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If you look at motorcycles on the twisties nearest you long enough, you’ll likely notice little bumpers or L-shaped modifications on the side of bikes. Those are frame sliders, little saviors for the corner-carving slip-ups that motorcyclists sometimes contend with. So, just what are frame sliders on a motorcycle and what are they meant to do?

Frame sliders can protect a motorcycle’s vital components following an unfortunate crash

I remember my first days learning how to ride a motorcycle. “That bike’s natural position is on its side,” the instructors would say. Of course, they’re referring to the fact that motorcycles ride on two wheels rather than four. Groundbreaking, right? Well, it goes without saying that bikes lack the inherent stability of a car on four wide, sticky tires.

As such, motorcycles corner at speed by leaning. Unfortunately, some riders will lose traction in a corner, leading to that motorcycle returning to its natural position. You get it; it’ll end up on its side. Enter frame sliders. Frame sliders are little protective surfaces on your bike doing just as it sounds; in the event you lay that bike down on its side at speed or stationary, the sliders take some of the impact that would otherwise reach vital components, like your bike’s engine and transmission.

A frame slider hangs off of an MV Agusta Brutale naked motorcycle.
A frame slider on an MV Agusta Brutale | Sato Racing

Of course, frame sliders aren’t a magic solution to crash-related damage. Instead, if they work as intended, they’ll significantly reduce the amount of damage to your motorcycle. For instance, a naked bike like a Triumph Thruxton RS or BMW R nineT has exposed cooling fins around its cylinders. Unfortunately, not counting the possibility of internal damage, precise welding is the method for repairing cracked or missing cooling fins. Instead, a set of sliders could save a motorcycle owner hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs. 

Moreover, installing a set of frame sliders isn’t prohibitively difficult, even for an amateur wrencher. Most frame slider applications for sportbikes and naked bikes involve a set of sliders forward of the rider’s legs. The sliders mount to the motorcycle’s frame and provide a vital offset to protect many of the bike’s important parts. However, frame sliders forward of the rider aren’t the only option. Instead, riders can buy relatively inexpensive exhaust sliders or swingarm spool sliders to protect other surfaces of their beloved bikes.