MXA TEAM TESTED: LIGHTSPEED KTM 250SXF/350SXF/450SXF GLIDE PLATE

September 1, 2011
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WHAT IS IT? A complete carbon fiber skid plate and case guard system in one piece. It is a close copy of the skid plate that the KTM factory team runs. Amazingly, KTM does not put any kind of skid plate on the SXF motocrossers. LightSpeed solves this problem with a combination glide plate and case guard that protects the engine case, water pump and ignition.


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 2011 KTM 250/350/450SXF glide plate system.


(1) Fit. Thanks to a slip-fit tongue in the back and two aluminum hooks in the front, the LightSpeed unit installs in minutes. It should be noted that the KTM factory team welds tabs on their frames to eliminate the need for the aluminum hooks, but that is beyond the means of most KTM owners.


(2) Function. LightSpeed’s design mantra for motocross skid plates is to tuck them in as close as possible to the frame but still leave adequate distance between the carbon fiber guard, water pump and ignition covers to work as a crush zone. 


(3) Carbon fiber. 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) Installation. Thanks to the carbon fiber tongue designed into the skid plate’s shape, there are no bolts needed at the rear of the LightSpeed KTM skid plate. On the front, however, there are two 8mm bolts that attach the curved aluminum hooks. It takes skinny fingers to get the hooks over the frame rails and the bolts inserted.


WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We would have liked to be able to change the engine oil without removing the LightSpeed glide plate; but, in truth, holes in skid plates and bike stands are rarely handy. It only takes the removal of the two 8mm bolts to access the drain plug.

With the cost of four-stroke parts, it is foolish to expose your KTM engine case ($1400), water pump housing ($20), clutch cover ($100) or ignition cover ($120) to the vagaries of a first-turn pileup or a random rock. 

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