MXA TEAM TESTED: PROTECH FULL-WRAP KTM FORK GUARDS
WHAT IS IT? ProTech fork guards directly replace the standard OEM guards on WP-equipped KTMs, Husqvarnas and Shercos (plus all models of Hondas). The ProTech guards offer much more protection from roost for the fork legs, and this vastly improves the chances of your fork seals lasting twice as long.
WHAT’S IT COST? $47.00 (They are offering free shipping world-wide until the end of July).
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the ProTech full-wrap fork guards.
(1) History. Prior to the 2015 models, KTMs and Husqvarnas came with full-wrap fork guards. This meant that instead of just protecting the chrome on your fork legs from rock damage from the front, they also guarded against rocks ricocheting off the frame and roost thrown off the trailing edge of your own front tire from the back. Why is this important? Just one stone chip to a chrome fork leg is enough to take a divot out of the plating. The edge of that divot, which resembles a volcano under a microscope, can tear the fork seal as it passes by. A torn seal will spew oil like a Texas wildcat rig. The fix? New fork seals, but only after you have buffed and polished the ding out of the fork leg. And, if the ding is too big to sand down, you will need a new fork leg.
This is the important part—prior to 2015, the MXA wrecking crew rarely had to replace WP’s SKF fork seals compared to how often we changed Showa or Kayaba seals. Why? Prior to 2015, WP forks came with wrap-around fork guards. From 2015 on, WP forks came with the same-style fork guards as Japanese bikes, and thus the seals blew at the same pace as Showa and Kayaba fork seals. Even more aggravating was the simple fact that the 2014 full-wrap fork guards would not fit on the 2015–2019 WP forks.
We assume that KTM went to the newer, simpler, smaller fork guards to save weight and make the forks look sleeker, but it was a bad trade. In every post-2014 KTM bike test, MXA would say, “We vastly prefer the old full-coverage fork guards. No, they aren’t as attractive or as light, but they extend fork-seal life by stopping rock dings caused by roost from the rear of the front wheel.” Our complaint fell on deaf ears in Austria, but not in England.
(2) The fix. A small British company understood the problem and went to the trouble to injection-mold full-wrap fork guards for 2015-and-up WP motocross forks. They are well made, strong and fit perfectly. It should be noted that the ultimate protection for your fork legs would be a plastic tube that completely covered the fork tube; however, a tube would be a hassle to install and remove. To facilitate putting the ProTech fork guards on and off, there is a 1-inch opening at the back of the guard. This allows the plastic to be flexed wide enough to pop over the fork leg without having to remove the forks from the bike. The small gap isn’t optimal, but the protection is much better than with the stock fork guards. On particularly rocky tracks, the MXA test riders stick on a piece of 3M number-plate background vinyl to close the gap completely.
(3) Fitment. ProTech full-wrap fork guards are available for KTM, Husqvarna, Sheroc and Honda motorcycles. They are offered in white, orange, blue, red and yellow.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have no major performance complaints, but there is one thing to fret about—ProTech does not have an American distributor, which means that you have to order the fork guards from England via the ProTech fork guard website. This increases the wait time and the shipping cost.
MXA RATING: The MXA wrecking crew loves the ProTech full-wrap fork guards. Who wouldn’t want to protect their expensive forks, tubes and seals from damage? Well played, ProTech.