wBW Quick Look
by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
The R&G Racing "Aero" frame sliders are also called "bobbins" in the UK.
They have a "teardrop" shape that's supposed to be aerodynamic. Or at least look it.
R&G Racing has Aero frame slider kits for just about every motorcycle made, from Aprilia to Zero.
This set is for the BMW S1000XR (Blog).
The Aero slider kit installs correctly on an unmodifided S1000XR, but with BMW engine guards (review) installed, it is another matter and some redesign by R&G Racing is needed.
There are pros and cons to fitting frame sliders.
They have some potential to mitigate damage to the motorcycle's fairing if the bike tips over, whether it's moving or not.
However, the frame slider may catch on something as the bike slides along the ground.
This can cause the bike to tumble or flip, especially if the slider does not fold in or break away during the impact.
Also, the initial impact of a crash may be concentrated or focused at the frame slider attachment point rather than on a larger surface area if the frame sliders are not installed.
That has the potential to transmit more energy into the bike's frame at the point where the frame slider is attached, possibly causing damage to the frame that might not be the case if the slider wasn't there.
The R&G Racing Aero frame sliders are a popular add-on for many different motorcycle makes and models.
The difference between standard round frame sliders and the R&G Racing Aero style is that the latter has a teardrop shape. Whether the Aero shape is really more aerodynamic or not is debatable, but they do look cool.
This set was installed on a BMW S1000XR. They're available in black or white for the S1000XR and other bikes.
The Aero frame sliders extend out from the side fairing pieces, providing potential first-impact protection to fairing, frame and component pieces in event of a crash or slide.
A stylish R&G logo end-cap hides the counter-sunk mounting hardware used to secure the frame sliders to the motorcycle frame and the plastic "bobbins" can be replaced if necessary.
The R&G Racing Aero Crash Protectors kit includes a pair of frame sliders and motorcycle-specific mounting hardware.
The installation of the R&G Racing kit is more detailed and some larger tools may be needed because the tear-drop shaped Aero bobbins are somewhat larger than other types.
R&G Racing gives this kit a "Fitting Difficulty" rating of "1" (easy) out of 5 and installation time is estimated at 30 minutes.
But depending on the tools at hand and other accessories that might be mounted on your motorcycle, some other factors may need to be considered.
For example, I installed a set of the BMW accessory engine guards (review) as soon as they were available and this then became a factor in the installation of the R&G Aero Crash Protectors, at least on the right side.
Installing the Aero frame sliders will differ slightly, depending on the motorcycle. Here is an example installation, in this case for the BMW S1000XR.
Remove the M10 x 50 mm (T50 Torx) OE screw from the back upper engine mounting point that is partially obscured by a coolant hose (the hose can be squeezed a bit to provide access for the tool).
Assemble the left side Aero frame slider kit, which consists of a M10 x 130 mm screw, flat and lock washers, one of the crash protectors and then the left-hand threaded 42 mm long spacer.
After applying a bit of medium thread locking compound to the threads of the screw, it can be installed on the bike frame.
Just make sure the screw is aligned and started without cross-threading the 10 mm insert.
NOTE: On the BMW S1000XR, the Aero frame slider interferes with the coolant hose after installation (see photo above).
Screw the assembly into place with a 17 mm socket until snug and then use a torque wrench set for the recommended value of 40 Nm (29.5 ft. lbs. rounded to 30 for a setting) and tighten the counter-sunk screw.
The left side engine guard on the BMW S1000XR and the Aero crash protector co-exist quite well, hopefully minimizing damage to machine and perhaps the rider in event of a crash or slide.
But the right side is another matter...
The BMW engine guards vary in size, shape and mounting layouts between the left and right sides.
Also, on the S1000XR, they are not symmetrical when viewed from the front. So it was obvious that the right side engine guard was going to be a factor for the Aero frame slider installation.
Simply put, it wasn’t going to work.
The left side Aero frame slider mount uses the upper rear 10 mm mounting point that isn’t used by the left side engine guard, but the right side engine guard uses both upper engine mounts.
Sharing the rear mounting points would be possible with the right hardware, but that hardware is not included with the R&G kit. The right side Aero assembly with spacer and large bobbin needs to occupy the same space in use by the engine guard.
My immediate options were to leave the frame slider on the left side and use it for photos or remove it completely, because apparently this kit is not suitable for use with the BMW crash bars installed.
Alternatively, I could have removed one or both of the BMW engine guards so the Aero frame sliders could be fully installed, photographed and evaluated for the review.
It was a cold and blustery rainy fall day with nothing better to do, so I made the decision to forego a ride and remove the engine guards and see how the Aero frame sliders would look on an S1000XR in base configuration without the engine crash guards installed.
My decision was also guided by the fact that other accessories I plan on installing also may or may not work with the engine guards in place, so off they came.
So after about 90 minutes of work (coffee break included), I had both engine guards off the bike and reinstalled the appropriate OE hardware, except for the right upper rear engine guard mount, which is now reserved for the Aero frame slider assembly.
Installing the right side Aero frame slider assembly then only took a couple of minutes, with the larger end of the bobbin oriented forward.
I also leveled the bobbin itself while tightening the attachment screw, with the torque wrench exercise as the penultimate step. Inserting the R&G centre logo emblem, which covers the screw head, came last.
NOTE: The Aero frame slider touches the tip of the fairing section of the BMW S1000XR (photo above).
With the BMW accessory engine guards now removed, the attraction to and value of the R&G Aero Guard kit is more appreciated.
For many owners, frame sliders like the R&G Racing Aero Crash Protector Kit and other frame slider kits are relatively inexpensive investments to make and have the potential to protect expensive bodywork and parts on the bike.
Note, however, the cautions outlined at the beginning of this review and also the interference problems noted above, which may be specific only to the BMW S1000XR.
However, for my S1000XR and its typical use, both on- and off-road, I value the BMW engine guards more as a protection accessory.
So the R&G Aero kit was removed.
In stock trim, the Aero frame slider bobbin pieces are more noticeable with their distinctive aero-flow shape and colouration, although it would be interesting to also see how the white bobbins would look in place.
While noticeable, the frame sliders aren’t obtrusive in any way and in not having a particular yearning to test their efficacy, comfort can be taken in the fact that when they're installed they look good and provide ongoing protection enhancement.
However, it would be much better if R&G Racing were to revisit the Aero frame slider kit.
They should take into consideration the potential presence of other factory accessories (like engine guards) while also considering the clearance issues we have identified.
Master Listing of All wBW Motorcycle Product Reviews
From "S.S." (April 2016): "I recently had the opportunity to test the effectiveness of R&G sliders on my Ducati Panigale in a low side accident on a race track.
I have the R&G fork, bar end, frame and rear axle protectors, plus Rizoma fixed pegs on my 1199S.
I tucked the front (cold tires, lack of cautious warm up lap) doing about 40-45 mph. The protectors saved my bike from all body work damage due to the fall.
I did slide far enough to get into the gravel trap so I collected a few minor scratches from that, but nothing noticeable. So the protectors did exactly what I needed them to do.
The only downside is getting replacement parts.
After multiple attempts to get the "repair kit" from several vendors, including R&G in the UK directly, I cannot find anyone who will actually sell them. The kit for the Panigale is much more complicated than for the BMW, and cost about $450.
I've had to order a whole new set to get the repair parts I need, slider, decorative cap, and special "de-embrittled" bolt (aka annealed).
The slider is made from HDPE and I could easily have made a replacement myself, but it would not be the cool teardrop shape. So 5 stars for effectiveness; maybe -1 for cost and -1 for lack of support.
The bar end slider burned completely through the HDPE and into the steel of the slider, but still saved the bar end. They were a overly frugal with the material on that part. I am going to make my own beefier replacement for that. I will use R&G parts again."