While the bike is a collection of plastic, metal and perhaps carbon parts, they can all be replaced fairly easily - but you cannot - and so making sure that you are kept safe and protected is rightly the most important element of motorcycling.
However, once we have made sure that you as a rider are as protected as you can be (helmet, jacket and trousers, boots and gloves and possibly an airbag) then we can turn to the bike and take steps to ensure that if we do end up in a crash – for whatever reason – then we can try to protect it to minimise the damage it might suffer.
By crash here, we’re talking about a slide on greasy roads, a drop while manoeuvring at low-speed or perhaps just a tumble when man-handling the bike on the ground. The kind of thing that would crack or scratch fairings or break an engine case, footpeg or brake lever.
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There are lots of ways to protect your bike from a minor accident – just take a look at bikes used in riding schools, as they tend to have fairly elaborate frames around the handlebars and the sides so that if a learner or inexperienced rider does have a tumble, the frames take the impact instead of the bike and can be replaced much more easily.
While we’re not suggesting you should ride with a framework similar to a rally car’s roll cage surrounding you, you can add some useful protection that will help protect your bike in the event of a small off that you can walk away from.
Here are a few of our favourite ideas:
Universal Bolt-on Engine Bar Protectors
These universal bolt-on engine-bar protectors are designed to fit onto any engine bars or frames to hit the ground before the frames themselves, saving a potentially expensive bit of metalwork and even offer more protection to the engine itself.
They fit 22mm, 25mm and 28mm diameter frames and come as a pair. The manufacturer quotes a range of BMW, KTM, Triumph, Yamaha and Suzuki models, primarily adventure bikes.
R&G frame Protectors
R&G has a huge range of crash protection for a wide range of bikes and one of the most basic items is something like this crash protector for the frame. They bolt onto the side of the bike and are designed to hit the ground before the fairing or bodywork does.
Bear in mind a pair of these costs £72 while a set of bodywork could cost thousands and it’s an investment worth making. They’re bike-specific so make sure you get the right ones.
SW Motech Crash Bars
Off-roaders and adventure bikes are particularly prone to low-speed offs u2013 Iu2019ve been spat off at barely more than walking pace thanks to 4x4 ruts in clay soil and while my shoulder still smarts, the CRF250L I was on literally bounced back again with nothing broken. SW-Motech has a huge range of crash bars for loads of bikes u2013 on as well as off-road u2013 which will help protect the side of the bike and the engine if it falls over
Pivoting Rear Brake Lever
Breaking a brake pedal in a small tumble can be a massive pain; I donu2019t need to explain the potential danger in riding without brakes, even if you still have the front. This handy rear-brake lever has a pivoting tip so that if you do drop your bike on the right-hand side, the brake lever end should pivot instead of snapping off, meaning you can continue to use it. Available for a range of bikes from Amazon.
MachineArt BMW Head Protectors
The BMW range of bikes using the flat-twin is particularly susceptible to engine damage in the case of a fall, as the cylinders protrude from the sides of the bike. Therefore, protection is key and either a set of bars or something like these cylinder head protectors from MachineArt will help to cushion the blow in case any bike using the flat twin does fall.
Brake Lever Guard
A variation on a theme, these guards will protect the brake lever in case of a fall so the bike can still be used. However, they are also now mandatory for all race bikes and for use on trackdays as well, to prevent bikes that get close to each other from interfering with the brakes. This example is CNC machined from aluminium and comes with a matching bar end for the left-hand grip.
Renner Crash Bobbins
Crash bungs on the rear swingarm can protect that component as well but building crash protection into a set of bobbins for a paddock stand satisfies two purposes; providing a secure mount to locate the paddock stand to as well as protecting the swingarm. These from Renner are made in anodised aluminium and have plastic wear sections and are available in three thread sizes for various motorcycles.
GB Racing Engine Covers
These engine-case covers from GB Racing are used in a wide range of race series to protect engines from crash damage and are very easy to fit. They are designed to fit over the standard engine cases and absorb impact and prevent the metallic cases from cracking or breaking. Made from glass fibre, they match the OE cases perfectly and not only protect the engine but they look good too. Make sure you get the right set for your model.
While not quite crash protection, these folding brake and clutch levers are designed to fold up in the event of a crash rather than break, so that you can simply pick the bike back up and carry on. These examples are adjustable for length, for use with two or four fingers and also for span, so larger or smaller hands can also reach the lever.
Barkbusters Hand Guards
Another handlebar-mounted protection, these are designed to protect the rider's hands when riding predominantly off-road. Generally two mounting points are considered the best method, with one at the bar-end and the other towards the centre of the bike, past the grip itself mounted directly onto the bars.
Not only will these protect the hands from falls but also, damage from undergrowth or foliage hitting the bars when riding off-road. Once this frame is fitted simply bolt on your choice of Barkbuster handguard or muff.