1972 BMW handlebar replacement - US to Euro to R90S

Since purchasing Die Hexe several months ago I've just been enjoying the shit out of her. After replacing all fluids, changing filters, applying lubrication (hopefully in the right places), loosening and torquing bolts, cleaning her up, stripping bolts, replacing gaskets and treating bloody knuckles, I've been simply enjoying the ride. Not being able to leave well enough alone, however, I've been increasily interested in various modifications that favor my interests, while at the same time respecting hers (note to self: don't piss off the witch). One of these modifications I've been slowly exploring is the replacement of the original US "ape" handlbars with stock Euro ones.

1972 BMW R75/5 with US handlebars

Once you narrow down the fact that 22mm (not 7/8") bars are required, there seems to be several options available including Euro handlebars, Euro low handlebars, S bars, etc. As much as I'd like to try these all out, my pocketbook won't allow for it. So when an "original" stock 1972 BMW R75/5 Euro handlebar showed up in ebay.de I bought it. Since the price was far lower than what I could find aftermarket new in the states, this seemed, at the time, like a good deal.

Interestingly enough however, the parts number for these handlebars aren't found in any of the online BMW motorcycle parts catalogs I can find.

After measuring these bars, I've come to the conclusion that these european handlebar I have (in fact) seem to not be european at all but a set of BMW R90S bars (simply from Europe). Height: 3.25", Pullback: 4.5" Center: 4", Width: 24.5" ... all seem to bit the specs of the R90S bar.


I swapped out my stock US handlebars for a pair of original (what I thought were) lower, european bars on my 1972 BMW R75/5. As I wasn't sure I'd like this swap (the smaller bars, seemed... well, smaller) I kept the original cables and 'bunched' them as best as I could given the difference in bar lengths. After making sure things were right, I took her out for a 60+ mile ride (combination traffic, straight and windy roads) just to get a feel of them.

In short, wow... I'm sold. So much so I wanted to make the swap complete with cables designed for these bars. Due to some unforseen finanacial issues, I had resigned to wait until next year to do this. Fortune smiled and due to a very generous gift from EricK, who had an extra set of these cables available, I was able to accelerate my plans.

Here is a quick shot of these bars now installed with EricK's new, shorter cables:

r90s bars r90s bars r90s bars

The handlebar mirrors that came with the bike, originally mounted to the US handlebars, were in fact the taller ones designed for the Eurobars. This seemed to be a common 'upgrade' at the time, but I always questioned this mod and the added vibration, i assumed, such a change would cause. By replacing the bars that are designed to work with these taller mirrors, I had hoped to see a noticable reduction in mirror vibration . While there was indeed a decrease, it wasn't all that drastic.

I've since installed a set of Halcyon 830 bar-end mirrors which have improved things dramatically for me.

Lessons Learned

A few observations (I'm sure common for those who have previously done this, but frankly blew me away):

Ready Reference


DavidC and TomC on help identifying these handlebars and EricK for his generous donation of a set of shorter, eurobar length throttle and clutch cables.