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Engine protection bar thoughts and suggestions?


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I'm about to receive my 2016 RT, an upgrade from my 2013 800GT, and I'm wondering if I should install cylinder head/side case protection bars, and if so, which ones?


I'm not looking to convert the RT into a GS, and (knocking on wooden head) have never dropped my bike. I also don't want to do too much that disrupts the sleek lines on the RT.


But I see so many pictures of RT's with crash bars installed, that I wonder if I would be stupid not to protect my investment.


So, unscientific survey - Do you have bars? If so what type? And, have they ever been put to the test?



John in Bellingham, WA USA

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I do not have the crash bars. I do however have the valve cover protection. I've never downed my bike while actually moving, but have dropped my bike a few times. It's new to me, so I'm getting acquainted with the top heavy nature of not liking slow speeds.


I wish I could say exactly what brand they are, but I don't know.


James L

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I've never been a fan of big crash bars and never had any on the 5 RTs I've owned over the years. That could be stupid :) but I have insurance against bike damage, although it's true that big crash bars could save a rider's foot/leg in a low-side drop. Then again, the cylinder heads and the side cases offer some leg protection. I've had one m/c crash in my life, back in 1977 (days of inexperienced youth) on my Honda CB550K, a low-speed low-side on wet leaves... I'm hoping that incident met my quota (lots of wood knocking). If I rode a GS off-road it definitely would be stupid not to have big bars of some kind.


Anyway, I've always found BMW's own valve cover protectors to be enough for me in case I drop the bike in the garage or something someday. For the wetheads they've gone to a heavy steel design with thick rubber pads between the steel and the valve cover. I think they'll protect the most vulnerable lower half of the heads while still looking good.



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I have the machinemotoart covers and they are really nice.

They are cylinder head covers that are well made and look nice.

Almost all my drops on previous bikes have been tip overs at standstill. I hope I do not drop this bike.


If you want somekind of highway pegs you may have to install crash guards like the ilium, wunderlich, touratec and ztechnik brand.


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I have wunderlich bars on my 08 RT and they are just OK. they touched the fairing in places. I have a white 2017 RT on order and am looking at the Heeds bars from Poland. They get great reviews from the folks across the pond and are priced super.


They come in silver and black...I think the black would look just right on the white RT.





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I went with the Illium Works bars. My thoughts are that I wanted something to protect the jugs from a drop. And it's where I decided I want the Clearwater Darla's mounted. I liked the Illium's better because they looked sturdy and mounted right to some existing bolt holes on the engine itself. I plan on adding the new Illium bag bars to protect the bags.


If you don't think the Illiums will work, watch this video:

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I have Wunderlich front and rear, and they were Wunderlich only because they were bought originally for my '14 RT, and Wunderlich was the only brand that had bars at the time. Do you need them? For that answer, you have to ask yourself if you will ever drop your bike? These bars aren't really for protection in a crash at speed, but for a stand-still drops. Head protector is a less expensive solution, but if you drop your bike, they will be damaged, and you will want to replace them, but more important to you is the fact that in the drop, your pannier will hit the ground, and that's a repaint job right there! The rear bar will protect against that situation.


If you want to get crash bars, which brand should you get? Most of the consideration will be costs and aesthetic! Personally, I like the Ztechnik front bar. I don't really care for the appearance of either of the two brands of rear bars on the market (Wunderlich and Illlium), but I guess for appearance, I do like the Wunderlich, and for very easy on/off, I like the Illium. Just MY tastes! Oh, BTW, I hate the Wunderlich front bars! I do all the maintenance works on the RT myself, and you have to loosen up or remove the Wunderlich front bars to get the valve cover off! It's enough of a pain that I am very tempted to dump the Wunderlich front bars that I have for a new set of Ztechnik!

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I have the ztechnik guards I liked how close they fit to the engine bought primarily so I could have highway pegs. The left side guard did not fit so I had to add a plate to attach the upper screw. A call to national cycle proved to be worthless so be aware.

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I have the Ilium crash guards on my 2015 RT and like the looks of the bars. More importantly, I like the security of knowing that if the bike is dropped the heads and bike will be protected. I have not dropped my RT, but did drop the GT I previously owned. It's amazing how easily a bike will go down. A simple situation where you start to move off and then put on the brakes because a car comes out can mean a dropped bike if the wheel is turned at all.


Also looking to get the Ilium bag guards now that they are available. Never could get over the look of the Wunderlich guards, and the fact they didn't work for a pillion. And really did not like the look if you took the bags off. The Ilium guards are easy to remove while providing protection.


I have insurance, but would rather avoid a claim with reasonable precautions. Besides, I don't want to be without the bike while they fix it.


In the end, you have to balance your view of the risks and the appearance and make your own choice. Each of us will strike a different balance. For me, it was an easy choice.

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I've never been a fan of big crash bars...Anyway, I've always found BMW's own valve cover protectors to be enough for me in case I drop the bike in the garage or something someday. For the wetheads they've gone to a heavy steel design with thick rubber pads between the steel and the valve cover. I think they'll protect the most vulnerable lower half of the heads while still looking good.


I have the same BMW protectors on and they look good and are well made and will protect in the event of a low/no speed drop. As well I installed BMW's side case stick-on bumpers. They look great, like they belong, were not expensive, and will hit the ground first in the event of a low/no speed drop. The only justification I can see for tubular engine bars are if you need a place to hang other stuff. I have three count 'em 3 loud horns on my '16 RT and mounting those was simple using the two nice strong holes I think that are there for mounting a BMW light bar on--easy peasy piece of strap zinc plated pre-drilled iron bars so each of two horns hangs on one strap, and the 3rd horn lives where the OEM meeper used to live--it was replaced w/ Denali Sound Bomb Mini. The horn is really loud, and w/ three discordant tones works!


Low/no speed drops are prevented (yes, knocking on the wooden table next to me) by staying fully in the present and utilizing smart low speed handling techniques. But sheet does happen as did on my F800GT a year ago. I had changed riding boots to some TCX that had a much taller toe box. As I was coasting into my garage I did a very stupid thing which I'd gotten away with for 16K miles and that was to coast in neutral w/ the engine off WITHOUT having the clutch lever pulled. As I was slowing to a nice controlled stop I had the front wheel turned as I always do to get to 90 degrees in my garage when all of a sudden, because of the new boots, I accidentally dropped it into 1st, whereupon she went down in a virtual instant. Had I just had the clutch pulled this wouldn't have happened. Plus, my bad for having the steering turn as I was slowing to a stop though this was my practice 100's of times previously.

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