How to protect your bike from damage in a crash

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The thought of ever damaging your bike can be enough to turn your stomach, which is why plenty of us choose to lavish them with crash protection. Made from tough nylon, crash protection is designed to keep your bike’s expensive – and often hard to replace – plastic and metal bits from hitting the ground. Check out what’s available for your bike.

Most crash protection can be fitted at home with just a basic toolkit so there’s no need to worry about expensive labour costs, either.

Save swingers and suspension

Fitting a rear spindle bobbin

It’s not just bodywork and engine casings that benefit from protection, forks and swingarms can potentially be saved too via the use of spindle sliders. These are simple to fit – it’s just a case of slotting the supplied threaded rod into the spindle and then adding a sturdy nylon slider to each side. They are secured at both ends by a nylock-type nut. Best of all, some of these double up as bobbins for paddock stands.

Bruce’s tip: Make sure that the threads protrude through the nylock nut both ends.

Assess what you’ve got

Motorcycle crash protection bolts

Back to the engine covers – lay the kit out and identify which cover goes on which side and orientate it correctly; these R&G covers make it easy because the logo indicates which way up they go. Next, have a good look at the supplied bolts and reference the fitting instructions to work out how they will fit to the original engine case.

Bruce’s tip: Work on one side of the engine at a time.

Place on top

R&G crash protection cover

In most cases, you’ll need to remove some of the standard bolts from the bike’s engine cover – it’s very important that you reference the instructions to work out which particular ones you should remove. Carefully extract the correct bolts and then place the protective cover over the top of the engine casing and line up the holes.

Secure and protected

Using a torque wrench to fit motorbike crash protection

Insert the supplied bolts – you’ll notice that they are longer than the standard items and this is because they need to accommodate the cover. Firmly tighten each bolt by hand evenly, then torque them to the settings indicated in the fitting instructions.

Bruce’s tip: Keep the original bolts in a safe place so you can return the bike to stock.

Take a bung

Using a spanner to fit motorcycle crash protection

Sometimes referred to as crash bungs or mushrooms, these fit via the engine mounts. They will be sided and may have different shaped brackets for each side, as well as varied length bolts. Install as per the manufacturer’s instructions and torque to spec.

Bar-end beauties

Fitting a bar end weight

If you only ride on the road then some extra-robust bar-end weights can be fitted, or if you intend to do motorbike trackdays you will need a front brake lever guard. First of all, remove the original bar end weight – on most bikes these are retained by an Allen bolt.

Bruce’s tip: Guards stop the brake being accidentally applied.

Lever under lock

Fitting a lever guard

Fit the lever guard making sure that bolt and spacers are correctly located. The clearance between the guard and throttle tube is minimal, so any error could cause the throttle to bind. There is often a shaped step to help locate the guard or bar-end weight.

Bruce’s tip: You can protect the clutch lever too for extra safety.

Check the throttle

Checking that the throttle still operates

Tighten the lever guard and make sure it is in the correct position – the shroud part should cover the end of the lever, but at the same time should have sufficient clearance for normal operation. Torque up then check the throttle operation hasn’t been affected.

Don’t forget the radiator

Motorcycle radiator guard

Installed over the standard part, it prevents stones and road debris from puncturing the radiator. First, install the supplied foam dampers to the radiator, these will help prevent chaffing or rubbing. Then, install the cover using the bolts that secure the unit.

Get the reel deal

Counterfeit Evotech crash protection

Lots of biking brands have been targeted by counterfeiters, but British crash protection and accessory specialists Evotech Performance and GBRacing have had more than their fair share of products ripped off by fraudsters. Sold online via third party marketplace websites, the fake protectors appear at face value to be exact copies of the real thing but at a fraction of the price.

Yet, far from being a bargain, these hooky products are at best poor quality and at worst downright damaging for your bike – and what’s the point of fitting protection that does more harm than good? 

Another benefit of buying the real deal is that often they have link ups with motorbike insurers, meaning that in the event of a crash, your damaged protectors will get replaced free of charge. For example, all R&G products are covered with BeMoto policies.

Bruce Dunn

By Bruce Dunn

Datalogger, professionally testing bikes for over 25 years.