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Are my bars bent?

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Apr 25, 2021
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#1
Hi all,
Apologies in advance if this may seem like a ridiculous question but completely new to dirt biking so I don't want to jump to any conclusions without confirming first. Got into a pretty nasty fall last time I went riding and noticed the bike wasn't riding straight. My right arm would be straightened out but my left arm would be trailing behind not straightened out. Thought the front tire wasn't straight and it may be something to do with the forks. Loosened the triple clamps and axle pinch bolts and gave it a good couple pumps but problem was still there. Today I thought that it may be the bar (really didn't the bar could have bent that easily). Took a picture of it top-down view with the wheel pointing straight and right side of bar straight and this is what it looks like. Do my bars look bent? If so, can I straighten it out a little? If it's not the bar what should I do to try and working on correcting the feel of bike not going straight? Thanks, all.
 

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#2
It can be either the bars or the triple clamp ... considering the fact that the clamp is cast, it's not likely it's bent. It could be twisted bar mounts? Have you removed the bars yet? Take a look at the mounts with the bars off.
 

RM_guy

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#3
I'd say your bars are bent. Okie's right in that it's probably not the bar mounts on the triple clamp. You can see where the knurled part of the bar (between the 2 clamps) crosses the center if the steer stem so that looks straight. They are bent outside of the clamps.

You said you had a pretty nasty fall. If the bars are hit in the right place they can bend easier than you'd think...it's better than cracking the triple clamp. Some bikes have rubber mounted bar clamps that go through holes in the triple clamps and they will take the load and bend but your bike doesn't have that so the bars bend.

It is normally not recommended to straighten bent bars because there was obviously some yielding going on for it to stay as bent as they are. They will flex somewhat before they take a set and stay bent so I'd say they probably moved at least twice as much as you see now before springing back to where it is. Once aluminum yields it can break pretty easily the next time it takes a hit. Steel is the same way but a bit more resistant to sudden failure.

To illustrate this, take a paper clip and straighten it out. You can flex it to a point before it will stay bent (like a spring). Then bend it a couple of times up to 90° and back to yield the material. You actually will need to go past 90° to get it to stay at 90°. It won't take much to break it.
 
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#5
Thanks all for the really helpful responses. I understand that it seems like a no-brainer that the bar is bent but I just wanted to be sure from people who have experience with dirt bikes much longer than I have. Reading through your comments I'm gonna replace them as soon as I can. Can't believe some bars cast over $80; are those types of bars necessarily any better than these cheap ones I see for like 30 or 40 bucks?
 

RM_guy

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#6
The cheaper ones may be steel. Not a bad choice but they will bend easier.