Bending (Straightening) AltRider GSW Crash Bars

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by jdub, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    Stupid on my part and 100% my fault, but got distracted by my dog when climbing off my bike in my paved driveway without the sidestand being fully deployed and my '14 GSW fell over on the left side as I walked away.

    No big deal, thought I, as:
    1. The bike had AltRider crash bars and MachineArtMoto valve cover protectors
    2. My '07 GSA with OEM crash bars had fallen over at zero speed with no issues (in the dirt and on pavement)
    3. My R1100RS and R1100S with no crash bars had each fallen over once at zero speed (in the rain, on a slope) with nothing but a couple of scratches on the valve cover

    I was surprised to see that the lower left crash bar had bent upward so only about 1 mm of clearance remained between the bar and the MAM protector, and after a couple of rides enough oil had leaked that the lower left leg of my Roadcrafter suit had oil spots on it.

    When I went to pull the valve cover, because of the bent crash bar the cover would no longer come free (right side has about 7mm clearance between the two, never measured left clearance before this event). I had to loosen the crash bar at all mount points, and then the cover would come off.

    Found that the oil leak was due to a crushed area of rubber on the gasket caused by the tip over, which also surprised me since none of my other bikes ever had an issue after a tip over. So, new valve cover gasket required there.

    I called AltRider - not to bitch at them but because I was surprised that the bar had bent. We had a good conversation, and I was told they felt the crash bar wasn't designed for zero speed pavement drops and that all that weight at one contact point had caused the bar to bend. Because I could no longer pull the valve cover without loosening or removing the bar, they suggested I could take it somewhere and have it bent back into position while keeping all of the mount points lined up.

    I considered just leaving the bar as is, but then realized that if the bike ever tips over in the same manner again some real damage might result because the bar will bend further into the cover. Hate for that to happen at all, much less on a trip 1,000 miles from home.

    Not real confidence inspiring that all this happened from a simple tip over (bent crash bar and gasket damage), but there it is.

    Any suggestions for where I could take this crash bar to have it bent back once I remove it from the bike? A welding or machine shop?
    #1
  2. krussell

    krussell Gravel Warrior Supporter

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    Bummer. I remember pulling up into my drive way with my nearly new 08 R1200RT and getting off the bike only to hear it land on the left cylinder. It was at that point I realized that I had failed to deploy the side stand. Got away with scratches on my stock valve cover.

    Wow, they should mention that in their product description on the web site. I'm sure that would help sales. Really doesn't make any sense. All drops, crashes, etc cause weight of bike + MOMENTUM to hit at a single contact point.

    A welder. I've noticed some of the newer welders call themselves 'metal fabricators.'
    #2
  3. gundrted

    gundrted Been here awhile

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    Metal fabrication is the new sexy term for welding and then taking about welding at Starbucks ... Lol

    I dropped my 09 GS at less then 5mph on a dirt road earlier this year. My AltRider bar also got bent. It doesn't should a bad as yours, but still bent. They suggested I tie the bar off to a tree and lean the bike over. This bend the bar back. I haven't done this yet.

    When I posted about the issue someone suggested using the trailer hitch on a truck. It seems to be a common thing. I get that you want the bars to flex a little and absorb energy, but I have to say this all sounds 'odd'.

    If you can tie off to a tree and block the wheel, that's a free fix. I have a large tree next to a curb and will be trying it in the spring. A welder, excuse me ... Metal fabrication, will cost dollars. Normally coming with parts in hand, a clear explanation of the work, cash and a six pack of local Brew can help the process.

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
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  4. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Heat will help when bending it back, also stop any weld from cracking.....BUT you could try and bend it back 5mm or so without heat. If you can't handle it yourself and half decent shop should be able to pull it out 5-6mm in short order. I straightened worse bends out with leverage myself with no heat.....it's just the heat makes it super easy and less chance of hurting a weld on a mount.
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  5. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    Thanks for the replies.

    If I'm understanding correctly regarding a trailer hitch (which my truck happens to have) or a tree, I'd tie the bent part of the bar to one of them with the bar still installed on the bike and then lean the bike the other way using its weight for the reverse bend. Sounds plausible, especially since I'm only really concerned with getting the bar back to where the valve cover will clear.

    Open to any other ideas also. :ear

    EDIT: Good point about the heat, will apply some from my propane torch around where the bent portion attaches prior to the straightening attempt.
    #5
  6. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    I wouldn't heat it to start, they are pretty flexible on their own and heat could make it softer permanently, not to mention damaging the finish.

    Don't tie it where it's bent but further out so you have more leverage on the bend.

    You can use a ratchet strap as well to have better control over the unbending.

    My stock bars did the same and sit the same from the day I picked up the bike.

    I think the challenge is finding a place to mount bars so that protection is provided that doesn't risk damage to the motor or frame.
    I'd like to see something like the stunt cages that mount as a solid unit but nobody seems to make those.

    Something about the LC's seems to be weaker in this regard. My 07 was beat within inches of it's life and then... beat until it died and the one thing not damaged were the cylinder heads.
    Didn't leak a drop of oil and the bars were still 'serviceable' Even the frame is tweaked but engine was protected.

    26ca020f-030c-4cb9-9244-a791ebb821c7.jpg
    #6
  7. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

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    The weakest parts, the ones subjected to greater leverage and easier bents, should be the flat pieces of metal that anchor the cage to the frame.
    If those are deformed, rather than the tubes, removing the cage and straighten those would be a relatively easy job for you or any shop.
    #7
  8. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    I thought Altrider was the strongest? I’m about to buy one. Should I change course? This is pretty disappointing.
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  9. cjmadura

    cjmadura Been here awhile

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    My OEM bars (left side) bent closer to the Machine Art Moto cover on a stationary tip-over on a rocky, steep section of the WABDR. This happened while I was waiting for the AltRider Reinforcement bars to come available.

    I didn't even try to straighten the bar (it's really solid), but I was able to mount the reinforcement bars about two weeks later :bluduh. I needed to trim the MAM cover with a blade to get enough clearance for the bracket - you need to know where to look to see the chop job.

    I dropped the bike twice (once each side) on Ophir Pass in Colorado and neither OEM bar bent inward. I can't speak to AltRider's new crash bar set-up for the GSAW, but their reinforcement bars certainly worked for me. I also prefer the look of the stock bars over Altrider's set-up.

    If I ever feel like wasting some cash I'll buy a replacement OEM bar for the left side and new MAM cover.
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  10. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    Here's how the Altrider bar is sitting now, can't really see it from the pic but there is about a 1mm gap there. I used some 400 grit sandpaper on the bar to clean up the impact/scuffed area.

    If it's not raining tomorrow I'll probably try then to bend it back.

    The one time the OEM crash bar on my '07 GSA did bend was after the bike slammed to the ground at about 25 mph when the front tire hit a small oil patch in a traffic circle. Bent the front back a little bit, but the valve cover/MAM protector never touched the ground.

    EDIT: I went back and found pics from the GSA event in 2011, and now remember that the left OEM aluminum valve cover protector did sustain road rash and was deformed enough that I couldn't realign the mount holes once it was removed. It was at that time that I replaced the OEM protectors with MAM units.

    20171118_132705.jpg
    #10
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  11. Jbrjbr21

    Jbrjbr21 Been here awhile

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    Dumped mine several times, hard, with tourtech so far just scratched.
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  12. 1Mike

    1Mike Adventurer

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    #12
  13. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    Thanks for the offer Mike, but those won't fit the AltRider bars.

    I attempted to bend the left AltRider bar back into position (downward) yesterday with limited success. I looped a 2" wide cargo strap around the center of the bottom bar, which was difficult because of the limited clearance between the bar and MAM protector. The other end of the strap was looped first around the front tow hook on the frame of my truck. Because it was 40 degrees F outside and I wasn't really sure where to apply heat from my propane torch, I didn't bother with that.

    When I leaned the bike away from the truck and the strap got tight, the total give between the truck moving forward a bit (even with its parking brake set), the truck's front suspension compressing, and the bike's suspension compressing made the whole attempt ineffectual.

    I then moved the bike and looped the other end of the strap around a 4" steel pole set in concrete on the edge of my driveway. That was a much more solid arrangement, yet the bike's suspension compressing once the lean angle away from the pole became acute still dampened the motion and limited effectiveness. If I leaned the bike too far, the right AltRider crash bar contacted the pavement when I tried to bounce the bike against the strap's hold.

    After about ten minutes of leaning/pushing/severe bouncing of the bike against the strap, the bent left AltRider bar had only moved about 2 to 3mm away from the MAM valve cover protector. It likely needs to move further for the valve cover to clear the bar for valve clearance checks, but I decided to stop there and go for a ride as the afternoon sun was fading. I'll tackle it again another day, and am open for other suggestions on trying to do this with the crash bar still on the bike.

    At one point, with the bike leaned far to the right with the strap keeping the right bar about an inch from the pavement, I stepped back and while looking at the spectacle thought "this sucks". I'll take a picture next time.
    #13
  14. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    I'm very disappointed.
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  15. canoeguy

    canoeguy Long timer

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    My GSA fell over in my gravel driveway after being parked for five minutes...Grrr. Regardless the OEM crash bar bent ever so slightly. I installed a set of the Touratech bar reinforcements the next week. It is my understanding that the bar reinforcements are what makes the bars good to go.
    #15
  16. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b Supporter

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    @jdub - Did your AltRider bars come with the center reinforcements pictured here?

    [​IMG]

    Based on his photos though, it looks lie the bars bent upwards not back so the reinforcements wouldn't have done anything to save it.

    It looks like the Touratech Reinforcements on the OEM bars is probably going to do a better job.
    #16
  17. eddie bolted

    eddie bolted BOING!!! Supporter

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    Here’s my bars after hitting a deer and sliding down the road... didn’t bend!
    DDC32D2C-FA12-4A10-863B-B2C0F8C604F4.jpeg 1623D224-CFF5-41C3-B3BF-79E324AD4CAC.jpeg
    #17
  18. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    My AltRider set up is identical to that, bars and skidplate.

    Not sure exactly what you're referring to as center reinforcement. That bolt at the top middle goes through the frame, and I've got that.

    EDIT: Looked at this pic again on my computer instead of the phone, and I assume the center reinforcement question was referring to the lower bar coming up from the skid plate mount and welded to the lower bend of the crash bar. Yep, mine's got that.
    #18
  19. oldadvtraveler

    oldadvtraveler Been here awhile

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    most disappointing to hear your feedback on the altrider crash bars and the response from the maker. I have a set of the lowers, hit the side of the deer doing about 50mph with the right lower crash bar. not as much meat as shown on the photo above but the bars thru that deer off the road like a sack of potatoes and no damage to the bars. don't know what to think about your issue.
    #19
  20. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    No crash bars on my '82 R65 for the entire 124k miles I owned it. Hit a deer once with the right cylinder/valve cover (bike didn't go down), went down and slid on the left cylinder/valve cover once after hitting a gasoline spill on the road, and a few miscellaneous drops along the way. Never any damage except the inevitable road rash, and sold the bike with the original valve covers still installed.

    A different era, etc., but funny how this newer bike with stout crash bars seems to be more fragile than that bike without any. I don't know what to think about it either.
    #20