Product

Used: R&G crash protectors review

Crash bungs paid for themselves when car wash dropped my bike

I NOTICED this damage to a crash bung hours after taking my bike to a hand car wash. I'd left it with them for 20 minutes. On my return, they'd quietly given it back to me without mentioning they'd dropped it.

It was one of those moments when an event that barely registered at the time is explained with the benefit of new information. No one at the car wash had seemed very keen to take my money. One bloke had looked around for another, presumably the one who washed (and dropped) the bike. They'd both seemed a tiny bit flustered and the one I paid didn’t know what do to with his face when I tipped him – yes, I tipped him too. It's annoying because I'm stupid enough to drop my own bike but have managed two years of ownership without.

I couldn’t be bothered going back and facing the inevitable denials and pleas of ignorance. After all, I couldn’t actually prove they’d done it. The crash bungs allow me to be magnanimous about it because damage elsewhere is barely perceptible. I’d probably never have noticed if I hadn’t been looking for it.   

Close inspection revealed my Suzuki SV650S now had tiny scratches on the clutch lever, bar-end weight, mirror, pillion foot-rest and top box. The gear selector is scuffed and I think very slightly bent. The marks are so small that the car wash firm would probably deny being able to see them never mind responsibility for them. I can live with them and be grateful I’d fitted the protectors. After two years, I was beginning to wonder why I had. Without them, I have no doubt that an engine case would have gone down – and the car wash firm would still have given the bike back without a word.

I suppose a perfect performance by a crash bung would mean nothing else of value touching the ground when the bike goes in its side. I'm not confident my exhaust would have been spared had it fallen the other way. But the SV's exhaust is preposterously big and the bungs are already about four inches long. Any longer and I might worry about the leverage forces in the event of a crash.

They’re not attached directly to the frame but to a bracket that's bolted to the aluminium chassis at two points. The reassurance this provides is that any leverage force ought to be borne by the bracket rather than directly by the aluminium frame itself. Two steel rods pass through the frame, connecting the left and right-hand bracket, so the stress of any impact is shared by both sides. Each rod passes through the side of a cylinder, replacing the standard engine mounts, so fitting is no five minute job. I got a dealer to do it at the bike’s first service.

I can’t vouch for their performance in a crash, even a low-speed one, but as protection against the incompetence of hand car washers, these £75 bungs have probably paid for themselves.

Now bring on the ‘shouldn’t have taken it to a hand car wash’ comments. Go.

Product tested: R&G crash protectors for half-faired Suzuki SV650S

Price: £74.99

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