Jeff’s custom upper frame protectors for Yamahas ($2.00 total cost)
Note: These frame guards were created for a steel-framed 1999 WR400F 4-stroke. Success in making these parts fit a 2-stroke Yamaha or another bike brand is unknown.
1-1/4" diameter, 12 inch long drain extension tube (Plumbing dept of Home Depot)
Tie wraps (the good kind with metal inserts)
Silicone seal (black or clear)
3M Red Scotchbrite pads
Paper tube from an empty roll of paper towels (template)
Drill and bits
Round or half-round file
I searched high and low, but could not find an aftermarket company that made Yamaha frame protectors for the upper portions of the "frame downtubes." These portions of the frame are located on the left and right sides of the bike just ahead of the rear number plates. Your boots will typically wear the paint off these portions of the frame after just a few rides.
Being a general McGuyver kind of guy, I went to my local Home Depot in search of options...
What I found that works AMAZINGLY well can be found in the Plumbing department for $2.00. Look for what is called a "drain extension tube." This is a black, thin-wall ABS plastic tube about 1-foot long with a big plastic nut on one end and a slightly inverted flare on the other end. This is the ideal material – not too thick and not too thin. The finished product is attached with a little dab of silicone seal and tie wraps.
I have had these custom frame guards on my bike for over a year and my boots have never worn through the zip-ties. The guards look as good as the day I installed them with no visible wear whatsoever.
1. First, locate a paper tube from an empty roll of paper towels - it is just the right shape and makes the perfect template!
2. Mark the middle of the paper roll lengthwise, and cut it into two pieces using a pair of scissors.
NOTE: You will only need one template as the left and right frame downtubes are identical shapes (on Yamaha 4-strokes anyways...)
3. Position the template on one side of your frame to get a feel for the overall shape. Use some masking tape to hold it in place if necessary.
TEMPLATE FITTING NOTES:
The template only needs to wrap around 1/2 of the frame tube - more than this may cause installation problems later on with the finished part.
At a certain point, the top of the frame tube starts to curve inward towards the main backbone of the frame. Mark where this change occurs on your bike. The top of your custom frame guards can not extend past this curvature point or they won't fit properly! Also, where the frame downtube is welded to the lower cradle section, you will have to make a "v-shaped" notch in the template and final part to clear this area.
4. After you are satisfied with the fit of the template, transfer the shape to the plastic drain extension tube. Use a yellow or white grease pencil, or wrap the drain extension tube in masking tape and trace the outline using a pen or pencil.
5. Using a cut-off wheel (and safety glasses), split the material into 2 pieces.
6. Using a pair of vice grips with VERY LIGHT clamping pressure, hold the 2 pieces together during final shaping. Remember, both pieces should be identical.
6. Create the "v-shaped" clearance notch for the lower portions of the frame guards. File and sand the parts to get the right shape and smooth out any rough spots. Slightly radius the corners for a professional look.
7. Check the fit of the parts against the frame downtubes and reshape if necessary to get them just right.
8. When satisfied with the fit, very carefully mark the position for the zip-tie holes in the top and bottom corners of the frame guards. The zip-ties will sit OUTSIDE of the frame guards except where they pass through the attachment holes.
NOTE: The zip-tie attachment holes need to be located in just the right place. Take your time – measure twice and drill once! You don’t want the holes too close to the edges or the zip-ties might pull through, destroying the part.
9. For final frame guard finishing, use the Red 3M Scotchbrite pad to create a uniform, satin look. You can do this dry or in a bucket of water with a little soap as in wet-sanding.
10. Thread the zip-ties through the holes in the frame guards. Put a thin bead of silicone seal on the INSIDE of the frame guard.
11. Install the guards and pull the zip-ties as tight as you can without breaking them. Cut off the excess tie material. Having someone around to hold the guards in place while adjusting the zip ties certainly helps!
FINAL NOTES: Let the silicone seal set up overnight before riding – it keeps the guards from moving on the frame tubes when your boots rub against them. On my bike, the aluminum Devol frame guard on the shifter side helps keep the new upper frame protector in place. The Devol guard on the rear brake side doesn’t cover the new upper frame protector, but the silicone seal and the tie wraps keep it in place just fine.
If you keep your bike looking nice and want your guards to have a deeper black color, apply a little bit of Armor-All or Mother’s “Back to Black” conditioning treatment.