It’ll happen to any motorcyclist eventually. Dropping a bike is just a part of the experience, and it happens to the best of us.
Don’t feel so down in the dumps. Just know that you’re safe and your bike may live to ride another day. However, even some of the most unassuming drops may cause some damage to your motorcycle. Here are the first few items you should check and consider following your little kerfuffle.
Was the drop fast or slow? Were you moving or stationary?
Try and pinpoint how exactly the bike was dropped. Even the slowest drops will result in a few scratches here and there. After all, only the tires are meant to come into contact with the road, and not the bodywork.
Generally, the faster you drop your bike, the greater the damage especially in the case of a slide. This will result in increased damage to your motorcycle as asphalt will grind away at the parts that come into contact with it. Slower or stationary drops will likely result in some scratches or dents, while faster drops, or drops that you’re unable to catch, may amplify the damage your bike will receive.
If you’ve happened to drop your bike while moving, be sure to check your person first before you carry on with the next steps. Check all parts of your body for any signs of pain. Following that, check your gear to see what parts of your body have come into contact with the ground. Any damage to your jacket, pants, shoes, gloves, and helmet may indicate that you took a hit in some of these areas of your person. Make sure that you’re physically well, first then go on to ascertain the condition of the motorcycle.
Stand the bike up, position it away from danger
Now comes the hard part, depending on how big and heavy your bike is. Most bikes can be stood up with the right technique. Make sure to use your legs, and face your back towards the bike to lift it up. Make sure that the side stand is there to keep your bike from falling over again. If it fell on its throttle side, first put out the stand, and then stand it up. If, however, it fell on its clutch side, make sure to stand the bike up first and then lower the side stand.
After you’ve stood your bike up, bring it to a safe location preferably away from the flow of traffic. Off to the side of the road is fine, but be wary of blind corners as you may become an obstruction to other motorists taking the said corner.
What will be damaged?
Slow and stationary drops will result in very minor damage to your bike’s fairings, tank, mirrors, handlebars, your radiator, and the engine’s stator or clutch basket case. You may also want to check your tail section for any scuffs and scratches. For bikes that have fairings like adventure bikes and sportbikes, expect scratches on the bodywork, and less so on naked motorcycles. However, naked motorcycles will be more exposed to engine case damage.
Damage to your handlebars, fairings, tail, and mirrors are more aesthetic than anything. Your bike will likely be okay following damage to any of these parts.
However, after checking the bodywork of the bike, you may want to check your engine case to make sure that your bike doesn’t have a hole punched into it and liquids leaking out of it. If you do spot an oil or coolant leak, it’ll be best to get your bike towed back to the service center to address all of these issues. This is considered major damage and will require a specialist to fix it. Make sure that you’ll be bringing your motorcycle to a trusted mechanic who has parts and knows what they’re doing.
How do I prevent damage?
It goes without saying, but ride safe and be careful with your motorcycle. It doesn’t cost any money to develop a safe and defensive riding style. Also, get familiar with your motorcycle while wheeling it around the parking lot. Make sure that you know how to handle it and practice pushing and pulling it on and off the bike.
However, those of you who know that a bike will inevitably drop or those of you who want that extra peace of mind, might want to avail of motorcycle frame sliders or even better, a crash guard. These pieces of metal bolt onto your bike’s frame and will keep the engine, fairings, and other vulnerable parts on your motorcycle from experiencing ride-ending damage.
Also, consider engine case sliders. These parts will protect your motorcycle from drops and falls on its side that will come into contact with the stator cover or clutch basket cover. Usually milled out of a single piece of aluminum, this modification will serve as an extra layer of protection against unforgiving asphalt.