SW-Motech Engine Guard Review [BMW R 1250 RS Boxer Tested]
I doubt he breathes a motorcyclist who hasn’t seen crash bars on a BMW GS, or most ADV bikes, for that matter. Many are driven off-road, so it is only natural to install them to protect the machine, especially for GS boxers. Protruding cylinder heads drag in the wind, tempting fate that the rider will suffer a costly crash.However, the GS is not the only boxer motorbike from BMW Motorrad. Although the other models are not designed for off-road use, they have the same potential to require costly repairs in the event of a rollover or more serious accident. On BMW’s R 1250 RT, R 1250 R and R 1250 RS, a pair of frame sliders, as seen on many bikes, will not provide the necessary protection. I want heavy duty engine protection for my R 1250 RS, although I will never ride this bike in the dirt. As I’ve said many times, off-roading to me is gravel parking. I searched online for crash bars and found several including offers from BMW. I test SW-Motech’s crash bars, cylinder guards and engine guard for several reasons. Functionally, I like the German-made or engineered build quality and four-point mounting (compared to three in other cases). I also like the pieces stylistically and the availability in black.Also, I wanted to get all the components from one manufacturer to make sure they all fit together, avoiding some of the issues that editor Neil Wyenn encountered on the Ultimate motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 project bike. As it stands, I had to remove the OEM engine guards to allow fitment. I’m fine with that, because these engine guards are more aesthetic than protective. All three protection units were shipped by SW-Motech in probably the best packaging I have ever seen, and they arrived in pristine condition. Mounting hardware and instructions are included with each item, so getting organized is easy. The quality and appearance of all the components is top notch, as is the powder coating of each part, which matches the black frame of my RS quite well. So far, so good. SW-Motech cylinder guards (MSRP $271) mount to cylinder heads and look sleek.The SW-Motech crash bars (MSRP $325) feature the same quality build and finish as the previous pieces. They are made of steel, 27 mm in diameter and supported at four points around each head. Stainless steel is available for an additional $75, but not black. I think this design is superior to those crash bars that only have two or three support points. These are serious matters. Care must be taken not to mess up this installation, as I will describe later.A buddy told me that I really didn’t need the SW-Motech Crankcase Protecting Engine Guard (MSRP $284) for street riding, and he’s probably right. However, it looks great and is built like a tank. Its quarter-inch high-strength aluminum is perfectly welded and seems to have what it takes to repel any intrusion.Installing cylinder guards is simple. The tolerances for the pre-drilled holes are tight, so care should be taken to align the new mounting bolts carefully. We do not want to cross the existing holes in the aluminum heads. No no no. Allow 45 minutes for this. Installing the engine guard is quick and easy. There is plenty of room under the bike on the center stand to access the existing holes in the motor housing – 15 mins here. The crash bars are a bit more intimidating, with somewhat complicated instructions. They mainly consist of lines and arrows pointing to the four legs on each side and what needs to be removed and then secured with which bolt, nut and washer. The all-in-one drawing with lines running through other elements adds to the confusion. At first glance, I figured I’d let the local dealer do the work. However, it was Friday, and I wanted it done.This review is not an installation guide, but my advice is: Read every detail of the instructions three times. Then grab a cup of coffee and read them twice more. Make sure you have an 18mm deep socket to remove the long support bolt behind the motor, which you are replacing with a new one. It took me two trips to the hardware store because I didn’t own a metric deep socket set yet. Because the nut is deep in the frame and can only be an eyeball, I thought it was a common 17mm head. So, to save money, I just bought the 17, but no. The store didn’t have a single 18mm, so now I own the full set. Other tools needed are mostly Torx and hex head bits, as you will need some leverage. A torque wrench is needed for those who don’t just torque by touch, a medium strength threadlocker and a bottle jack or other support for the engine as you pull the bolt. I supported the motor and felt no change when I pulled the bolt, which I attribute to the support.It took about three hours to install all three elements. The results look impressive and they are solid. I’m glad I have the SW-Motech engine guard on my BMW R 1250 RS, and the low 22 pounds I added disappear while driving. Hey, everything looks really professional now, and I need all the help I can get.
SW-Motech Engine Protection Review Photo Gallery