This works so well I felt I needed to share it with others.
If you know a particular, upcoming ride is going to punish your bike's plastic or metal bodywork, this cheap and easy method will totally prevent it in all but the most extreme circumstances.
"Con-tact" brand clear shelf liner is available at Walmart and dozens of other places. It comes in a 18" x 9' roll and is relatively cheap. It has a backing that peels off and it sticks to plastic or metal body work. It is rubbery, durable, and completely transparent. And best of all, it easily peels right off in a sheet without leaving even a hint of glue after the trip! It will work on almost anything but plastic tanks, engines, or exhausts. (Fuel vapors will excape through plastic tanks and interact with the glue, and extreme heat will melt it. You've been warned.) It can be applied wholy on flat surfaces, or cut into strips and overlapped to conform to any shape. Even if stripped and overlapped, it will still peel off in one large sheet.
Use it to protect almost anything in abnormally severe conditions.... On your metal tank to prevent wear from knees or tank bags; On your side panels under the saddle bags; On your fender under the spare tube; On your rear fender under that 50 pound duffle; On your painted rear rack under the spare gas can. Or just cover anything you know is about to take a beating. It even helps in minor crashes and fall-overs! The possibilities are endless. It works safely on both painted and unpainted surfaces.
Put on 2 or 3 layers under tail bags, saddle bags, or any other heavy loads - or anywhere else if it makes you feel better. No one will even notice it. It easily lasts for weeks and then peels right off in seconds, leaving nothing but a like-new shine. One roll is enough for years of excursions.
I protected my XR650L using this method on a fully loaded, 2000 mile, western leg of the TransAm Trail. I came away without a scratch after almost 2 weeks with heavy things bouncing around on my side panels, layers of abrasive dust, and even dropping it a few times in sandy terrain. There were several others on the trip and no one even noticed I had done it till afterwards, when I jerked it right off to reveal my bike's perfect shine among a crowd of well worn machines!
This is truly one of the best little tricks in motorcycledom. It will prevent wear and tear on those "hardcore" rides and help to keep your bike looking like new and it's resale value high. I have used it on both street and trail bikes without a glitch, but I still suggest you try it in a small, inconspicuous location before going full tilt, just in case.