I'd like some of your opinions on some crash protection ideas.
After lowsiding the honda 919 4 times since i've owned it (monday most recently), I've noticed that there are two expensive points of contact that consistently get damaged. There are other things that nick the ground as well, like brake levers, shifters, clutch levers, bar ends, wind screen, ect.... everything gets nicked but the two points that'll stop you from riding home are typically the tank and the engine case. Wear through the case and you'll leak oil, but they can be replaced for under 100 bucks, and hit the tank good enough and you can leak gas as it slides down the pavement, waiting for a spark to create a nice fireball. A new tank is like 700 bucks, and I've never found one in good condition on ebay. They all have massive dents in them.
Frame sliders are what people typically put on, but I've seen them either rip a chunk of the motor off, or they can even tweak or crack the frame. Worst, they'll catch and send the bike into a tumble. They seem to work best for <15mph drops, not 60 mph lowsides. I'm also worried that a frame slider would raise the case off the ground and protect that, but put more weight on the gas tank in certain types of slides.
As it is, the 919 slides pretty darn well in a lowside. I've been able to ride it home every time I've gone down, even when I lowsided on a track 500 miles away from home. I'd like to retain it's safe sliding characteristics, but mitigate the case and tank destruction if I can.
I just want to be able to go down, and reliably just pick the bike back up and keep going. It's a pain in my butt to strip the tank down, bondo it and repaint it every time I go for a good slide. It'll look brand new, but it takes a lot of time. At this point, aesthetics for my bike are at the bottom of the list of things I care about. My 919 is now a tool to commute, and to have fun and learn on. I was thinking about getting some case protectors, and fabricating some DIY tank sliders. Certain sport bikes bikes have tank sliders designed for them, but for obvious reasons, there aren't any for the 919.
My idea was to try some of these
As for the DIY tank sliders, I had some ideas. They'd all look pretty dumb, but not nearly as dumb as a tank cheese grated flat and leaking gas from sliding 80 feet across the ground. My first option is to just use some robust rubber tank grips and cut them to size and stick them over the contact point of the tank. In my opinion, they'd have the best shock absorbing capabilities to prevent dents while also providing enough material for abrasion resistance, and would be very cheap and very easy to install or replace.
Another thought was to shave down the inside of some knee sliders, make them pretty thin, trying to replicate what R&G makes, and stick em to the tank with some 3M doublestick adhesive. I feel like they'd work really well for sliding, but would look pretty weird and have a potential of getting ripped off or denting the tank on impact. But, you could make jokes about leaning so hard you drag the tank on the ground.
Lastly, and the option I've seen others do, is to make a mold of the tank and create a slider out of epoxy similar to the ones R&G manufacture for other bikes, spray paint it black and stick that on. It'd probably look the best, but I can't even imagine how much work would go into making a set of those.
What do you guys think? Anyone have any better ideas?