Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crash bars look good on Royal Enfields, but not mine

Diamond Engine Bar, available at Nfield Gear.
You see a lot of these on Royal Enfield motorcycles. Motorcyclists around here call them "crash bars," but probably not too many think of them as something that would really protect the rider in an accident.

Royal Enfield USA sells them as "engine guards" on its Nfield Gear site. They "protect your engine from damage in the event of a fall over..."

For motorcycles that are too heavy to pick up once they go all the way down, anything to prevent that probably makes sense. I vividly recall standing completely still astride my brother's big Kawasaki and feeling it gently but inexorably slipping sideways from my grip. Mercifully I was standing next to a large boulder that provided  a resting place part of the way down.

Engine guards make sense for motorcycles that must park on city streets, where the odds of being bumped over are substantial.

Still, for most motorcyclists, engine guards are probably just one more shiny thing they can put on the motorcycle. The bars may not add much practical value but they do offer this advantage: they give you a place to attach even more shiny things.

They're not for my Bullet, though. Yes, I've heard the warnings that in an actual crash they can bend, pinning the rider's leg to the motorcycle. I've never seen that happen, but it is not a happy thought.

Here is an experience I did have. Years ago I had a storage room on the back of the house. It fell into disarray and was so crowded I could no longer get in to find anything. Disgusted, I reached in, picked up the female end of a heavy duty extension cord, and began walking into the yard.

The extension cord unwound, roping a lawn chair, the arm of which caught a table, the edge of which collected a shovel, the blade of which pushed a whatnot into a whatchamacallit, the lip of which hooked a thingamajig that brought with it a shelf full of everything else.

I kept walking. By the time I reached the fence, the storage room was mostly empty. Its contents, wound in electrical cords, ropes and garden hose, were spread across the back yard, ready to be reorganized.

That's my fear: that the engine bars will snag a bumper in traffic or a towing ball in a parking lot, and down I will go.

If it could happen it would happen, and I would feel very silly.


  1. Anonymous6/20/2012

    This is my first time posting here. Firstly thanks for the great website.
    I have used Enfields with crash bars for years and they are never a problem. Not even in very heavy traffic in India. Most of these are not much wider than the handlebars if at all.
    They are of no use in an accident as you fall off the bike anyway but may save the paint job in a parking lot tip over.

    1. Anonymous6/20/2012

      Greetings Blasco , I awfully glad that you have decided not to fit the ruddy things , a chap with your ability could do a lot of ruddy damage to small animals and passers-by , don't yer know .
      Not to mention snapping himself orf at the knees in a high speed frontal crash .
      Methinks they are the 2nd most useless piece of nonsense to be bolted to a motorcycle since the Triumph tank mounted "parcel rack", which was responsible for many a Triumph rider leaving his genitals behind as he flew over the handlebars - just so !
      Your servant
      Maj Bunty Golightly MBH , Defender of the Kickstart.

    2. the real Maj Bunty Golightly or someone impersonating him?

    3. Oh, that's him alright. The Major always treats me like a buck private. At best.

  2. I've considered them, because I think I could attach some leather to them to block the wind when it's cold out. I don't know how well that would hold up, but I've seen such a thing for sale on "cruiser" websites. Having it might encourage me to ride when the temperature drops below 40F.


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