Tested Dirt Bike Products - E-Line Carbon/Kevlar Header Pipe Guard - Experts on Dirtbikes at Dirt Rider Magazine

In the race to make ever-lighter four-strokes, new production bikes are wearing some very exotic and expensive exhaust pipes. Add in new-age engines with headpipes that run at up to 900 degrees, and you have a recipe for a problem. When hot, thin titanium tubing crumples and dents extremely easily. E-Line makes a form-fitting header guard using a composite of carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass and high-temperature resins. The company claims the strong (75 percent greater tensile strength than aluminum), light composite distributes any impact over a large area to reduce pipe damage. Its four-stroke pipe guards protect the header pipes from roost dings as well as saving pants and boots from burns. E-Line offers two types of pipe guards: The Full-Coverage Pipe Guard protects pipes from side or frontal impact and has an extra layer of composite material; and the Moto Pipe Guard shields the pipe from frontal roost dings and is manufactured with a lighter-weight composite of Kevlar and carbon fiber. E-Line has custom molds for more than 150 guards (50cc to 525cc motorcycles) for stock, Pro Circuit, FMF, Doma and Bill's pipes. Four-stroke guards for most stock pipes use standard welded-on tabs. E-Line aluminum brackets are used on aftermarket pipes without mounting bungs. The guards weigh between 9 and 20 ounces, depending on the model.KTM still uses plated steel or stainless steel for its pipes, and the new two-into-one header systems are reasonably tough but costly to replace. We try to be thorough with our testing, but you can trust us when we say we didn't throw our KTM 525 down in the rocks of the Soboba Trail in Southern California on purpose. It was just fate that drove the header pipe right into decomposing granite boulders. The only damage was a few scuff marks on the outer layer of composite. They looked bad at first, but after we washed the bike, it was hard to spot them. This photo of the guard is from after the fall. The pipe guards are $99.95, but with gas, entry fee and bike prep we'd have wasted a lot more money than that if a crushed header had ended the fun early. And that's without factoring in the price of the new header. Figure in the cost to replace melted pants and boots, and the E-Line pipe guard starts to look good literally and figuratively. We'd be even more adamant about having one on a tender titanium headpipe.DR Tested: 9.0E-Line Accessories: 508/295-0812; www.elineaccessories.com