A minefield of a rock garden lay in wait just ahead of the idling Yamaha Tenere 700. The rider quickly contemplates his line as the bike creeps along the trail, inching ever closer to the chaos. Time for slow has passed, with a flick of the wrist the T7 begins its bobbing and weaving through the gauntlet. Bangs and bashes sound from below, letting the rider know there is carnage under tire. With confidence, inspired by the Black Dog Cycle Works Ultimate Skid Plate, the rider knows the thick aluminum plate and steel subframes will not only take a licking but will absorb the impacts and protect the precious undercarriage.
My first impressions of the BDCW Ultimate Skid Plate when I pulled it out of the shipping box: solid, sleek, and minimalist. Not to say too small but on the contrary, they made the perfect sized armor to do the job right and to stay out of the way. The low profile of the plate provides excellent ground clearance and is “sized right” to cover the major components on the belly of the bike. BDCW both powder and clear coated the Ultimate Skid Plate for a smooth and sturdy finish that looks BA and uses four flush mount bolts to hold the plate in place over two “reinforced” submounts.
Yamaha does have a cradle frame where the OEM plate attaches, or in my case the beefier OEM Rally Package Skid Plate, but uses small 6mm bolts that actually protrude from the bottom of the plate. Navigating through rock gardens with larger boulders I have whacked and bent those skinny bulging bolts and, in turn, one of the mounting points on the Tenere’s sub-frame cradle. BDCW beefed up the cradle with a couple solid submounts, attaching the rear submount directly to the frame. That added strength, along with the flush mounted plate attachment bolts means no catching on gnarly rocks and logs here! And that strong smooth finish glides right over those fun and challenging obstacles.
Since there are only four beefy bolts holding on the plate, routine maintenance is easily accomplished. The submounts are permanently attached so twist those four plate attachment bolts and start draining that oil in a flash. Need to change a tire? Throw a lift under that plate and pump it up, or use the EnduroStar Trail Stand (sold separately) on one of the pre-cut attachment points. This little bonus feature comes in handy if you need to make a trail side repair without the need for a costly centerstand.
If you plan on taking your ride off-road, the Black Dog Cycle Works Ultimate Skid Plate is up to the challenge. The powder and clear coated aluminum along with the customized subframes will actually absorb some of the bashes and are less likely to crack or transfer the force to the mounting points. So far, after attempting to beat the Ultimate Plate with as many rocks, ruts, and logs that I can find it seems to be a perfect design for my rally-inspired T7.
MSRP: $375 BlackDogCW.com
Sub mounts and aluminum skid plate act as a stress member
Solid, sleek, and minimalist design
Powder and clear coated for beautiful and rugged look
Easy installation and quick removal for maintenance
Softer metal can take a gash on sharper objects
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