Are Motorcycle Frame Sliders Worth It? (The Truth)

Motorcycle frame sliders go by different names, but all of them are meant to protect the bike and, to some extent, the rider in the event of a fall. They are also known as fairing protectors, crash bobbins, and crash guards, but many new riders may wonder if motorcycle frame sliders are worth it.

Motorcycle frame sliders are worth it for the protection they provide to the rider and the bike if it falls or skids. In the case of heavy motorcycles, they are even more of an essential accessory, because they protect the rider’s legs from the heavy weight of the bike if it falls.

Frame sliders come in various shapes and sizes and are made from different materials. But not all sliders are created equal as we will shortly find out. Keep reading as we look at the best motorcycle frame sliders available and the benefits they offer.

What Are Motorcycle Frame Sliders?

Motorcycle frame sliders are accessories to protect your motorcycle and your legs from damage if the bike falls. There are numerous types of sliders available, from a simple metal rod with a hard rubber cover on the end that is bolted horizontally across the frame, to more complex designs. 

Frame sliders are usually made from short metal rods with hard rubber or nylon cover at the end. One end is threaded so that a nut can be fitted to lock it. These are relatively cheap, and numerous varieties of different lengths are available from $10 to $100. Some motorcycle manufacturers provide mounting points on the frame so that sliders can be fitted.

Different Kinds Of Motorcycle Frame Sliders

Another type of frame slider is a metal bar that goes all around the bike. This is a better choice, as it absorbs most of the impact. Even then, however, there is the chance of handlebar damage (although they can be bent back into shape). When a motorcycle falls, the usual casualties are the levers on the handlebar and protruding indicator lights. 

Most light sports motorcycles that are used in the city require minimal crash protection, so the horizontal bar is enough for them. Bikes that are going to be used on dirt roads or on muddy tracks are better off installing a crash guard. The main market for sliders are the heavy motorcycles with expensive fairings and high-quality paint jobs as they get the most benefit from using them.

Frame Sliders For Mud Roads

Motorcycles used on mud roads and dirt tracks would benefit the most from using a metal bar that encircles the front part of the motorcycle. It is more expensive than a horizontal frame slider, but it protects the fairing and tank from stones on the ground in case of a fall. If the horizontal frame slider gets stuck in the ground during a fall, the momentum of the bike will force it to cartwheel. 

Frame Mounted Frame Sliders And Fairing Mounted Frame Sliders

A slider that mounts on the frame can be identified by a single hole on its mounting bracket. These are more robust and are mounted on the frame for support. Fairing mounted sliders have multiple small holes on their mounting brackets, because they use screws for mounting. They are intended more to protect the fairing and are best avoided.

If you are buying a set of frame-mounted sliders for a motorcycle with fairing, then you should verify that the length of the frame slider is enough so that it extrudes beyond the fairing before buying it. If the length of your frame slider is less, then the fairing will end up as the protection for the frame slider, which risks breaking the gear shift lever in a fall.

The ideal protection for your motorcycle and fairing is a sturdy crash guard that mounts on the motorcycle frame and can protect your thighs and feet from a skid. They are far superior to frame sliders and are not that expensive compared to a set of quality frame sliders.

Should You Put Frame Sliders On Your Motorcycle?

You should put frame sliders on your motorcycle because they are a cheap way to ensure that your legs and motorcycle parts are protected in the event of a fall. Sports motorcycles used for city riding do not require as much protection as performance bikes with fairings. 

Frame sliders for bikes used on city roads may experience the rare skid or fall while on the stand, so they need less protection. A long slide on a wet road is going to leave a lot of scratched areas on the motorcycle and bruised pride if you have taken the precaution of having had frame sliders fitted. If you haven’t, then the damage could turn out to be much more serious.

The Price Of Not Fitting A Frame Slider

The gear shift lever is on top of the hit list and can be bent or torn off. The natural human reaction when you realize your motorcycle is losing balance is to put your foot down to try to recover it, which is the worst thing you can do. Even if you are moving at low speed, it can result in damage to your foot, toes, or a fractured ankle.

With so many small bones in your ankle and foot, any injury is going to come with a heavy price, even with protective footgear. The next automatic reaction to a fall is to put your hand down and break the impact to save your body, which is again a mistake, because your wrist cannot take that much force and could fracture or break.

When a bone fractures, it takes about 50 days to heal after being put in plaster. But fractures of the ankle and wrist are a lot more complex for the doctor to set and can take much longer to heal. The net result is that full movement of the fractured bones may never be regained, despite going for months of physiotherapy. It isn’t necessary to go at high speed to get such fractures.

The momentum in your body when moving at 10 mph is enough to do damage that you will have to live with for the rest of your life. You may think you know enough about these automatic reflexes to stop them, but they are your body’s natural defense to shield itself from harm. This is much the same way you blink to protect your eye when an insect flies close to it.

The Solution To It All

A motorcycle frame slider is definitely a step forward in protecting the bike and rider, but the best form of protection is a crash guard. When a bike falls or skids, the rider’s leg is between the bike and the road. If the space between is too small, there is a very real risk of serious leg injuries. The crash guard is larger than a frame slider and ensures complete safety for the rider’s legs.

The most basic crash guard is a chrome-plated metal tube mounted horizontally onto the motorcycle frame. Usually, they are longer than a frame slider, but it is worth checking the length of your frame sliders before buying a crash guard. Crash guards are relatively cheap and can be installed at home with a few bolts and nuts.

Another popular crash guard is made in the shape of a C, with the middle part of the C being bolted to the motorcycle frame. There are multiple variations of these two types of crash guards with more tubes added, but keeping the basic design. The metal tubes used are thinner or thicker, and longer or shorter depending on the type of motorcycle they are manufactured for.

Any rider who knows the value of a frame slider will immediately recognize the value of a crash guard and fit one. The downside of adding a crash guard is the extra weight, but with careful selection, it is possible to get a lightweight crash guard.

Final Thoughts

A motorcycle frame slider is one of the most important accessories you can get because of the protection it provides to your legs and the motorcycle. A little care in selecting the right one from the multitude available could very well turn out to be one of the best investments you ever make.

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