Why are Skidplates Aluminum? Isn't steel tougher?

I have noticed that all the skidplates I have seen for sale seem to be made of Aluminum. I have one on my bike and it seems to be prone to bending with any sort of impact.

Are they always aluminum cause it's easier to buld with, or looks better, or lasts longer, or rust resistance,or lighter, or what?

I would be happy to have a tougher, steel plate, even if it was a bit heavier and I had to paint it once a year to prevent rust. It just seems like it would be stronger.

Steel is 3 times heavier and only about 1.6 times stronger. A strong steel skid plate would be very heavy.

Make sure you are buying Heat Treated aluminum products. 2024, 6061, 7050 and 7075 series are all Heat Treated (strong) alloy and much stronger than Non-Heat Treated (common) alloys.

Most of the parts I have made are cheaper to make out of carbon steel, even with paint or powder coating. Aluminum is more expensive than steel and more difficult to weld and as mentioned above, it is about 3 times lighter.

Ask the dealer or call the company before you buy the product if it doesn't state what aluminum the product is made from. Most handlebars state which alumimum is used. They are going to cost more but will hold up much better to abuse.

FWIW, kind on this topic. A buddy had an Acerbis plastic skid plate on his 94 WR250. He used it with great success. When he sold the bike he gave it to me to use. I used it on my 97 YZ250, then my 99 YZ250 and then My 02 YZ250. I had to do a little whittling on it to get it to fit but I never had a dented frame using it. It never got bent either.

BRP's come with a plastic skid plate and it has held up very well on my buddies bike. We ride in a lot of rocks.

You can make a simple one from a heavy-duty semi mudflap ( the plastic type ). That stuff is incredibly thick,tough, rigid, and slippery! I keep one in my shop to use as a super-low-profile creeper or when working under a vehicle in my gravel driveway. You can get them with your choice of colors or logos at any truckstop for @ $10. One flap would be enough for half a dozen dent-proof skidplates. Use a saber saw and drill to cut it out and mount it and a hole saw for drain plug access.

How do you bolt it up?

zip-ties? make it a quick realease one... pair of side cutters will have it off in 15 seconds, and you can mount it back up quick, just put the ties on the guard first, then loop around the frame and pull tight...


Zip ties would work well. Making some clamps (like conduit clamps with nuts welded on) would also be very easy. You could just bend up some clamps out of 1" flat stock. With a washer under the bolt head, it would be very strong. I actually like Yamaha.Dude's zip-tie approach the best, though. Very cheap, easy and strong. Lighter, too.

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