Crash bars - useless?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by bastimentos, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. SgtDuster

    SgtDuster Long timer

    Feb 23, 2010
    Province of Quebec!
    I'm wondering guys...should I get rid of my snowblower (live in Quebec) given that the Dakar guys don't use one?
  2. Wlfman

    Wlfman Long timer

    Sep 6, 2011
    Too many variables

    Crash bars definitely saved my bike. 40+ MPH lowside and bike slid at least 150 ft across the asphalt



  3. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

    Sep 16, 2009
    Michissippi & Nuevo Mexico
    On my 650 V-Strom A Givi crashbar, Moto ADV Stuff skidplate combo is essential to protect the bodywork and lower engine. Suzuki decided to put a lot of delicate parts right out in the open:eek1. For a low speed crash these bars do(have) worked very well. A WeeStrom is so ugly anyway who cares if something makes it look a little worse?
  4. Xeraux

    Xeraux Archvillain

    Sep 26, 2006
    Atlanta, Georgia

    This. :deal

    I've ground through one set of H&B lower and upper crashbars and am on my second set, now. Not a dime has been spent on expensive plastic body parts or valve covers.
  5. jprovence

    jprovence Adventurer

    Sep 20, 2012
    Exactally, I don't ride like a Dakar rider, so why set my bike up like them. Ricky racers ITT
  6. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

    Aug 22, 2012
    Orlando Fl
    I was thinking the same thing about condoms... the Dakar guys don't use them, why should I?
  7. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

    Jan 22, 2008
    How do you know they don't? What happens in the piste stays in the piste... :evil
  8. bluesman

    bluesman Long timer

    Feb 13, 2007
    Hoegaarden, Belgium
    Dakar bikes use things, that do same as crash bars.
    I had chance to actually inspect on real Dakar bikes since I guess 90s. And few latest ones. On Intermot, EICMA and couple in Suzuki dealership 4 km from my house.

    They use:
    Large sticking to sides sump guards made of carbon-kevlar composite, tough and often carrying water around engine sump. 4+ mm aluminium on old Dakar bikes. There are actually no way engine will get touched in slide because of that. But those are expensive things. Seriously. And after race they look bashed to smithereens.
    They use carbon-kevlar-glassfiber covers or actual tanks on front and rear of bikes. And they do not care if those get scuffed or even holed and patched up quickly with resin and fiberglass.
    They do not care about state of bodywork - those bikes often arrive to end of race covered in gaffa tape.
    They do not use crashbars because those are heavy and only perform one function. This is largely against whole race bike concept, where each 100 gr of weight shaved off.
    Their bikes are VERY narrow and engine is well hidden.

    At same time I can remind you that when someone (was it Charlie Borman?) in Race to Dakar smashed his plastic tank on the rock he had just enough to get to finish and tank got replaced at base camp. I might be mixing up who it was and details, but I distinctly remember tank replacement.
    My own bikes were saved twice by crashbars. Once - far from home, once - 5 km from home. If not for the bars I would have had side cover crashed and bike immobilzed. I went down other time on other bike without bars 1500 km from home and that is what happened. I had to perform roadside surgery by removing side cover and plumbing it with epoxy and then ride home slowly losing oil for 1500 km.And BTW - that fall in absence of crash bars took my rhs footpeg too and made that ride specially
    Taking Dakar bike as sample is like comparing regular sportbike with GP machine. Pointless.
    As for rider protection - I do not believe it helps on narrow bikes. May be on some other types...
  9. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

    Apr 29, 2011
    Riyadh, KSA, Cuernavaca, Mx, Houston, Tx
    Most stunting and gymkhana bikes seem to have them. Considering how those are ridden and dropped that would be the best example for me.
  10. Flying Mouse

    Flying Mouse n00b

    Dec 29, 2010
    Wimbledon, UK
    Hi Jon,

    I've just had a u-turn tumble on my bike and cracked the fairing panels, reminding me I intended to fit some engine bars. Having fitted these to your bike, do the extend far enough to protect the fairing from the impact?


  11. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

    Jul 23, 2010
    Michigan... temporarily
    After more than a handful of drops with my Wee, I can positively say yes, they do wonders. They probably won't do much in the way of protecting critical components in a a MAJOR crash (one that you're not likely to walk away from uninjured) but in most cases, with some low-er speed falling and sliding, they work VERY well, if nothing else protecting expensive things like fairings, and keeping your frame from becoming a shovel for gravel, dirt etc.

    Granted this depends on where they're mounted, but I'd like to assume most "adventure bike" crash bar kits have taken this into account.
  12. riverflow

    riverflow Adventurous Commuter

    Nov 16, 2013
    Danville/Louisville, KY
    I've dropped my F650 once and the crash bars & handlebars kept anything else from hitting the ground. I was idling along on a gravel drive and hit a patch of ice. They work very well for low speed drops.
  13. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

    Oct 11, 2006
    BRC \ NYC
    Lots of crash bars on the market have changed their name lately to engine protection bars.

    The ones on my concours are called tip over bars, their main purpose is to protect the plastic, fairing, mirrors, e.t.c. if you tip the bike over. And with a concours that is a very common occurrence.

    They are usually there to protect a vital part of an engine if you crash on your own, like put a hole in a crankcase in the middle of death valley.

    I low sides on a cruiser, with 1.5" thick genuine crash bars front and rear. The bike slid 2 full city blocks, NYC blocks. The front bars were ground down about 1\2", rear a little less.

    The only part of the bike that had an issue was the floor board bracket, and even that was only because the bolt sheared off.

    Cruisers are probably one of the few bikes whose crash bars can really be called crash bars.

    While we're on the subject here is a good story.

    A few years back a guy goes into a Honda dealership and buys a Honda cruiser. He didn't get the crash bars or maybe Honda didn't offer them for that bike I forget.

    Anyway, he gets T-boned by a truck, loses his leg.

    He sued Honda saying that because the bike did not have crash bars stock it made the bike unnecessarily unsafe. Somehow the judge agreed to the tune of 10 million dollars.

    Since then they have been called engine guards.
  14. BaronVonDarrin

    BaronVonDarrin Been here awhile

    Mar 28, 2011
    Philadelphia, and at times Western Maryland
    pretty sure the crash bars on my ktm 950 saved the bikes bacon more than a few times considering how beefed up they were and my bike was not... haha

    but hey thats the point of them right?

    i admit i didnt have any catastrophic crashes. mostly still fall overs and accidental drops and slow speed wash outs and maybe a skid here or there at maybe 15 mph tops.
  15. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

    Feb 8, 2008
    Collingwood, Ontario
    Here is a more head-on photo.


    My sense is they would protect the plastic in a parking lot drop. Not sure what would happen at speed. Crashes are unpredictable. They weren't expensive, so I'd go for it if you plan to keep the bike a while. Gives you a place to mount lights or highway pegs too.
  16. Vulfy

    Vulfy Been here awhile

    Feb 8, 2012
    Crash bars (cage) usually is not designed to protect plastics. There is a good chance that the plastic is still going to crack and scratch if you tumble over. Crash bars are designed to protect the engine, radiator, gearbox, maybe muffler to an extent.

    I have a beefy cage on my bike, and I drop it quite frequently doing Gymkhana. Cage must have a good design to provide good structural rigidity, so that it doesn't fold under you. You are still transmitting shock through the frame into the chassis, but at least its not a direct hit, and stress goes through the mounting points, which should be beefy enough, as they hold the entire thing together anyway.

    Also it takes away some of the stress from handlebars, making it much less likely to bend and twist them and impact them into your tank (although that can still happen, I have a nice new dimple in the tank after last weekend).

    Cage also saves your legs, as there is more room between the bike and the ground, so your leg is less likely to get trapped under and be twisted (again from personal experience).

    So, if we are talking street, then original statement is a steaming pile of BS. If we are talking off road, I don't know.
  17. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Feb 21, 2010
    Barrie Ont
    I have a new to me FJR in the garage and waiting delivery for both engine crash guards as well as saddle bag guards.

    The bike won't be moving until both are installed.
  18. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

    Jul 23, 2010
    Michigan... temporarily
    I don't think I've ever heard of saddle bag guards... hell, my panniers ARE my guards! That's the beauty of 'em, they protect the bike! :rofl
  19. smithe

    smithe Been here awhile

    Jun 11, 2008
    Spokane, WA
    Not mine, I have seen them in person and thought about it for my FJR but doubt I ever will. I am going to get some for my KLR though!

  20. FlowBee

    FlowBee Just me.

    Oct 11, 2004
    The ones on my RT are for saving all that expensive plastic. The bars alone cost half of a single OEM fairing panel. I've already converted my saddlebag lids over to "crash ready". If it gets me home I'm good with it.

    My DR has a Safari tank, bash plate, crankcase armor, and highway pegs. If the engine STILL somehow manages to get damaged I'll toss a match on it and start hitchhiking.