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An Inside Look: AltRider Crash Bars for the Honda Africa Twin

Aug 30, 2016 // AltRider Videos //

Take an inside look at AltRider Crash Bars for the new Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin. This off-road oriented adventure motorcycle is ready to tackle trails, tour the world or escape for a weekend of moto camping, but no ADV bike is complete without a set of crash bars to protect the engine, plastics and other vital components. Get a glimpse into all the processes and decisions that go into making an AltRider product with this in depth video on the AltRider Crash Bars for the Honda Africa Twin.




A quality crash bar should always offer as much protection as possible to the critical parts of your bike by providing multiple points of contact in a crash or tip over scenario to allow the distribution of that impact to as many locations as possible. This approach will lessen the loads to any one part of the bike.

Our protection solution for the new Honda Africa Twin is both comprehensive and customizable to your needs. We made the system in 3 parts; the lower crash bar, which will take the first hit in a tip over or low-side crash, upper bars which offer full coverage to the vulnerable radiator and the expensive plastics up high on the bike, and finally a sturdy reinforcement bar which strengthens the system by tying the upper and lower bars together. This again allows for distribution of load during large impacts which are inevitable with very capable but heavy off road bikes.

Unlike other designs on the market we worked hard to ensure the lower bars stay out of the way of the rider while still providing excellent protection. The lower bars have a large contact plane when the bike is on its side, this spreads impacts to the mounting points. The tight engine and frame configuration along with the desire for good ergonomics were the main reason to use 1.25 inch diameter tube which is twice as strong as 1 inch bars.

Honda’s clever and patented air box location means the radiator is up higher and further forward than on your typical ADV bike. As you can see, the upper bars completely protect the radiator and fairings on both sides. The upper bars also connect in the center under the ‘nose’ of the bike, ensuring load can be transferred to the other side, as well this creates locations for mounting auxiliary light systems.

The reinforcement bar ties the upper and lower bars together, making a roll-cage like structure which is engineered to survive the most brutal off road crashes.



One of our design axioms is “Your protection is only as good as its mounting points or system”.  You’ll see this thinking throughout the design of this crash bar solution. We take full advantage of the frame rails and other solid mounting points to mount the crash bar system to the bike.  

For the lower crash bars, we mount in-board of the right foot peg.  This location was not easy to ‘get to’ from an engineering point of view, but it was the best place to mount the system. You’ll see many solutions on the market that feature very tight bends at this location. The problem is once a tube has a tight bend in it, it looses its strength. The lower bar will often be the first point of contact in a crash, therefore it’s important to maintain a strong design. We also explored clamping the frame, but under the loads created during crashes any clamp design would eventually begin to move and fail. Our tight manufacturing tolerances enabled us to make a strong 4.8 MM thick flange solution which will receive and transfer impact directly to the lower frame, channeling that stress away from the motor. Up front the bars will mount via 4.8 MM thick stainless steel brackets which bolt directly to the bike frame.

Another important aspect of mounting which often gets overlooked is hardware selection and thread engagement. When evaluating protection choices, be aware that mounts using a single M8 or a long piece of flat bar will not have much strength in a crash and are likely to deform or fail. These kinds of solutions may not even protect during the first crash let alone many adventures. Another major concern is a slip-fit bracket design which has slots for the hardware instead of a through bolted. The direction of impact from most crashes will begin to move this bracket out of position because it is not through bolted. Each time the mount moves it weakens the bar’s ability to protect and save your bike. This same slip-fit design uses an OEM bolt which isn’t long enough after installation for full thread engagement. You will see the nut is only half threaded, this is a risk we would not take with our design. We use 3/16” stainless steel for the mounting brackets which tie to the frame, and we provide stainless steel M10 and M8 hardware to properly bolt those mounting points. The center connection uses four M6 bolts to attach to the front sub-frame, as well as the headstock of the frame, ensuring a very solid connection to the frame of the motorcycle.  



Ergonomics are one of the most important aspects of ADV riding or of any type of riding at all.  When we design our products we always evaluate everything from the rider’s perspective. Our crash bars stay out of your way. Down low on the right side, you won’t have to worry about boot contact with our crash bars unlike many of the solutions we’ve seen available. The system is designed to be ridden comfortably in both seated and standing position in any terrain.  



As with all of AltRider’s crash bar products, these are made in the USA from 304 stainless steel. Our bars feature hand-TIG welds, and 3D CNC laser cut copes. All of the bending is CNC mandrel bent to avoid the tube collapsing yielding the greatest strength.

We used inch-and-a-quarter tube for the lower crash bar since this will be the foundation of protection. Inch-and-a-quarter-tube yields double the strength of 1”, and with only a 10 percent increase in weight.

The upper bars and reinforcement bars are made from 1” tube with the same .083” wall thickness, the thickest in the industry.  Check out the AltRider website to see what colors and kits are available.



3 and counting...

guest // Aug 31, 2016
Just to clarify. The 'crash bar system' includes both upper and lower crash bars with installation brackets and the reinforcement bar?
19659.garage_profile // Aug 31, 2016
Hello Craig- Yes, that is correct, the full crash bar system includes all pieces
guest // Aug 07, 2017
Will your crash bars fit my Africa Twin with a Black Dog Cycle Works skid plate installed?

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