By August 21, 2009

Racing 905 crash bar engine guard review

I mounted some engine crash bars made by Racing 905 on my FJR1300A not too long ago. They took forever to process my order, misled me about shipping dates, and the bars were built with such a tight tolerance I had to adjust the bolts down two turns at a time. However, once they were on they looked nice and seemed sturdy. I was happy-ish with them, even if I wasn’t happy with the company.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. I was riding home a little early to take Rosie to the vet, and was able to take a highway onramp at a higher speed than normal. I’ve dragged the right footpeg on the FJR before, and had an idea where my lean angle limits were.

I set my entry speed, leaned the bike, and tilted my head so that the horizon was level. I started my turn, and everything was going great. No traffic, road was clear and smooth, and I was well balanced on the bike. Seemed great.

I heard a scraping sound and the bike started to twitch. I stayed even on the throttle and kept off of the brakes. I figured my foot peg was scratching, but the sound and “feel” didn’t seem like I remembered. I slowly righted the bike and I heard the scratching noise again. This time the rear tire of the bike started to waver. I straightened up a little more and exited the onramp. I continued home and checked the foot peg as soon as I got the bike settled and the dogs loose.

Hrm. This is how my foot peg slider looked after I dragged it before installing the 905 Racing crash bars. As I figured, the peg slider wasn’t what made the noise, or caused the bike to jump.

Oh! That might be it — the Racing 905 crash bars. The bars are designed poorly and stick too far out. In the event of a steep lean angle and a change in road elevation the bars scrape before the foot pegs do. This is a very bad thing, and I became nervous about taking any emergency turns on the bike until I removed the bars. An unwanted visitor and rain delayed the removal of the bars until yesterday, but now the stock engine mounting bolts are back in and I feel safer.

My shopping experience with Racing 905 is going to mark the end of buying from small-time Web-based shops. I sent them an email on Tuesday about dragging their bars, and they have yet to respond to me — something I expected given their lack of communication during the sales process. Here’s a run-down on my order:

June 11, 2009Ordered Racing 905 bars.
June 11, 2009Credit card charged.
June 22, 2009Emailed 905 asking for my order status. I received nothing from them previously except for my order confirmation.
June 23, 2009Racing 905 replies, stating my bars will ship “by the end of the week.” They also said they would email me a tracking number, which I never received.
June 30, 2009Emailed 905 again about my order.
July 9, 2009Emailed 905 again about my order. My email from 06/30 was unanswered.
July 13, 2009I post about my experience on A previous customer who organized an FJR group buy sends me a private message offering to help.
July 13, 2009The FJRforum member comes through. 905 emails me, saying my order will ship on the 14th.
July 14, 2009I get a shipping confirmation from UPS. 905 makes no offer to upgrade my shipping, reduce my shipping rate, or an olive branch of any kind.
July 20, 2009Racing 905 engine crash guard arrives.

Apparently the Racing 905 bars are hand made by a fellow who is also a motorcycle racer. This means that orders are not fulfilled on a regular basis, and all bars are made to order. This is fine, but was never communicated during the sales process. If it weren’t from a forum member, I doubt I would have ever heard from 905, or found out why my order was taking so long to complete. Having a previous buyer act as your customer service representative is a really, really bad sign.

I am dismayed and ashamed that Racing 905 claims to have a racing heritage but they never considered the bars dragging. Some folks on the FJRforum have suggested not riding as aggressively … and the product is made by a guy who races? Coupled with other cases of people dragging their Racing 905 crash bars, and at least one reported weld failure, the Racing 905 engine guard is definitely

Not recommended.

Realized I got the company’s name wrong. It’s “Racing 905” and not “905 Racing.”

Also, still haven’t heard from the company about a potentially disastrous design flaw with their product.

Posted in: motorcycling, review

4 Comments on "Racing 905 crash bar engine guard review"

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  1. Tomax says:

    You know, I’ve had the Wunderlich crash bars on the BMW since I bought it. I have about 1/8 of fresh rubber left on the tires and narry a single scrape. That’s a piss poor design on the 905, especially from a guy who races. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t R&D stuff before you sell it (905, not you). Glad to hear you took them off as you could risk leveraging the bike, “take-ur-pick-siding” in a turn and splat-o-la! :X

  2. Hombre Nuevo says:

    Dude, 905 Racing is a “SQUID” parts manufacturer. Squids don’t lean that far. You always put a longer dog bone in the rear to raise the ride height/sharpen handling and alow the use of your new crash bars. Just a thought…

  3. Hombre Nuevo says:

    Err, could always… allow…

  4. Gremlin says:

    Rear ride height has a huge effect on lean angle. My buddy was coming down Mt Saint Helen’s road, doing about twice the posted limit. 15mph corners at 35. Going through the right hand corner was no big deal. The left hander was much worse. First peg, then center stand, and finally left bag (Connie 1100). He had successfully done this run before but never with full luggage. After pulling the bike out of the weeds and zip tying on the luggage. It was obvious that bike was squatting in the rear. Fully preloading the rear spring would have prevented the low side, as he never would have touched more than the peg.

    Looking at how far down that crashbar mounts, I think I’d switch to frame sliders. Not as much protection, but you’ll never drag them until it’s completely unrecoverable.