Most stock plastic skid plates slide over logs and deflect tiny rocks as needed – until I needed mine to deflect a small jagged boulder on top of a hill in Hua Hin. As my front tire rolled over a nasty stone and stood it end on end, the rock crashed through the plastic skid plate, tearing it in half, smashing into my oil pan, almost puncturing it, and breaking my O2 sensor. Not a good way to start a weekend adventure riding.
A chink in the belly armor on an adventure bike can be detrimental. Hepco-Becker’s skid plate for the Triumph Tiger 800 is attached with four rubber mounts and two solid bolts. The four very beefy impact-isolating dampers included are a massive improvement over the weak stock rubber mounts. The stock mounts are designed to shear upon impact in a sacrificial seppuku to protect the oil pan but do so far too easily.
To my knowledge, only one other manufacturer supplies new rubber mounts, but at a 68% premium over the Hepco-Becker skid plate’s cost, and theirs is not even welded.
Coming from a background in aircraft maintenance, I noticed the Hepco-Backer skid plate is welded on the inside and out. This is one of the few welded plates on the market. I also like the stress relief holes at the bottom of the welds. That make up the front of the plate. They’re important for preventing stress fractures – and stress is what skid plates deal with!
Installation is easy and straightforward. You may have to cut away a bit of the skid plate on the side to clear a different manufacturer’s engine crash bars but aluminum is easy to work with. The only other installation hiccup you’ll come across is the need to either remove the charcoal evaporation catch canister under the motorcycle, or modify the skid plate by removing some additional material.
The Hepco-Backer Skid Plate for the Triumph Tiger 800 is so good at its job that it’s actually changed the level at which I can ride. And mine has taken an absolute beating – it’s been smashed into logs, bounced of rocks, and landed on at speeds over 65 km/h from jumps and wheelies. It’s also saved my huge amounts of money in repairs and possible motorcycle recovery costs – cause getting a dead 800cc adventure bike out of the forest will probably not be that easy.
I ordered my Hepco-Becker Skid Plate online from a retailer in Australia, and delivery was smooth and fast.