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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought my first bike, and Harley, Thursday June 6 ,2013 used from a local HD dealer; on Saturday I rode it for almost 200 miles. On my way home after taking a turn the throttle was pulled wide open and I knee jerk grabbed the front brake locking it up. After the crash when I was looking at the bike I noticed that the handle bars were not bent nor broken, instead they were loose enough that I can yank them up and down.

The previous owner had a bunch of upgrades on the bike that he wanted back, including mini apes. I also realized that the mirrors had been installed above the bars and not below like the Forty-Eight is supposed to be so I changed them. I believe that the handle bars came loose and dropped on me causing my hand to roll the throttle open. The dealer says not a chance I would have noticed loose bars when I took it home.

My question is, are properly torqued handle bars able to come loose in a low speed crash like he Is claiming? I plan on calling HD directly and getting their answer as well but would like your opinion.
 

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The riser bolts are run through rubber bushings. (Helps with vibration I assume) It doesn't take a huge impact to "spring" them.You'll need to take them completely loose and apart to align everything back before you re-tighten them. Otherwise you'll never get them to line up right.

Sorry about the incident. It happens though.

As for your theory, I would think that if the bars dropped, you'd close the throttle not open it - unless they fell forward.

I hit a car in a parking lot a few months ago at a very low speed. So low I didn't drop the bike. Just the weight of my body moving forward against the bars knocked the bushings unseated. They also came loose in the clamp when they got hit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The riser bolts are run through rubber bushings. (Helps with vibration I assume) It doesn't take a huge impact to "spring" them.You'll need to take them completely loose and apart to align everything back before you re-tighten them. Otherwise you'll never get them to line up right.

Sorry about the incident. It happens though.

As for your theory, I would think that if the bars dropped, you'd close the throttle not open it - unless they fell forward.

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I thank you for your reply, I just wanted to make sure they didn't screw up.
 

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Apes apply a ton of leverage to the risers. Even under a small mishap such as your the amout of leverage applied would be enough to cause the bars to strip their knurl off. In most cases it would be recommended to pin the bars and install poly style bushings. Eitherway, let the insurance address the repairs accordingly. Good luck.

Glad you are alright and can tell us about your incident.

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Which bolts are we talking about? The two large 1/2" thread that come from under the top triple tree into the risers, or the four 5/16" that hold the handlebars tight in the risers? I think you are talking about the 5/16", and yes, once they slip, the bars will move pretty easily.
It is possible that they were not clamped to spec. and that you did not notice it before. Once they slip, the knurled part of the bars gets some soft metal in the grooves and won't hold. I put mini apes on my Dyna and a month or so later, the bars slipped when I was pushing the bike in the drive. I tightened to no avail, and pulled the threads out of the risers. I had to drill and retap to 3/8" bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Which bolts are we talking about? The two large 1/2" thread that come from under the top triple tree into the risers, or the four 5/16" that hold the handlebars tight in the risers? I think you are talking about the 5/16", and yes, once they slip, the bars will move pretty easily.
It is possible that they were not clamped to spec. and that you did not notice it before. Once they slip, the knurled part of the bars gets some soft metal in the grooves and won't hold. I put mini apes on my Dyna and a month or so later, the bars slipped when I was pushing the bike in the drive. I tightened to no avail, and pulled the threads out of the risers. I had to drill and retap to 3/8" bolts.
Yes is is the 4 5/16" bolts being discussed, the mini apes were taken off and replaced by the dealer prior to sale as the previous owner wanted them back, it is the only reason I think they may not have been tightened properly, especially since the tech couldn't even put the mirrors on properly.
 

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The bars can and usually will move if the bike is dropped against them, they're only a friction fit between the clamps.
I've seen and worked on a lot of crashed bikes before and the handlebars are always out of position or bent.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The bars can and usually will move if the bike is dropped against them, they're only a friction fit between the clamps.
I've seen and worked on a lot of crashed bikes before and the handlebars are always out of position or bent.
expected bent, broken, or slightly moved, but not abl to move them up and down with very little effort.
 

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ok I can tell you that even if the bars come completely losoe, you control the throttle. If they get loose and you are holding for dear life enough to cause a crash, you need to losen your grip brother. I've had it happen a couple times on my previous bars but since I changed to the apes I have never had an issue with them dropping like that. It is always a good rule of thumb to check important bolts on the bike periodically, bolts that hold the brakes on, bars on, wheels on, etc. Our bikes vibrate and therefore the bolts move and can vibrate loose.
 

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I can't count the times that I scared my self senseless when riding my wife's Nightster and now my 48... the throttle on these bikes takes some getting used to it. Specially if you are switching between bikes or are new to them...

Glad you are OK, bike can get fixed. Ride on!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the replies, yes I am very glad I am ok the bike can be fixed. I am still waiting to hear back about my estimate. I was told it was on the lift to be looked at yesterday but have not received a call yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I spoke to my cousin today, who works at the dealership, he said they are still looking at the bike because they haven't had to work on a 48 before and the switches are wired weird. I asked about when I might have it back, he told me that painted items usually take 6-12 weeks to come in:whoa:jaw

I really hope that is not the case. He also informed me he had ridden the bike prior to my purchasing it and the bars were not loose, so that answers that question.
 

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I spoke to my cousin today, who works at the dealership, he said they are still looking at the bike because they haven't had to work on a 48 before and the switches are wired weird. I asked about when I might have it back, he told me that painted items usually take 6-12 weeks to come in:whoa:jaw

I really hope that is not the case. He also informed me he had ridden the bike prior to my purchasing it and the bars were not loose, so that answers that question.
no disrespect for your cousin, but the 48 has the exact same controls as any other sportster.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
no disrespect for your cousin, but the 48 has the exact same controls as any other sportster.

He told me the wiring is odd, they may just be dragging their feet because I asked about the handle bars. I'll see how long it takes before I have an estimate. If the 5 weeks HD has fir painted parts is correct I would be looking at the end of July to have my bike back at the earliest.
 

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IMO. If the bike is rideable take it back and ride it until the parts come in then take it back to the dealer for the repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I stoppd by the dealer on Friday and asked about my estimate, they've had it but saod they had only a claim number but no contact info or who the insurance company was. They also said they didn't have my phone number to call me but found it on the paperwork when hey grabbed it for me. I had told them when I dropped it off the sales department has my insurance info from the sale I'm a little disappointed with how this is playing out but it is what it is it isn't necessarily the dealers fault.

Anyway, the damage is $4,415 dollars.
 

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good luck with it all bro, I'm sure the painted parts time frame is correct. I mean I could be wrong, but the 48 is no different than other sporty's other than looks and suspension; same electros same motor, same switches, should not be wired differently, that just wouldn't make sense. Then again I'm not a mechanic.... but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.:know
 
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