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AltRider's Crash Test

Oct 03, 2013 // The AltRider Garage //

While putting a bike down at high speed is never a good thing, sometimes it can have a silver lining.  AltRider’s own BMW R 1200 GSW was recently high-sided on a hard-pack gravel logging road at approximately 65 mph. The bike hit the ground going around 50 mph. Luckily the bike was equipped with AltRider crash bars. The crash allowed AltRider to evaluate the effectiveness of the crash bars in a real world wreck. 

At over 500 pounds fully-fueled, the R 1200 GSW hits the ground with a large amount of force in a crash. One of the challenges in designing crash bars is finding a balance between protection, weight and style. The decision to change AltRider’s crash bars from 1” (2.5 cm) to 1.25” (3.2 cm) tubing adds only 30% more weight, while effectively doubling the strength of the bars. These design elements saved the bike from any major damage.

Here are some pictures of the outcome. Click each picture for a larger version. 

Side overview

The crash bars took the brunt of the impact – the only damage to the cylinder head is superficial scratches from the uneven road surface.

lock ejected

The impact was so violent it actually ejected the lock cylinder out from under the seat. Even the rubber cap on the telelever fork union came winging off from the force of the impact. The 1.25” bars did an amazing job in such a powerful crash.

mirror and bar

The geometry of the crash bars completely protected the handlebars and front fairings. You can see some blemishes on the mirror where it lightly touched the ground - note that the bar end wasn’t chewed up as is typical in this kind of crash. 

fairing and windshield side fairing

No damage to the fairings or windshield.

crash bars front

Scratched Bars fixed

The 1.25” stainless steel tubing suffered some scratches and slight dimpling, but the bars didn’t bend at all.

Front Mount Rear Mount

The crash bars owe much of their strength to robust mounting points. AltRider has the only design on the market to utilize two bolts on the front mount. The rear mount was designed to remain as close as possible to the tubing in order to reduce leverage on the tab from an impact. Both tabs are laser-cut from 3/16” (4.8 mm) stainless steel.

rear diff

Sadly the rear differential also impacted the ground, resulting in some scrapes. However the bike was still completely rideable – no mechanical damage or harm to the controls. In fact, after the wreck the bike was ridden over 50 miles back to the AltRider shop to get these pictures. We’re also happy to report that other than a few bruises, the rider is just fine.

While all crashes are different, this is a strong demonstration of the protection that the AltRider design offers.  The 1.25” bars really proved their worth by hardly flexing under tremendous load. Without them, the bike surely would have taken major body and engine damage. Click here to pick up your set of crash bars today.


2 and counting...

3050.garage_profile // Oct 03, 2013
Im glad to here the rider is fine. Do you think it will be worthwhile to add one of those protective pucks to the rear differential.
17395.garage_profile // Oct 03, 2013
A rear frame slider would have helped in this situation. However this crash was pretty violent - most crashes will be at slower speed with less impact energy.

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