My question has always been: if the silicates ruin the seals of the water pumps on our motorcycles, what about cars etc with aluminum engines and water pumps. My 1981 VW Rabbit Diesel had a aluminum water pump and I don't remember any of them having problems. Many would run for 100,000 miles if not longer. Why would it effect motorcycles more so than anything else?
The additives in ant-freeze can be as complex, if not more so, than motor oil. Your choice of anti-freeze is actually more important than your choice of oil. The previous post by sullivap is certainly a good way to ease any anxiety over selecting the correct anti-freeze for your bike, if you are willing to absorb the high cost.
Silicates by their nature are alkaline, which means they can corrode aluminum. But corrosion inhibitors neutralize the corrosive alkaline effect and actually make the silicate beneficial in preventing corrosion, as long as maintenance intervals are followed. Long life anti-freeze generally contains no silicates, because it doesn't rely on corrosion inhibitors that degrade over time.
There is a wide array of materials available to manufacturers for making gaskets and seals. They each have their benefits and drawbacks. The choices that each manufacturer makes will determine what kind of anti-freeze the engine needs. Silicates can chemically act as plasticizers when they interact with certain types of polymer based gasket and seal materials. This makes the material lose its flexibility, causing it to harden and crack. It always results in failure. Not all materials are susceptible to this, which is why each mfr has their own special requirements. You need to follow what the mfr recommends. They know what they used to build the engine, and they know what it takes to prevent failures. You can't tell by looking at a gasket or seal what type it is. They mostly all look visually the same.
As long as you are not the owner of a GM DEXCOOL based car, there really are only a few common types of anti-freeze out there. Every mfr makes a compatible anti-freeze. Some mfrs are just better than others at sharing the important information you need to know.