MXA TEAM TESTED: PROTECH FULL-WRAP KTM FORK GUARDS
WHAT IS IT? The first time the MXA wrecking crew saw the British-made ProTech fork guards, we knew they were something every motocross racer needed. The ProTech guards offer 350 degrees of protection from roost for your bike’s fork legs. They vastly improve the chances of your fork seals lasting twice as long. The ProTech guards directly replace the standard OEM guards on KTMs, Husqvarnas, Hondas, Yamahas, Gas Gas bikes and Shercos.
WHAT’S IT COST? $60.00 (includes shipping from England).
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the ProTech full-wrap fork guards.
(1) Leaking fork seals. Modern fork guards protect your fork legs from rock damage from the front but do nothing to keep the chrome from being damaged by dirt, debris and rocks ricocheting off the frame or roost thrown off the trailing edge of your own front tire. Just one stone chip to a chrome fork leg is enough to cause a fork seal leak. The first thing that most suspension specialists check before replacing a leaking fork seal is the condition of the chrome on the backside of the fork leg. Surprise! It is estimated that half of all fork seal leaks are caused by stone chips to the fork’s chrome legs. Sadly, no manufacturer cares about eliminating fork seal leaks caused by rocks.
(2) Real fix. Luckily, ProTech, a small British company, understood the problem and injection-molded wraparound fork guards that completely cover the fork tube, save for a small 1-inch opening up the back that allows the plastic guard to be flexed wide enough to pop over the fork leg. The small gap isn’t optimal, but the protection is much better than with 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) Performance. The MXA wrecking crew races up to 10 bikes a weekend. That translates into a lot of blown fork seals, but none on the bikes equipped with ProTech wraparound fork guards. For 2020, ProTech has made a series of improvements to its fork guards. First, the grade of plastic was upgraded to the type used on automobile bumpers to eliminate any chance of roost cracking the plastic. The new plastic is more flexible and resilient. Second, the top of the fork guard has been redesigned to protect more of the fork’s stanchion (the large diameter aluminum tubes that the chrome fork legs slide into) from being peppered by roost. Third, on KTM, Husky, Sherco and Gas Gas guards, the tooling was changed so that the brake hose clamp could accept a speedo hose along with the front brake line. This was a big plus for off-road and enduro riders.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Three quibbles: (1) As with all forks guards, a holeshot device can put excessive stress on the part of the guard that bolts to the fork lugs. ProTech has strengthened the bottom bolt area’s plastic but is looking into supplying reinforcing brackets for Yamaha and Honda guards. (2) ProTech does not have an American distributor, so ProTech fork guards have to be shipped from England (we have included the shipping charges in the price above). If you are in a rush, there is a good chance that you could order the ProTech guards from www.n2dirt.net in Southern Cailfornia. (3) Sadly, the ProTech guards can’t stop all fork seal leaks, just the ones caused by footpegs and ricocheting rocks.
MXA RATING: These are the best fork guards made. You don’t need Sherlock Holmes to tell you that ProTech wraparound fork guards will pay for themselves.