Monday, July 31, 2006

Brutale Handlebar Switch (Stock Bars for Ducati Monster S4R Bars)

Submitted by Chris Current (Quixotic_1)

Contained here are instructions on the process to switch the stock Brutale handlebars for the Ducati Monster S4R bars specially made by Magura (other bars may be used, but the Magura has a nice, textured surface that allows for an easier switch; plus, several people have done this and it has worked for them very well). The reason for this (obvious to some Brutale owners) is that the stock bars of the Brutale may not be as aggressive or provide as much room in the saddle as some may wish for. This is the reason that I did it.


First, the S4R handlebar must be found. I suggest driving around town until you see a S4R parked in a lot or next to someone's home, then pull some tools out of your tool chest and...OK, I would never suggest that. The fact is, though, these bars are not easily found except through a Ducati dealer. They cost around US$210 for just the bars. Another way to find them is to go through a forum. I found mine on the Ducati Monster board. I simply placed an ad there asking if anyone is willing to give their bars up. I was responded to within 24 hours by a good guy from Illinois. He let his go for less than half the new price (including shipping) and even sent me the top triple with them. They arrived in perfect shape. So, get your bars anyway that you can (don't steal them, please) and make sure that they are straight and in solid shape.

Depending on your preference, you might also get a new left (clutch-side) hand grip. I did because my dealer had to replace the throttle grip on my bike due to 'crate damage' and they must be ordered in pairs; so, they had an extra for me. I will include removing the grip form the stock bars in the explanation below for those that wish to use the original from the stock bars.

Next, there are some considerations. While most of the Brutale stock handlebar controls will fit perfectly on the new S4R Magura bars, the bar end weights will not due to the fact that the interior diameter on the Magura bars is a non-standard size. So, at the very least, either purchase (or keep, if you have them) the entire stock bar end weight setup or just the bushings that fit inside the bars and billet bar ends or sliders/crash pads. There are few (if any - I could not locate them anywhere) aftermarket bar end weights that will fit these bars without the stock S4R bushings. If you are going the slider/crash pad route, a company called Cycle Cat ( makes some quality pieces; there are others as well, but it seems that Ducatisti (?) prefer these. What you will have to do, though, is cut off the bit that slides into the bar and use the stock S4R bushings. This may seem to compromise the integrity of the slider, but at least one person has experienced a crash with this modification and it performed perfectly. I decided to go for a set of billet bar ends from Oberon ( out of the UK (the bolts that they sent did not fit the Ducati bushings so I had to purchase some 6x40MM screws).

OK, you have your supplies, now you will need tools. Here is a list of what I used:

  • Brutale Service Manual, specifically Section C, pages 4-7; it can be found in many places, you probably already have one!
  • Cordless drill.
  • 5/32" drill bit, but I would suggest 3/16" as that is almost the exact size of the 'retaining pins'; I did not measure their exact metric diameter, so you may wish to do this and get a drill bit that matches. However, I liked using a smaller bit and just 'twisting it around' until I had a hole that was very close to the right size. That allowed for a tighter, thus stronger, fit for the controls.
  • Several Allen wrenches in various metric sizes; most used were 2.5, 5 and 6mm.
  • Phillips-head screwdriver.
  • An air compressor or some hair spray for the clutch-side grip.
  • Some way to measure angles and distances; I used a measuring ribbon - often used to measure for clothes - and a protractor and level. Some of these measurements will not be useful except as a guide for placing the controls on the new bars, but it never hurts to have too much information.
  • Some padded bags for using on the instrument panel.
  • A digital or Polaroid camera to take 'before' photos.
  • A Sharpie for marking places for drilling (or Liquid Paper).
  • And, Locktite, if you will use it. I did not use any and it has caused me no problems.
  • Dremel for cutting retaining pins out of Magura bars (only if necessary; some may come without these pins)


Now comes the easy bit, taking the stock bars off.

  • First, take photos of the stock setup. This will give you something to look at for such things as the distances between grips and controls, angles of the levers, where the retaining 'rubber band' bits go, etc.
  • I would suggest taking some measurements as well; measure the angle of the levers, measure the distances of controls; basically, measure the things that you took photos of so that you can translate vision to math and back again.
  • Anything else that you can do to keep in mind how things are setup on your stock bars is helpful. You do not want to miss these steps because you will be manually positioning everything on the Magura bars...and you have to drill holes in those, so you need to be sure of your placement.

OK, now to the Service Manual.

  • The Manual states that the front headlight assembly and the dash instruments must be removed in order to remove the bars. It is about half right.
  • This is an unnecessary step, but I did it because I am anal about scratches and dings and such; you can choose to remove the front fender/mudguard and the aluminum radiator 'guards' as I did. This will protect these parts from being damaged by hanging levers and such. (2.5 and 5mm hex, if I remember correctly)
  • You will need to remove the headlight; just follow the manual. It is easy to do: remove the two bolts on either side of the light while holding on to the light itself (6mm hex), unhook the electrical connection, set the light on a soft, padded surface.
  • Next, unscrew the instrument panel. I did not remove it entirely simply because I knew that I did not need to. I wrapped it in some padding and placed a plastic bag around it. Then I used a large rubber band to hold it in place where the headlight used to be. It was safe and out of the way.

Now to the Actual Work, Removing the Stock Bars

  • The bars; loosen the bolts and remove the bar ends on both ends and set them aside. (5mm hex)
  • Remove the 'bands' holding the cables onto the bars. (fingers)
  • Loosen the 4 bolts on the handlebar u-bolt (clamp) on the top triple so that the bars slide freely just a bit. (6mm hex)
  • Loosen the bolts on the throttle and slide it off; it may help to slide the bars a little to the clutch-side. (5mm hex)
  • Unscrew and remove the ignition control set. (Phillips-head screwdriver; and remember which screws go where)
  • Unscrew and remove the lighting/horn/turnsignal control set. (Phillips-head screwdriver; again, remember which screws go into which holes)
  • Remove the bolt holding the mirrors and the clutch and front brake levers and master cylinders; be careful here so as not to break the mirrors. The units are hinged on one side so only one bolt must be removed and then you can 'open' them and take them off of the bars. As another safety precaution, wrapping the mirrors with something padded is helpful because they will hang down on the sides of the bike. (5mm hex)
  • Now that the controls are off of the bars, completely remove the bar u-bolt (clamp) that holds the bars on the steering head by removing the 4 bolts holding the u-bolt (clamp) on. (6mm hex, again) There is a retaining pin that locates the bars at the correct angle, so watch for that.
  • Once the bars are off the bike, you can remove the clutch-side handgrip. Use compressed air to blow into the space between the grip and the bars and the grip should slide off. (Compressed air). I have also been told, but never used, that you can blow some hairspray (or WD-40) into this space as well and it will help. There are many arguments about this, though...

The Real Work, Installing the S4R Magura Bars

Here is the way that I installed the bars. You may wish to do it slightly differently. It comes down to what is easiest for you and what you feel comfortable with.

  • Make sure that the new handlebar is clean. Depending on the condition that you received the bars in, you may need to remove the retaining pins that came with the bars (I did). I tried various methods of pulling and twisting and solvents, but was never able to get them out. So, I simply used a Dremel tool and hacked them off carefully (to avoid damaging the bars) and then smoothed them out with some light sanding. (Dremel with metal cutting disc and fine grain sanding disc) When all of the MV components are on the bars, the locations of the previous pins will be covered.
  • Place the bars in the top triple 'cradle' and place the u-bolt (clamp) on it; screw in the 4 bolts, but do not tighten\torque them on yet; just put them in far enough to lightly hold the bars in place. (6mm hex)
  • Now center the bars. This can be done by using a measuring method (for instance, use the measuring ribbon to measure the distance from the end of the bar to the u-bolt or use the bend in the bars on either side of the u-bolt and use a finger to measure the distance between the bends -they feel like bumps in the bars - and the u-bolt; just use whatever works for you) to find that they are centered. On the Magura bars, there is a Ducati Corse logo that can also be used for this purpose; however, I am not completely positive that it is in the dead center of the bar.
  • Next, twist the bars so that they are as 'high' as possible; the bars should be where the bends are at their highest point possible. This is the best plan for proper clearance of the hydraulic lines. Later, you can adjust this if you wish, but I found this to work well. Of course, this depends on how you want the bars positioned because the next steps will be about positioning the controls so be sure that the bars are in the position that they will stay in.
  • Once the bars are in place and centered, tighten the bolts on the u-bolt (clamp) so that the bars will not move but do not completely torque them in. (6mm hex)
  • Now, you should put on the clutch-side grip. Use your photos to determine what the end result will look like (positioning), unless you are not concerned with this. I matched mine to the stock position. Place the S4R bar end that you purchased on to make sure that the grip is far enough up the bar and positioned correctly; again, use your photos to determine proper position. You can use the compressed air or the hair spray (I don't like using this because when it gets wet it can become loose) or just do this when it is colder in your garage, or wherever you do this operation. For me, I was able to simply slide the grip in place by 'inching' it up on the bar. It was easy; even after I realized that I had to twist it a little to get the aesthetics right and had to do it again. (air compressor or hair spray)
  • OK, to the throttle. Placing this on the bars should be easy. Positioning is another matter. Make sure that you put on the bar end to make sure that the throttle is the correct distance from the end of the bar and it has enough clearance to keep the throttle grip from rubbing the bar end (I placed the bar end on the bar for every measurement). Refer to your photos for proper positioning or just lightly tighten the bolts (5mm hex) and move the throttle around until you find the proper and comfortable place for it. I used the photos and the tighten, twist, loosen, move, tighten, twist, etc. method as well until I had it set up right. Once the position is proper, you must now prepare to drill.
  • The throttle has a positioning pin in its bottom piece. Once you have it in a position that you are comfortable with (and be sure of this; also make sure to leave enough room for the bar end), hold the top piece in place very carefully and use the Sharpie (or Liquid Paper) and mark the positioning pin tip with some ink from the marker. Carefully close the throttle piece until the pin makes contact with the bars. Once it is there, use the Sharpie once more to go 'around' the pin to make an 'outside line' around it to better help you when drilling the hole. (Sharpie or Liquid Paper)
  • Now you can remove the throttle assembly. You should have a good mark on the bars that allows you to see where you should drill. Use your drill and make a hole. The Magura bars are textured, so holding the bit in place is easier than it looks. Push through until you know that you have gone through the very thick bar and into the center (in case there is someone not too bright reading this, you only need to go through one side of the handlebar). I used a smaller bit than the actual size of the retaining pin and then 'twisted' the drill itself around little by little until I had a tight fit for the retaining pin. (cordless drill, 5/32" or 3/16" bit)
  • Place the throttle assembly back onto the bars and screw everything back together. If it fits well and the position is good, you are done with this one - time to move on. If not, repeat the previous three steps...(5mm hex)
  • Now to move on to the next hole that needs to be drilled. The instrument control set on the clutch-side also has a retaining pin. It is the same size as the one on the throttle, so you can use the same basic tools. Also, the same procedure can be used here that was used to place the throttle, but it is slightly easier because you do not have to slide the throttle assembly on and off of the bars while checking and re-checking the proper location of the retaining pin hole. So, just follow the same procedure and drill the hole. (cordless drill, 5/32" or 3/16" bit)
  • Once the hole is finished, screw these controls in place. Test out the positioning and ensure that it is all in the correct location. If so, you can now move on to the easier (maybe) steps. (5mm hex and Phillips-head screwdriver)
  • The 'installation' of the right\brake lever and left\clutch lever mirror mount units can be rather simple if you choose not to use the retaining pins. I did not use them because the texture of the Magura bars holds them in place perfectly. If you wish to use the pins, follow similar procedures to the throttle and instrument control set for drilling and you will need to get the pins themselves - either make or buy them or try to remove them from the stock bars. Put these on when you are ready and tighten them in place. (5mm hex)
  • **With the stock mirrors you may notice that they are hard to adjust so that they actually work. There are a few options for this, though. One is to get 'bar-end' mirrors such as the ones by CRG. Also, you could pick up some other aftermarket mirrors that will fit in place of the stock ones; Rizoma makes some nice replacements. Or, you could simply do the 'cheap and quick' fix; this is what I did and it works great (for now as I am looking to replace my stock set with some Rizomas). For this change, simply cut out some circular rubber pieces, notch them to fit the notches on the stock mount and place them between the mirror and the mount. Position and tighten the mirrors down - but not too tight - and they should stay in place and work like the original setup or better.
  • Place the bar ends on the bars and torque them in place. (5mm hex)
  • Return the 'bands' holding the cables to the handlebars and position them properly.
  • Properly torque down the four screws in the handlebar u-bolt (clamp) and you are done! (6mm hex)

Testing (most of which should be done when working on the bars above)

  • Take a ride with the new bars and experience the difference.
  • If adjustments need to be made, walk through the specific procedure above and make the change.


The process above is long and detailed, but the process is much shorter than it seems. It took me one evening to complete the switch and it was worth it! I love the new bars and it seems odd to sit on a Brutale without the new setup. So, if you want to do it, take the leap. You can always put the stock bars back on in less than 1/4 of the time it took to put the Magura bars on the bike - none of the stock controls are changed or modified for this process.

I also had some photos to put in here, but I believe that the post is long enough as it is. If you want some photos, please contact me ( and I will send some out - they are not that spectacular but it is possible to see the difference between stock and Magura.

Have Fun!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home