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They are pretty standard on a lot of Hondas, I don't know about other brands. I have respect for Honda's legendary build quality & engineering, so I figure they put them there for a reason (mass damping). YMMV
 

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Sure you can take weights out. They weigh about 200gm each, so will save about 1-lb. Not worth it though as tingly bars will make your hands numb.
 

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I've found having damping of bar-end weights actually helps on track. It calms down vibrations and lets me get better feel for what front-end's doing. When you're nearing traction limit, front-end goes slightly numb and you can feel it as lightening up at bars. Without vibrations, it's easier to feel this change.

My race org requires brake-lever guards, so factory bar-end weights have to come off right side anyway. I just machined 250gm lead slug from fishing weighs to fit snuggly inside bar further up. Then lever guard goes on at end.
 
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