Picked up an AltRider Rear Brake Master Cylinder Guard for the KTM 1190 Adventure / R , and an AltRider Side Stand Foot for the KTM 1190 Adventure / R today at the EuroMoto 2015 today. Was able to call in and order them ahead of time and have them bring them to the show to avoid shipping. Thanks Altrider! Always a pleasure to deal with.
The rear master cylinder guard looks like this...
And the side stand foot like this...
I didn't get home in time to install them today. But hopefully I'll get a few minutes tomorrow, as I don't think it'll take that long. However I'm throwing a 5th birthday party for my son... So who knows.
All that aside, when I get it done, I'll post up some pics and initial thoughts. Then return after some thorough use and review it again.
Currently I'm already running their bash plate and rear racks. Suppose I should get some good pics of those as well. So far so good with them. I'll say a little more once I get a couple pics up.
If anyone else is running Altrider kit and would like to contribute, by all means, jump in and get after it!
*Just to clarify, I have zero afiliation with Altrider other than enjoying they're hard parts and 2013 and 2014 Hoh rallies.
The adventure bike’s skid plate, or bash plate as the metric-types call it: it's not a terribly complex piece of equipment, one would think it would be easy to make an effective plate. Yet there are many different designs out there ranging from comically ineffective, to overweight overkill. Since it’s such a simple bit of hardware, one would think there’s not a lot of reason to charge more than, say, $300 for a really good one. Why then is it so difficult to find a good skid plate for the big adventure bikes, that effectively covers all the vulnerabilities under the bike, whose cost doesn’t leave you feeling like your wallet is the thing that needs armor plating?
When XLADV asked me if I would like to review the new ACD Racing Parts skid plate for the BMW R1200 GS/GSA, ‘06 - ‘13 bikes, I was quite interested. Early on with my ‘13, I was quite aware that the stock skid left some huge gaps in the protection of the engine. It’s not terribly robust in its ability to protect what it does cover and offers no protection for critical items like the oil filter, O2 sensors, or the clutch cover. I began checking around the market for a good aftermarket replacement. There were some that simply, on sight, were no better, or even worse than the stock plate. Some that looked like a great design, but lost me because they were made of unnecessarily heavy steel. I had settled on a very expensive skid plate--prohibitively expensive, but it had everything I wanted, so I was planning on just waiting a couple more paydays, holding my nose, paying the money, and being done with it. That was when XLADV came calling. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
While I waited for the product to arrive, my expectation was that since I’d never heard of ACD Racing, they were probably a tiny shop that didn’t offer a lot for ADV bikes or a new arrival to the ADV market, and might not even be very effective protection. At best, I speculated, it will be nice looking and priced at or above $400. In a couple days, the skid plate was in my hands. As soon as I had the package open, I knew that ACD was onto something. the aluminum was thick, the welds looked strong, and the rear mounting looked solid. Some might argue that the back side welds could be more robust, but the pragmatist in me is only concerned with depth, coverage, uniformity and (for aluminum) that there is no obvious contamination. My first impression was that this was exactly the plate for which I had been searching. It came with the plate (a two- piece affair), a small goodie bag of mounting hardware, but no instructions for installation.
The first thing I did was find ACD Racing on the web. I needed to know what this skid plate cost. I was absolutely floored by the $280 price tag. Nothing I had found previously, that was anywhere near this build quality, was anywhere near this price. Now I was excited. This quality of plate, at this price, needs more attention in the market place. But before I go bananas about this thing, first I have to install it and get it out in the desert; the chickens haven’t hatched just yet.
Before the product arrived the folks over at XLADV mentioned something about probably wanting to install the bracket first (ed. turns out ACD recommends it be installed as one piece after all. oops!). At the time that comment didn’t find traction in my mind, but now that the parts and the bike were sitting side-by-side, it made perfect sense. What passed for instructions had been emailed to me. It was a PDF of an engineering drawing of the skid plate with some annotations added here and there to show where the hardware goes when installed. The instructions didn’t mention this, but the rear part of the skid that mounts to the bike’s frame, can be removed from the plate. This will also come in handy later for oil changes and other under-the-engine service that requires the skid be removed. The instructions were almost passable and I managed to figure out some critical details from them, but they could have been much more comprehensive.
As with most service to the bike, my first order of business is to get the bike up on the lift and on its center stand. The old skid comes off and I line up the ACD skid to see how it fits and what bits of frame accept the rear mounting of the skid plate. What I find is that the skid mates up to the frame extensions that mount the center stand to the bike, so installation must be done on the side stand.
Overall, installation was a bit fiddly, but nowhere near the level of making one crazy. I spent just short of two hours getting it all hooked up, but with better instructions that allowed one to understand all the steps involved, not have to figure a few things out, and perhaps a few tricks thrown in, it could have taken an hour. If you’re even moderately mechanically inclined, you should have no trouble doing this in the comfort of your own home. The rear mounting bracket went on first. The left side was the most difficult and here is my only real complaint about the design. The right side is very easy to get bolted in just like stock with the center stand bushing as the nut, while the left, for a reason I can’t see, uses a very long bolt that threads through the center stand pivot bushing and into a nut that has to be precariously held in place on the back side of the mounting bracket. I would be interested to see if ACD can explain this better with proper instructions or if they can change the design to have the left side match the right.
Once the rear bracket was sorted out it was time to bolt up the plate attach it at the front. This was pretty straightforward until I got to the front bolts. For some reason, BMW made their forward skid plate mounting bracket with elevated ends such that any flat skid plate will need spacers to bolt up firmly. As a result, there is a gap at the bolting locations of a flat plate like the ACD, and those gaps are different on the right than on the left. ACD fills these gaps with two washers as spacers on the left, and one washer on the right. They fill the gap correctly, but they are very difficult to get in place while you get the bolt through, aligned and then threaded. There is not a lot of room to work between the plate and the bottom of the engine. Again, not a deal-breaking problem, but worth mentioning. I would have liked to have seen the appropriate width spacer for the right side. One spacer would have been easier to get in place than two washers.
Get the side that needs two washers done first, you’ll have more room to work.
Use a telescopic magnet to slide the washers into place.
Once the front bolts were in place and secured, the two rear bolts were were tightened and torqued and it was ready to ride. The ACD Racing skid plate looked great. Its design is a full tub, wrapping up around the engine and the exhaust. It looked great and added the needed coverage that the stock plate doesn’t even try to provide. First rides were around town. I had deliberately not used any thread locker on all the bolts on the bottom of the plate to see if they would begin to work their way out. The all held fast in about 300 miles of city freeway and 200 miles of dirt, but you should always use a good thread locker.
Out on trail, I ran a few very rocky, fast sections of trail. On several occasions there was the familiar twitch of the front wheel as I hit some loose rock, but instead of the flimsy prang of the stock skid plate, there was the satisfying heavy ring like a big bell. With the stock skid, when I heard or felt those same hits, I would cringe and spend the next few minutes making sure the bike still ran right, now I just smiled inside my helmet and kept on chugging down the trail. It took some pretty good shots and has only a couple little nicks to show for it.
All told, knowing what I know about this skid plate now, I would absolutely buy one. The price is unbeatable. Any difficulties I had with installation are minor for the quality of this skid plate at this price. In fact, remember that super expensive one I mentioned earlier? Nevermind.
By Eric Hall
I saw a similar video for the Tenere 660 and since that bike isn't sold in the US and the GS/GSA is and have sold quite a few, I thought I'd do a similar video. The things I go over in this video really apply to just about any adventure bike.
The key issue here for a lot of riders is what exactly do I need to do to my bike to outfit it for off-road riding? When I started out I had absolutely no clue and unfortunately wasted some time and even more money figuring all this out. I figure I can use my experience to save you money
I have to say though that I honestly didn't know how much I'd enjoy riding my bike off-road when I first bought it. I figured it was just a means to an end, not an end in and of itself.
However, these bikes don't exactly come dirt-ready off the showroom floor. There are some things you should do right away, some things before others given their importance and of course some things you really don't need to do. We've all seen that shiny sparkly bike at Starbucks all farkled up and you just know that thing has never seen anything more adventurous than a gutter in front of its driveway. Don't be that guy!
The other thread here "Post your gear questions here" is more for the apparel side. This is the bike part of that same set of questions.
I know it's long but if you're new to adventure riding or an experienced rider looking to explore more dirt, I think you'll find it helpful.
Dimitri here, the great thread starter It's a little bit chilly here in Colorado with high 20's during the day so we're spending a reasonable time in our garages fixing the bikes and getting ready for the riding season which should be starting in about... *looks at the calendar* 2 months... :cry: Until we're on the road, we want to see some fixes, mods, goodies installations, time spent washing the bike, services, tire changes, anything. Here, I'll start: It all started with a post on the GSGiants FB page and this horrific picture: I decided it was time to replace my stock skid plate. So I went on the internetz, googled (when did that become a verb?) black dog cycle works and within a few days, I had a package! Let me start by telling you, the folks at Black Dog Cycle Works have made an EXCEPTIONAL product. But they could have spent a little bit more time writing the instructions... In their defense, I should have spent a little bit more time reading them before I started :roll: So since my space in the garage is limited to non existing (you try to fit 4 bikes and a trailer in a one car garage), I decided the easiest way to work on the bike is to put it on the trailer so it is standing up and I can work under it. So I did. I was actually quite proud of myself! Then I started reading the manual: I guess I should have read the manual first, right? Oh well, off the trailer and back into the garage. Step 1a: Remove the stock skid plate. Easy enough, take 5 bolts out (I have a '14 GSA). Step 1b: Remove all related hardware as well but keep the 4 (four) stock M8x25 bolts. This is what you need to see before starting installing the BDCW hardware: Let's put the two skid plates side by side for comparison... So as I mentioned earlier, I should have spent more time reading the instructions before I started. Therefore, there were several steps I missed. Such as the part that says "move the U-nuts into place AFTER you install the the front mount... This is what I did: Well, the problem is that the tool that the BDCW people were kind enough to provide, will go through the hole but not through the nut... After fixing my mistake, I easily installed the front mount and secured it using the stock M8x25 bolts: