Black Dog Cycle Works KTM 690/Husqvarna 701 Enduro Skid Plate
Asked to evaluate the Black Dog Cycle Works ULTIMATE Skid Plate, I wondered, “What’s to review?” A skid plate has no moving parts and should perform an apparently simple function. But, as it turns out, not all skid plates are created equal.
Black Dog chose 3/16-inch ASTM 5052 aluminum alloy plate for their ULTIMATE Skid Plate structure. The alloy’s properties include resistance to vibration-induced metal fatigue and greater energy absorption than more brittle alloys. Full penetration, evenly lapped TIG hand welds inside and out reinforce critical corners and provide strength to what is essentially one-piece construction. It’s an exceptional metal shield that provides a robust defense against off-road damage.
A dictionary entry for “Installation Instructions” should lead to Black Dog’s “How To” sheet! Truly a textbook-worthy example of what product instructions SHOULD look like, but often do not.
The plate mounts to the bike with front and rear brackets. The front bracket uses a 10mm-diameter, 180mm-long through-bolt, replacing the stock fastener. The rear bracket hosts two 7/16-inch-diameter studs fitting holes in the frame and shrouded by stock rubber bushings.
Mounted beneath the center of gravity, the BDCW skid plate’s beefy seven pounds doesn’t upset handling. It extends rearward, sufficiently protecting the bike’s soft underbelly, including the engine case, rear brake master cylinder, and rear suspension linkage. Two flat-head countersunk hex socket machine screws anchor the rear bracket, maintaining the smooth profile. The smooth, flat bottom surface is designed to glide over obstructions without snagging, and its contour helps keep the bike stable when on a lift for service, too.
For removal, unscrewing two machine screws releases the skid plate. Pull it forward a couple of inches and it’s completely free of the bike. These machine screws thread directly into the mounting bracket; no struggling with back-up nuts of limited wrench accessibility (and potential loss of these fasteners into the bottom interior of the plate).
I did not test the skid plate anywhere approaching the gnarliness of Erzberg or the Rubicon Trail. However, I’m confident from my inspection and research this shield will defend my bike against anything within my daring and riding environment. Clanging, banging over struck stones, scraping over downed logs … the highest compliment for a skid plate may be, “You don’t even know it’s there!” Exactly my experience with the Black Dog Cycle Works ULTIMATE Skid Plate.
KTM 690 and Husqvarna 701 Enduro motorcycles will thank their owners for mounting Black Dog Cycle Works ULTIMATE Skid Plates. This robust armor protects and sustains the machines over the rugged terrain attracting them. MSRP: $249 BlackDogCW.com
|▲ Heavy duty, lightweight construction||▼ Elegant looks could be either pro or con, in the eye of the beholder|
▲ Two-screw removal, remounting
|▲ Lucid, useful installation instructions||