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How Much Bar Back and Rise Will the 961 Stand?

Discussion in 'Norton Motorcycles (Modern)' started by lcrken, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    After raising the bars on my 2015 961 Sport by a little less than an inch, I felt the need for more, and became interested in looking at how much was possible without major surgery to wire harnesses, throttle cables, and clutch hoses. I'd already discovered that with an inch of rise the brake hoses were limiting full extension of the forks, not an ideal situation, so I expected to have to go for longer hoses, but I was curious about the other bits. Bottom line is that I raised the bars 2" (measured in line with the forks), and pulled them back (perpendicular to the forks) by 2 1/8", and there is still some slack in the wires, hoses and cables. I did have to clip the lower zip tie holding clutch hose to the frame tube, shown in one of the pictures, and had to go inside the headlight to push some of the wire harnesses further out the grommet, but there was plenty of slack to do so. I won't be able to try it out until I get the new brake hoses (3" longer), but the riding position just sitting on it feels much better to me.

    If need be, I can make another set of spacers to get more rise and less back distance, but this one really feels like it will be right. I'm tempted to make a new set of risers that include bar clamps, instead of just the spacers, and to pretty them up a bit, but it's riding season here, and I need to get the bike back on the road. Maybe later, or maybe not.

    In one of the pictures, it looks like the spacer is right at the tank, but that's not the case. There's well over an inch of clearance with the tank.

    Risers Left 1200.jpg

    Risers Right 1200.jpg

    Clutch Hose 1200.JPG

    Ken
     
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  2. TonyA

    TonyA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    You are a candidate for the California bars I would say ( I have been in the Cali camp from the start). Maybe Norton will someday make a kit so older bikes can use them (they don't yet I asked) . I find the need to pull the bars back as well , but I don't like the look of those brackets . You are very resourceful and willing to take the time and spend the money on the new parts that are necessary. I see now why your previous owner added padding to your 961 seat. I have two reasons myself, 1. To stop feeling the seat pan on long trips , 2. To decrease the bend at the knee leg area which increasingly bothers me on long rides.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  3. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    I'm not wild about the look of the spacers either, Tony, but I didn't want to put too much effort into something more complicated until I sorted out the details, and had a chance to actually ride the bike. If I'm happy with it, I'm sure I'll eventually try to make something in a more appealing design.

    I considered the California bars. In fact I tried mocking up a set of stock "Western" Commando bars to see how they compared, but I like the look of the fat bars with the Norton logo on them.

    When I bought the bike, I didn't realize the seat had been modified, but now, like you, I understand why. The most comfortable bike for me to ride, now that I'm in my dotage, is my 620 Ducati Multistrada, and even there I've had to move the bars up and back an inch in each direction. Part of it's comfort is the long peg to seat dimension, which is easier on my knees. I'd really like a Norton with similar egronomics, but I think that would require a new, shorter tank, as well as a new seat, and that's more than I'm willing to step up to. In the meantime, I plan to ride the Norton regularly, so I'm doing what I can with simple mods to make it more comfortable for me. It might not be perfect, but it's still a Norton and still looks gorgeous.

    Ken
     
  4. candyman.errol

    candyman.errol

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015

    An unrelatd question: how do you get into the headlight, as I want to exchange the bulb for an LED? My 2015 has only 2 allen bolts attaching the headlight to the forks. Does the inside lens come out once you undo the bolts?
     
  5. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    There is a screw on the bottom of the headlight shell, directly up from the front fender. If you unscrew it completely and remove it, the headlight and rim can be pulled off the shell, giving full access to the internal wiring.

    I found it a bit of a pain to get the screw lined up properly when re-assembling things, but eventually was successful. Just a heads up.

    Ken
     
  6. TonyA

    TonyA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Hello Candyman , Are you sure ? My late 2014 has a black steel headlamp shell and there is a countersunk phillips screw at the 6 o-clock position . Once this is removed the light unit comes right out ..
    And yes to Icrken , there is at least 2 more inches of handlebar switch wiring in my headlamp shell . You answered before I could . I like the Norton logo fat bars too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  7. TonyA

    TonyA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Hi Icrken , can you tell me how you compare the engine vibration of the Commando 961 to your other bikes ?
     
  8. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    You know, that's a hard question for me. I don't actually think too much about the vibration. I notice it, but it just doesn't stick out in my memory. It certainly does vibrate more than I expected, given that it has a balance shaft, but it doesn't bother me. I definitely notice it more than I do on my MK3 Commando, but I put that down to the isolastics. My Ducati 620 Multistrada also has similar vibration at lower speeds. At higher rpm it is pretty smooth. The 961 also seems to smooth out in the higher rev ranges, but it does seem to shake a bit in the lower rpm ranges. The only other street bikes I'm riding right now are big four stroke singles, also with balance shafts (660 Yamaha and 660 Rotax), and I don't get as much felt vibration from them as from the 961. Of course, compared to the four cylinder bikes I've had, the 961 is a bone shaker, but that's not really a fair comparison.

    I'll pay a little more attention to the vibration, and see if I can do a better comparison later. Right now the 961 is down while I sort out longer front brake lines. I stopped by Galfer today to get some made, but they don't have the offset 90 degree banjos that Norton used, presumably to keep from rubbing the fender, and they can't use the fittings from the original HEL lines, because they use a different ferrule, which Galfer doesn't have. Spiegler does have the right fittings, so I'll probably have to order some from them. Normally I make my own using Earl's fittings and hose, but I was hoping to keep the stock hose design. I may still do them myself, and just find a way to keep the hoses from rubbing on the fender. I did notice that the newer 961s with USD forks use a zip tie style guide on the fender instead. I might do something like that.

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  9. Britfan60

    Britfan60 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2014
    Hey. I paid a premium for those vibrations. If she didn't vibrate at all, I'd have bought the Ducati.
     
    Fast Eddie likes this.
  10. candyman.errol

    candyman.errol

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2015
    Many thanks for your prompt reply. After I posted, I went back to my bike and you're absolutely correct: when I used a flashlight I found the phillips screw, similar to the old British bikes. Cheers.
     
  11. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Finally managed to make some new longer front brake lines, so I can take the bike out tomorrow to see how I like it with the relocated bars. Galfer didn't have the right fitings, so couldn't make new lines. I was hoping to have some that looked just like the stock ones, only longer. In the end, I made my own using hose and fittings from Earl's Supply, the same sort of lines I've been making for the race bikes for years.

    Brake Line at Caliper 1200.jpg

    Brake Lines at MC 1200.jpg

    Ken
     
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  12. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Put another 50 miles on today to see how I like the higher and pulled back bars. It's a real improvement for me. For long rides, I think I'd still like another inch or two higher, but as a compromise between cruising comfort and whipping through the twisties, it's pretty good as is. I think I'll leave it this way for a while, at least until after the rally this month.

    I did try to pay more attention to the vibration. It shakes pretty much everywhere in the rpm range when I'm on the throttle. I rode it back to back with my MK3, and the 961 has way more felt vibration. It seems to smooth out a lot at steady throttle settings, and is particularly smooth cruising at 3000 rpm with fixed throttle. I know the ECU uses the O2 sensors at idle and steady cruising speed to lean out the mixture a little. Makes me wonder if maybe I'm getting some vibration from an overly rich mixture when accelerating. Seems unlikely, but I'll be swapping out the ECU soon for a proper one that doesn't lock me out of doing any tuning, and it will be interesting to see if I can find any improvement.

    I'm also having more trouble with it dying at cold startup. I now typically have to start it three times before it will idle without dying, and this is in Southern California summer weather! I think I'll try the O2 sensor disable, just to see if it has any effect.

    It's still great fun to ride though. All these issues are really minor.

    Ken
     
  13. TonyA

    TonyA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Yes on the vibes , best described by Alan Cathcart as "harshness under acceleration" . Problem is that 3k revs in top is not fast enough for touring. I manage OK up to 3800-4000 rpm. After that its rougher until you get to the second node at about 4800 to 4900 this equates to about 80 on the speedo. So its 65 to 68 mph or its 80 mph for me on long trips. The big bonus at 65 to 68 is the impressive fuel mileage I can get plus its an easier ride for the long haul.
     
  14. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Time for another update on trying different bars and positions. The stock bar got a little bent when the bike tipped over, so I took the opportunity to try something different. I picked up a new aftermarket bar, an Emgo black satin "Daytona Touring" bend, and made some new mounts to locate it. Feels pretty good so far, and I think it looks much better than my old arrangement. The new bar has a little more pullback at the ends of the bar, and that gives a more natural wrist position than the stock bar. I won't be sure until I manage some longer rides, but at the moment I think this might be as far as I go in changing the bar position. If so, I'll eventually do some more machining to round some of the contours of the mounts.

    From Seat 1200.jpg

    Mounts 1200.jpg

    Ken
     
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