Today’s sportbikes are amazing works of art that provide unbelievable performance and stunning style, in tailored suits of aerodynamic bodywork. Your hard-earned cash has just taken the form of two wheels, lightweight metal components, and a powerful motor all wrapped in sexy plastic fairings.
Ultimate Sportbike Protection
Unfortunately, these components can easily sustain damage if the motorcycle tips over or slides across the pavement. The frame, subframe, swingarm, bodywork, radiator, and engine cases can suffer catastrophic failure even during the smallest incident. Some of the most practical modifications for any shiny new (or new-to-you) sportbike are to install a few pieces of armor to protect your investment.
One of the must-have modifications for any sportbike is a set of frame sliders. They attach to the strongest point of the motorcycle (usually where the motor mounts to the frame) to help support the frame during an impact and keep the bike off of the ground. If the motorcycle goes down, the frame sliders will keep the fairings from getting ripped completely off and the frame from getting ground down and destroyed.
High-quality frame sliders, like the kits available from R&G, take the science of protection even further with the use of specialized materials. R&G conducts extensive testing with input from race teams to protect our motorcycles on both the track and the street. De-embrittled bolts are used to secure the frame sliders, so if an impact is great enough, the bolts will actually bend instead of snapping off and leaving the bike unprotected. The R&G kits are bike-specific, so the sliders are positioned far enough out that they become the first point of impact for maximum protection. The sliders themselves are made of impact-absorbing, abrasion-resistant, high-density polyethylene to handle the abuse so your bike doesn’t have to.
Engine Case Covers
The second most important product to install on any street bike are engine case covers. These covers act as armor for the motor to safeguard against damage from abrasion and impacts that could break the engine cover and/or wear a hole in the case and cause oil loss. Severe engine damage is possible even in the event of a small spill, and could prove to be a catastrophic failure. Adding covers to both sides of the motor might mean the difference between riding your bike home or getting it towed with a hefty repair bill. For even greater protection, R&G offers an AMA-approved racing series engine case cover that incorporates replaceable sliders for improved wear resistance and impact absorption.
With the most critical parts of your bike now protected, let’s look at a few other components that can be damaged during everyday use or in a spill. If there is room left in your budget, we recommend adding the following items for additional protection for you and your motorcycle.
Radiator/Oil Cooler Guards
The radiator and oil cooler on most sportbikes are positioned to achieve the most open surface area for maximum airflow. Unfortunately, the exposure of these parts means they are also susceptible to bugs, stones, and other debris. The front tire of your motorcycle gets very sticky, especially when hot, and tends to pick up “hitchhikers” and launch them directly at the fragile little cooling fins. These fins can then become embedded with debris, damaged, or even punctured by a pebble or stone. A radiator and/or oil cooler guard is a smart investment that will provide protection without diminishing your cooling efficiency. Don’t get stuck on the side of the road miles from home with a punctured radiator, an overheated motor, and a large repair bill.
In the unpleasant act of falling off your motorcycle, your foot tends to dangle dangerously close to the rear of the bike. That foot is at risk of getting pulled into the chain and sprocket, which can cause serious injury or amputation. Depending on the fall, your hands and fingers can also be at risk. The toe chain guard blocks the path of travel, to prevent the rear sprocket from pulling you in. When you consider the consequences, the toe chain guard is a no-brainer!
Check out this sweet carbon fiber toe chain guard from R&G.
Swingarm spools are a great addition to any motorcycle, because they work well for maintenance using a stand and they offer another opportunity for protection. They can work as sliders, helping to keep the swingarm, rear axle, and other rear-end components off the ground during a fall. The swingarm has an important job to do, make sure it’s safe!
All of these parts are easy-to-install, fairly simple additions to your motorcycle, but they can make a significant and lasting difference in protecting your bike and saving you the cost of expensive repairs. To find the specific products that will fit your bike model, check out our Street Bike Protection Page. Happy motoring!