I'm buying an Africa Twin. I'm doing this because I think I can count on it to not only get me into the middle of nowhere (with a smile on my face) - but to get me back out again too (otherwsie I would take the 'busa). So, now that I've made that decision my mind has turned to how to protect the machine that I've chosen to entirely depend upon. There's no point buying a capable adventure machine with a reliable engine if it's just going to break the first time I drop it on a rock in the middle of nowhere (and I will drop it on a rock - again and again). So I've been spending some time considering drop protection and I thought I'd share my thoughts in the hope it will help me clarify them. Questions, finger pointing, laughing and constructive crticism all encouraged chaps - it's all fun to me! Warning - this will probably get long and won't be funny. If you're not bored or have a life, bail... now! First off a definition of "drop". I'm not talking "crash" here (although we all use the term). I'm talking stationary drops and low speed short slides. Anything high speed or that can truly be called a "crash" will likely leave me with the need for both medical and mechanical rescue anyway so I'm not considering it. There's just too many variables and possible scenarios down that rabbit hole. So eyes up, thinking positive and being pragmatic. My requirements, that I expected would be simple are (in priority order): 1. Should be strong, well mounted and protect the bike 2. Should not intefere with the bike (big boot room, out of the way when standing up on the pegs etc.) 3. Should weigh less than the bike 4. Should cost less than the bike 4. Should look ok The players in the game, so far, seem to be: Outback Motortek SW Motech Rugged Roads Alt Rider Heed Hepco & Becker B&B Givi And the critical areas I think I should be considering are (top to bottom): 1. Handle Bars & Hand Protectors 2. Faring Guards 3. Crash Bars 4. Engine Guards 5. Bash/Skid Plate Some of my thoughts so far (read probable misconceptions - I'm not trying to teach anyone anything here): 1. When dropped the handle bars will almost always hit the ground and will often take the hardest hit - so a good strong set of handle bars and metal reinfoced hand protectors is critical to protect the levers (clutch and brakes are useful for getting home). Currently don't know enough about handle bars yet (or if they need to be upgraded) but I'm leaning towards a decent set of reinforced two point mounted BarkBusters for now. 2. Faring guards. Well I dont need plastics to get me home - but I do need radiators! The as of yet unanswered question is how best to protect those. My suspicion is that a decent set of mid level bars will be just fine for that (all the way up faring guards will probably not offer much more protection to anything other than plastics but will add cost and weight - mid level crash bars combined with decent hand protectors will hopefully do the job). 3. Crash bars (that I'm defining as mid level bars like SW Motech or Outback Motortek standard bars) are only as strong as their mounts. I've read and heard this many times and I agree entirely so keeping an eye out for mounting points.... though I'm not entirely sure I want the full force of a drop transferred directly into my frame. Do I want the bars to give a bit? Do I actually want the weak point to be somewhere other than the frame? I can replace a broken set of protectors (that took "most" of the impact) but I can't replace the frame. I've had the same issue with sliders on my sports bikes..... but I still said thank you to them when I picked up the 'busa after an incident while cleaning it and the plastics were intact - no conclusions to be drawn on this point - just something in my mind as I think about things - a failed bar most likely means a broken "whatever it was supposed to be protecting" anyway. 4. Engine casings. Possibly made from gold tin foil on the Twin. Seriously though - so fragile and so exposed. Crash bars will mean nothing if the engine casings are spewing the bikes life blood out into the wilds - and there will certainly be no getting home. What if a drop is not on flat ground? Almost all crash bar solutions will reliably keep your plastics and casing off of the flat road, grass, mud or even gravel.... but come on folks - we take these things to places where the ground is not flat. I mean... just look at this... flat ground and game over... ride done... the mighty Africa Twin defeated by a pebble !!!! This is proving to be the hardest thing to tick off and its bothering me. I can feel the little pointy rock or rocky bank just waiting for me to fall on it. Am I alone? This B&B kit obviously does the trick - but... Mad Max? Running Man? So... where I'm at... I can cover this all off with good hand guards, good mid level crash bars, engine casing protection and a bash plate. No need for upper faring guards (good mid level bars will take care of the radiators). Easy right? SW Motech seem to be very popular for mid height crash bars and apart from those odd sticky-outy bits that look like they were made to puncture the engine on impact they look good. Nearly bought the adventure pack with the bash plate, bars and hand guards. If they did some kind of sensible engine case protection to go with them I probably would have bought them by now - but they don't and I can't live without it (see above). Outback Motortek look great. Well priced and the fellas there seem to be a good bunch. Emails answered in minutes and really helpful. There is certainly no doubting their strength and they are one of the few with at least some casing protection - but..... hmmmm. They are thicker than standard (1.25" as opposed to 1" I think), so strong but heavy and possibly a problem with standard accessory fittings (light fixings etc.) - and they are modular (useful but not pretty).... aaand there's something I'm not 100% sure about with that left side square mounting bracket around the frame. Need some time to ponder this - its probably fine. These are for sure the ones I'm closest to buying so far - along with their lighter weight bash plate II. AltRider - They read well but I didn't enjoy the videos and they are not pretty. Personal preference and something in my gut dropped them down the list - not sure why - let's just go with aesthetic preference. Givi - Standard thickness, cheap, probably not very tough but will likely do the job. Not that pretty (modular design) but looks like ok coverage - just a bit concerned about there being enough room for a big size 12 boot around the gear shifter (manual is always my preference) and brake. They are also a nightmare to buy from. No decent web information, no decent pictures (mounted) and nothing online that inspires any kind of confidence in buying from them. For me, there are more open, accessible and confidence inspring alternatives. Heed - price is good, they look good and they are one peice (bunkers) - I'm just not sure I need the upper section. I'm thinking just good hand protectors and good mid/lower bars and job done. I've a target max weight in mind so every kg helps. Rugged Roads - Dual bar engine casing protection looks good. Definaltely a contender and the best casing protection I have seen yet (apart from the B&B obviosuly). A bit worried about clearance (boots) but the biggest no go for me is that I would have to have their upper faring bars to go with them. Engine guards wouldn't be enough for radiator protection. Hepco & Becker - look good, good reputation - but the casing protection isn't ideal for me (big gaps for Mr. Pointy Rock). On the list though because I'm probably just mad. So my ideal unicorn combining the Outback Motortek standard crash bars and skid plate with rugged road style engine casing bars (with enough clerance) still illudes me.... but I'm not done I'll update this post as I go just in case it transforms into something useful.