X-Head 1200 LC

Fitment with Crash Bars on 2014~18 GS/A 

X-Head 1200 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.

X-Head with Crash Bars

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.

X-Head Crash Bars

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 Crash Bars

X-Head Crash Bars

X-Head Crash Bars

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.