Crash bungs are specially designed stoppers that bolt onto the outside of your bike. The idea for them is to protect the bikes body work and engine in the event your bike ends up going down the road on its side, as such they could be considered one of the more important bike accessories.
They stick out a fair way so when the bike tips or falls over the first thing to touch the ground are the bungs. Sounds like a no brainer, but there’s a reason some people choose not to use them.
If you’re considering whether or not they are worth it, here I’ve gone over points For and Against crash bungs, and also provided a few tips on what to look for if you decide to buy.
Saved fairings – With crash protectors installed, they protrude out enough that when the bike is on its side, only the protector, bar end, pegs and wheels should touch the ground. This then keeps your shiny fairings relatively untouched if it goes down on tarmac.
We all know fairings aren’t cheap, so for the sake of £50-£60 on bungs you could be saving £200-£300 for fairings. Also if you don’t carry spare fairings it means you need to try and bodge your broken ones to get it acceptable to carry on riding.
Save engine casing – As with above, the bung stops the engine cashing touching down. A cracked or broken engine casing could very much mean the end of your day.
Smaller crashes leave next to no damage – With crash bungs installed, you’re more likely to be able to just pick the bike back up and ride back in after a small, slow speed ‘get off’.
Theoretically, there’s fewer costs long term – If every time your bike goes down it lands on the engine casing and fairings, unless you’re a master of fairing repairs (or you’re happy to just Gaffa tape it up), you’re going to be looking at new fairings every time, and that’s not considering possible peg, lever and tank damage etc.
Possibility of catching and flipping bike – In higher speed crashes, the crash bungs could end up catching on a kerb or digging into the ground if you end up on grass which could cause the bike to flip. If the bike starts flipping you could see all sorts of damage all over the bike.
On the other side of this, I’ve seen many a MotoGP bike flipping and battering itself into a scrap heap and they don’t use them. While they could cause the bike to flip, it’s not the only thing that can.
Possibility of damaging engine bolt and thread – Given enough force, the crash bung and bolt could be ripped right out, meaning more awkward and potentially costly repairs to get the engine mount rethreaded and fix any frame damage because of it.
They become almost irrelevant in gravel or soft earth – If you happen to slide into the gravel or soft/marshy grass, the effects of the bungs will be almost wiped out and fairing damage is pretty much a dead cert.
There is definitely the potential to cause more detrimental and costly damage to a bike in higher speed crashes with crash bungs fitted if it catches and sends the bike tumbling. However, looking over the long term and assuming everyone doesn’t have bottomless pits of money and spares then surely they make good financial sense.
In the end though there is no definitive rule to how a bike crashes as so many variables come into play, so just think about your personal circumstances and how each point would affect you.
If you do decide to buy, then it is a MUST that you invest in a set where the manufacturers reputation hangs on how good their product performs. Use the following tips to help you get a set of bungs that stand the best chance of keeping your pride and joy safe.
Where are they positioned? – Around the middle of the side fairings using one of the main engine bolts through the frame is the best place. If they are fitted using the same bolts that hold on the fairing, when the time comes that they’re needed it is highly likely they’ll simply snap off or be bent to the point they’re unusable.
Are they good quality plastic? – This is a hard one to determine, but the price is actually a good gauge of how good the quality of the product is. If you see bungs online for £10, you can be sure they’ll be made from goats cheese or similar.
Even more so if it’s a popular brand whose reputation is as good as their product, you can be sure the quality of materials are going to be some of the best on the market.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is – As mentioned above, if you see a supposed “great quality” set of crash bungs at an unbelievably low price I would exercise caution. You will pay a premium on brand name products as with anything, but it’s what they do for their business so if they didn’t work they wouldn’t be in business very long.
For peace of mind I would suggest spending that little bit more for a branded set made by people whose business it is to keep your bike safe. Ebay has narrowed the gap now between the branded and garage made stuff anyway, so you don’t need to be spending a hell of a lot more.
R&G Crash Bungs – One of the most well known crash protectors on the market and what I actually have fitted to my bike. R&G actually make bespoke protectors for over 200 models of motorcycle so you know they’re in the best possible position for your bike. The bolts used are high-tensile steel which are designed to bend rather than snap off.
Also, R&G have added compression sleeves inside the bobbins which allow the retaining bolts to be torqued up and not to work loose. The best prices for R&G bungs can be found on eBay (To find the bungs specific to your bike, follow the below link and type the make and model of your bike after “r&g crash protectors” in the search bar.)
Gilles Crash Protectors – Gilles use a patented shock absorber system that houses itself inside the bung and is supposed to take some of the impact away from the frame. If nothing else they’re German made, and the founder of the company used to be a racer, so you know he was thinking of us, but they’ll also be well made.
Again they’re bespoke made to ensure the best placement. For the widest range of Gilles protectors, follow the below link to Sports Bike Shop.
GBRacing Bullet Sliders – GBRacing produce a wide variety of crash protection products and work mainly in the racing field. This means that their products get tested on a regular basis. They develop their products with race teams to get the best they can from their designs, so you know it’s not something that’s been thrown together but rather perfected over time. GBRacing protectors can be bought from them directly but you’ll also find a lot of their stuff is also on eBay
Photo by R&G Racing