Designed for DiSalvo, available to all of us
Pretty much every clip-on you've ever grabbed, be it OEM or aftermarket, has had its bar attachment located ahead of the fork tube. This placement accomplishes two things, serving to stretch you out over the tank and also to minimize choppy control inputs by reducing the amount of leverage that a rider can exert on the front end of the motorcycle. Huh? Those don't sound like positive attributes, do they?
A rider as experienced and talented as AMA Pro racer Jason DiSalvo demands more. He was looking for clip-ons that would enhance his ability to feel the front tire and which would communicate his slightest commands into the suspension. Fortunately, Jason and his teammate, Elena Myers, are rider for the Apex Manufacturing / Sportbike Track Time / Casterol / Triumph team. Their bikes are prepared in the Apex Manufacturing race shop, which is well known for its diverse line of clip-ons, lever guards and more, not to mention what is probably the world's most extensive cache of custom Triumph racing parts. If the Apex crew needs something that doesn't exist, they make it. "More sensitive clip-ons, Mr. DiSalvo? No problem!"
Apex Manufacturing GP Clip-Ons offer a mounting point that is directly on the centerline of the fork tube. This moves the bars rearward by approximately two inches, depending on whose product you compare them to. This difference offers several advantages. If you are small of stature, you'll be able to reach the grips more easily and won't be so stretched out. If you're larger, the closer bar position naturally forces your elbows to bend and helps to discourage you from "stiff-arming" the bars, a practice which overloads the front suspension and tire, causes the bike to resist turning and can lead to a crash. Most importantly, the GP Clip-Ons are very communicative, allowing the rider a much clearer picture of what is going on at his front tire's contact patch.
We bolted a set of GP Clip-Ons to Ol' Blue, the 2007 GSXR750 that has been our project bike this year. Test rides were an eye opening experience. The difference from a normal clip-on position is extremely and immediately noticeable. Think "dirt bike." Instead of steering the motorcycle with your elbows, the controlling motions seem to come from your shoulders and upper arms. The additional leverage is astounding and at first, you'll over-steer the bike. It's odd to say, but after four weekends on this machine, we still weren't sure if we liked the feel of the GP Clip-Ons. Their sensation was awkward and not at all what we'd been used to with the more standard bars that are found on essentially all sportbikes built since the mid 1980s. Then we rode a bike without the GP clip-ons and it was as if the phone lines to the front tire had been cut. The experience is a bit hard to describe with words and perhaps can be better expressed in terms normally reserved for Algebra. Consider the difference as a reciprocal formula:
(A Better Rider demands More Feedback) therefore (More Feedback allows you to become a Better Rider)
Aside from the unique centerline mounting position of these Apex Manufacturing GP Clip-Ons, they share their construction details with the rest of the company's lineup. All are carved from 6061 billet aircraft aluminum and feature stainless steel hardware, with titanium fasteners available as an extra cost option. The bar ends come machined to accept Apex Manufacturing Lever Guards, which we've previously tested and like a lot. Additionally, the bars are adjustable five ways in the horizontal plane, due to a unique pin-and-hole locating system that these GP parts share with other offerings in the Apex line. The bar has 5 possible angles, +9 degrees, +4.5 degrees, 0 degrees, -4.5 degrees and -9 degrees. With the exception that these GP Clip-Ons can not be raised and lowered like the riser model shown, the animation below indicates just how adjustable Apex Manufacturing products really are.
Now that we've put a bunch of laps on our set of GP Clip Ons, we have to say that while they're different, we really like them. In this sport, the best setup is constantly changing and if you choose to stick with what you know while refusing to embrace the new, you'll get left behind. Want a pair for yourself? They can be had on the Apex Manufacturing web site for $175.00. If you'd prefer to experience the Apex multi-position adjustability and pro-spec construction while staying old school in a traditional "bars forward" design, you can opt for their $155 standard clip-on kit. Either way, you'll be adding some very nice equipment to your machine, which comes with the bragging rights that it was designed by and built for one of the top AMA Pro teams in the country.