Crashing a bike is expensive business. So expensive, in fact, that you could probably “total” most new sportbikes simply by tipping them over in the garage. But, for a few bucks, you can easily add protection parts that should keep it safe even in the event of a fairly significant crash. Here’s how.
Now, all motorcycles are a little different. While a big ADV bike is going to benefit from huge engine bars and aluminum panniers, those parts wouldn’t fit on a Panigale and, even if they did, they’d look pretty stupid. Let’s go through some of the most common add-on protection parts for road-going motorcycles and examine how they safeguard your bike.
The most common protection part for street bikes, frame sliders attach to a motorcycle’s frame, engine block or both with sturdy bolts. Typically made from nylon, the sliders do what the name suggests — they protrude enough that they’re the first part to touch down in a fall, then they’re designed to slide freely along the road surface. Bikes experience more extreme damage when they grip the road and flip over. Your protection plan should start here if you ride a sportbike, naked, sport tourer, tourer or similar road bike.
Like “Kleenex” is used to describe all brands of facial tissue, “Barkbusters” is a specific brand of lever/hand protection products that ends up denoting all such items. Basically, a sturdy aluminum bar bolts to a new bar end weight on the outside, then clamps to the bar on the inside. This may be supplemented by a plastic plate designed to expand the area of coverage (these are killer wind deflectors for winter riding). The idea is to keep your levers from being broken in a crash. Broken levers equal an unrideable bike, so that’s a good idea. Because they is some give in the bar where it clamps onto the handlebars on the inside, it can absorb energy in a crash, possibly saving your bars from being bent or broken too. These typically fit any motorcycle with flat handlebars, but check the specs of the product against your bike to make sure. As good an idea on the road as they are off.
Aftermarket rearsets allow you to alter the position of your motorcycle’s footpegs. Any stock motorcycle should only be considered an ergonomic starting point, so these help there, but many rearsets also come with strong pegs that don’t fold up. Those work as auxiliary frame sliders, helping to keep the swingarm and bellypan off the ground.
Front Axle Sliders
These pass through the front axle, providing sliders for the front forks and brakes. The added protection isn’t as significant as frame sliders or rearsets or Bark Busters, so start with those first and add these after.
Same goes for these, but they double as mounting points for a paddock stand, making it easy to lift your rear wheel to change it or adjust the chain. Added protection is fairly minimal compared to other items on this list.
Aftermarket generator/clutch/crank covers made from billet aluminum or even composite nylon are tougher than stock cast aluminum items, resisting wear. You won’t put a hole through one of these but they’ll do little to protect the rest of your bike.