With adventure bikes taking over the entire motorcycling market, Ride Expeditions could not ignore the trend. We’ve just launched big bike tours in South Africa. and on the domestic front we’ve been fettling a Yamaha Tenere for use on and off the roads. The bike has precious little crash protection fitted as standard save for some lumpy grey plastic on the sides and bottom of the engine, so we’ve invested in a set of SW Motech Crash bars and Sump guard to keep the landscape from wrecking the bike. Here’s how we got on with fitting the parts and our review of how they perform out on the trails.
SW MOTECH SUMP GUARD
The Yamaha Tenere comes with a sump guard as standard, but as is common with the brand’s other off-road models, it’s made of grey plastic. To say it was ugly would be an understatement, and although it may offer a reasonable level of protection for tarmac based duties, for off-road use it’s just not up to the job. Removal is relatively easy, with just two fasteners at the front on lightweight brackets and two more at the rear of the guard under the engine. In a couple of minutes it’s off and on the floor.
The SW Motech replacement is crafted from thick alloy, is beautifully welded together and is bespoke for each individual bike model. The side protection comes up to shield the water pump on the right and ignition cover on the left, but there are cut outs to maintain air flow. In terms of attachment, the SW item picks up on the same two rear attachment points as the stock item, but at the front there is a new and far stronger bracket that fits by replacing the front engine mount and replacing it with a new one. With this in place, it’s just a question of bolting on the rear fasteners loosely, attaching the front two to get the alignment right and then just tightening everything up so it sits correctly.
One precaution we took was to rely on a combination of Coppaslip and thread lock. This might seem odd, but sump guard bolts are notoriously prone to corrosion and rattling loose in equal measure, so the Coppaslip protects the bolt shaft and the thread lock means that once done up, the bolts stay done up.
In terms of both the quality and the fit, we can’t fault the SW Motech guard. Out on the trails if offers great protection as the constant metallic pings from under the motor serve to highlight.
Priced at £137 it’s not cheap, but compares favourably with a cracked crank case – we thoroughly recommend it
SW Motech Crash Bars
Adventure bikes are, even in the supposed middle-weight category of the Tenere, heavy. This means if they go down, they go down hard. With close to 200 kg on a fully fuelled bike, the bike’s sole crash protection provided as stock are the two odd shaped grey lumps that protrude about ten centimetres on each side of the bike. This is simply not enough and even the smallest of off would mean that both the engine and the tank are in serious risk of major damage.
Our decision to go with the SW Motech items was easy – we already have the companies rear pannier racks for the semi soft Dakar bags, we use their Dry Bag and as above, we’d fitted their sump guard. Continuing the set made a lot of sense.
Fitting is a bit more involved than the sump guard, and although there are pictorial instructions, you should still allow yourself an hour or so and have a good look at both the parts supplied and where they are meant to be going. Oh and maybe have some good tools ….
The lower bar mount shares the same bolt as the sump guard fitting, which actually meant we needed to back track a bit to attach the bottom mount.
At the top, the upper mount requires removal of the standard long allen bolts under the tank and replacement of the bolt with a supplied alternative. As with fitting the sump guard it’s best to loosely fit the bots to ensure the alignment is correct.
Once done on the uppers and lowers, it’s time to brace it all togther, There’s a short nut and bolt that binds the two lower sections together by the central frame down tube. Higher up the side bars there is a bracing bar to fit that goes from right to left with a fitting and a bolt each side.
With everything in place it’s a question of tightening it all up, refitting the grey plastic covers and it’s job complete
The fit on the SW Motech Crash bars is really precise and accurate – all the components slip in exactly as intended, even if the bottom bottom bolt is a bit fiddly to fit.
The profile of the bars is also pleasingly good. The bars hug the contours of the bike and hence don’t make the machine much wider at all – a major plus whether in traffic or out on the trails. The paint quality is good too – it doesn’t look like it’s going to be peeling any time soon.
So how well does it protect the bike in a fall? Well conveniently for this review, though maybe not for the rider and the subsequent partial dislocation of their shoulder, we can confirm that the bars do a fantastic job of protecting the bike from impact if dropped, or indeed slammed into a rocky trail. On both occasions there was no damage to either the bike or the bars, they just dissipated the impact and stopped any drama. Perfect.
The SW Motech crash bars cost 5p short of £170, pretty much par for the course for proper protection for an adventure bike. Yes you may be able to find cheaper but if they don’t do the job, then it’s going to cost a whole lot more. We think they are top quality kit that does exactly what it’s meant to and looks good at the same time. Recommended
Having thrown the Tenere to the ground on both sides and smacked our way over some pretty hostile terrain, we can’t fault the durability of the bars and the sump guard
We like the look of the bars, they hug in close to the bike and the matt black coating is good and thick. The Sump guard looks suitably hard-core too – winner
The SM Motech kit drops down a point here just on prices as it’s on the high side of the products on the market. Quality does not come cheap however – there’s no such thing as a free lunch …
RIDE EXPEDITIONS STAR RATING SW MOTECH CRASH BARS AND SUMP GUARD
The SW Motech kit comes in at a strong four and a half out of five, only dropping down on the slightly punchy price but as this is balanced out with great quality that’s fine.