Review: Staubwolke Crash Protection for BMW F800GS
When imagining options for a crash bar compatible to the BMW F800GS, most likely a “cage” that protects the front end of the bike comes to mind. A new company by the name Staubwolke has taken the existing crash bar model and turned it on its head, starting with its looks. Upon first hearing about the product I thought of Easy Rider and the crash bars typically seen on cruiser bikes.
The Staubwolke bar arrived thoughtfully packaged and installation instructions were well conceived and easy to follow. My bike had existing crashbars already on it, but after they were replaced with the Staubwolke's I was pleasantly surprised by how much cleaner my bike looked. I’d say the overall installation is of “moderate” difficulty due to the fact that it calls for a torque wrench, and having a second person to help with alignment made the job much easier.
The Staubwolke bar is robust in materials and design, utilizing a solid, single crossbar that is not bolted in the middle like other brands. The welds are minimal and clean, and I like that the “load”, should you have a crash, is absorbed by five solid screw points on each side, attaching directly to the engine and frame and without small sheet metal tabs. I sheared off the lower engine bar bracket on my old bars at the attachment “tab”, simply by dropping the bike. Another advantage is access to the bike. No more removing the crash bar for routine and service maintenance! The bar also comes with two sets of rubber sleeves. I’m not quite sure what purpose they serve, but depending on the colors of your bike, they could be a nice accent. I chose to stick with black.
On a recent West Coast to East Coast trip, I experienced no problems with clearance while riding off road (the bottom part of the crash bar is about level with the foot pegs and shift/brake lever). I didn’t ride any tight single track or really deep ruts to note if the Staubwolke would affect the performance. The bar was not high-speed crash tested, but I did drop the bike numerous times while on the ride.
The outside width of the bar matches the width of the handlebar, and due to the position of the pivot point (most outside point of the bar), the bike never comes close to the ground. If it falls past that pivot point the outside edge of the handlebars do hit, but the levers are safe from the fall. I am a woman rider, and though physically fit, lifting a 500lb bike with gear is no simple feat, especially in deep sand where I generally fall a whole lot. Even with proper technique, after a few dumps and subsequent lifts, I’m done for and thankful for a helping hand. The pivot point of the Staubwolke bar makes uprighting the bike many times easier.
I tried lying down under the bike as if caught – and found plenty of clearance to get myself out. One thing I didn’t try was dropping the bike downhill – but I feel that the pivot point created by the bar would allow one to spin the bike into a better position for getting it upright. My glee over the ease of picking up my bike had me lay it down and pick it up 6 times in ten minutes, just to prove the point. This alone is enough for me to switch from my old bars to this “out of the box” design solution. As a smaller person, the ability to somewhat easily and quickly lift my own bike without struggle gives me more confidence when travelling alone, especially when it comes to off road adventures. MSRP: $649 Staubwolke.com
Note: Staubwolke says they are developing a bag that integrates into their crash bar system. This is a point of interest for sure, and something to look forward to.
|▲ Simple, non-obtrusive design||▼ Still expensive|
|▲ Aids in uprighting the bike after a fall||▼ Fits only 2013 and newer F800/700
|▲ Price comparable to other existing systems with lower and upper side protection||▼ Questionable clearance for deep ruts and singletrack
|▲ Easy access to bike for service|
|▲ Choice of colored accent sleeves for customization|
|▲ Protection of handlebars and levers|