In the United States, for example, many states have regulations stipulating that handlebars should not exceed a certain height above the rider's shoulders or below their waist. These laws are in place to promote the safety of riders and other road users by maintaining proper control and visibility while operating a motorcycle.

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines, penalties, or even restrictions on riding the motorcycle until the handlebars are adjusted to meet legal requirements.

Before installing ape hangers or purchasing a motorcycle with such handlebars, it is important to familiarize oneself with the laws in the specific area of operation to avoid legal issues and ensure a safe riding experience.

Cost and Installation Factors

Considering the cost and installation factors of ape hangers on a motorcycle is vital for riders looking to customize their handlebars. When deciding whether to invest in ape hangers, riders should take into account the following key points:

  1. Cost: Ape hangers vary widely in price depending on factors such as material, brand, and height. Basic ape hanger handlebars can start at around $100, while custom or higher-end options can range from $300 to $1000 or more. It's important for riders to set a budget and explore different options before making a purchase.
  2. Installation: Installing ape hangers can be a complex process that may require professional help, especially for riders with limited mechanical experience. Costs for installation by a professional can range from $200 to $500 or more. DIY installation is possible for experienced riders, but careful attention to detail is necessary to ensure proper fit and functionality.
  3. Additional Costs: In addition to the cost of the handlebars and installation, riders should also consider any additional parts or modifications that may be needed, such as extended cables or wiring harnesses. These extra expenses can add to the overall cost of customizing with ape hangers.


To sum up, ape hangers offer unique style and customization options, increased visibility, and potential safety hazards. However, they may also have negative impacts on comfort, handling, and legal restrictions.

The decision to install ape hangers should be carefully considered based on individual preferences and priorities. Ultimately, weighing the pros and cons of ape hangers is essential in determining if they are the right choice for a motorcycle rider.