Highway Bar Adapter DIY (Fabrication Question, aka Smalley's HB Adapter) - Suzuki Volusia Forums : Intruder Volusia and Boulevard Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Question Highway Bar Adapter DIY (Fabrication Question, aka Smalley's HB Adapter)

Fabrication question: can anyone tell me if Home Depot Everbilt-1-1-2-in-x-36-in-Plain-Steel-Flat-Bar-with-1-4-in-Thick is strong enough to fabricate highway bar adapters? Attached are some drawing of what I'm hopping to achieve.

HB Smalley's adapter is no longer made, but from a few pictures I found, it seems to be just a flat piece of steel about 2-3 inches long, with holes at both ends, and rounded edges.

I believe Cobra's bottom mounting plates are made of 1-1/2 inch wide by 1/4 thick stock, but I have no idea if steel sold at Home Depot is strong enough to support the highway bards in a tip-over. One more thing: I don't have access to a metal fabrication shop, but I have a jig-saw with a metal blade, power drill with some conical step bits, as well as some metal drill-bits, and a grinding disk for a hand drill. From my experience, working on anything that is not aluminum is a slow and somewhat painful process, but I have to do with what I've got. Worst case scenario, I'll buy a hand hack saw and slowly-slowly-slowly cut the 1/4 inch thick steel plate. Obviously I would put several coats of paint to protect it from rusting. There would be a spacer between adapter and bike, additional bolts and nuts to connect adapter to actual highway bars. I can reuse original bolts that came with Cobra highway bars.



My setup: 2008 Suzuki C50. I have Cobra highway bars and forward controls that I bought on eBay (see similar Polished Forward Controls for Suzuki VL 800 Boulevard C50 Intruder C800 Volusia).
Tarazon Forward controls mount instead of OEM floor board, and don't interfere with highway bars mounting options on the bottom-inside of the frame . They are a surprisingly good quality and a fairly economical option (around $200) for those who need a little bit of extra leg space, and can't use John's Kit (due to Highway bars installed).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DIY Highway Adapter - Horizontal Drawing.jpg (62.2 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg DIY Highway Adapter - Vertical Drawing.jpg (133.7 KB, 11 views)

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Last edited by FireManC50; 03-25-2019 at 04:12 PM. Reason: bad link, typo
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 10:49 PM
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I'm not really familiar with the Cobra bars. Others might chime in. I'm a bit of a fabricator and the only concern I might have is the link you are adding might rotate either up or down and the Cobra bar then tilt in. You would have to hit something strait on.for that to happen. A sideways force from a tip over not as much. It would take a fair bit of force to bend the 1/4" thick strap you are adding. An angle grinder with a cut off blade is a wonderful tool. It needs some care and respect and eye protection but beats a hacksaw!!

If the strap you are adding is made longer, you could drill a smaller second hole through both the Cobra bracket and the added steel strap. This would give more side force resistance to bending and prevent any possible rotation.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coffee man View Post
I'm not really familiar with the Cobra bars. Others might chime in. I'm a bit of a fabricator and the only concern I might have is the link you are adding might rotate either up or down and the Cobra bar then tilt in. You would have to hit something strait on.for that to happen. A sideways force from a tip over not as much. It would take a fair bit of force to bend the 1/4" thick strap you are adding. An angle grinder with a cut off blade is a wonderful tool. It needs some care and respect and eye protection but beats a hacksaw!!

If the strap you are adding is made longer, you could drill a smaller second hole through both the Cobra bracket and the added steel strap. This would give more side force resistance to bending and prevent any possible rotation.
Coffee Man, you are the man! The fact that highway bars might rotate upon frontal impact completely skipped my mind! I will follow your advice and make straps a bit longer, and drill a second smaller hole through both the plate and crash bars to mount them rigidly.

Questions: Could you recommend any primer+finish black spray paint ? Bike's frame is black, so I was thinking of mate black finish for the straps.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Adding updated drawings.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DIY HB Adapter Horizontal Drawing.jpg (184.0 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg DIY HB Adapter Vertical Drawing.jpg (63.2 KB, 4 views)

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Shopping list:

I'm picking-up the following items from Home Depot to fabricate Cobra Highway (Freeway) Bars adapter/straps:

  1. The Hillman Group 3/8 in. Stainless Steel Flat Washer (15-Pack)
  2. Rust-Oleum Automotive 15 oz. Black Truck Bed Coating Spray
  3. Everbilt 3/8 in. -16 tpi x 1 in. Stainless Steel Hex Bolt
  4. Everbilt 1 in. x 36 in. Plain Steel Flat Bar with 1/4 in. Thick
  5. The Hillman Group 3/8 - 16 in. Stainless Steel Nylon Insert Stop Nut (8-Pack)
Total cost about $30 plus tax.

A few notes:
a) The bottom connection point of Cobra Highway bars is tapered, where the part touching bike frame is 1 inch, and part welded to the HB tube is 1.5 inch. It will be easier to work with 1x36x0.25 inch steel flat bar, and that should be plenty strong over the 3-4 inches of length of the strap/extension. Probably aesthetically more pleasant as well.

b) It is easier to source (at least for me in Brooklyn, NY, USA) bolts with inch (Imperial) measurements rather than metric. If I were anywhere else but America, it would probably be the opposite. If you are a purist, and just about to have a heart attach at the thought of putting Imperial parts/hardware on a metric bike, I'm terribly sorry (not really).

c) I will be using a jig saw with Bosh metal blades left over from other projects, rounding corners first by cutting excess (if I can with a jig saw) and then by filing/grinding with a combination of hand-file/grinding wheal adapter for a hand-drill.

d) Pilot holes will be made with drill-bits and brought to size (approximately 11-12 mm inner diameter to accommodate 3/8 bolts)

e) I'll use the same bolts for both the main attachment hole and secondary hole (prevents rotation) - it is easier and cheaper to source same size fasteners in stainless steel.

f) Sand and paint, 3 coats of black paint (maybe more, depends on how the paint comes out).
Wish me luck

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Shopping list and Technical Drawing Update

Hopefully I will able to work on the project this upcoming weekend. I received most of parts in mail, and will be getting the last part (M10-1.25x25 mm SS bolts) in mail before the end of the week. Standard Cobra Highway (Freway) Bars call for a M10x1.25x20mm bolts, but I have to account for additional ~6mm or of 1/4 inch steel that the extension will be made of.
  1. The Hillman Group 3/8 in. Stainless Steel Flat Washer (15-Pack) (can use m10 washers if you can find them).
  2. The Hillman Group 3/8 - 16 in. Stainless Steel Nylon Insert Stop Nut (8-Pack) (can use m10x1.5 nuts if you can find them)
  3. Everbilt 1 in. x 36 in. Plain Steel Flat Bar 1/4 in. Thick
  4. Everbilt 3/8 in. -16 tpi x 1 in. Stainless Steel Hex Bolt (can use m10x1.5 - 25 mm bolts if you can find them).
  5. Rust-Oleum Automotive 12 oz. Gloss Black Enamel Spray Paint"
  6. The Hillman Group Bolt Part Number: 006180, Size: M10 - 1.25 x 25 mm (pack of 3)


Total cost stayed roughly $30. This cost doesn't include saw blades, cutting oil, tools, etc., but they are multiple use items.

I've also updated one of the drawing to show the
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File Type: jpg DIY HB Adapter Vertical Drawing 20190318.jpg (85.1 KB, 5 views)

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 09:02 PM
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I'm a welder/fabricator by trade and 1/4 thick bar is strong enough for what you are doing 3/8 thick would be a little stronger

enjoy the ride i will
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driller340 View Post
I'm a welder/fabricator by trade and 1/4 thick bar is strong enough for what you are doing 3/8 thick would be a little stronger
Thank you driller340 for confirming!
1" x 3/8" x a "few feet" flat bar is hard to source locally, without going to a specialized metal supplier, and they are surprisingly spars in my area. I probably just don't know how to look for one...
Not sure if the jig saw, blades and drill & drill bits I have would even be able to cut and drill through 3/8 thick steel bar.

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Last edited by FireManC50; 03-19-2019 at 11:03 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Finally had time this weekend to work on the project. I've left the paint to dry, and will install one of the evenings this week. Full account with pictures to follow.

Attached is a preview of what the adapter/extender/strap looks like (unpainted). Top bar is what I started with (raw material). Bottom is unpainted brackets.
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File Type: jpg bracket.jpg (153.1 KB, 9 views)

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-27-2019, 09:21 PM
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looks like you are well on the way to making this well done. I wonder if spray bedliner would be a suitable option instead or in addition to paint. I've got some road rash on the Canyon cage crash bars on my FJR yamaha. I was thinking of using bed liner to fix the rash and add some measure of abrasion resistance. The bars did their job and minimized the damage from the parking lot tip over last June. Fortunately there were witnesses to the accident and the gentleman's insurance covered the damage. With a few zip ties for the windshield I was riding and our ride week was back on track.

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