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AltRider Crashbar System Install for the 2018 Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by redneckmech, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    788
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    After getting my Africa Twin Adventure Sport I sized up the crash bars (or “perimeter lightbar” as Honda calls it) and decided that I needed much better crash protection with the areas I plan on riding the ATAS in/on. That thought was cemented after watching Motorcycle.coms Big Bore Adventure Touring Shootout and one from earlier this year where a tester in UK had the exact same thing happen . Even a mild tip over broke the vulnerable stator cover and ended the days ride. After having tested the high fender kit from AltRider and witnessed the quality of their parts the decision of crash protection was simple.

    I ordered the full crashbar system from AltRider. I knew that there may be a wait after speaking with Bruce as they were re-designing the upper crashbars to fit the ATAS. He told me that the standard AT crashbars would fit, but they did not feel that there was enough clearance between the bars and the tank to prevent the bars from contacting the fairing in the event of a high impact crash. The ATAS with the larger tank required the bars to be flared out slightly to provide the needed clearance. I also placed an order for the AltRider skidplate at the same time. The factory one was thin to save weight and I did not put much stock in its ability to protect the engine from a hard impact as it was riveted, in an impact rivets shear very easily. To top this off, the oil filter is very close to it and a hard impact could drive the plate back into the oil filter and completely ruin the ride (not to mention the bike). I think a few Super Tenere owners can verify this....

    I received the crashbar system about 3 weeks after placing the order but the parts were well worth the wait. Having worked as a welder for several years I always look at welds first. These were some of the best welds that I have seen on any motorcycle parts, the quality was phenomenal.

    IMG_2002.JPG

    The first task was to remove the factory crash bars and skidplate, I easily removed them within the span of about 5 minutes and that was taking time for pictures.

    IMG_1783.JPG IMG_1784.JPG

    The AltRider skidplate is about 3 times the thickness of the Honda factory plate, it is a very sturdy piece. The Honda plate is much thinner than it actually looks due the way it was stamped.
    AltRider put a lot of design into their plate, note how the bends/welds Y off rather than just stopping. That feature will provide much greater strength preventing the bend from buckling under an impact, it will also help prevent cracks from forming under a cyclic load such as vibration.

    Attached Files:

    #1
    AltRider likes this.
  2. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

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    The Honda Skidplate was mounted with 5 screws and a rubber grommet…. Seriously.. A rubber grommet supports the majority of the back of the factory skidplate..


    IMG_1799.JPG
    I installed the rear mount for the lower crashbar and the bracket for the skidplate


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    Upper bars loosened




    IMG_2083.JPG

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    I had been warned by another owner (OldePhart) that these two Allen screws were particularly difficult to remove and would strip easily. I was lucky and mine came out with a great deal of force but without stripping.
    #2
  3. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    IMG_2101.JPG

    Here is a side-by-side picture of the AltRider uppers versus the Honda upper bars. The Honda bars are on the left while the AltRider bars are on the right. It is obvious just in the picture how much burlier the AltRider bars are. I could easily flex and bend the Honda bars by hand.

    IMG_2102.JPG

    The brackets to mount the lower and upper bars were the first parts that I needed to install.



    IMG_2106.JPG

    The Honda mounts needed to come off.


    IMG_2109.JPG

    I may need to wash my bike a bit more often!

    To remove the Honda brackets I had to remove the exhaust header to place the rear mount for the right lower crashbar and to remove the factory mount from the downtube.
    #3
  4. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    IMG_2112.JPG

    The AltRider mounts are considerably thicker than the Honda pieces. There is a debate as to whether it is better to have a bracket or to mount directly to the frame. In my mind, I feel that it is better to have a bracket such as this between the impact and the frame. A bracket shaped the way this is will flex and absorb the impact force rather than transferring that force directly to the frame. I would much rather replace a bracket than replace a frame!



    IMG_2114.JPG

    I mocked up the lower bars and installed the bolts to help align the brackets prior to tightening

    IMG_2122.JPG

    Upper mount comparison.


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    #4
  5. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    IMG_2125.JPG

    I slid the bars together and tried to lightly place them on the upper bracket, I was not paying attention and learned the sound that the right bar makes when it hits the ground. It didn’t even scratch the bar either!


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    In the process, I dropped a bolt. After spending 5 minutes searching the floor I found it playing hide and seek under the tire.



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    A little bit of threadlocker to ensure nothing rattles apart on the local logging roads.
    I used my own tube rather than breaking into the new tube that comes with the kit. AltRider has gone to great lengths to ensure that you do not need to make a run to the store to buy random parts or supplies. Talk about complete and well thought out!
    IMG_2132.JPG
    #5
  6. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    IMG_2133.JPG

    With everything installed it is time to torque the bolts. All bolts/holes lined up surprisingly well. This is another example of the superb welds on the bars.

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    With the upper and lower bars installed, it was time to add the connector bars.




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    I began unwrapping them and the dog felt the need to come over and “help”. She seemed to approve so I moved on with the install.

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    And that sure was easy!
    #6
  7. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    IMG_2160.JPG





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    I next put the skidplate on, it is very easy to install and remove which will simplify maintenance.

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    Overall, the kit was very simple to install with the most time-consuming part was the temporary removal of the exhaust. I did not get many pictures of it removed due to trying to hold the parts up without unplugging or damaging the oxygen sensor. The total install time was around 3-4 hours including the time needed for pictures. The install instructions were very clear and the instructions for each part referenced the other parts that needed to be installed in parallel (e.g. the skidplate and rear mounts for the crashbars).

    It was after dark by the time I finished and I had to leave on a business trip the next day so I had to forgo testing for the entire next week……

    The last week I have used the bike for commuting but have not yet been able to get out on a long ride. The lower bars do not interfere with my foot positioning when riding either seated or standing and will certainly protect the engine cases much better than the factory skidplate. I took a few more detailed pictures of the mounts, bars, and skidplate to showcase the quality and thickness of the brackets on the kit. Nevermind the little bit of dust! :ricky

    IMG_2322.JPG
    #7
  8. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    IMG_2324.JPG

    Considerably better protection for the stator cover!



    IMG_2325.JPG

    The rear mount is very solid material and gives great protection while still allowing clearance for your foot




    IMG_2326.JPG

    Even if the bars move under a hard impact there will still be plenty of room for the bars to flex and absorb the energy of the impact while still protecting the bike from damage. The upper bars give excellent coverage of the fairing while the skidplate and the lower bars work together to ensure that the vulnerable cases are well protected from thrown rocks and inadvertent impacts.

    I will update again when I get a few more miles on them and get the opportunity to get some better pictures. (Hey a good backdrop is a superb excuse for a ride!)
    #8
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  9. ski-line900

    ski-line900 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
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    Nice write up. The AltRider bars/skid plate are awesome.
    #9
    redneckmech likes this.
  10. motosickle2000

    motosickle2000 Been here awhile

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    324
    Those bars look like they are built like a brick outhouse! I really like the AltRider quality. The only negative comment I have is that the connecting bar looks very functional, but also looks like a tack-on. In the case of crash bars though, I appreciate function over form. :-)
    #10
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  11. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

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    I don't mind the look of them and they will add some serious rigidity over two separate bars (upper and lower) anytime you can spread a load out over a greater area there will be less chance of damage to the bike.

    Having said that, my wife could really expand on my appriciation of function over looks (she is an art teacher and I am a mechanical engineer so you can imagine how some conversations go) :lol3


    These bars are seriously burly, especially when you compare them to the factory bars, I believe your testing showed that the factory bars did not do much in the way of protection for the bike (although I agree with you that I am not sure any bar would have protected from that crash)... Hope your ribs are healing quickly and you will get your bike back (or a new one) soon!

    I have a set of SWMOTECH bars on my Vstrom which have taken a few hard hits (They protected the bike in an accident that fractured 5 vertebrae in my back) but they do not compare with the AltRider bars. Nothing against SWMOTECH at all, they make great products, but the AltRider bars are truly better. I know I am comparing between two vastly different bikes but the small details such as GTAW (TIG) welds on the AltRider bars vs the GMAW (MIG) welds on the SWMOTECH bars really show the quality and engineering that were put into these.

    They are, as you put it, built like a brick outhouse!!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk
    #11
  12. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

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    Thanks!
    I know I have been impressed with the quality and fitment of their parts. I haven't crash tested them yet, and hope not to, but you know how that goes. :p3rry

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk
    #12
  13. AltRider

    AltRider Been here awhile

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    #13
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  14. 2 bro on bikes

    2 bro on bikes Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Great post, this will be my winter project for my ATAS
    #14
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  15. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

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    I was just looking into luggage racks for the ATAS and happened to be browsing through the Touratech website.

    Since I had just installed the AltRider skidplate onto my ATAS I thought I would take a look at Touratech's skidplate. Looking at the pictures, the back side of it is almost completely unsupported. :scratch


    The AltRider skidplate has a beefy support that bolts to the frame at three points while the Touratech skidplate is held by the factory Honda rubber grommet and a rubber bumper that pinches the frame on one side.. It may be enough to hold the skidplate in place but it certainly will not protect the engine under a hard impact IMHO.




    20170208-TT-Skidplates4777.jpg


    additional-photos-altrider-skid-plate-for-the-honda-crf1000l-africa-twin.jpg


    Just by looking at the stock pictures you can see how much better the back of the skidplate is supported on the AltRider plate. There really is no comparison between the two.

    I have Touratech luggage on my Vstrom that has held up fabulously and I certainly hope that this is not the way Touratech is proceeding with the remainder of their products. I have seen in other areas of the forum that their crashbars for the AT are much the same though.... I had looked at the Touratech bars but had decided on the AltRider system as I decided that it looked considerably stronger, had more mount points to disperse any impacts, and tied the upper and lower bars together for increased strength. After seeing this post by a fellow inmate my decision was cemented.


    I am very happy I decided on AltRider to protect my ATAS. In addition to that, the customer support I received when I had questions on what solution would work best for me was nothing short of superb.
    #15
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  16. Olde Phart

    Olde Phart Olde Phart

    Joined:
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    Nice job on the report, my install was a "ditto" with the exception of installing the lower bars and skid plate before getting the uppers. Much more had to be loosened up and a bit of interpolating between the two sets of instructions to get the order right.

    Even with much of that gap filled with all of the DCT apparatus, the lowers still give great protection to those tender bits on the right side ...

    IMG_20181016_123554.jpg
    The grip tape on the upper bar makes for a nice place to rest the feet when looking to alternate positions while riding.

    Good ridin' to ya!
    #16
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  17. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

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    Good thought on the addition of grip tape, I may have to follow suit! I had been thinking about adding some pegs further forward as footrests but with the addition of grip tape it would not be bad to rest on the connector bars themselves. :thumb

    Thanks for the tip!
    #17
  18. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    Last weekend I finally got the opportunity to test the crashbar system that I bought from AltRider a while ago. It really wasn’t planned, as any test of that sort is, however the crashbars certainly met my expectations.

    A friend recently passed away and I have been helping manage his property, there is a shortcut in the form of a skidtrail that runs from near his property to my sister’s farm. Now for those of you that are unfamiliar with logging skid-trails they differ from logging roads in the fact that they are usually only used by the logging equipment (skidders, feller-bunchers, etc..) and thus are usually very steep, rocky and often rutted. Why would anyone want to subject themselves and their bike to this? Well, for one it saves over 10 miles of riding on the pavement, and for two, it is whole lot of fun! Due to these reasons, I tend to ride it on a very regular basis.

    Now usually it is a bit challenging due to the rocks and ruts but nothing that I can’t handle on the average day. On this day however, we had received some rain the night before. I didn’t think much of it as I had a 70-mile ride ahead of me and had to be back in time to play with my two boys before their bedtime was surpassed. I bailed off the main road and headed down the skidtrail. Shortly after beginning my decent, I realized that the dust that had been chewed up all summer had gotten wet down with the rain the previous night and was very slick. I was at a decision point, should I gamble on being able to make it to the bottom, or should I try to turn around on a narrow trail that was covered in fist sized rocks? I decided to plough ahead. I made the first mile and a half just fine with only the occasional slip and slide but right before my sister’s house came in sight there is a 90° switchback that tends to be rutted heavily due to the grade.

    As I came into the corner, the front the bike clipped a fist sized rock that had positioned itself in the rut that I was following and the front wheel began to slide, I first tried to throttle out of it but the rear wheel could not gain traction. I hastily began to attempt shifting my weight and applying judicious throttle/brake to attempt to regain control. The front wheel kept sliding, regained traction, and then began sliding again. I tried to catch it by dabbing with my foot but the weight of the bike was already shifting and by the time I could reach the ground with my 31” inseam, gravity was taking control.

    The bike came down hard on the berm at about 15mph and I went over the front and somersaulted about three times due to the grade. I quickly ran back up to it, hit the kill switch, shut off the key, took off my helmet, and gathered my bearings.

    As it turned out, my sister was coming up her driveway about the time that I was coming down the hill and had witnessed my get-off. She bailed out of her pickup, jumped on her four-wheeler and took up off the hill to make sure I was fine. I grabbed a couple of quick pictures (something I do not normally do) and picked up the bike, she scolded me as she parked the four-wheeler as she knows of my back injuries but the bike was facing uphill and it was easy enough to lift, and I did not want to allow it to lay there long enough to get used to being on its side!!

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    It is a lot steeper than it looks!!



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    She helped hold it while I grabbed a couple extra photos and assessed the damage. All I spotted was a broken turn signal and a whole lot of mud and pine needles packed on the right side of the bike where it had hit.


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    I hopped back on it while carefully balancing, aimed it at the steepest angle I could crossing the rut, and clawed my way to more solid ground. I then continued down to her house where I re-assessed the damage and verified that the bike was fine to ride home. The rear brake pedal was bent slightly but was perfectly serviceable. I wiped the mud off, added some duct tape to the turn signal so it wasn’t dangling by the wires and ensured that nothing else was out of order.
    #18
  19. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

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    IMG_2560.JPG

    I re-assured my sister that I was in-fact fine and had not hurt my back and headed down the rest of her driveway. As I headed down to the main road, I noticed that the handlebars had shifted in the rubber mounts, I stopped, pushed them against the left stop, and gave the right side a good shove. The rubber gave and the handlebars returned to their original position. I verified that they were aligned with the forks and took off yet again.

    By the time I got home I was nearing the boys’ bedtime, I played with them for a while and after they went to bed, went back out and began cleaning up the bike.

    I first pressure washed it with the old steam cleaner I recently fixed up and made sure that the dirt and pine needles were blasted away.



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    After getting the bike reasonably cleaned up, went through and documented any damage. The total amount of damage was 2 scuffs on the crashbars,

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    #19
  20. redneckmech

    redneckmech No burrito left behind!

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    788
    Location:
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    IMG_2588.JPG

    the broken turn signal,


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    a small dent in the exhaust heat shield,


    IMG_2578.JPG

    and a couple scratches on the mirror. IMG_2577.JPG

    Not all that bad considering what had just happened!

    To ensure that there was no additional damage and verify that the bars had not sprung under the impact, I removed the crashbars and inspected the fairings, frame, radiators, and anything else that I figured could have been damaged in the get-off.
    #20