10 Enduro Dirt Bike Accessories. A Guide to Protecting Your Bike From Damage.


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#1 Unbreakable Levers
#2 Hand Guards
#3 Skid Plates 
#4 Linkage Guards
#5 Fork Guards
#6 Brake Rotor Guards
#7 Radiator Guards
#8 Case Savers
#9 Chain Guides
#10 Heavy Duty Tubes

When you first get a dirt bike and ride it on difficult trails, you will begin to notice that things will start snapping off and breaking.

Some of these things won’t matter too much but others will be critical and it may mean pushing your bike back to camp.

You can avoid this by putting the right protective parts on your dirt bike to minimize breakage and maximize ride time.

I have come up with my 10 favorite enduro dirt bike accessories below and I will add to this list from time to time when I find other parts that work really well for me.

#1 Unbreakable Levers.

When you start out in dirt bike riding, there is one thing that will happen really often.

You will be losing your balance in tighter, slower areas and dropping your bike on the ground.

This is normal and even expert riders still drop their bike on the ground from time to time. Nothing to worry about here.

The problem though is when your levers take the full brunt of the impact.

We are talking 250 odd pounds of dirt bike landing on either your clutch or front brake lever.

The end of the handle bar will take some of the force but you can bet that your lever will take the hit as well.

More often than not, this means that the lever will snap clean off.

If the front brake lever were to snap off, well that’s no big deal as you can still ride around using only the rear brake.

If it is your clutch lever however, you are going to be pushing your dirt bike home.

The best and easiest solution is unbreakable levers.

unbreakable levers dirt bike
unbreakable levers in action.

When I was first told about these, I called bullshit on them as it sounded too good to be true. After I bought a set to try though I was quickly converted.

Unbreakable levers are designed to swivel on a spring at the base of the lever where it normally pivots on the lever bracket.

These cool devices can be bent in the opposite direction and once released, will pop back into position without damage.

I like the reflex brake and clutch levers.

dirt bike upgrades.

Here is a video that explains how they work –

A very cool piece of engineering in my opinion and definitely worth checking out. They are perfect for motocross riders.

#2 Hand Guards

The second solution to the lever breaking problem is hand guards.

 In my opinion, hand guards are one of the most important dirt bike accessories to have, especially for enduro riders.

Hand guards also extend out to the lever but continue all the way around the front of the lever where they are re-attached to the handlebar.

The advantage to the full extension hand guards is that they fully protect your levers.

But also they protect your hands from getting smacked into trees and other obstacles during tight sections of the track.

Some hand guards even come with wide plastic covers to offer your hands extra protection from foliage.

Being whipped on your hands by a tree branch at high speed hurts like hell even with gloves on, so these plastic covers are very useful.

Hand guards are more bulky and are designed for enduro riding where there are plenty of obstacles. And where your hands and levers need full protection coverage.

I ride mainly on forest trails and so I don’t ever leave my garage without a set of hand guards attached.

 I really like the Tusk Hand Guards. They are super tough, inexpensive and come with optional plastic guards.

dirt bike upgrades

 

Whether you choose lever guards, unbreakable levers or hand guards, always talk to the bike store first to make sure they will fit your bike.

#3 Skid Plate

The lower front and underside of your dirt bike takes an incredible beating on a dirt bike.

This area is the most important part to protect as it is where the oil drain bolt sits. It is also where the frame holds the engine in place.

Riding over logs and smashing into rocks is an essential part of riding but can cause fatal damage to a dirt bike.

A skid plate is a cover that is bolted to the lower front and underside of the frame where the engine is mounted.

The plate covers the front of the engine and entire underside of your bike.

It protects your engine, lower frame and oil drain bolt from getting destroyed (and they do get frequently destroyed).

The skid plate is one of the most important dirt bike accessories to have.

The first year into my riding, I remember on one ride when I was about 5 miles from home and I was practicing rocking my bike over a large log.

I managed to do it after a few tries and was feeling pretty proud of myself.

But then I realized that I was leaving a trail of oil behind me as I rode away!!

I had ripped the oil drain bolt out and had to stop and push my bike home to save the engine from permanent damage.

Not fun. After this lesson, I always bolted on a skid plate on every bike I own.

Anyways, there are many skid plates on the market so you will want to get the very best.

They all cost fairly much the same, so the features are what you need to be focusing on.

Here are my 2 tips for buying the best skid plate for your bike.

a) Materials

Buy an aluminium skid plate! There are plenty on the market that are made of plastic and although the plastic is really tough, I just don’t trust them on the trail.

The plastic ones are okay for motocross where there are no hazards on the track to hit.

But aluminium just offers much better protection and will make your underside bulletproof for both motocross and enduro.

dirt bike upgrades. works connection skid plate

Also, don’t let a salesperson tell you that plastic is ‘lighter’, as this sales tactic is just bullshit.

Although plastic is lighter than aluminium, a extra few grams on a bike makes absolutely no difference to its performance.

That’s like saying that if you were to put on a few extra pounds around the waist and go riding, your bike will not perform as well. Lol!

b) Features

Make sure the skid plate has a hole to reach your oil bolt! Kind of sounds obvious doesn’t it!

But many manufacturers still make them without a hole to reach the oil drain bolt.

Without this, you will need to take the skid plate off every time you want to do an oil change.

Make sure also there are plenty of drainage holes in the skid plate so water and dirt can easily drain away.

Also, with a skid plate, if you are riding enduro, make sure that the plate overs ‘full coverage’.

Full coverage means that the skid plate flanges out on the sides to cover the lower engine casing on both sides.

If you are looking for a skid plate with all these features, take a look at the Works Connection full coverage skid plate.

This skid plate is as good as it gets. These guys even came up with the idea for using a rubber mounting system (RIMS) to allow the bike frame to continue to flex naturally. It will also reduce vibration noise. Very cool gear!

Works connection Full coverage skid plate
Works Connection full coverage skid plate.

Full coverage doesn’t mean protecting the suspension linkage as skid plates don’t reach back that far.

To protect the linkage you will need a linkage guard.

#4 Linkage Guard

The linkage is the rear underside part of your bike where the shock absorber bolts to the swing arm. it sits just behind the engine and in front of the rear tire.

The bottom of the linkage is exposed to the ground and it can get caught up on a rock or log caught up on a rock or log.

This can also cause serious damage and parts on this part of your bike are really expensive.

A snapped linkage from smashing into a rock
Snapped linkage from smashing into a rock

Your best bet is a linkage guard that bolts on the lower side of the linkage assembly.

A linkage guard will let you slide over rocks and logs without getting caught up. They definitely save you from expensive damage.

A recent addition to linkage guards in the moto world is the Fastway adjustable linkage guard with the replaceable skid plate.

It is somewhat expensive but it is really high quality and tough as nails.

Installation is really easy and it comes with a skid plate that protects the lower linkage and can be replaceable if you do manage to snap it.

The fastway adjustable linkage guard is super strong.
Fastway adjustable linkage guard with the replaceable skid plate in action

I bought one for my bike and I’m thoroughly impressed.

There are a few on the market though if you don’t want to pay this much so shop around to find one that suits your budget.

As long as your lower linkage assembly is protected, you are good to go.

#5 Fork Guards

Fork guards are an essential part of a dirt bike as they protect your front forks from dirt and debris getting inside the fork mechanism and damaging them.

They also protect your forks against collisions from rocks and trees.

Most new dirt bikes come with lower fork guards straight from the factory and these are okay.

But aftermarket fork guards are much tougher and are better designed!

I always get aftermarket ones put on when I get a new bike for that extra protection.

You can also buy rubber upper forks to protect the upper side of your forks but I don’t think these are necessary.

The lower side of the forks take all the beating and this is where the protection needs to be.

The lower fork guards in the below image are the Acerbis lower fork guards (for the KTM).

They are the toughest and are also cheap to buy. Acerbis make forks to suit all makes and models of dirt bikes.

acerbis lower fork guards KTM

#6 Brake Rotor Guards

Your dirt bike has both front and back brake rotors (discs) that sit really low to the dirt.

In fact, apart from the rims, the rotors are the closest mechanical devices to the ground.

This means they get smashed with rocks and debris more than any other part of the bike.

Bike mechanics around the world have gotten very good at changing dirt bike brake rotors because they get lots of practice!

It’s really common for rotors to bend after they get smashed on a rock or fallen tree.

Once they are bent you have a problem riding! A bent rotor will jam up inside the brake caliper, and continued riding will usually destroy the brake caliper as well.

It’s much easier and cheaper to buy a set of front and rear brake rotor guards.

They are not expensive and easy to install. They are all made of thick aluminium and will make your brake rotors bulletproof.

I really like Enduro Engineering front and rear rotor guards.

They are so tough that they have split rocks that I have smashed into while riding. Highly recommended!

Enduro engineering disc guards are the toughest on the market.
Enduro Engineering rear rotor guard fitted.

#7 Radiator Guards

Water cooled dirt bike radiators are the most sensitive part of your bike!

The aluminium is soft and the weaving inside the radiator has to be as thin as possible to maximize airflow while maintaining its structure.

The first part of your bike to be destroyed after a crash is usually the radiator!

But you don’t even need to crash your dirt bike to destroy them.

One decent sized rock flying into your bike will damage your radiator beyond repair and you may be left with coolant quickly pouring out of the tear.

A rock hitting the radiator at high speed!

No more coolant means no more riding (unless you want to risk overheating the engine and burning out the motor).

Radiator guards are made out of tough aluminium.

A good set will offer both front and side protection and will protect the radiators from anything that is throw at them.

I really like the Devol Extreme brand of radiator guards.

They wrap around the frame of the radiator and you don’t have to pull the radiator out to install them.

They are also super tough. I put a set on both my bikes and they are the best I’ve ever had. Great job Devol!

The Devol Extreme radiator guards for a Yamaha

#8 Case Savers

This little accessory is small but really important! When riding, the chain is moving at a very high velocity and it’s under a LOT of tension.

When a chain snaps on a dirt bike, it whips around violently and smacks into the engine casing. This impact can cause the engine casing to crack!

Once the engine casing is cracked, it will start to leak out your engine oil which means no more riding.

 The way to stop this from happening is to install a case saver. A case saver is a piece of shaped aluminium that fits around the front drive sprocket.

A Case saver fitted to a dirt bike. Small but effective!
A Case saver fitted to a dirt bike. Small but effective!

The case saver acts as a protective guard between the chain and the casing, potentially saving your engine from fatal damage.

They are cheap and easy to install!

Case savers come in all shapes, sizes and designs but in the end they are all made out of aluminium and they all do the same thing.

You will have no problem finding a case saver to fit your dirt bike.

Some case savers are designed with a sprocket cover as well. Although I think this is a good idea, I found that a lot of mud and grease would build up behind the sprocket cover.

This means that I would have to take it off to clean it out regularly.

If you don’t think that this will be an issue for you, go for a case saver with an integrated sprocket cover.

A case saver engineered with a sprocket guard

By the way, if you ever do get a crack in the engine casings, I recommend carrying some metal putty in your toolkit.

This stuff can patch a hole in your case and get you back to home base in one piece.

#9 Chain Guide

Every bike has a chain guide that sits on the rear of the swing arm. This is designed to keep the chain from falling off the rear sprocket.

The aluminium guide is bolted onto the swing arm by a two tabs of aluminium that is welded to the lower side of the swing arm.

A factory chain guide

The problem is that these factory chain guides wear out really quickly!

This is because of the constant grinding from the chain moving at extremely high speeds through the guide.

If you are riding out in the middle of nowhere, the last thing you want to happen is for the chain guide to fail and for the chain to come off and snap.

An aftermarket chain guide is designed to be a lot tougher than a standard factory chain guide.

The parts that wear are made of a low friction material (polyethylene) so they last a whole lot longer.

I use the Primary Drive chain guide. It has replaceable rub blocks (the part that rubs on the chain) so when they do wear down, I just replace the blocks without having to replace the whole unit. Nice.

The primary drive chain guide will last virtually forever!
Primary Drive chain guide fitted

#10 Heavy Duty Tubes

Replace your standard inner tubes of your wheels with the thickest tubes you can get your hands on!

These tubes are a lot tougher and will minimize the chance of pinching and getting punctures.

Try the Twin Power Heavy Duty tubes. Mine haven’t popped yet even after hundreds of hours of harsh terrain riding!

Conclusion

Add these essential accessories to your dirt bike and you will minimize damage and ride with greater confidence. In short, your dirt bike will become virtually bullet proof!

What type of damage have you sustained from not protecting the essential parts of your bike? Have you ever had to push your bike home from a broken part? Let me know in the comments below and if you liked this article, please share it with your friends.

Happy riding!

Intro photo courtesy of Christini AWD Military

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