Engine guards aka crash bars are one of the protective components installed by several riders in their motorcycles. While installing engine guards is an optional choice available for the rider, some cruiser bikes come with engine guards or recommend it, many don’t.
Are motorcycle engine guards worth it? Engine guards protect the engine and its components from damages during accidents and motorcycle falling. They even protect the rider’s legs in certain low speed accidents. In addition, they provide extra space to put legs on and improve the overall aesthetics of the bike.
Motorcycle Engine Guards – What Is It?
Engine guards are hoop shaped bars usually mounted on motorcycle frames at the front in order to protect the engine mainly and also to protect the rider for bike accidents at slower speeds.
Engine guards are also called as ‘Crash Bars’. The main utility of these crash bars is to protect the legs of the bike rider whenever the motorcycle falls down at slow speed. In such instances, the cash bars will hit the ground and will protect the rider’s legs from getting stuck between the motorcycle and the ground.
However, the crash bars or engine guards, do not guarantee the safety at all accidents, specially when the motorcycle is traveling at high speeds of more than 40 mph.
In short, engine guards or crash bars are hoop shaped bars mounted on motorcycle frame to protect the engine as well as to protect the rider’s legs to an extent, when met with an accident.
Do Motorcycle Engine Guards Work?
Now, that we know why motorcycle engine guards are used in motorcycles, it is time to discuss do motorcycle engine guards work or not.
The reason why engine guards are used because – i) to protect the engine; and ii) to protect the rider’s legs in certain low speed accidents.
Protecting the Engine
Next, the question that arises is do engine guards protect the motorcycle engine? Engine guards do protect the motorcycle engine quite satisfactorily. For any kind of bike tip overs, low speed accidents, and even some high speed falling down of the bike, engine guards protect the engine from the impact.
The engine guards are designed to take the load and flex enough to absorb the impact and protect the engine components of the motorcycle. However, the engine guards might eventually give up when involved in a high speed crash where the impact is too much.
Protecting the Rider
Next, do engine guards protect the rider’s legs most of the time? This is a debatable topic among the motorcycle riders’ community. While engine guards do protect the rider’s legs from getting crushed under the motorcycle weight in low speed bike accidents.
However, in high speed crashes, where the rider is thrown off the motorcycle, there is no protection provided by the engine guards. In addition, if the impact is too high, the bars might give up due to the extreme load and can worsen the impact.
But, one thing to keep in mind is that, in high speed crashes, even without engine guards, the crash is always fatal for the bike rider. Having or not having engine guards does not make much difference.
On the other hand, for low speed accidents and motorcycle falling down, engine guards make a huge difference in protecting the rider from getting crushed under the motorcycle weight.
The engine guards will be the first to hit the ground and provides enough room for the rider’s legs to breathe between the ground and the bike. In the absence of the engine guards, the leg would have been crushed by the bike’s impact on the ground.
What Are Engine Guards Made Up Of
Engine guards are made up of one of these three materials – Aluminium, Stainless Steel, and Mild Steel.
There are pros and cons associated with all these three materials. Aluminium, while lighter out of all the three, is not strong as the steels. Plus, its harder to work for the manufacturer and can be expensive. But aluminium doesn’t rust.
Stainless Steel, for that matter, also doesn’t rust and can be used in corrosive environments. But the main drawback of stainless steel is it is brittle. Why is that important? Engine guards has to bend a little and should be able to take the load when hit with an impact.
A brittle material might take some load and then suddenly let go all at once. Also, brittle materials are subjected to cracking from engine vibrations. That’s why stainless steel is not the popular choice for the engine guard.
With aluminium lacking strength and stainless steel being too brittle, mild steel is the popular choice of material for manufacturing engine guards. In addition, mild steel is inexpensive, it is easy to work with, and it can be made to flex right enough when faced with impact.
For these reasons, mild steel is the popular choice of material for the engine guards.
Advantages Of Engine Guards
First, as mentioned in the previous sections, engine guards serve two functionalities. They protect the engine as well the rider’s legs in low speed accidents and bike fall overs.
While protecting the rider is not always a given, it still improves the safety factor and can even make a huge difference in certain accidents and crashes.
Any falling over of the bike, the engine guards will be the first to come in contact with the ground and will absorb the load and impact. The engine will be secure and there won’t be much cost involved for bike repair after the accident.
Second, as an extension of the first advantage, engine guards enhance the safety, protection and prevents repair cost for the motorcycle.
This additional layer of safety for both the rider and the bike, will go a long way in saving the cost as well as enhancing the life of the motorcycle.
Third, engine guards are a great place to mount highway pegs. It gives you an extra space to put your feet on, especially when you are going for a long ride. Adding highway pegs to the motorcycle will be easier once you have an already fixed engine guard.
Highway pegs are of course just a matter of personal preference. Some bike riders love it, and some riders are not into it. But if you are someone who loves to for long rides on your motorcycles, you might like highway pegs installed so that you can stretch your legs in those long rides.
Lastly, engine guards will provide that cool and rugged look to your motorcycle. The enhanced and improved aesthetics makes the bike look much more attractive than without the engine guards.
Disadvantages Of Engine Guards
Coming to the disadvantages, the main problem that can arise because of engine guards can be during high speed motorcycle crashes.
If the impact is too high on the engine guards in a high speed accident, the engine guards might give up and buckle down, thereby affecting the frame.
Also, if the engine guards fail, they will add more pressure to the rider’s legs if the rider stuck under the motorcycle weight. A bad crash can be hazardous and engine guards in place of reducing the impact and adding safety might do the opposite.
However, you need to keep in mind, in bad crashes, even without the engine guards, the damage will be high. And there is no strong evidence that points out engine guards will actually worsen the damages.
Still, it is better to be aware of the non-functionality of engine guards during such bad crashes. In the worst case, the engine guard might fail and gets bent and can aid in putting more pressure on the rider’s leg.
However, this disadvantage is far outweighed by the fact that even in such times, engine guard allows you some time to get your leg out before the guard collapses. Without the guard, there wont be enough time before the leg gets crushed.
Are Engine Guards Necessary?
Engine guards are not mandatory and as such, you don’t have to install it necessarily. However, engine guards will protect the engine and can save lots of potential damages which could affect the engine drastically.
To improve the safety and reduce the damages to the engine and its components, you can install the engine guards to your motorcycle.
If you want to enhance the safety of your motorcycle, make your engine more protected from the damages it might be subjected to, and also improve the rider’s safety for certain type of accidents at low speeds, then have engine guards in your bike can be an useful addition.
Engine guards protect the engine from lots of potential damages and can save you money for its repair if subjected to accidents.
In addition, during certain low speed accidents and bike falling over situations, engine guards can save the rider from facing fatal injuries.
Also, engine guards make your motorcycle look cool and improves the overall aesthetics. Not to mention, the comfort factor it provides and the option to install highway pegs for your long rides.
To conclude, engine guards can be a valuable addition to your motorcycle which along with aesthetics will also improve safety, protection and comfort of your motorcycle.