Axle sliders are small devices that attach to the outside edge of a motorcycle's front and rear axles. Designed to prevent the axle from digging into the pavement in the event of a crash or low-side scrape, axle sliders are mandatory in most forms of motorcycle racing on pavement. Typically designed to bolt on to the axle, the axle sliders are easily removed or replaced with common hand tools in only a matter of a few minutes by a novice mechanic. Typically made of a rock-hard Delrin®, nylon, or aluminum construction, the sliders keep the motorcycle raised slightly off of the road's surface in the event of a crash, thereby limiting the amount of damage that occurs to the chassis, engine and body panels of the motorcycle.
Commonly used in trick or exhibition riding, axle sliders are usually paired with frame sliders to allow the motorcycle to slide easily on the pavement without causing damage to the bike. The small devices resemble skateboard wheels and can often be color-matched to the motorcycle, making them difficult to detect. When used in a road racing application, the axle sliders prevent the axles from digging into the racing surface when the motorcycle is leaned excessively into a turn. This can prevent a crash from occurring and minimize both the damage to the track as well as to the bike.
Many race teams install mini-versions of the sliders onto the bottom of the foot pegs to prevent an accidental scrape of the peg on the racetrack from causing a wreck. The use of the axle sliders also aids in the removal of the axle nut when changing a tire, since the nut is no longer scraped and ground down due to incidental contact with the racing surface. Versions of the slider knobs are also available for use on handlebar ends, swing arms and shock absorbers. Many manufacturers offer complete kits to protect the entire motorcycle.
On street-ridden motorcycles, the axle sliders can prevent expensive damage from occurring to the motorcycle's swing arm and front forks in the event of a crash. The motorcycle will slide on the axle sliders instead of on the more expensive swing arm components or sprocket, saving a great deal of expense in repairing the bike. The sliders are easily replaceable for a fraction of the repair cost of wrecking without aid of the sliders. The benefit of axle sliders is so beneficial that some motorcycle manufacturers are beginning to install the sliders on their new motorcycle lineup.