In my case the damage occurred with the OEM bars installed.I laid the bike down at slow speed while traversing some rocky
terrain. The OEM bars being rubber mounted and not rigid did not support the weight of the bike allowing the covers to rub on the ground. They also flexed into my fairing cracking it.
I donít think anyone would assume the OEM upper bars protect the engine very much in a slide or hard fall. With a gentle tip over, maybe.
Personally, Iím not very disappointed with the ATAS upper bars. I like the way they lookóa lotóand have found them to be stronger than some give them credit for. As OEM bars go, they arenít that terrible.
However, they are not nearly as serious as a good set of aftermarket crash bars, like OMís, etc.
But in conjunction with a *nice* set of lowers and some thoughtful bag positioning, they work well for me.
Depending on the terrain, in most moving slides or falls, the lower part of the bike will come in contact with the ground before the uppers. A good set of wide, strong lowers goes a long way in assisting the OEM uppers in any slide or fall. Not to mention, good handlebar protection and something at the back to keep the bike off the ground.
I took a hard slide on my bike and the Hepco & Becker lowers levered the bike up enough so the OEM uppers didnít have much weight on them. I also had H&B bar bags filled with soft cloth attached to the OEM uppers and that combo kept all the important parts of my bike clear from the ground. The bar bags also helped very much in cushioning the OEM bars from moving much and kept the bike further away from the ground up there.
I've said this before, but itís trueÖ after reinstalling the OEM uppers over the H&B lowers at the bottom bolting locations (as part of the install process) my uppers seem much sturdier. That may just be because I torqued those bolts down tighter than they had been from the factory (and squeezed the rubber grommets at bit more). Nothing changed at the top, thatís still mounted with the rubber grommets and torqued bolts unchanged, but the overall stiffness of the bars seemed to get better.
I wouldnít want to fall on the OEM uppers without the bar bags stuffed and tied on. They help *a lot.* But for my riding, I feel like my bike is pretty well protected now. I used to think the OEM uppers might be a one-and-done deal, but no longer. And Iíll also have decent cushioning at the back on the panniers racks whenever I do any proper off-roading.
This was my getup, the last time I was out. Worked well for me. Beyond some scratching on the lowers and dinging up the bar bag and a few scratches on the rear bag, came through without a scratch on the bike proper. And even though the bike came down hard, if the OEM uppers met the fairing, I could not see any evidence of it. The Hepco & Becker lowers and bar bags and the H&B handlebar protectors saved the bike.
All the best, Gary
Ps. That rear bag had another small ratchet strap holding it tight from behind through hoops in the bag. It was on there pretty good for the day's riding.