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Old 03-05-2012, 04:30 AM   #1
tradern OP
Windsor NSW
 
Joined: May 2009
Location: Windsor NSW
Oddometer: 60
BMW Airhead 'Hardhead' Guards

BMW "Airhead" Hardhead guards.
Link to more photos:
http://s1261.photobucket.com/albumonal s/ii589/tradern/



G'day - I've made a small run of bash guards for the air cooled 2 valve boxers.


The following are available (with another run of guards to be done early 2014):

4x sets 450/650cc size
2x sets 800/1000cc size

What do they do?

They protect the valve cover in a stack from being cracked open and also allow removal of the BMW crash bars. Removal of the BMW crash bars is favoured by some as they can commonly move backward in a crash and bust the valve cover open.
Instead these guards provide a super tough skin over the valve covers using the excellent and capable strength of the hearty airheads engine design to take the brunt of the fall.

How they came about:

With my girlfriend getting to grips with her new R65 Adventurer, the slow speed falls on the bitumen were destroying rocker covers faster than I could quick metal them. Then I busted a valve cover on the Red Bull 'lost and found' rally in NSW, Australia last year. Which unfortunately allowed my engine take in a bit of unexpected 'go fast sand'. I have also managed to put a crash bar into a valve cover on more than one occasion...Sigh... The worst result in all of this can be a bent frame and smashed valve gear. So after making a set or two for my adventure bikes (650 and 1000cc) and friends it became obvious that there may be a few others out there that may like a set.

Why?

These specifically replace the BMW crash bars. They are designed to take the abrasion of a fall/slide to protect the valve covers and help the bike slide as gracefully as possibly down the track (knock on wood that never happens for anybody).They transfer the hit to the engine crankcase to deal with.
They also remove the possibility of nastiness that comes when the BMW crash bars move backwards in a fall. A bonus is they protect the lower spark plug caps (duel plugged bikes) and certainly may help deflect carburettor impaling sticks.

Its designed purely as an adventure bike bit of gear. As you will loose the OEM side stand if you remove the crash bars (where fitted).
Also on oil cooler bikes the oil cooler would have to be relocated if not already.
Both my bikes (650/1000cc) run custom side stands (stronger/longer jobbies) and I don't run an oil cooler on my 1000cc (a vented/extended sump instead).

What are they?

The guards are laser cut 1.2mm / 50 thou, 4130 chromoly steel that have been folded/welded and strengthened around mounting points.
They are first zinc coated (as they are intended to be used as crash protection and are likely to be scratched up) and then powder coated gloss black. Both guards total weight is just over 1kg. If your a weight watcher the 650cc BMW crash bars weight just over 1kg each side.
The basic design which has been built upon has been used on a BMW airhead rally bike through the Australian condo rallies and the Australasian safari. There's also a front lip to prevent junk being wedged between guard and valve cover and to provide additional frontal protection from nasty valve cover hating things.
They are fabricated by myself in a barn in Sydney, NSW, Australia

The centre valve cover acorn nut is replaced with a rod nut that will allow a M8 bolt to secure the guard to the valve cover and the bottom mount is the front engine mount below the pushrods tubes.

Each guard set comes with the required mounting hardware (M8 bolts, M8 rod nuts, spring washers, flat washers) and a left and right cylinder 'hardhead' guard.

---THE KIT DOES NOT COME WITH A CUSTOM SIDE STAND AND/OR OIL COOLER RELOCATION KIT----

This is important to note as this is kit is for your particularly modified BMW R45,65/ R80,100 bike. Specifically designed for off road riding for the long haul. For example in the pictures is my R100 bike that I'm riding around the globe very soon. For aesthetics I don't believe it would be a direct replacement for a 'bling' cafe racer with chromed BMW crash bars. Although would certainly offer more protection in a fall.

Installation:

1. Removal of BMW crash bars is a straightforward task of loosening the mounts and removing them! At this stage you will either be loosing that integral side stand or you already have an upgraded side stand mounted elsewhere.
2. Ensure there's no large 'quick metal' repair patches on the lower part of the valve cover. If so file them down flush. This is to allow the hardhead to hug the lower valve cover, the fit is snug and the guard will place some pressure on the lower part of the valve cover.
3. Install the M8 spring washer and rod nut onto the central valve cover thread. Tighten securely.
4. Fit the hardhead guard on the engine mount (threaded rod that runs through the frame and engine) and tighten securely the M8 bolt on the valve cover with spring washer and high tensile flat washer.
5. The original engine mount washer/spring washer/nut is refitted with the hardhead guard and tightened to 55 foot pound/75 newton meters.

Notes:

It is important to note that the rocker cover bolt is securely tightened before the engine mount bolt. Reverse on removal. This will allow for the easiest fitment and removal. The guards do hug and wrap a little around the lower part of the valve cover. They can rotate around the valve cover mount a little in a stack. This is normal and simply just rotate them back!

The guards are highly recommended to be completely removed when doing a valve clearance/oil change. Bending them down (which is certainly possible) will be no good for the powder coating and the guards structural integrity. They will also be in your way whilst trying to adjust the valves. They make nice little tables to keep the valve covers out of the muck when doing a 'bush' valve adjustment.

Cooling:

There's no numbers data to show in regards to the hardhead guards effects on cooling. Real world data though I have been running the guards on both the 650 and 1000cc (no oil cooler) bikes for over 20000km's now. Including city riding/offroad/highway and around town. The guards are usually quiet cool to touch after coming to a stop. Apart from noticing no ill effects and also knowing of their effective trouble free use on a race bike on a number of rallies, that's about all I can offer on what effect they may have at all.
The gap between the guard and barrel has been left just enough to facilitate a duel plugged bike and also allow sufficient cooling. The level of protection offered by the guard, coupled with smart riding (no excessive idling in city traffic at hot temperatures etc) gives me piece of mind that there's little to no effect on cooling in real world riding. At speed with the wind resistance it could also potentially be considered better than the OEM crash bars at not deflecting cooling air.

I've tried to answer as many questions as possible here but please do ask away and I will endeavour to answer swiftly.

Both 450/650 and 800/1000cc kits will be $150AUD plus $10AUD postage if in Australia or a Kiwi brother. Postage on average to USA and Europe has been around $40-60AUD


Payment through Paypal would be the easiest but if local I'm happy for people to PM to arrange a meet up to show/sell the guards. International postage quotes are available on request.

I have made these guards for fellow BMW airhead adventure riders at a low cost ( by giving myself a very low hourly labour rate...) Profit was not my aim and I'm more excited at the thought of providing something useful to the ADV community that has provided me many hours of good reading and information over the years.
Both feedback and reviews would be highly welcome though.

Now although every guard has been critically inspected by myself I'm happy to refund within a week of you receiving the guards if you feel that way. No questions asked. Although I would love to know why you didn't like them!

A little about myself:

A diesel mechanic by trade and I love my air-cooled BMW's and have owned a few. I enjoy fabrication of parts for our bikes as much as I do riding them!
Both my bikes are proudly Paul Rooney specials. With the original guard design borrowed with blessings from Paul himself.

It should be noted that the 1000cc bike (blue) has Lauchlan from MTD tours excellent panniers and racks!



Cheers,

Neil

tradern screwed with this post 09-29-2013 at 01:50 AM
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:04 AM   #2
ontic
 
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Nice one Neil,

I am assuming these don't work with penut covers?
Is there any worry/history of impacts damaging/striping the thread on that center stud? (my r90 has one side stripped and helicoiled from past abuses).
Being a borrowed Rooney design I can only assume that these are well tested.

All up looks pretty damn good, especially for dual plugged bikes.
I'm penciling myself down for a set for my soon to be 1000cc G/S- I have to figure out a sidestand (and oil cooler or sump extension) though.


I've got a few shots your two bikes in various construction stages I got from Paul stored away in my files. I'll be sending my G/S frame to Paul for reinforcement and maybe get a couple of other things done by him- I'd love to quiz you a bit about your bikes but don't want to clog up this thread. Any chance you will be starting another thread here where that would be appropriate? or should I just hassle you by PM?

Cheers,
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:38 AM   #3
tradern OP
Windsor NSW
 
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Location: Windsor NSW
Oddometer: 60
Penut

As soon as I measured I bike up with the peanut cover yesterday I guessed this question may come up!

They don't fit/hug as well as the newer/thicker cover. I measured up a bike today with the penut covers and either a slight more material needs to be added or a piece of 2mm rubber would have done the trick between the lower edge of the valve cover and the hardhead guard. This is purely to transfer the hit to the head instead of it purely being taken up solely by that 8mm stud. It would be certainly fine to run them with a suitable rubber chock in-between valve cover and the hardhead itself though.

I've had no dramas with the stud but certainly Paul's race bike after a number of serious high speed bins has done some damage. I know though that some of those stacks have been up near the 120km/h mark though...
Within even the hardest duel sport riding Im sure you would be safe (although maybe people would love to test those bounds!).

With any luck I want to do a post on the bikes but please do send any questions through PM you have. I can certainly show you a kick arse 10mm chromoly plate side stand that will do the trick!

Thanks,

Neil
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:13 PM   #4
ontic
 
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thanks for the reply Neil,

If a little packing is all that is required it sounds like it wouldn't be too hard to fit to the bean covers, I imagine that the rubber packing could also be done with a bit of sikaflex (or similar strong sticky rubbery goop)- put a thin layer of grease (for mould release) on the valve cover and then put a good pile of sikaflex onto the inside of your (perfectly cleaned/degreased) guard where it needs to contact the valve cover- then carefully assemble (without it torqued down)- the goop should mould to the shape of the valve cover, dry and release, and stick to the guard and stay there- then when dry torque it down properly.

also,
bump to top for a cool product and PM on the way.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:51 AM   #5
tradern OP
Windsor NSW
 
Joined: May 2009
Location: Windsor NSW
Oddometer: 60
Peanut

In regards to the peanut covers, I've fitted some successfully with no need for silastic or adding further material to the interference fit on the bottom of the cover.

This was to a frameless bike (the 'Paul Rooney frame') so to speak but I believe it shall translate to standard framed bikes. Hopefully ontic can confirm this when he bolts his hardheads up!

Cheers,

Neil

whatwouldulike2do.blogspot.com.au

ps 10x 1000/800cc and 3x 650/450cc sets left for anybody interested.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:58 AM   #6
ontic
 
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Location: LaoPDR/Australia.
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Hi Neil,
great to meet you and Clarissa at Paul's place. What were the chances of that happening?
I hope things are going well.

I just did a test fit of your hardhead guards on my penut covers- they fit great and are very solid. I only tested the right side, as I still require use of the stock sidestand.
I don't think they would actually need anything else, but I will probably still do a good blob of sikaflex on the gaurd front and rear to spread the area where the gaurd contacts the valve cover- and to also dampen them a little bit (they kinda ring at the moment if I tap them).
Just to repeat though, I don't think it would actually need this done. The guard snugs up very firmly and solidly against the two ridges on the valve cover.

All up they are excellent. Easy to mount, light and strong, great work


I'm not quite sure, but currently I've got a spring washer on the outside- should they both be underneath the guard instead (on either side of the rod nut)?
I've also put a different flat washer on the outside- in what must be a random chance thing, one of the high tensile washers provided had a series of hairline cracks- I flexed it and it fell to pieces.
On that note, I think the Penut covers might require just a tiny bit of fiddling to find the perfect washer for under the the cover. Pretty easy really. I'm also going to try to find a stainless allen head counter-sunk-head bolt and slighty countersink a stainless washer to give the bolt head on the outside a slightly lower profile. I like fiddling with stuff like that









a bit of a comparison



when I get around to sikaflexing the gaurds I'll post another shot,
probably won't be for a while yet,

Cheers,
best of luck with your travels,
Hans.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:52 AM   #7
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Those look pretty sweet, I'll have to look in to these. I got rid of the bash guards and have been feeling a little bare, since
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:02 AM   #8
tradern OP
Windsor NSW
 
Joined: May 2009
Location: Windsor NSW
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Sweet as Hans. Couldn't believe we timed that one bloody well!

Very sorry about the high tensile 'cracker'. That's pretty poor quality control on my behalf. I certainly double checked to make sure that all the guards (which are all boxed up now ready to ship, as I be now in Singapore) had the correct amounts of washers and bits but not cracked HT washers. I found through my usual suppliers of those things that there was a number of different brands/suppliers being used. Was never happy in the end with what I was getting. So much for supporting the local supplier guy... I like the comparison shot against the tube crash bars!

Definitely apologies to anybody else who's bought a set and seen this happen. I will go out on a whim here to say that would probably be a one in a 1000 type of faulty washer.

Alas - one spring washer is run under the rod nut and one on the out side of the guard under the M8 bolt. Chris (who had the peanut covers also) on his Rooney framed bike ran the same rocker cover/spring washer/rodnut/guard/washer/spring washer/bolt system when we fitted them a few weeks ago. I agree that some shallow headed allen bolts could be a good thing. Not sure about stainless though. I've run into a few funny stainless fasteners one to many times, i.e. galling and too much cheese content. I think from the number of bitumen stacks Clarissa's had and the minimal damage her standard M8 bolts have suffered I probably won't worry to much. That and finding that hardware now on the road would be interesting :)

Stagehand - I'm sure later this year you will see the original idea on a certain bike you may ride in Australia :)

To anybody else interested - postage will be up to a week from first contact now as I have somebody posting the guards (from Australia) for me. She's reliable and can get the post office a couple of times a week (thanks Clarissas Mum!). This is due to the world trip beginning, and being away from home for sometime.

Also from what I've sent thus far - postage to the US is about $50AUD with tracking (arrived quickly too from the last one) to most places. Postage is still $10 for AUS or Kiwi's.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:08 AM   #9
ontic
 
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Hi Neil,
congrats on officially starting your journey. It is fair to say I am a tad jealous!

No probs about 'the cracker'. I'm sure it was a 1/1000 event if that. I doubt I would have picked it up either. I only mentioned it because it was actually kinda funny- braking a high tensil steel washer into 3 bits with my fingernail- yep, I'm actually that tough

And yeah, you're probably right about the stainless fastener. I'll see how it goes- either way I'll be fitting an allen head countersunk bolt (either the stainless ones I have already anti-seized up, or some good steel ones if I find them) and will be turning up a nice thick countersunk stainless washer, so the whole bolt on the outside is more of a dome than a bolt head. More about aesthetics and catching my pants on the bolt head than anything crash related


Have a great time mate,
I'm enjoying your blog,


And for everyone else, bump for a very well made product.
Grab a set while they are available.
One of my favourite things about the hardhead is how well it protects the lower plug on a twin plugged head- as I will soon be getting my heads twin-plugged.
Cheers,
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:19 PM   #10
hardwaregrrl
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A short video on why you may need a set of hard heads.

flip to 9:10 if you have something to do, or if you're easily bothered or annoyed, or if you have no sense of humor at all. Otherwise, the whole thing is pretty entertaining.

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Old 08-05-2013, 05:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwaregrrl View Post
A short video on why you may need a set of hard heads.

flip to 9:10 if you have something to do, or if you're easily bothered or annoyed, or if you have no sense of humor at all. Otherwise, the whole thing is pretty entertaining.
That was pretty funny. "hey - where ya going? . . . . fucker left me . . . "
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:40 AM   #12
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Here's a few more pics:

Excuse the mess, haven't yet cleaned up after 2k miles on leaky fork seals.


Fits nice and tight on the valve covers, and around the lower plugs too:


The other end:

(Note scuff mark from the previous tumble. I've rotated the cover, but the original crash bars don't even keep the covers off the ground.)

I like 'em. They look good, there's a lot more room (still plan to move the horn a bit more inboard), and they seem to be a lot more useful than the original guards. They don't quite work with where the "winter flaps" are supposed to go, but it's plenty good enough.

(Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to curse whoever thought to fit the original crash bars with allen bolts. They were very nearly impossible to get out without removing the front of the engine. 1/6 turn at a time...)
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:40 AM   #13
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Oh, and about those bolts sticking out?

Don't worry about them, they'll make a really satisfying scrape down the side of the car that suddenly changes lanes into you without indicating or anything.

(Purely hypothetically, ofcourse.)
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