Motorman’s Tips, Tricks and Techniques
Someone asked me recently, what’s the first accessory I should buy for my bike? I’d have to say it’s a good set of crash bars or highway bars, as some call them. These bars are designed to protect the motorcycle in a low speed (under 15mph) tip over. Since low speeds are where the great majority of tip overs occur, crash bars make a lot of sense.
I’ve also personally witnessed instances where crash bars have limited damage to the bike and rider at speeds up to 30mph where the rider over-braked the rear brake, low sided, and slid along the ground. In that type of incident, crash bars can keep the bike from laying flat on its side on top of the rider’s leg. These bars will also keep the rider from getting trapped under the bike in a parking lot tip-over and make it a lot easier to pick the bike up in that event.
Every manufacturer of these bars however, includes a disclaimer with every set sold. The disclaimer states they are not designed to protect the rider and should not be relied upon for that purpose, in other words, the usual lawyer crap. The reason for these disclaimers is mainly due to a lawsuit filed some years ago for some genius who slammed into a bus at 70mph and suffered severe injuries even though his bike was equipped with crash bars. The lawyer must have argued that a reasonable person should conclude that crash bars should prevent crashes and of course, any injury to the rider no matter how stupid he is.
In any event, I can tell you that you’re much better off with them than without them. Generally, the wider the bar, the more they protect the bike in a tip-over and if you can, get the rear crash bars as well as fronts, all the better.
The bars made by Harley which come standard with the Road King as well as the Standard bars on the Kawasaki Nomad are among the best I’ve seen. Both of these models can be dropped at parking lot speeds all day long with no damage to the bike. This fact will come in handy when practicing your low speed maneuvers and should take away your fear of taking an MSF Experienced Rider course or the Rider Skills Improvement Course that I offer. If you wrap some heater hose and duct tape them around the bottom of the bars, you won’t even have to worry about scratching them.
Along with Harley Davidson and Kawasaki, there are many after-market companies manufacturing crash bars for just about all cruisers. Cobra, M/C and Lindby immediately come to mind. All these companies bars’ offer some degree of protection.
Once you bolt a set of crash bars on your ride, it’s a good idea to gently lay the bike over onto the bars and check how well they will protect the bike. Make sure you have someone help you with this test in case you can’t lift the bike up by yourself.
Keep your head and eyes up, and look where you want to go, the bike will follow.
Get a set of Ride Like a Pro Guards today!
Remember, all it takes is a little practice. Good Luck!