MSC MOTO APEX ANTI-VIBRATION BAR MOUNTS
By CHAD DE ALVA
Handlebar mounts are parts on a motorcycle that many riders change. Some riders do it for looks, others do it to attain a different bar position, and other riders still do it to add vibration damping or to mount a steering damper. MSC Moto is an Australian manufacture of steering stabilizers that we at Upshift really like, so when MSC Moto introduced their Apex vibration damping handlebar mounts, we had to give them a try.
The concept behind vibration damping bar mounts is simple: isolate the handlebars from the rest of the bike to reduce the amount of vibration communicated from the bike’s motor to the riders’ hands. The benefits of this are less arm pump, reduced fatigue, and in extreme cases preventing numbness in the hands from riding a bike for extended periods of time. Vibration damping bar mounts can also take the edge off of hits from obstacles, providing additional comfort and reduced fatigue to the rider. There are many different approaches to providing vibration damping ranging from handlebars to all sorts of handlebar mounts, yet it’s important to note that some products on the market don’t isolate vibrations effectively because they don’t actually isolate the handlebars. Thankfully, the Apex Bar Mounts utilize a design that actually works, and during the easy install is where you can see just how they function.
Installing the Apex bar mounts is an easy process completed with common tools and a bit of thread locking compound. With your old bar perches removed, install the bases of the Apex bar mounts. It’s important to note that the mounting hole is offset by 5mm from the centerline of the bases, so make sure to orientate the mounts how you want them, and ensure that both mounts are orientated the same way. Here is where you can see just how these mounts provide vibration damping: eight polyurethane cones isolate the clamping sleeves from the bases. The mid clamps mount onto the clamping sleeves without touching the bases, so there is no metal to metal contact that can communicate vibrations. With the mid clamps installed, place your bars where you want them and put the top clamps on. Make sure you torque the screws in the caps evenly using a torque wrench!
The first bike I installed the Apex Bar Mounts on was a Norden 901 – a bike that has a very smooth parallel twin motor. To take the subjectivity out of the equation, I rigidly mounted a smartphone to the handlebars and used a data logging app to record raw accelerometer data of the bike idling with the stock bar mounts, and again with the Apex Handlebar Mounts. Raw data doesn’t lie, and the Apex mounts proved that they did in fact reduce vibrations measured at the handlebars.
Out riding the bike in the real world, things certainly felt smoother in the bars. I also noticed that I could feel the bars flexing in their mounts ever so slightly and that harsh hits from embedded rocks seemed less harsh than before – albeit slightly. To really put the Apex Handlebar Mounts to the test, the next bike I installed them on was a 2014 KTM 300 XC – a real machine of a dirt bike from back in the day when counterbalancers were not a thing in orange two strokes. This bike vibrates, and the impact that the Apex bar mounts made in this case was more pronounced. I also enlisted the help of two additional riders to provide their feedback on their experience of riding the bike with rigid bar mounts and with the Apex mounts. All riders agreed that vibrations were reduced and that sharp hits also felt less sharp with the Apex mounts. The rider who owns the bike also indicated that he could feel the bars flexing in their mounts when pushing it off-road. To be clear, that’s not a negative, just a new sensation he observed.
Apex Handlebar Mounts work as advertised in that they reduce vibrations communicated from the bike to the rider’s hands and that they take the edge off of hard or sharp hits from obstacles. A complete set of Apex Bar Mounts weighs in at 503 grams, which is considerably less than other systems on the market. The mounts provide 40mm of rise from the base of the mount to the centerline of the bar, so depending on your application they may or they may not provide any rise. We’ve also been told that MSC Moto is working on making Apex mounts that integrate with their steering dampers and a yet to be released GPS mount, which means that MSC Moto will have a solution that covers almost all of the bases.
I say almost, because the one thing that the Apex Bar Mounts are missing is a mounting solution for any sort of bark buster. Other handlebar mounting systems on the market have a provision for mounting your full wrap hand guards / bark busters to your handlebar mounts, which is a superior system to using some sort of bar clamp. Hopefully MSC Moto will develop a solution for this in the future.
In their current form, Apex Bar Mounts are a solid option for riders who are looking for an option to reduce vibrations from their bike felt at the bars, and take the edge off on harsh hits. The mounts are available in orange, black, and blue, so you can color match to your bike, or add a bit of contrasting color if that’s your style. For information on MSC Moto Apex Handlebar Mounts, visit www.mscmoto.com. Apex Handlebar Mounts and MSC Moto Steering Dampers are available HERE from the Upshift Store – it doesn’t cost you anything extra, and your purchase helps to support the next issue.
For our first impressions and review of MSC Moto's Steering Stabilizer from Issue 62 of Upshift Magazine: CLICK HERE