CRG Bar End Mirrors Review
wBW Quick Look by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
They're solid as a rock and it's amazing how much I can see behind me.
CRG bar end mirrors have been available for quite some time and they have been used by many motorcyclists on both modern and vintage bikes.
So there are many good articles available that document the installation of the CRG mirrors on everything from sportbikes to scooters.
I'm not sure how much I can add to the general body of knowledge on this subject, but since every motorcycle is different -- and the GT1000 is no exception -- I'm sure there's a tip or two here that might help Ducati owners and others.
For example, the Triumph Thunderbird Sport (blog) had a section of metal that was spot-welded right through the handlebar, located just where it interfered with the mounting of the very nice (but kind of large) Napoleon bar end mirrors (review).
It took some very original thinking to resolve that one. Such is the case on the Ducati GT1000, and perhaps my experience with the Ducati will be pertinent to owners of other brands.
I've always liked the way bar end mirrors look and perform. I've noted in my Ducati GT1000 Blog postings that the tall "lollipop" style original mirrors seemed to add some vibration to the handlebars, possibly because of their mass sticking way up high, whipping the stalk into unknown frequencies.
Bar end mirrors stick way out there and a good set will uncover more of what's going on behind you than just about any other type of mirror configuration.
So what about the Oberon bar end mirrors I recently installed on the GT1000? Well, after the left-hand mirror came loose and was lost during a ride, I started to realize that the Oberon mounting system might not be ideal and I decided to look for a replacement.
Part of the problem with the Oberon mirrors is that they can be configured in an almost unlimited number of positions. But the set screws that lock everything together must be all removed to make any adjustments.
The Oberon mirrors are not designed to be adjusted during a ride, which is unfortunate, because it's nearly impossible to correctly set a rear-view mirror in the garage with expectations that it will be perfect when riding.
I didn't go with the CRG mirrors to begin with, mostly because their use has been so well documented but also because the Oberon mirrors do present a very clean look with their hidden set screws. They're also relatively expensive...but now I understand that in this case, you get what you pay for.
The CRG mirrors are, to me, definitely not as sleek, mostly due to their visible silver-colored socket head cap screws. I wish CRG would anodize, powder coat or paint the screws to match the mirror color; I think that would go a long way towards giving the mirrors a cleaner look.
I plan on experimenting with some "farmer style" paintbrush solutions to this problem and I'll report back if I find any interesting solutions.
But I've also discovered a couple of real advantages of using the CRG mirrors that overcome any misgivings about their looks. First of all, the mirrors remain fully adjustable after they're installed. As I mentioned, the Oberon mirrors are not adjustable once the set screws are locked down.
And if the set screws on the Oberon mirrors are not locked, the chance of losing them seems to greatly increase. But the CRG mirrors have a Nylon or plastic ball that sits inside the two halves of the clamp. When the clamp is tightened, there's still enough lubricity in the Nylon to allow the mirror to be adjusted.
I guess I'm a bit dense, but I now understand how important this feature really is; for example, the mirrors may need to be adjusted slightly even when wearing different types of motorcycle clothing, which may affect the ride height. It's nice to have this ability to adjust the mirrors back and forth or up and down as needed.
The other nice feature of the CRG mirrors, or at least the Hindsight LS mirrors shown here, is their ability to fold in and out. The idea of the "Lane Split" mirrors is that the rider can fold the mirrors in if it becomes necessary to narrow the profile of the bike during lane splitting, or "filtering" as it's called in the UK.
In reality, this feature isn't quite as useful as it sounds, because my experience shows that there's more friction in the Hindsight LS Lane Split hinge than there is in the Nylon adjustment ball. So most of the time, instead of the mirrors folding in out of the way, the entire mirror goes way out of adjustment if it's folded.
The Lane Split feature does come in handy when the bike inadvertently bumps into an object, like a lamp post, a gate or, in my case, the garage wall. I park the GT up against a wall in the garage, with the right side of the bike towards the wall.
I can't get the bike too close with the bar end mirrors hanging out, so I usually try to turn the handlebars to keep the mirrors away from bumping against the wall. I'm not always successful, and this was a problem with the Oberon mirrors because they are not designed to move once they're installed. But the Hindsight LS mirror will fold in if I get too far out of shape.
The Oberon bar end mirrors have a 2" diameter mirror, and although at first I thought the mirror possessed good quality, when compared to the CRG mirrors, the flaws in the Oberon glass become apparent.
Not only is the image much clearer and sharper in the 3" diameter CRG, the image doesn't have the parallax error of the Oberon. When looking into the Oberon mirror, the image is split, like a double image. Not so in the CRG mirror.
Yes, this is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, because a 2" diameter mirror is (and seems) much smaller than a 3" mirror. But now I see (if you'll pardon the pun) the larger diameter as another advantage of the CRG mirrors.
The CRG mirrors have a much sturdier mounting system, although as I mentioned, it doesn't look as "clean" in my opinion. But function wins out over form in this regard.
The Hindsight LS comes with a clamp that can be tightened around the handlebar by using the two socket head cap screws. Each screw must be tightened slowly to ensure that the pressure is even. As the upper screw is tightened, it also tightens the grip on the Nylon adjustment ball.
Now this assumes that there is enough of the handlebar sticking out to secure the clamp. About 3/8" is necessary for the clamp to have full purchase on the handlebar. This may be a problem on some bikes as it is on the GT1000.
The right-hand throttle grip has about 1/4" of the handlebar tubing sticking out beyond the grip itself, but the left-hand grip has no extra handlebar tube sticking out at all.
One solution for this problem is the CRG billet bar end internal adapters, which are basically bar end weights with a round machined surface that will fit the Hindsight clamp. CRG apparently strongly recommends using the clamp on the handlebars and not their adapters if at all possible.
I didn't understand their undue caution on this until I played with the adapters; I don't like them at all. They seem too wimpy and they have too many parts to give me confidence that they'll actually hold the Hindsight LS mirror on while the bike is pushing through the air, with the vibrations involved and the loosening that will surely take place as the mirror is continually adjusted.
So my suggestion is the same as CRG's: forget the adapters. Easily said, but what about a bike, like the GT1000, which does not have enough of the handlebar tube sticking out to give a good clamping surface?
Well, I broke out the original Ducati bar end weights, which are nicely made, robust and have a solid locking mechanism. I positioned about half the Hindsight LS mirror clamp on the 1/4" or so of handlebar tube and then inserted the Ducati bar end weight behind it and tightened everything down.
Not only does this work great, it gives some added mass to the handlebar ends, further smoothing the vibes. It really locks the Hindsight LS mirrors on to the handlebars. I evenly tightened up the Hindsight screws until everything was nice and firm and I still have enough free play in the Nylon adjustment ball to adjust the mirror whenever necessary.
The only problem with this setup is that the Ducati bar end weight interferes with the folding ability of the Hindsight to some extent. But I think it's a good tradeoff. The regular Hindsight mirrors (not the Lane Split model) can be used also, but even if the mirrors don't fold in all the way, the extra flexibility may mean the difference between losing a mirror or not some day.
By the way, a sharp machinist could turn the diameter of the Ducati bar end weight to match the diameter of the handlebar, leaving a shoulder towards the outside of the weight.
The CRG mirrors could then be installed directly on the bar end weight, which should work very nicely and may also provide more width between the mirrors and more room for the rider's hands on the grips.
The left-hand grip on the GT1000 comes right up to the end of the handlebar. I used a sharp razor knife to slice off about 1/4" of the foam grip and installed the left-hand Hindsight LS using the same approach.
So far, everything works great and the extra mass from the original Ducati bar end weights helps damp both the handlebar vibrations and, I think, the vibration in the Hindsight mirrors. They're solid as a rock and it's amazing how much I can see behind me.
In fact, I had installed the right-hand side first and went for a ride and I honestly think I could get away with installing only one CRG.
The slightly convex mirror allows me to see all the way back to the rear tail light assembly on the GT, so I'm seeing virtually anything and everything behind me -- much more, in fact, than I can see with the stock GT "lollipop" mirrors. It's amazing at how a little improvement in confidence, like being able to see clearly behind you, can improve your riding!
|wBW Review: CRG Hindsight LS Lane Split Bar End Mirrors|
|Manufacturer: Constructors Racing Group||List Price (2006): $84.95 each. Billet internal adapters - $19.95 each.|
|Colors: Black or Silver.||Made In: U.S.A.|
|Review Date: January 2006|
|Note: The Hindsight mirror is available without the Lane Split hinged feature for $69.50 each.|
From "J.D." (August 2012): "I agree with most of what you wrote in your article but I’d like to add one thing. I had these mirrors on my last bike for almost 17,000 miles using the CRG adapters and while they are a bit fiddly for mounting I never had any trouble with them coming loose or falling out. I only removed them twice during that time, once to change handlebars and once to change grips. I will be getting another set for my current bike (a Ducati Monster 1100 EVO)."