MXA TEAM TESTED: LIGHTSPEED ONE-PIECE YZ450F GLIDE PLATE:

October 5, 2011
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WHAT IS IT? A complete carbon fiber skid plate and case guard system in one piece. It is the exact same glide plate that James Stewart runs on his 2010 Yamaha YZ450F. For some reason, the stock skid plate and case guards on the 2010 Yamaha YZ450F are minimal at best. In fact, there is no case guard for the ignition side, and the water pump guard is so small that the vulnerable metal water lines are exposed to everything from roost to footpegs.

LightSpeed has become the premier carbon fiber parts supplier in American motocross. Most factory teams run LightSpeed parts?and with good reason. LightSpeed’s one-piece YZ450F carbon fiber glide plate is a jack of all trades. This single slab of carbon fiber incorporates an ignition-side case guard, skid plate and water pump guard. It is currently available for 2010 YZ250F-450F and CRF250-CRF450.

WHAT’S IT COST? $199.95.

CONTACT? lightspeedcarbon.net or (714) 990-5767.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out on LightSpeed’s one-piece 2010 Yamaha YZ450F glide plate system.

(1) Fit. This is a plug-and-play skid plate. We removed the stock guards and slipped the LightSpeed glide plate on. It uses the three stock 6mm bolts and fits like a glove. There are no aluminum hooks or finger-twisting nooks and crannies to fiddle with.

(2) Function. Unlike some skid plate and case guard designs, LightSpeed goes for the form-fitting look (almost a second skin). Not only does it put a layer of carbon fiber between your vulnerable cases and the cruel world, but it is amazingly sleek looking (and is less likely to allow mud between the skid plate and engine). Obviously, if bashing into things is a habit, you would be better off with a stronger Works Connection aluminum skid plate.

(3) Looks. LightSpeed uses a proprietary epoxy resin in their carbon fiber that makes it both strong and resilient. Additionally, to give the carbon fiber a high-gloss look, LightSpeed sprays on an epoxy clear coat (as opposed to the less durable polyurethane coating of many other carbon fiber makers).

(4) Bike maintenance. LightSpeed listened to the Yamaha mechanics and took regular maintenance issues into account. There are cutouts to allow access to the clutch cover, water pump drain and even a special hole for a brake snake (which L&M Yamaha uses).

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We would like to be able to change the engine oil without removing the glide plate, but the YZ450F’s side-mount drain doesn’t lend itself to a cut-out drain hole as easily as a drain plug under the engine.


You don’t need this product. How do we know? Because nobody needs a case guard until a rock rips a hole in his ignition cover. Nobody needs a glide plate until he cases the top of a whoop. So, you don’t need it…until you need it.

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