Radiator and oil cooler guards are, for many motorcycles, the best and typically the most cost-effective way to protect your investment…other than keeping it parked, that is.
The Cox Racing Group radiator and oil cooler guards kit is just one example of how easy it can be to protect vital engine components.
Protecting these pieces protects the rider as well — think about it.
Form, fit and so far, function of the Cox Racing Group (or Cox Racingroup, as they call it) components is outstanding.
They sit in place securely, provide full top-to-bottom and side-to-side coverage, while looking good and adding to my piece of mind.
The CRG kits are available for many different brands and motorcycle models, with many finish and colour choices on the list as well.
This makes it easy to get the fit and look you desire — these things don’t need to be boring you know!
Bottom line: riding downtime and the expense related to repairing or replacing radiator or oil cooler components aren’t preferred options.
The return on investment for components like the Cox radiator and oil cooler guards cannot be understated.
NOTE: Since this review was published, it has come to our attention that installing an oil and/or radiator guard may void the BMW warranty if there are problems from engine overheating.
Why the Cox Racing Group products? Well, first because of a well-known reputation and also because I have used their products in the past on other street and track motorcycles.
The first time I saw the BMW S1000XR (review) sitting on the showroom floor and after giving it a first admiring once-over, that big full-frontal radiator looked cool (pun intended).
But it is also definitely exposed, acting as a catch-all for large flying things while moving forward at speed.
Can we say “Ouch!” and “$$$”?
So even before the XR sat cooling in my driveway for the first time, the sourcing of radiator and oil cooler guard kits had begun.
And while the XR shares many things, including the radiator and oil cooler with other BMW S1000 models, it was the height of summer and stock was low, etc., etc. (you know the drill).
Even after some online searches and queries, hope was fading. But a well-timed call directly to Cox confirmed that they had the desired combination kit in stock, in the desired finish and available for immediate shipping. Sold!
The Radiator and Oil Cooler Guards
Available in a variety of colours and finishes, the radiator and oil cooler guards are of course sized and shaped differently.
But they share an identical build process for uniformity and they also have a matched finished look, which is something not always found in similar products from other manufacturers.
Both of these components are made from 0.34 inch expanding aluminum, with the screen securely held in a frame of 0.60 inch 5051 aluminum cut from a single sheet. No welding is required for the pieces.
Once formed together, the pieces are hard-anodized, something that should provide a chip-free durable finish over time.
The combined weight of both pieces is 340 grams (12 ounces); not a lot in the greater scheme of things, although they obviously more than pull their weight when it comes to providing critical radiator and oil cooler protection.
Cox uses four mounting points for the radiator: two small brackets on the lower corners that slip between the shared lower and upper mounts for the radiator and oil cooler respectively and zip ties for the upper corners.
The oil cooler guard uses a single 90-degree bracket that fits onto the bottom wire bracket mount that is the bottom brace for the oil cooler, with zip ties used for the top corner mounts.
The CRG guards are available in different colors and either as a radiator/oil cooler guard kit or as individual components.
For the BMW S1000XR, I purchased the part number 113-18264 kit, which includes the radiator guard and the oil cooler guard, both in basic black.
It took longer to prep the S1000XR than it did to actually install both pieces, although the last step in the oil cooler guard installation took more time than I had envisioned (but I’m getting ahead of myself).
The dual component kit includes the radiator and oil cooler guards, a thin flat washer for mounting the lower oil cooler guard, 10 adhesive foam pads, black zip ties and instructions.
For the BMW, you’ll need a T25 Torx tool (either a T-handle, screwdriver, nut-driver or socket); long needle-nosed pliers and side cutters.
Installing the Padding
First up, the foam pads. Ten small rectangular sections of adhesive foam pad supplied in the kit mount to the back of the frames of the radiator and oil cooler guards.
The instruction visuals show basic mounting points along the top corner areas only, which seems a bit minimalist.
In having been through this exercise before with other motorcycles and other radiator guards, I know that some strategic reinforcement in the form of additional foam pieces is a good thing.
The foam pieces act as “bumpers”, allowing the guards to float on top of the foam and not on the delicate surfaces of the radiators.
If required, this float space becomes a “crush zone” to help absorb impact, like a bumper. Also, the foam pieces provide isolation from vibration.
Accordingly, some foam strips I had on hand were cut into sixteen 10 mm wide sections to augment the ten pieces provided in the Cox kit.
Laying out the two guards with the back surfaces face up, I strategically placed a total of 26 adhesive foam pieces around the frames of both pieces.
After removing the bottom engine spoiler on the BMW, then the logo trim panels and finally the larger fairing side sections (all described in my BMW S1000XR Fairing and Panel Removal article), access to the radiator and oil cooler is unencumbered, as you can see in the photos.
The next step (for the S1000XR anyway) is to remove the vertically mounted M5 x 16 mm (no collar) screws securing the lower radiator and upper oil cooler frame brackets together.
With these screws removed the two components will separate slightly, needed for the next step.
Installing the Radiator Guard
Position the radiator guard in place and slip the lower corner tabs between the radiator and oil cooler brackets identified above.
Then reinstall the two screws, just enough so they provide some support and help hold the radiator guard in place.
With the radiator guard in place, the foam pads will compress and shape slightly to the surfaces; the radiator actually sits in place nicely with virtually no gap at the top or bottom, unlike other guards I have used in the past on other motorcycles.
Now the top corner mounts are secured, using the provided zip ties and taking advantage (as designed) of the small corner slots in the radiator guard frame.
The left side is pretty straightforward; there is less to get in the way, whereas the right side is far busier. So finding the best path, away from sharp edges and hot surfaces takes a bit more thought.
With the needle-nosed pliers, remove the circlip from the bottom of the lower mounting dowel (pin) on the BMW’s oil cooler. It sits in a rubber grommet ring mount that is part of the lower support bracket for the cooler.
With the circlip removed (carefully for reuse), set aside the thick OE washer (it’s not needed again).
Lift the oil cooler dowel out of the grommet and slip the lower mount of the Cox oil cooler guard onto the dowel, and reinsert the assembly back through the grommet ring.
Replace the thick OE washer with the thin washer from the Cox kit and replace the circlip.
Tightening the upper mounting screws and/or pushing up firmly on the ring bracket compresses the grommet, making circlip replacement a bit easier.
Your experience may, of course, vary — especially if you are mounting these on a different type of motorcycle.
And although the circlip is quite sturdy with a guard lip (BMW PN 07 12 9 905 244) and should be reusable, providing a generic replacement, along with some extra foam pads in the kit would be a good thing.
Final observations on the kit components:
With the guards installed, the unpainted top of the oil cooler is even more noticeable, so adding a top cover piece to the oil cooler or even a separate colour-matched adhesive piece would be a great finishing touch.
Check that both guards are sitting as intended and also make sure the common radiator/oil cooler mounting screws are tightened up fully again.
While remounting the fairing side panels, make sure the left side drain hoses are properly routed through the plastic holder.
Do another check to make sure all the plastic panels are aligned, seated and that all the hardware is replaced and tightened.
Stand back and admire the results!
I view radiator and oil cooler guards as two of the most essential accessories one can install on applicable motorcycles.
Leaking fluids and/or component failures are mechanical and safety risks we don’t need. So why don’t more manufacturers just fit them at the factory?
Even inexpensive plastic grills of some sort are rarely found on new motorcycles; new owner peace of mind can’t be a bad thing?
And I doubt if adding these would have much impact on after-market accessory sales.
In knowing how good the Cox products are, it was an easy decision to install them post-haste once the XR came home. Although the fact that they were the only manufacturer/supplier with S1000XR stock at the time did factor into the equation…
Their prompt service and follow-up are two more positives often missing in our industry today.
Well-formed and well-finished, the Cox Racingroup radiator and oil cooler guards prove themselves every time the BMW’s wheels start turning.
One only needs to look at the natural and man-made stuff that adheres itself to the screens after each ride to appreciate what they really do.
As a new “test mule”, the BMW S1000XR is going to see a variety of accessories, including engine covers and guard parts installed for evaluation purposes. Some will come, some will go, but trust me, pieces like the Cox guards will always be installed.
From “R.G.” (January 2016): “I was just reading your review of the Cox Racing Group radiator and oil cooler guards that you fitted to the S1000 XR.
Are you aware, that in the EU at least BMW, will not honour the engine warranty of any of their range if such a rad guard is fitted? This goes for the R, RR, GS, RT etc.
You may want to mention this in your review and also check whether this is the case in your country as well.”
Editor’s Reply: Thanks for the tip, very interesting, the S1000XR is owned and registered in Canada. I did some searching on U.S. BMW forums and apparently there is indeed a warning about not putting a guard over the oil cooler.
Apparently, at least one BMW dealer has proven that the engine temperatures will increase when the guard is installed.
I had no idea and there’s been one of those over-protective stainless steel guards on my F800S for many years with no problems, but it’s best to proceed with caution on this and check with your BMW dealer, who will probably refer you to the owner’s manual that warns not to make unauthorized modifications.