|Real Rider: Jason Bikowski|
|Location:||North Hollywood, CA|
Since I first got my 2009 CRF450 I’ve been using a solid-mounted aluminum skid plate to protect the bike’s cases and lower frame rails. At the time I did not realize that by adding a solid-mount skid plate I was essentially making the bottom of the frame one solid piece. Modern motocross bikes are engineered to allow the frames to flex to some degree, which contributes to the overall handling characteristics of the motorcycle and to keep from transferring every bump on the track to the rider.Earlier in this issue (“Buddy Bike” beginning on page 74) you can see that Dirt Rider?’s own Pete Peterson suggested that I take some laps on my bike without the skid plate to see if I noticed a difference. With the solid-mounted plate removed I was pleasantly surprised how the bike immediately felt like it was floating over the sharp, square-edged acceleration and braking bumps.
But I didn’t want to go without frame and engine case protection, so I mounted up a $79.95 Works Connection RIMS-mounted (Rubber Isolator Mounting System) skid plate. The Works Connection concept is to use rubber grommets at each mounting point to allow the frame to flex just as it was designed to do. Installation was simple and only required four bolts. It also came with high-density foam to keep mud from getting packed in between the cases and skid plate. I rode the bike back to back with no plate and with the rubber-mounted plate, and I am happy to say I couldn’t tell that the new plate was even on.If you’re looking for the best way to protect your bike’s lower frame rails and cases without having to make any compromises and like the added bonus of buying a product that’s made in the USA, give Works Connection a call.