The voice of MachineartMoto Information and Product Support…
reposted from www.revzilla.com
I bought these for my Tiger Explorer. I figured it’d probably work if they fit on the little Tiger. I was pretty much right, barring some cable finagling. However, it does mean that this product’s first review is from a rider whose bike they weren’t designed for. Nonetheless, I’m really impressed. Do with that what you will.
Bang for the Buck- At a whole Benjamin more than Barkbusters, or any other common handguard, you would expect these things to be some properly high-end hardware. I’ve only had them installed for a few hours now, but as far as I can tell, they fit the description.
Features- The modularity is not a gimmick. The raise-able component for winter riding does its job very well, it’s cold as heck here in MD, but you wouldn’t know it behind these guards. I haven’t tried to pop out the pop-outable section yet, but it seems like it wouldn’t be too much trouble. The one thing I can say against them is that slider for moving the winter deflector feels a little clunky, but its not a problem that you’re going to run into much. On the topic of features, the one thing you can’t get for these guards are running lights like you can get for bark-busters or on a couple of acerbis models. MachineArtMoto, if you’re reading this: make running lights that I can put in the pop out section, and I will buy them, hands down. If you could do cornering lights somehow, that’d be even better.
Style – Will probably look beautiful with most ADV bikes, but both the color and geometry of these guards matches my Tiger Explorer perfectly. I’m a sucker for style, and these guards have it. The whole thing looks well finished. Even the logo on the outside edge of the guard looks classy. They also come in a posh box to remind you that they’re hella fancy.
Ease of Install – Again, I put these on the wrong bike, so take this with a grain of salt. My biggest gripe, however, would be true even if I had the right bike: you need a T25 torx key and its not included, nor labeled, I spent a while guessing and then had to go out and buy one, as it was the one size of torx key I didn’t have. On my bike, getting them to sit around the cabling in a way I liked took some time as well, but if you have a bike that these things are designed for, that may not be an issue. It took me about an hour and a half, doing it outdoors on a cold day. Somebody properly prepared with a real garage could probably be done in less than half that time. I also should mention that my box included both the kit for tapered bars and the kit for 7/8th bars, so I’m not sure why Revzilla made me pick which bike I had. At one point it wouldn’t even let me add them to my shopping cart, but a gear-geek helped me out.
Fit and Finish – These handguards are NICE. Like I said, they are premium and it does show, especially to someone like me who doesn’t spring for top-of-the-line stuff all that often. Even the plastic insert is really sturdy and I can barely tell that its not metal. The other big sale point on these for me was that I wanted something a little less plastic-y than what you’d see on a dirt-bike. I wouldn’t mind dirt bike handguards on a dirt bike, but by the same token, I want ADV handguards for my ADV bike. These are real nice ADV handguards.
Durability – the pictures on Revzilla make it look like these guards could win a fight with a brick wall and that’s not far from the truth. They’re thick, meaty, and solidly constructed. I’ve got no doubt my hand-controls and my hands are protected, and I’m sure they’ll keep up with any more common handguard, though they might look a little less pretty than when they started at the end of an RTW trip.
TL;DR: These are some damn fine handguards for any ADV rider.
When the package arrived the box oozed quality. Without doubt THE best packaged accessory I have ever bought. Inside the box was same just superb. Fitting was a breeze after I saw your install video. When I had finished one side my wife brought me a cold beer and said didn’t the bike already have them. I showed her old plastic OEM bit and the new and she Machineart they are real protection not something off a BMX bike.
Only one question can the grey insert be painted. It looks OK but Iwould like it white. Well done with hand guards – an excellent job. Thanks again from Australia – they will sell very well here.
X-Head_LC cylinder guards are designed to fit with BMW’s crash bars on both the GS and ADV liquid-cooled models. This knowledge base relates fitment experience with both 2014~2016 GSA models, and recent information regarding the 2017~2018 GSA.
The crash bars on the 2017~2018 GS Adventure have been revised with the addition of thicker rubber pads shown above mounted to the inside of the bars as compared to previous model years. As a result there is less clearance between the pad and the surface of the cylinder head. However, X-Heads will fit on the 2017-18 if the rubber pad is trimmed back 8mm or removed by drilling out the rivets that hold it to the bar. If after installation the pads touch the X-Heads, it will not be detrimental to the X-Heads as the nylon material is resilient.
To install the X-Heads you must either loosen the lower crash bars or remove them to give you enough working room (the upper sections are left in place). Then, re-install the crash bars. One customer, who shall remain nameless, tried to force the X-Head in between the crash bar and cylinder without loosening a bolt, unsuccessfully, and gave up. If you have any concern about the process, have the work done by an experienced BMW technician.
Posted – March 22, 2015 – The photo below shows both the X-Head and crash bars mounted to a standard GS.
On GSA’s there can be Crash Bar to Cylinder Clearance Variation. We’ve received feedback from a couple of customers about variations in mounting clearance between the X-Head and their 2015 GS and ADV crash bars. In one case there was sufficient clearance with the bar on the right side, but the rubber pad on the left side touched the X-Head. In a second case the customer reported that the crash bars on both sides of his GS could not be re-installed after X-Heads were mounted.
I discovered the reason why after measuring several new GS/A’s at the local dealership. On these new bikes clearances between the bare cylinder head surface and the rubber pad on the bars were as close as 4mm, and as wide as 12mm. Left and right sides were invariably different. Less than 6mm is not enough space to fit X-Heads because of their two layer rubber liner and nylon shell design. Anything more than that is good.
X-Head molded parts are identical left to right and their relationship to the cylinder head is the same on both sides. The fact that there were wide dimensional variations between the bars and bare cylinders among new bikes points to crash bar assembly tolerance differences, and possibly production tolerance differences in the bending and welding of the bars.
There is a solution for fitting X-Heads to GSA’s with insufficient clearance. – Shims in the form of tubular spacers or thick washers placed behind each of the crash bar mounting flanges that bolt to the engine on bikes needing them will offset the bars slightly to the outside to restore adequate clearance. Adding them will not affect the bars’ function in any way. Even if the rubber pads on the bars end up touching the X-Head slightly after remounting the bars, it will not affect X- Head integrity as they are designed to withstand compressive force in case of a drop.
In conclusion, if you do off road riding or want to assure that your heads are fully protected under any circumstances, mounting X-Heads along with bars will fill the voids between the legs of the crash bars and provide the best cylinder head protection. Because OEM crash bars fit with inconsistent clearance, you may need to compensate for tight fits with a bit of trial and error shimming using spacers at all mounting points to make enough clearance for X-Heads.
Courtesy of www.city-gs.com
This isn’t complicated, if you off-road your GS, you need protection. If you’re not falling, you’re not having fun. This is why crash bars are hugely important, but that’s not the end of the story. On a boxer GS, your engine is sticking out waiting to hit something. The engine itself is actually super strong, but the cylinder head covers can be a weak point. It’s another point of protection you should really consider.
Without extra protection, the head covers can display all of your hard earned battle wounds. Beyond that, the head cover itself can crack letting all your valuable oil out. Unless you can temporarily JB Weld it, just to get you back to pavement, you’re not going anywhere.
There are many options out there for this specific type of head protection, most of them thin metal coverings that do a decent job. Nothing I saw really made sense to me until I found the Machine Art Moto X-Head (LC). They looked great, cover a larger portion of the head, and to me, seem more protective than the thin metal offerings out there.
From the website description: “With its blend of high impact strength, temperature and UV stabilization, the injection molded shell is designed to be slightly ductile in impact to prevent breakage. On the inside of the shell is a thermoplastic rubber liner that rests against the face of the cylinder to aid in dissipating impact force while preventing hard contact“ (emphasis mine).
I really drop my bike a lot off-road, it’s part of the learning experience. I feel these add a layer of protection that I really need. Like I said, crash bars are not the end all engine protection when it comes to boxers. I’ve had them for over a year, this is a product I would buy over and over if I had to do it again.
We get occasional emails from customers who have had some difficulty mounting X-Head cylinder guards for R1200 liquid-cooled models. Here are several helpful tips to do the job right the first time:
1 – First on the list – use a Torque Wrench! Most problems reported by customers who try installing X-Heads themselves involve breaking one of the long T50 Torx bolts that secures the X-Head and valve cover to the cylinder because of over tightening and not having used a Torque Wrench. A Torque Wrench must have calibrations in Inch/Pounds or Newton Meters. Tightening torque is 72~76 in./lb., or 8.14~8.6 Nm. That equates to screwdriver tightness – NOT socket wrench tightness! If you have any concern about installing X-Heads correctly, have them installed by a qualified BMW technician.
Installation instructions state that “All parts manufactured, designed or sold by Machineart Moto (“MaMo”) should be installed by a qualified motorcycle technician. The risk of injury or component damage is increased by improper installation or misuse of equipment”.
2 – Handling the rubber seal without damaging it – When you remove the T50 Torx bolt that fastens the rear end of the valve cover, the rubber seal and cup washer must be slipped off the bolt before inserting it through the X-Head and re-inserting into the head. Use this technique to remove the seal without damaging it:
First, apply a little WD-40 or light oil to the ball and bolt shaft. Then, place your fingers behind the cup washer to evenly pull the seal over the ball and minimize distortion. It slips off easily this way.
Then proceed with the installation as shown in the instructions. Also refer to the installation video:
3. Installation with crash bars: To install X-Heads on R1200 GS/A already fitted with crash bars, they will have to be removed to provide enough working room for X-Head installation.
The image below shows the fasteners that will have to be removed on the R1200GS/A_LC. If there is any concern about the procedure, we recommend that removal of the bars and installation of the X-Heads be done by a qualified BMW technician .
Some correspondence between customers and MachineartMan:
SW Motech crash bar fitment with X-Head_LC: Have purchased a set of X-Head cylinder covers for a 2016 r1200gs tripple black. These were purchased from Sierra BMW and sent to Australia ($320 aussie dollars delivered). Your site says they will fit with SW Motech crash bars. That is half correct, the right side will fit easily but the left side won’t fit as there is not enough clearance between the bottom part of the cylinder head cover and the crash bar to install the X-Heads with the crash bars fitted. I was wondering if you are aware of this issue? Any solutions? spacers? Or do you need to remove the crash bar to fit the X-Head on the left side? and will there be enough clearance if I do install them in this manner? Seems like a lot of work especially if I will have to take the crash bars and the x-heads off to do valve checks or even to check the spark plug. You have a well made product which looks good and will function very well. I don’t think this issue is your problem as I can see the fabrication of the crash bars by SW Motech is were the problem lies (not enough clearance on the bottom bar) You could possibly note on your web site that with these crash bars the issues you will have on the left side. Cheers Jody Australia
How does your design not interfere with the cooling of the heads. Thanks much! Craig H.
The cylinder heads are liquid-cooled so this new model so they are efficiently managed thermodynamically. Our X-Heads are designed to cover about 80% of the face of the head to protect, not only the bottom/front initial impact area in a drop, but also the upper part of the cylinder head. Even in a stationary drop, inertia can cause a bike to roll partially onto the face of the head before it settles down. This product is about protection so we cover a broad area, and the new engine design keeps temperature stable.
Thanks for your quick and thorough response. One last question, if I install you cylinder head guards, do I really need crash bars if my riding is primarily, if not exclusively, road?
For mostly street riding X-Heads will be sufficient. Some riders do not like the look of all that plumbing around the engine so opt for cylinder guards instead.
For off-road riding, X-Heads are a good complement to crash bars to protect heads from weird strike angles onto rocks and terrain that can get past the bars, especially at the rear of the cylinder. Here’s an example of what can happen without an X-Head, even with crash bars installed.
28 Nov. 2016 – a Testimonial from R1200GS owner Rich:
5 months ago I bought a 2016 R1200GS Triple Black (my dream bike). I did order a set of engine covers from you guys after seeing the YouTube video. I had the dealer (JCWilson BMW Motorrad, Murieta CA) order a set. This was the first time that they’ve seen your product, and they were impressed with the quality of it all.
Fast forward 5 months: Two weeks ago going up Highway 74 from Palm Desert and doing 52mph I got myself in the middle of something very slippery on a long right turn. The bike got away from under me, and I was very lucky that no cars were coming down. The bike traveled close to 200 feet, and hit the right side gardrail. No oil was spilling from the right engine cover due to the amazing MachineartMoto engine cover. Wow!!!
Those things are amazing! The dealer was amazed how well your prouduct did. My GS was a total, due to the the front end being destroyed – Sad day for me. I suffered a broken wrist and black and blues on my right leg (gear gear gear).
I’m getting a R1200R next month and I’ll be ordering a new set for sure. I’m sending you photos of the video sequence caught on my GoPro, and the side engine cover. Simply Amazing!
A testimonial from R nineT owner Mike B:
Thanks for the great product. I have a 2016 BMW R Nine T with your XHead Cylinder guards. I laid the bike down tonight after rear ending a car. No real damage to the bike, and the guards are in pretty good shape. I have attached a photo of the only real damage from the accident. The guy’s car was worse than my bike. Thanks
via email from Dale –
I purchased a set of your valve cover guards for my 2014 BMW R1200RT, last December. I am sending you this email to say that they work.
On May 16th, 2015 I had an accident while entering a gas station at 10 pm that evening. I hit a concrete curb that I couldn’t see because of the darkness. It wasn’t painted yellow. I hit the curb by the entrance and it put the RT on it’s right side fast and hard. The RT slid approximately 25 feet on it’s right side into the gas station. I suffered a sprained ankle and some scrapes and bruises. The valve cover guard held up and kept the valve cover from being damaged.
The RT has been repaired and has a new set of your valve cover guards on it. A picture of the scraped up guard is attached.
Thanks for making a product that works!
via email from Will –
X-Heads. Do you feel this will prevent a cracked valve cover in a parking lot tip over? Or is it more designed to stop rash on the aluminum?
I’ve attached some images below showing how the X-Heads survived, from a driveway drop to racing on an HP2. Through several years of testing and making mistakes, we now use a SuperToughTechnology Dupont Nylon that has a no break rating and is high heat and UV stabilized. Our first products did crack but the newest generation of products do not. They are slightly ductile enabling the material to move in the process of absorbing the force of impact and prevent cracking. Behind the outer shell is a thick thermoplastic rubber liner that rests against the valve cover, contributing to the dissipation of impact force.
MudSling_LC fits with the standard fitment street biased Metzler Tourance Next, and Michelin Anakee tires.
On the standard R1200 GS_LC, MudSling fits with Michelin Anakee Wild, and Continental TKC80 knobbies. On the R1200 GSA_LC, Michelin Anakee Wild knobbies DO fit, but TKC70 and TKC80 knobbies DO NOT fit with sufficient clearance.
Some customers have reported that Hidenau K60 Scouts are a close fit on the standard GS, while others have reported rubbing the MudSling when the tire is new. Hidenau K60 Scouts DO NOT fit the GSA. Because Hidenau DO NOT fit consistently, we do not recommend using them with MudSling. Pirelli Scorpion Trail II are a close fit.
Michelin Anakee Wild knobbies Do Fit on ADV shown below.
Continental TKC 80 DO NOT fit ADV – On the 2014+ GS/ADV_LC, suspension travel is 20mm
longer than the standard GS and, as a result,the rear wheel assembly hangs lower and comes closer to
the swingarm than the standard GS when on the center stand. The MudSling_LC fits fine on the ADV_LC with standard tires, but with TKC80’smounted the tire rubs the MudSling when on the center stand.
Clearance while on the center stand is the worst case. Taken off the center stand, the bike’s weight
compresses the suspension slightly and it no longer rubs, but clearance with the MudSling is
small. With a rider aboard and the suspension working, clearance increases even more. The more the
suspension compresses the more the clearance.
Tires that DO NOT fit GS/A_LC: Continental TKC80, TKC70, Mitas E 07 knobby; Kenda.
A possible solution for tight tire to MudSling clearance:
Apart from tire choice, we have also found considerable differences in assembly tolerances from
bike to bike which can affect the position of the large underseat plastic moulded liner. That large part is the MudSling’s primary locator.
Here is an example reported by two customers that proved assembly differences among bikes to be true:
Two friends each bought a Mudsling GS_LC at the same time for their same year GSs. The
MudSling fit perfectly on GS #1 with sufficient clearace. The MudSling on GS #2 made contact
with the swingarm. I asked the guys to swap MudSlings to determine if the variable was the
bike or the part. When they were swapped, the MudSling that fit properly on GS #1, did NOT fit
GS #2. Conversly, the MudSling that did not fit on GS #2, DID fit properly on GS #1.
To compensate for this possibility, there is a solution to try to gain 3~5mm between the tire and MudSling:
1. Remove the seat to reveal two tabs which support the inner fender liner secured to the top
of the frame rails.
2. Remove the two screws securing the tabs with a T25 Torx driver.
3. Find a 3~4 mm thick rubber washer 20mm in diameter, or cut it out of flat rubber stock.
Nylon washers may also be used. Insert the rubber shims under the plastic tabs and re-tighten the screws.
This work-around usually works, but is not guaranteed depending on your bike’s assembly tolerances.
Avant_LC fits the 1200 GS_LC with either BMW’s standard or optional Enduro skid plates. The photo below shows it with the Enduro plate.
Avant_LC also fits the 2014 GS/A with BMW’s standard skid plate, but does not comfortably fit the GS/A with the optional Enduro Skid Plate part #77148533747. The reason is that the front end caster angle was changed on the GS/A, reducing clearance with the Enduro plate.
ALT Rider fits, but it’s close while on the centerstand. Off of the stand clearance increases sufficiently.
A few other aftermarket skid plates do fit properly with the Avant on the GS/A_LC. Those made by Wunderlich and Touratech do not extend as far forward of the engine centerline as does the BMW Enduro plate, leaving sufficient room for the Avant. SW Motech fits as well (see customer note at bottom of page), but with a little less room to spare. The clearance worst case is when the bike is on its centerstand. When the suspensions is loaded clearance increases.
Wunderlich – sent by Lee S. “Good news! Purchased the Wunderlich skid plate for my 2014 1200 gs-adventure. Works perfectly with your fender extension”.
Touratech “Expedition” Engine Guard – sufficient clearance with Avant
BMW Enduro plate on GSA_LC – Another GSA_LC customer wanted the Avant’s splash protection but had already purchased BMW’s optional Enduro skid plate. On the center stand, the Avant almost touches the forward edge of the plate, but when off the stand when the suspension compresses, the clearance increases and increases even further with a rider aboard. Below are photos showing these two states.
MachineartMan thinks this is too close for comfort and does not endorse running both the Avant_LC and the BMW Enduro plate on the ADV_LC. We’ll stay in touch with customers who choose to do so and relate their experiences in a later post.
SW Motech Sent by Jay N. – I just thought you would like to hear that your front fender extender WILL fit on the GS_LC with the SW Motech bash plate. Having purchased the extender before the bash plate, I was not sure it would work.
It IS a tight fit, and I did have to take a rubber mallet and give the front of the bash plate three
moderate whacks, but not enough to compromise the plate, and since then I have had the bike on
some rough roads and there is no sign of interference. This was not full on nasty ADV riding, but I
just thought you would like to know that for the majority of riders, this combination will work. Also, I
was able to pick up 1/8 of an inch by pushing towards the tire hard on the extension before
tightening the screws.
This sure does a great job of protecting both the front plate AND the headers! Now for the Mud
Sling before my spring and shock get all chewed up.
Exposed – Hole in Head, despite Crash Bars!
There’s a lot of space in between crash bar steel tubing – hard stuff can get through. X-Head cylinder guards fill the voids, do not break, and protect the vulnerable cast valve covers. Lori, who bought X-Heads and sent us ths photo wrote, ” I’m so excited to be able to prevent another incident like this”.
X-Head_LC fit R1200GS_LC with Touratech Crash bars.
By email from Doug D. – 24AUG ’14
Just wanted to let you know they (X-Head_LC) fit under the Touratech bars. You have to remove the lower bars to do it properly. It seems to “slip” in-between the bars and you think you can mount the X-Head without removing the bars – but you cannot. However, as I said before if you remove the Touratech lower bars you can install the X-Head and then the bars fit right back on and it all works out well.
I put both on because I had a fall in a rock garden and, while the bars keep the bike from ripping things off, many rocks went between the bars and put deep gashes on my covers. I am hoping this will give it the most protection for the next dump the bike takes.
X-Heads have been successfully fitted with crash bars made by BMW, Touratech, SW Motech and Alt Rider. Fit and compatibility of BMW or aftermarket crash bars with X-Heads may vary, depending on their manufacturing size accuracy and any running changes the manufacturers may have made over time.
Installation with crash bars: To install X-Heads on R1200 GS/A already fitted with crash bars, they will have to be removed to provide enough working room for X-Head installation. It is recommended that removal and re-fitting be done by a qualified BMW technician if there is any concern about the procedure. MachineartMan
By email from Frank F.
I am awaiting delivery of a 2014 R1200GS LC in early March. I will ride the bike mostly two-up on both street and dirt, but probably do more gravel/FS roads and off-road than most people do on their GS bikes.
Here in CO, the tertiary mountain roads are often rocky and loose, as you probably know. Tip-overs and slow falls have occurred on our trips and likely will with the new bike.
I am grappling with the question of whether to buy crash bars or not. It seems that the most likely scenario for a tip-over on a rocky trail would be puncture of the valve cover by a sharp rock and crash bars might not prevent this from happening at all. It seems to me that crash bars are more useful in higher speed falls and what I really need are your valve cover protectors. The bike will probably come to rest on our luggage bars and the cylinders as they already stick out.
Any comments and insights are appreciated.
Regarding using crash bars or not, for mostly street riding either X-Heads or crash bars will be sufficient. Some riders do not like the look of all that plumbing around the engine so opt for X-Head guards instead. X-Heads are designed to cover 80% of the face of the head to protect, not only the bottom/front initial impact area in a drop, but also the upper part of the cylinder head. Even in a stationary drop in a driveway, inertia can cause a bike to roll partially onto the face of the head before it settles down.
For off-road riding, X-Heads alone are very effective because of their broad coverage and the Super Tough Nylon material we use is the best that can be had for this application, preventing breakage and punctures. For heavy duty riding and frequent drops in rough terrain, X-Heads complement crash bars to protect heads from weird strike angles onto rocks that can get past openings in the bars, especially at the rear part of the cylinder. Adding bars is another layer of defense.
X-Heads for the GS_LC were designed with clearance for BMW’s crash bars in mind so you will be able to fit them at any time. X-Heads also fit with Touratech and Alt Rider bars.
I just wanted to write to let you know that I have done an intensive test on the X-Head Protectors you sent me.
In my off-road ADV Skills classes, I have put my bike down at least 5 dozen times to demonstrate how to pick up a bike, how to recover the bike from a hill, and how to recover a bike that is wheels up hill. Some of these require rolling the bike onto the cylinder head, and then spinning the bike around while all the weight of the bike is grinding the X-Head into the rocks and gravel. The result it just minor scratches in the black cover that are barely noticeable.
Ialso was recently nearly run over by a pick up truck, and was forced to do a stoppie (which flipped the bike over) and broke the windscreen as well as broke two lights off the bike. As it was considered a hit and run (the other driver and I did not collide, but according to 4 witnesses, he caused the accident and then fled the scene) his insurance (we had him on video tape) had the bike covered. The shop/insurance totaled the bike, but there was NO damage to the X-Heads or the cylinder heads. The bike is still operable. I have no doubt that without the X-Heads, the bike would have fared much worse.
I just wanted you to know that even before this accident, I was sold on the product and have urged all my students and friends to switch to the MachineartMoto head covers.
You have an excellent product! Thank you.
Dual Sport School
A customer sent us a video showing him pulling off an Avant that he just tried to mount to his GS_LC. While watching the video a few times, I saw that one of the clamps was properly aligned with the positioning ribs molded into the inside of the Avant, and one was askew resting on top one of the ribs instead of in between the two.
The Avant could not be affixed because the clamp that was twisted onto one of the ribs could not be drawn down with the screw to grip the fender. Instead, it was drawn down against a rib with the screw, preventing full travel. The attached photo shows a clear pictorial explanation of correct and incorrect clamp positions.
Installation of the bracket is a somewhat blind procedure. After slipping the extension over the fender, one has to position a clamp behind the mounting flange and feel that it is parallel with the molded guide ribs with the forefinger when starting to thread the screw from the outside. Hold the clamp in position while the screw draws it down to the inside surface of the fender and grips it withits claw. Repeat on the other side. Then, go back and check the tightness of both sides.