K9/Pitbull Handlebar Swap

Energy One

blacktopper

Active Member
Like a lot of you who tour, I use the pillion pad and put a T-bag on it to use as a backrest. At 5' 6", the stock K9 handlebars had me too far forward to use the backrest. So I decided it was time to get handlebars that would move back a few inches so I could make good contact against the T-bag. Many on this Forum have used Ridgeback handlebars, so I tried to find some, and discovered they are indeed scarce.
So I called Derek (Shovelheadkicker) to see what he had. No Ridgeback bars there either, but he suggested that maybe a set of bars from a 2008 Pitbull might fit the bill. We weren't sure about cables, etc., and Derek was incredibly helpful in helping me decide how to go at this. He actually mocked up three different sets of bars on a rolling chassis and sent photos of each so I could see the differences. We finally decided to go with the 2008 Pitbull bars. I talked with Derek on Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday the parts arrived. In fact, Skogdog and I installed them, and I test rode the new handlebars Wednesday afternoon.
The Pitbull bars worked out perfectly, extending back exactly 3 1/4" further than the K9 bars. We stretched a piece of electrician's tape from handgrip to handgrip and measured from the fork back and the sissy bar forward. Both methods agree a bit over 3" setback.
For those of you who are interested in this conversion, just call Shovelheadkicker or Donna at 620-257-2009 and purchase the following:
2008 Pitbull handlebars
One 2008 Ridgeback brake line
One 2008 Ridgeback clutch cable
One 2008 Pitbull speedometer/Tach bracket
Two 2008 Pitbull wiring handlebar harnesses for the left and right
Basic Steps:
It is a LOT easier with two people, one for wrenching and the other for securing loosened parts.
Remove Carb Air cleaner
Drain and remove fuel tank
Remove brake line
Loosen clutch cable
Remove mirror on clutch side and punch out the bushing
Disassemble clutch handgrip (two small screws underneath-pull out retaining clip)
Locate and loosen the JST plugs coming from the hand controls and speedo/tach
Loosen hand controls on both sides (don't need to completely disassemble unless you service cables, etc.)
Look inside hand controls and disconnect the wiring plug (flat white plastic clip)
Remove handlebar bolts under top triple tree
When handlebars are loose, you can slide off the hand controls
Remove handlebars
Remove the tach/speedo unit from bars
Install wires in new handlebars. (Try using a wire to fish it thru)
Remove clutch pushrod cover (ball ramp)
Remove clutch cable housing. Turn it over and remove the ball ramp cover plate and remove clutch cable. (In removing the cable from the housing, it is easier to spin the housing than it is to turn the cable)

Considerations:
It is probably easier to remove/install the bars and tach/speedo as a unit.
This is an opportunity to lube cables, etc., as well as to apply dielectric grease to the JST connectors under the tank.
The flat white connectors in the hand control housings are a little hard to get at. If you have big hands try a needle nose to align..they click in when correctly installed.
It is best to have two to bleed the front brake unless you have equipment.
The K9 speedo/tach bracket will only leave a 1/16" or less clearance between the bracket and your fuel tank. The Pitbull bracket initially appears identical, but in fact has a slightly different angle to create adequate clearance. One might also install washers where the bars meet the triple tree to raise it a bit.
Depending on your exhaust configuration, it might be easier to remove the exhaust for clutch ball ramp housing removal.
You'll need basic tools, including a ft.lb. torque wrench. You'll need red (steel) and blue (aluminum) Loctite and dielectric grease.

I can't say enough about Derek/Donna's help in this modification. There were many variables to consider in adapting these handlebars and happily Derek had answers and gave very accurate technical advice. He is a great asset to this Forum.
 

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Viking

Biker
Great write up man. Derek and Donna sure are great assets to any BDM owner. It looks great on your bike and it's interesting to see how you did it. Tapio did the opposite as he is not very vertically challenged and my stock ones are just spot on where I want them. Good job !
 

Th3InfamousI

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Looks good! I'm sure that's going to make a hell of a difference!

I would sure like to do a ride with you guys someday! You put serious miles on the skoot!

Why the wiring harness for the pit bull, the stock would end up too short?
 

TapioK

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Great write up man. Derek and Donna sure are great assets to any BDM owner. It looks great on your bike and it's interesting to see how you did it. Tapio did the opposite as he is not very vertically challenged and my stock ones are just spot on where I want them. Good job !

Yup! Chopper bars in K9, did the trick.
 

blacktopper

Active Member
Great write up man. Derek and Donna sure are great assets to any BDM owner. It looks great on your bike and it's interesting to see how you did it. Tapio did the opposite as he is not very vertically challenged and my stock ones are just spot on where I want them. Good job !
Thanks Kim, the Skog was a huge help doing the install,writing the post and taking the pictures.
 

Jersey Big Mike

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Thanks so much for this.
Going to save me a ton of time trying to figure it out myself.
I have the pitbull bars already and was planning on doing this over the winter but without a garage it was just too damn cold and snowy to do it.
Hopefully will do this shortly after I get all my stuff to SC. Ride the other bike for a few days!
 

SKOGDOG

One of the old ones.
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Thanks so much for this.
Going to save me a ton of time trying to figure it out myself.
I have the pitbull bars already and was planning on doing this over the winter but without a garage it was just too damn cold and snowy to do it.
Hopefully will do this shortly after I get all my stuff to SC. Ride the other bike for a few days!
It seems the year of the Pitbull equipment is specific to 2008. The only thing we had to fight was that damn lower support bracket for the clutch cable. for the top one, you need to undo the adjustment on the cable completely and slip the bare cable into the bracket.But then the adjustment nut on the clutch cable will not fit in the K9 guide (part of the frame on the lower right front downtube)---the hole is too small. So we took it to the bench grinder and rounded the points off the adjusting hexnut and it fit then--and you could still get a wrench on it to adjust the clutch OK. Alternately one might wallow out the guide...
 

blacktopper

Active Member
The Skogg and I went on a 300 mile day trip yesterday. The new handlebars worked great for me. I wish I would have made that swap 67,560 miles ago:)!
 

francoblay1

The Spaniard
Alright, I´ve been in touch with Derek & Donna and we are working on it, they told me to ask you actually.... I have a question.... the pullback (an extra 3") sounds good, but what about the Rise? have you measured; less, same or more than the K9 bars?

A bit more rise would be nice for me, but less rise than the K9 bars would be a no no.

Thanks in advance for your advise.

:cheers:
 

SKOGDOG

One of the old ones.
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
I'll be over at the shop today to stert on the transmission. We'll measure and let you know. Predict little difference, but we'll see.
 

francoblay1

The Spaniard
I'll be over at the shop today to stert on the transmission. We'll measure and let you know. Predict little difference, but we'll see.
Thanks, much appreciated! :up:

I was actually writing to Donna right now... I will wait for your info before sending my email.

:cheers:
 

SKOGDOG

One of the old ones.
Lifetime Supporting Member
Supporting Member
OK Franco--Roger took his other K9 home, so There is not a stock one here to measure. My K9 has a nonstock (2" longer) front end and is 1/2" lower than stock...
But we all know pictures do not lie, and the new handlebars are 3 feet, 9 1/2 inches, or 113.02 cm in eurospeak.
You can compare it to your stock...I really like the looks of them, and Roger will tell you he loves to ride with them.
Hope that helps.
 

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TapioK

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
OK Franco--Roger took his other K9 home, so There is not a stock one here to measure. My K9 has a nonstock (2" longer) front end and is 1/2" lower than stock...

But we all know pictures do not lie, and the new handlebars are 3 feet, 9 1/2 inches, or 113.02 cm in eurospeak.

You can compare it to your stock...I really like the looks of them, and Roger will tell you he loves to ride with them.

Hope that helps.

Does the bike handle differently with longer front?


Tapio
 
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