Tested Dirt Bike Products - E-Line Carbon/Kevlar Skid Plate - Experts on Dirtbikes at Dirt Rider Magazine

When our skid plate arrived from E-Line, it looked more like a curvaceous black sculpture than a dirt-bike part. We mounted ours on a KTM four-stroke, but the lightweight skid plates are available for a variety of makes and models. On the KTM, it mounted in the front with small bolts through existing holes in the engine-mount plates, and in the rear using existing threaded holes in a frame cross member. The plate appeared vacuum-formed to the bottom of the bike.When we mentioned to E-Line's Kevin Hines that we must take off the skid plate to change the oil, he explained that the plate comes off easily ... that trying to drain oil through a hole always makes a mess anyway. Once we adjusted to the idea of pulling off the plate to drain the oil, we started to see more good points of the E-Line plate.Composite skid plates don't resonate sounds of impact as aluminum ones do. E-Line uses a composite of carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass and resins. The use of Kevlar in skid plates is unique to E-Line; Kevlar is used to make bulletproof vests, wear-resistant gloves and high-impact-resistant kayaks and canoes. It disperses impact, has a long fatigue life and claims a greater tensile strength than most other materials, including aluminum.E-Line claims its skid plates typically weigh less than aluminum units, but admits that the weight difference is small due to the multiple layers of carbon and that other composite skid plates (without Kevlar) weigh less than its undercarriage armor. The skid plate protects the side engine and water-pump cases as well as the frame rails and the bottom of the engine cases. E-Line's glide plates are trimmed back on the sides with less coverage. The company designed its skid plates and glide plates with a high front to reduce mud buildup.KTM four-stroke engines make a fair amount of mechanical racket, but much of it isn't obvious until you put on a skid plate. Any skid or glide plate bounces mechanical noise up to the rider. It can be alarming at first, but after you realize the engine isn't going to blow up, you can ignore it.The E-Line skid plate does all it claims. It is tough and tucked in, offers excellent coverage and doesn't interfere with the rider or add a lot of weight. The plate has proven to be impervious to rock grazes or log hopping. It has never even come loose. If you are spending your own money on parts, the $144.95 E-Line skid plate is a great option.DR Tested: 9.0 Protection; 7.0 ConvenienceE-Line accessories: 508/295-0812; www.elineaccessories.com