MXA TEAM TESTED: CYCRA YZ450F SPEED ARMOR SKID PLATE

September 13, 2012
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WHAT IS IT? The Speed Armor skid plate is a low-cost, injection-molded, plastic skid plate for riders who want a simpler and cheaper skid plate.

WHAT’S IT COST? $42.95 (skid plate), $12.95 (12 extra zip-ties).

CONTACT? www.cycraracing.com or (740) 929-0188.

WHAT STANDS OUT?
Here’s a list of things that stand out with Cycra’s Speed Armor skid plate.

(1) Function. Different bikes come with varying levels of center/side-case coverage. The Cycra Speed Armor protects the frame cradle and provides full-length center-case coverage. The 2010?2012 YZ450F has a small plastic guard in the rear. The Speed Armor replaces and extends the coverage. Cycra was also mindful of frame flex and chose the non-rigid mount to prevent the skid plate from hampering inherent frame movement.

(2) Installation.
Installation is as simple as cinching down a few zip-ties. The rear of the skid plate is held in place by a tongue that clips onto the frame, and the zip-ties handle the rest. On the YZ450F, the zip-ties on top can be situated to pull the skid plate backward against the tongue, which eliminates the possibility of the skid plate sliding forward and releasing the tongue. Taking the time to hide the clasping part of the zip-ties improves the looks of the setup.

(3) Mud collection. Skid plates are a double-edged sword when it comes to mud collection. On one hand, they can block a lot of mud from piling up in the cavity below the center case, but, on the other hand, if mud does get in there, it’s difficult to clean out. Our YZ450F Speed Armor skid plate didn’t leave much room for mud to creep in, and buildup was minimal. No need to pack foam in the center in normal conditions.

(4) Durability.
We did discover that boulder-smashing offroad rides could sever the oversized plastic zip-ties that secure the Speed Armor skid plate. The skid plate always stayed attached though becasue we never broke more than one zip-tie at a time. In motocross use we never had a zip-tie break. Cycra designed the Speed Armor skid plate with recessed grooves to help protect the zip-ties. There were no serious signs of wear after dragging our Speed Armor.

(5) Oil changes.
Most skid plates demand a bit more wrench time for oil changes. Speed Armor is easy to remove and reinstall compared to some other skid plates with troublesome hooks. The bad news is that you have to cut away Cycra’s expensive, custom-spec zip-ties. The Speed Armor comes with four extra ties, and Cycra sells a 12-pack for $12.95.

(6) Options.
The Speed Armor skid plate is available for the “Big Five” brands in brand colors or black or gray?except Suzuki models, which only come in black or gray. Cycra is also introducing a stronger and more protective skid plate called the Full Armor ($89.95).

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Two things annoyed us about the Speed Armor skid plate. (1) Supplying zip-ties at over a dollar a piece is highway robbery when you have to clip them for each oil change. (2) The zip-tie-securing method may be simple and effective but is not particularly attractive. This is a basic no-frills skid plate and is rather inelegant in the looks department.

Cycra’s Speed Armor skid plate is simple, functional and affordable, but the zip-ties are the fly in the ointment.

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