The K1300GT bars are much too narrow, however the design under the skin isn’t normal so it doesn’t appear a straight forward job. The bars have an unusual rubber mounting system that means the handlebar grips actually bolt on to a light weight tube which then fits over a 15mm solid steel bar that is the actual handle bar, these are then fitted into the aluminium hub that gives the bar height adjustment.
The first check is with the bars at max height, is there enough length in the power cables, control pipes and throttle cables to do this safely?
Fortunately there is. The brake and clutch hydraulic pipes, electrical power cables for the switch gear both sides and the throttle cables allows you to extend each bar width by 35mm. The limiting factor at 35mm is the brake line and throttle cables. Like this it will safely go lock to lock without stretch or tightening of the inner cable. However to ensure I don’t stress cabling I chose to route the power cables with a cable tie at the switch gear end and not follow the full bend of the bars using the midway cable clamp. Throttle and hydraulic lines free float but you will need to check routings of everything from lock to lock.
While testing cable lengths I needed to put the bars in the highest position and discovered the bike is far nicer to ride like this. Instantly making the bike feel more accomplished and capable. Sounds stupid but it was a transformation that astounded me. But Std bar width and max height does have a downside though. As with all BMWs they have no idea how to make screens at all and the wind noise is shocking.
The electrical adjustment is totally pointless. Mine had the optional BMW tall screen which went straight in the bin to be replaced by the Z technic tall screen after I found incredible improvements using a Z technic screen on my GS. It was a total transformation, reducing buffeting (from BMW’s dangerous vision loss) to almost none, and noise levels from a jet engine at take off above 30mph to 75% less than the joke that is the std GS screen. And 60% less than an Adventure screen. However on the GT, Z techic haven’t got the angle needed and it doesn’t gain much over a std screen. At 6’3’’ the screen is poor at low height setting pushing lots of air at an open visor and at max height I still get two A380 engines at takeoff power damaging my hearing at anything over 50mph, but it brings little turbulence.
What’s the benefit of wider bars?
1) I’m always thinking the steering weight is too heavy to steer this bike comfortably at low speed.
2) My arms are unnaturally constrained and I naturally want to hold the outer part of the grip to be remotely comfortable.
3) I find on a long ride, most of the time I ride the bike holding the bar ends and the levers are out of reach!
If you want to try wider bars you can do this by drilling two 6 mm holes further out on the handlebars and making a couple of steel extension plates allowing you to connect up the rubber mount where the grip part meets the aluminium bar hub, (after which you could put it back to Std and no one would ever know).
Stripping the bike is a one man job and easily done without damaging anything.
A) First put the bike on its centre stand and then get a bath towel, fold in half and lay over the petrol tank.
B) Remove both bar end weights, 5mm hex
C) Remove the 2 mid way cable clamps and the 2 grip to hub rubber mount torx bolts from aluminium bar hub using x torx driver.
D) Using the same tool remove the 2 torx fillister bolts and take off the plastic surround at the back of the bar hub and remove the two 13mm blind nuts from the back of the bar adjustment bolts.
E) Next, the tricky element is the need to get at the right bar grip retaining bolt, which situated under the engine kill switch. Using a tiny x torx screw driver on the right bar, remove the one screw holding the switch gear together, now split the lower switch side away from the bar (side facing the rider first), this allows you to reach the second screw fastening the kill switch to the bar (is well hidden directly at the bottom with your screw driver between the throttle cables), this allows the kills switch to be wriggled away allowing you to remove the grip retaining bolt.
F) On the left bar un-trap the power cables from the lower retaining clamp (allowing lots of slop on the cables) then remove the clutch master cylinder and lay on a sponge keeping the reservoir level (very easy), now at the inner end of the grip near the indicator switch lift it back and remove the left grip retaining bolt. You are now two torx bolts from having the handlebars off the bike.
G) On the left and right bar end you should have two small plastic spacers under 2” long, remove and spray silicone lube to the inner bar.
H) Now twisting gently back and forth tease the bar tubes off the inner as you get more clearance spry lube in both ends to assist the tube slipping off their rubber sleeves.
I) Once you have about an inch of clearance on both tubes loosen the handlebar height adjusting bolts and remove one completely, and remove the bolt, nut spring and plate.
J) At this point you need to hold the bars in place and remove the second bolt. With the bars loose, gently hold the bars to the right side of the bike and slide the left grip and switch gear off the handlebars and place on the towel. Now move the bars held to the left, slide the right grip, switch gear and brake master cylinder off the right bar (remember to keep the cylinder upright) Extra squirts of silicone as you get more access will make the job easy.
K) Now place the right grip upright on the fairing and the bars should be in your other hand.
With the bars off the bike, remove the rubbers and spacer tubes each side and tidy up the rust and debris. On each bar you will find a 6mm hole. These are for the grip retaining bolts and if you want wider bars you need to make new holes.
Place a 6 mm drill in the current hole (different placement each side) as a guide, using a pillar drill with a centre drill bit, carefully drill the new holes at 20 to 35 mm (depending how wide you want to go). Clearly this needs to be done well by an experienced / competent engineer. And make a corresponding extension plate for the rubber mount retaining bolt each side. Due to angles a 35mm bar width increase actually needs a 30mm extension plate and a 10mm or so spacer.
If you are confident you are going to keep the bar extension, machine 2 x 35mm sleeves to sit on the bars to cover the gap created (or whatever distance you drilled the holes). I made mine 45mm long put a small recess at the inner end for an O ring and machined down a 10 mm section and put another O ring so the grip tube had room to flex and support the sleeve so it doesn’t rattle about. At the other end obviously the bar ends need to be extended (15mm x 35mm spacer with 8.5mm hole), together with a longer inner spacer tube to hold the second outer rubber mount in place and longer retaining bolts for the bar end weights.
Reassembly is the opposite of above. Remembering the longer mid spacer tube needs locating in a position that allows the grip bolt to pass through its cut out. Add the sleeves and extension plates as required, remembering alignment and install of grip retaining bolts are the key to vibration resistance. Torque up all the fixings and check routings of pipes and cables work lock to lock and the throttle turns smoothly (and if you got air in the clutch or brakes you will need to bleed this systems). I used some ACF50 on assembly to resist the rust that BMW like to hide under the appalling factory set up.
Note the bike is still much wider at the mirror ends at 980mm verses the extended bars at 870mm
GS min width for your hands 620mm, mirror to mirror 910mm
GT min width for your hands 490mm, mirror to mirror 980mm
GT post mod min width for your hands 560mm