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Thread: Engine Guards / Highway bars

  1. #1
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Engine Guards / Highway bars

    I have big bars on the front of my 1992 Harley Softail. I am not sure whether these are considered engine guards or highway bars. But either way, I am thinking of taking them off. There were also some on the back that were removed by the prior owner along with the saddle bags.

    Another friend recommended adding an engine guard to my Versys 650 which I have not done.

    In another thread Shadow Shack commented that the Hurt report provided some evidence that these cause as many or more injuries than they prevent and can sometimes cause damage to the bike. I have also heard that.

    But as a newbie, I probably have some set downs in my future.

    Opinions as to whether these are worthwhile either as a rider or bike protector?

    Would it make a difference if I was going to do some back road riding on the Versys. It is not really designed for that and if I do that kind of riding, I will probably use the DRZ or KLX. But if my son and I go on a longer range adventure ride, the KLX might be a little small so we might take the DRZ and the Versys. I would think the Versys would be at risk of set downs on dirt roads due to poor traction and limited rider skill. Would an engine guard be a good idea for that kind of riding?

  2. #2
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    "Engine guards" are generally very good at preventing damage in a set-down. Whether they are a good idea in a real crash is not clear. As you noted, the Hurt Report indicates connection with increased rider injury. Particularly foot and leg damage. The issues are that the "guard" may not be strong enough to support the bike during a crash and slide (some are) and that the guard can catch on pavement and ground irregularities while sliding and cause the bike to flip. There are pretty good arguments on both sides regarding crash protection.

    For most bikes, low speed drops will cause only cosmetic damage, so the need for engine guards is limited. The exception is most clear for bikes which have vulnerable water pumps. Some of these have covers which are quite readily cracked. On other bikes, the engine side covers may well be sturdy enough to prevent problems from a low speed drop. For motorcycles used in road racing, reinforced covers and part-specific guards are available. Since the powerplant used in the Versys is structurally identical to that from the Ninja 650, reinforced covers may be a good option.

  3. #3
    Contributor We've stopped counting... Bugguts's Avatar
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    I'll add..depends on your engine configuration. I added engine guards to the Guzzi because I felt she was vulnerable if I dropped her because of her engine configuration. And...I found that gave me some peace of mind that she was better protected against an 'ooopsie'.
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  4. #4
    RiderCoach 1000 Posts! lionlady's Avatar
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    A consideration regarding engine or "drop guards," is the added weight. Some of these are quite heavy and in themselves (to my mind, at least) could cause tipover issues. You gotta decide which is more important.
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  5. #5
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! Sorg67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lionlady View Post
    A consideration regarding engine or "drop guards," is the added weight. Some of these are quite heavy and in themselves (to my mind, at least) could cause tipover issues. You gotta decide which is more important.
    Yes I am a less is more guy too. I feel like the burden of proof is on more. Absent a compelling case, keep it simple.

  6. #6
    Hated mine on my Airhead but put them painted them black and put them back on seeing I'm still a newbie in my mind. No joke but not more than 3 days later I accidentally popped my clutch in first standing still and dropped the bike lightly. Just a scratch on the new black paint and not my cylinder. They will stay on as much as I like the look without them.

  7. #7
    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! Shadow Shack's Avatar
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    When speaking of cruiser bars, for the most part they tend to be good for low speed oopsies but turn into bear traps at higher speeds. They just don't make them like they used to, it's as if they use copper tubing prior to plating them.

    My 95 Vulcan had a Kawasaki Fire & Steel mini-guard, it folded during a 45mph drop and pinned my foot to the peg and dragged me along for the rest of the ride like a rag doll. Mind you that was back before everyone was farming out everything to China so I can't see them being improved upon since then.
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  8. #8
    My experience with engine guards on BMW oilheads and wet heads is they are a very very good idea. On Harleys they give you some place to mount the highways pegs. On other more conventional bikes ... meh.
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