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Plastic or aluminum?

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  I have a new to me '06 KTM 250 XC.  I am going to put a skid plate on it and I was wondering what experienced riders recommend, plastic or aluminum.  I am not including carbon fiber because I don't think it will stand up to the abrasion.  I have a Works Connection aluminum skid plate on my "99 Cr250R, but since the KTM frame is supposed to be more flexible by design, I don't want to decrease the intended flexibility.  

Thanks,

Dan

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I really like the TMD plate. I have abused the hell out of mine and it has held up as well as aluminum plates I have used. It does not reflect the engined noise as much as aluminum plated do. The attached files are the damage to my plate after a direct single point hit on a very sharp rock after I launched my bike 20+ feet. I am sure an aluminum plate would have looked very similar and maybe even had a hole punched through it.

CoKTM

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Edited by coktm

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I have ran all three types and found all three have there pros and cons.  The aluminum and carbon can add stiffness to a frame depending on the mount.  That can be good or bad.  Aluminum makes the bike considerably more noisy.  I though my YZ was going to blow up after I put on an aluminum plate.  The good carbon ones are plenty tough.  I had a buddy who had a huge crash and the frame rails actually bent around a light speed plate.  Aluminum is good all around other than the noise and can probably take constant grinding over rocks and such if you do that a lot.  My current bike has a plastic one and it seems to be adequate but I think a really sharp rock would pierce it where it might not the carbon or aluminum.

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Plastic is quieter than aluminum, as in won't reflect as much noise. Plastic is also just that, plastic. It will bounce back from hits and jolts that aluminum can't. It has less friction, less stickiness and generally more protection.

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I have been looking around for my 2010 yz450f I race hare scrambles I think I'm going to go with plastic they are cheaper and for what everyone has said they hold up just as well as aluminum

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i have an aluminum one on my DRZ. my KTM came with a plastic one that i ran for awhile until i found a carbon fiber one on e-bay that was practically being given away, so i figured i would try it.

the plastic one never failed me, but i ride in rocks a lot, and it flexes. i think it is fine for protecting the frame, but the flex always made me nervous about whether or not it would protect the sides of the engine cases if i dropped it on a rock the wrong way. that might be all in my head, though. one thing that was really nice about it was that it was super quick and easy to take off and put on.

of all of them, i like the carbon fiber one the best. it's really light. it's taken a beating (i beat the crap out of it on rocks and logs). it attaches in the front with hooks, so it doesn't really make the frame stiffer. it is not nearly as loud as the aluminum ones. it also does not scoop up nearly as much mud as the aluminum on my DRZ, but that is probably due to the difference in their designs rather than the different materials.

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I have run a lot of aluminum plates but I like my Moose HDPE plate the best. It flexes nicely and slides over rocks much better than aluminum. It has taken a hell of a beating over the last couple of years, still in good shape.

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I vote for heavy gauge aluminum because it seems to be better able to take the abuse,

 

One issue to consider: are you trying to protect the frame or to strengthen the frame.  I have a Montesa Trials bike with a open cradle frame that uses the skid plate to provide the engine cradle, after too many rock hits the skid plate would no longer fit the frame. :banghead:

My fix was to use a thicker than OEM skid plate; problem solved.

 

On my XR I run just the rock guard bars and a thin OEM brush plate f/ a 84 XR. So far so good.

 

On my CRF250X I seem to be hitting the skid plate every ride but I don't know if plastic or aluminum is better. Maybe by next year.

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Get the polymer skid plate aluminum blow in comparison.  The plate that came on my KTM is made out of the exact same poly that my whitewater kayaks are made of and those things take more rock hits in one class 4 run than you will ever take on a motorcycle.  It's not the same crappy plastic as your fenders and body work.

Edited by The10T

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Run an aluminum plate, if it's making a lot if noise cut some rubberized roofing, or other similar rubber to insulate vibration from the frame to the plate. Plastic is good for moto but off-road is a little more abusive.

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