Some of our customers have mentioned that they have torn off their skid plates along with their Obie Link Guard when riding through rough, rocky terrain. I have come up with a fix for keeping the Obie Link Guard coming apart from the skid plate, however, there isn’t much a guy can do if the entire dirt bike skid plate removes from the bike – or is there?
Here is what I did with my KTM Powerparts plastic skid plate and what I recommend to our customers. I got rid of the Dzus fastener and used a bolt in the top mount of the skid plate, along with a 2-stroke pipe mount clip that is threaded for 6mm. I then riveted the Obie Link Guard to the KTM skid plate. Once the Obie Link Guard is installed on your dirt bike skid plate, you will never need to remove it. I, personally, have had my KTM Powerparts skid plate and Obie Link Guard on my bike for 4+ years and have not had a problem with either the skid plate or the Obie Link Guard coming off my bike.
In addition, we have recently manufactured an aluminum Obie Hold Bracket for the KTM and Husqvarna dirt bikes. Currently, the Obie Hold Bracket provides additional support and reinforcement for the following dirt bike skid plates: TM Designworks (TMD), AXP and Moose Plastic. The high quality aluminum bracket will act as additional strength and support for the skid plate and Obie Link Guard in the rear cross-frame area of the dirt bike. Also, we are anticipating that the Obie Hold Bracket will work with additional dirt bike skid plates.
This problem of the entire skid plate removing from the bike got me thinking about how riders handle their dirt bikes, the terrain that is being ridden or raced and the type of rider we all would like to be. I typically enduro and motocross race a couple times a year in Idaho and trail ride a fair number of times throughout the year. I ride in the mountains on single track and I also ride in the desert on steep, rocky trails. I participate in a few motocross races (50+ Master Class) as well as some desert SIDRA Racing and National Hare & Hound – mostly for fun at my age.
My Dad always told me that in order to be a good dirt bike rider you must become comfortable with the dirt bike and use it similar to a fine-tuned instrument. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of finesse is: (n.) the skillful handling of a situation: adroit maneuvering (or clever or skillful in using the hands or mind); (v.) to do something in a subtle and delicate manner. The definition highlights the importance of using a dirt bike in an appropriate manner in order to allow for calm and agile riding.
Learning to ride and keeping your balance on the bike is a must for dirt bike riding. Good clutch control is also important. Using the clutch and front brake levers with one or two fingers is another good riding skill. You may also want to consider buying a Rekluse auto clutch. The Rekluse helps with riding switch-back trails and also makes stalling the bike virtually impossible. It also allows the rider to focus and concentrate more on the bike movements and control. With your mind off the clutch, you’re free to concentrate on other things – such as the gorgeous mountains, negotiating that steep single track or navigating that strategic line.
It’s important that you get comfortable with using your front brake and not fearing the downhill. Leaning your bike into the turns and overhanging the bike while counterbalancing may feel awkward, but is essential to learn and will quickly become natural to you. As a finesse rider you will need to learn how to properly climb over rocks and logs. Momentum is always your friend in these situations. The technique is: while standing, you rock the bike to unweight the front tire, blip the throttle to lift the front wheel up, close the throttle before the rear tire hits the log or the rock and coast over it. Once the logs and rocks are mastered, you will then need to learn to wheelie and bunny-hop the bike. Executing the bunny-hop is much like a lazy wheelie – you shut the throttle off and shift your weight to the rear of the bike.
Learning to ride with these techniques is not only learning the proper way to ride a dirt bike, but it will ultimately save your dirt bike skid plate and your Obie Link Guard.
REMEMBER . . . protection is good!