Molecule Motorsports / Vanasche UHMW Skid Plate
After riding Adalto’s Honda 450 in Moab, I was struck by how much quieter his bike was. The little pings and big dings of rocks hitting my KTM PowerParts Aluminum skid plate didn’t happen on his bike. He had a new styled “rubber” skid plate that wrapped around the bike and absorbed all the noise. I did some research and found out that it’s not just generic rubber or plastic but UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene).
This plate is made from 3/8″ thick (9.5mm) UHMW that is Thermo-Formed for a contoured shape which improves fitment and maintains ground clearance. This is not cold-broke and welded like HDPE plates. UHMW has 10X the wear resistance of mild steel and is self-lubricating for an extremely low coefficient of friction unlike the competition.https://vanaschemotorsports.com/collections/ktm-690/products/ultimate-uhmw-skid-plate-lc4
UHMWPE is odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic. It embodies all the characteristics of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with the added traits of being resistant to concentrated acids and alkalis, as well as numerous organic solvents. It is highly resistant to corrosive chemicals except oxidizing acids; has extremely low moisture absorption and a very low coefficient of friction; is self-lubricating (see boundary lubrication); and is highly resistant to abrasion, in some forms being 15 times more resistant to abrasion than carbon steel. Its coefficient of friction is significantly lower than that of nylon and acetal and is comparable to that of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Teflon), but UHMWPE has better abrasion resistance than PTFE.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-molecular-weight_polyethylene
So, when I saw a brand new one come up for sale on ADV I bought it. Turns out the guy selling was right here in the bay area so I rode over and picked it up.
The new skid plate covers a lot more than the stock one. It reaches back far enough to cover the master cylinder and shock linkage.
It also comes up a lot higher on the sides and does a better job wrapping the engine case in protection. Sorry for the crappy lighting on this pic, I was trying to beat the heat of the sun on the install.
Install would have been easy except I have crash bars that interfered. So a little bit of the plastic was carved off on either side and it’s perfect! You can hardly tell it was cut.
As for durability, I’m hoping this is the right answer. If not I’ll go BlackDog like I did on the 950.
I do think it looks great though!
CNC Machined Brake Lever
The stock brake lever is small and flimsy. If you lay the bike down on the right side or hit a rock just the right way, it could cause the brake lever to push up and in to the clutch cover. One version of protection is to get a clutch cover cover. My bike came with unbranded aluminum ones on both sides. But you can see that my lever had already dug pretty deep into the cover’s cover.
The fix is to install a thicker brake lever. In this case Vanasche has a CNC machined lever that I was going to add. But then I saw one come up on ADV for just $50. It wasn’t a Vanasche but something some guy got on ebay for 1/3 the price. I got it at the same time as the skid plate so it was a good time to replace it.
It also came with a larger foot pad (the orange part) which I also wanted.