It’s no secret that most stock motorcycle mirrors aren’t that great. They’re usually cheap parts bin items that provide a poor view, vibrate excessively, and just generally don’t get the job done very well. It’s pretty crucial to be able to see traffic or hazards behind you while riding, so lousy mirrors are unacceptable. Removing those stock mirrors and replacing them with aftermarket bar end mirrors is a great way to remedy the situation. You’ll end up being able to actually see what’s behind you, and will also give your bike an upgrade in the looks department.
There are dozens of options to choose from for bar end mirrors (available from Revzilla). Different shapes, finishes, sizes, and styles to fit the look of your bike. For our 2019 Kawasaki Z400, which was definitely struggling with a bad case of lackluster OEM mirrors, we went with some simple Bikemaster Folding Bar End Mirrors. They’re affordable, durable and well made, look good, are easy to adjust, and provide a great field of view, especially over the OEM mirrors. Installation is also easy, so let’s get to it.
First thing you’ll want to do is remove your old mirrors. You could make this the last step, after your shiny new bar end mirrors are installed and you’re happy with them, but I like to start here to get them out of the way first. The exact process of removing mirrors will vary by manufacturer and bike model, but tends to be fairly intuitive.
For motorcycles like our Z400 with mirrors mounted to the handlebars, the general process will be to loosen a locking nut at the base of the mirror to then be able to unscrew the mirror stem or bolt from the mount. For fairing-mounted mirrors you’ll need to remove the nuts or backing plate that holds the mirrors in place on the underside of the fairing, then remove the mirrors.
If the empty holes left behind in the mirror mounts bother you, you can fill them with a bolt from your local hardware store (in the case of handlebar-mounted mirrors) or purchase a block off plate/plug (for fairing-mounted mirrors).
Next, you’ll need to get to the ends of your handlebars. This will involve either simply removing the bar end weights, the end caps on the grips, or if your grips are completely closed-ended, you’ll need to either install new open-ended grips or modify your closed-ended grips by cutting the ends off to make an opening.
The next step is to get the bar end mirrors installed. There’s a wide variety of mirror mounts, clamps, and internal and external adapters to use depending on the type of bars you have (hollow, closed-ended, or threaded). You’ll want to know what type of handlebars you have and get any additional hardware or adapters you may need before you begin.
In the case of our Z400, the bars are threaded so installation was a simple matter of bolting the mirrors directly to the end of the handlebar. It would have worked fine to simply reuse the bolt from the bar end weight itself, but I wanted a tighter fit and cleaner look to the installation. To achieve that, I used a washer as a spacer between the mirror and the end of the handlebar, and a round button head cap bolt, both from my Bolt Sport Bike Pro Pack hardware kit.
The final step is to swing a leg over your bike, and get your new mirrors adjusted to your desired field of view. Once adjusted, give everything a final tightening to ensure the mirrors won’t wiggle, wobble, or otherwise move around when riding. The last thing you want is for the mirrors to shift while riding. Once everything is set, you’re good to take a ride and enjoy the newfound clarity of vision provided by your new bar-end mirrors.
- Remove your old mirrors (unless, that is, you actually want two pairs of mirrors).
- Remove any bar end weights or caps from your handlebars or grips.
- If you have closed-ended grips, you’ll need to install new open-ended grips, or modify your closed-ended grips by cutting the end to make an opening.
- Using the required adapters (for open-ended hollow handlebars) or bolts (for threaded bars), secure the new bar end mirrors in place.
- Adjust the mirrors to the desired field of view, then get out and ride!