Owning a Harley Davidson is a rite of passage for every motorcycle enthusiast. The legacy surrounding the brand is so rich, dating all the way back to 1903. The look, the feel, the style, the design – everything about them is engineered to perfection. Even the police force uses these iconic motorcycles. It’s a brand that has never compromised on quality in 100+ years. Once you go Harley, you’ll never go back.
Where are we going with this?
A quality brand needs quality accessories. If you’re looking to install ape hangers, or a monkey bar, on your Road Street Glide, you need to get something that complements your Harley’s aesthetic. It needs to be functional and, more importantly, it shouldn’t look cheap. We’ve reviewed the best ape hangers for Road Street Glide on the market to bring you our top picks for 2021.
Table of Contents
- How We Tested and Compared These Products
- Our Pick: Dominator Industries Pre-Wired Ape Hangers – Best Overall
- Best Alternatives
- XMT-MOTO Batwing Ape Hanger – Best for Optimal Comfort
- TCMT Ape Hangers – Best Durable Option
- How to Choose the Best Ape Hangers for Road Street Glide – Buying Guide
How We Tested and Compared These Products
Being Harley owners ourselves, this particular project was close to our hearts. We are passionate about the brand, so when we tested the best-selling ape hangers handlebar kits, there were certain features we just had to have.
First, we only sourced handlebars from reputable manufacturers that deal exclusively with Harley aftermarket components and accessories. Dominator Industry, XFMT, XMT-MOTO, and TCMT were top on our list. That’s the stamp of approval that lets you know you’re getting a quality product that’ll stand the test of time. Choppers and Burly Brand are also solid options.
Next, we were interested in their aesthetics. We wanted something that looked good. Anything silver, gloss black, or satin black with a powder coat finish and comfortable grip was a winner in our books.
Finally, we wanted to find out how easy the installation process was. We were a little flexible with this one since the quality was a top priority. Nonetheless, any ape hanger handlebar kit that came pre-wired or, at the very least, had pre-drilled holes on them ranked higher on our list.
Our Pick: Dominator Industries Pre-Wired Ape Hangers – Best Overall
- Size (rise): 12 inches
- Color: Black
- Street Glide compatibility: 2014-2021 models
- Pre-wired: Yes
Dominator Industries is the leading manufacturer of aftermarket Harley Davidson bike components and accessories. The company is known for its premium quality handlebars, so we were not the least bit surprised by how well these batwing fairing hangers performed in our tests.
Right off the bat, this monkey bar feels solid. It doesn’t bend easily, so you can tell it was built to last. The hangers are made in the US, laser cut, and fully TIG welded. They are also deburred and beveled to make installation easy. We also like the gloss black finish, which incidentally blended seamlessly with the 2016 Road Street Glide we fitted them on.
Unlike most other ape hangers we’ve come across, the Dominator Industries apes come pre-wired with the control harnesses. It doesn’t get any more plug-and-play than that. All we had to do was pull our existing grip sensor through bars before bolting the handlebar onto the bike. The whole process took no more than 10 minutes, tops. That’s pretty impressive for a task most Harley owners prefer to outsource to the pros.
The bars we got came with heated grips, although there are non-heated options available. One of the things we liked most about these bars was how comfortable they felt. They had just the right amount of pullback to give you a natural riding posture. This isn’t something you often come across, especially for handlebars designed for Harley Road Street Glide. The pullback on most of the others we tested was either too long or too short.
All in all, we were impressed by the performance of this unit. It’s a pretty solid choice if you’re looking for durable, pre-wired, easy-to-install ape hangers.
- CONTROL COMPATIBILITY: This 1 1/4" PRE-WIRED 12" Miter Monkey Bar Ape...
- MODEL COMPATIBILITY: Fits 2014-2021 model years of the Harley-Davidson...
- READY TO GO: Our bars are Prewired with your control harnesses, ready...
- Size (rise): 14 inches
- Color: Black
- Street Glide compatibility: 1982-2021 models
- Pre-wired: No
XFMT is another favorite. The company is one of the biggest manufacturers and exporters of aftermarket motorcycle components, accessories, and protective gear. It is known for the exceptional quality standards it enforces in every stage of the design and production process. This attention to detail is evident in the 14-inch Harley batwing ape handlebars.
The XFMT apes are made from iron and feel pretty solid. They did feel a little heavier than the Dominator Industries handlebars, but it didn’t have any impact on the performance of the bike once we hit the road. We got the glossy black variant, although if you prefer your apes in silver, there’s also a chrome option.
They come pre-drilled with internal wiring holes, which made the installation process quite fast and easy. We tend to lean more toward the pre-wired options, but the tradeoff was worth it given their price. The 11-inch pullback on the 14-inch frame felt natural and comfortable, even after riding for hours.
The on-center knurling was a little wider than what we were accustomed to, but surprisingly, it provided a very firm mounting surface. This was a far cry from some of the narrower options we tested.
All in all, the XFMT performed exceptionally well in our installation, mounting, and riding tests. It is durable and feels comfortable, two qualities we look for when choosing the best ape hangers for Road Street Glide. The fact that it retails for a little over $100 was pretty amazing for the quality.
- Condition: Aftermarket 100% Brand New, Good Working Condition and Easy...
- Material: Iron, High class quality and very durable, Come with drilled...
- 14" rise. 11" backward sweep. 1 1/4"-diameter. Center section tapers...
XMT-MOTO Batwing Ape Hanger – Best for Optimal Comfort
- Size (rise): 14 inches
- Color: Chrome
- Street Glide compatibility: 2009-2021
- Pre-wired: No
First impressions: The XMT-MOTO handlebars are stunning. The shiny chrome finishing on these iron apes is nothing short of breathtaking. They felt quite solid and wouldn’t bend regardless of the amount of pressure we applied. You can tell they were built to withstand whatever you throw at them.
We got the 14-inch apes, although they’re also available in 12, 16, and 18-inch variants, making them a top choice for riders with long arms. Despite the tall stance of these bars, the pullback is quite minimal, giving you a nice, upright posture when riding. We rode for a couple of hours with them, and they felt quite comfortable. We didn’t experience any strain on our back, neck, or shoulders.
They come with pre-drilled holes, which made it easy to pull the wires through, although it did get a little tricky once we got to the sharp corners. The center section of the bars tapers to 1 inch. This provides ample room for standard controls to fit.
Overall, the XMT-MOTO ape hangers are not just stunning; they are functional and affordable. They are a great choice if you’re looking for a comfortable set of handlebars for your Harley Road Street Glide.
- 14 Inch Batwing Handlebar fits for 2009-later Electra Glide Street...
- Throw your fists in the air with these 14 inch ape hangers. A favorite...
- 14 inch rise. 11" backward sweep. 1 1/4"-diameter. Center section...
TCMT Ape Hangers – Best Durable Option
- Size (rise): 16 inches
- Color: Chrome
- Street Glide compatibility: 2006-2019
- Pre-wired: No
The TCMT ape hangers are by far the most durable handlebars we’ve come across. Each of them is made of high-quality iron, with a chrome, powder-coated exterior that’s both scratch and rust-resistant. It is designed to withstand all manner of weather conditions and stay looking brand new.
The mercenary bars come with pre-drilled holes to make the internal wiring process easier. Installation was pretty straight forward although we did extend the wires to fit the 16-inch frame we had. We like that the corners were properly plumbed, making it easy to pull the wires through, unlike the two previous ape hangers we tested.
The moderate 11-inch pullback provided a pretty comfortable riding profile, so no complaints there. The TCMT monkey bar also comes in 12, 14, and 18-inch variants and fits Harley Davidson Electra Glide, Bagger, and Sportster Harley models. All in all, we were pleased with the performance and durability of these ape handlebars.
- Color: Chrome,Material: Iron,Size: As shown in the photo
- 16" rise. 11" backward sweep. 1 1/4"-diameter. Center section tapers...
- 3-1/2" on-center knurling for firm mounting,37" wide from tip to tip
How to Choose the Best Ape Hangers for Road Street Glide – Buying Guide
Picking the right ape handlebar for your Harley Davidson Road Street Glide doesn’t just enhance the way your bike looks; it has a significant impact on how you position your body on it. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the best ape hanger handlebar kit for your Harley.
Installing a new ape hanger handlebar can be daunting for the non-DIYers in the house. One option would be to have the shop do it for you. Alternatively, you could give your baby the TLC she deserves by installing them yourself. That’s easier said than done, though.
To make life easier, consider buying pre-wired ape hangers. These come with the switch wiring already installed, so all you have to do is pull the twist grip sensor, swap the hydraulics, and you’re pretty much ready to roll. The whole installation process takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish.
If you get handlebars that are too high, riding can get pretty uncomfortable pretty fast. Here’s a piece of advice we like to give Harley newbies.
Imagine you were standing on the outer side of a chain-link fence watching an outdoor basketball game. Think about where you would “hang” your hands on it as you stand there. They would be positioned somewhere around shoulder height, right? That’s the same rule you should apply when buying ape hangers for your Road Street Glide.
For optimal comfort, ensure the rise of the handlebars is no higher than shoulder height to prevent your hands from getting cold, numb, and tingly. That way, your heart isn’t working overtime, pumping blood uphill. It also avoids putting unnecessary strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.
The other thing you need to think about is whether the extended cables of your Road Street Glide will fit your apes, especially if you’re getting handlebars with more than a 10-12 inch rise. If you would prefer not to extend your cable for the clutch, brake line, and Softail suspension, it’s always a good idea to measure them before buying the ape hangers.
To do this, measure the free cable length between the handlebar riser and the switch housing. Make sure you stretch it out completely to get accurate dimensions. To be on the safe side, add an extra 2 inches to the dimension you get to factor in the section along the curved bit of the bar.
The measurement you get should correspond to the straight-line distance of the ape hangers.
This is often one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to choosing the best ape hangers for Road Street Glide. The turn-in on bikes with taller, wider apes is slower to react compared to those with shorter, narrower handlebars.
The reason for this is simple: To tip your Harley, you would have to lean the apes over a longer radius. Things can get a little tricky when navigating a tight turn. Keep this in mind picking the right ape hanger.
Are Road Street Glide and Harley Road Glide handlebars the same?
Not exactly, and here's why. The fairing on the Road Street Glide is a fork-mounted “batwing.” On the other hand, the fairing on the Harley Davidson Road Glide is a frame-mounted “shark nose” just like the Road King. Because of these differences, the handlebars on Road Street Glide models have a wider base compared to those on Road King and Road Glide models. Other bikes with batwing fairing include Bagger, Electra Glide, and Sportster models.
Are ape handlebars comfortable on long rides?
It depends on the position of your hands relative to your shoulders. Provided they’re at shoulder height or lower, and your elbows are slightly bent, your hands shouldn’t get numb and tingly on long rides.
Why do bikers tie bandanas to ape handlebars?
Aside from helping you find your Harley in a crowded parking lot, it’s usually just for aesthetics. It makes the bike look good. It also comes in handy for a runny nose. In the old days, riders would tie a bandana in remembrance of a fallen riding buddy on the anniversary of their death.
Picking the best ape hanger for your Road Street Glide is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make as a motorcycle owner. The handlebars we’ve reviewed in this guide met most (if not all) of the criteria we listed when we first set out to find the perfect one. Use the tips we’ve detailed here to help you pick the right one.