Wilderness survival tips are great, but it’s better if you never have to use them in the first place. So, to give yourself the best chance of not getting stranded out there, you should take steps to keep your motorcycle’s key components from being damaged. And to help you with this task, we identified a bike’s three most critical-to-protect areas—engine underside; side fairings/shrouds (or even cylinder heads in the case of the BMW); and hand controls (clutch and brake levers)—then selected a few products for each bike that are most likely to help you reach your destination. Ride on!
Weak links in the four-valve GS Boxer Twin are the cylinder heads, which have valve covers secured by just two bolts. The covers are prone to damage if they hit something, which can cause the cover to rotate and dislodge the gasket. AltRider’s (www.altrider.com) 1-inch stainless-steel crashbars (silver, $424; black or white, $436) wrap around the head. AltRider’s 4.75mm-thick, heavy-duty anodized aluminum skidplate (black or silver, $286) protects the engine, exhaust headers and cross pipe, and the oil filter. Handguards on any bike as big and heavy as these need to be tough, which is why we recommend an aluminum-reinforced type like Barkbusters’ VPS ($155) available from Twisted Throttle (www.twistedthrottle.com). Put them on your KTM ($96) or Yamaha ($155), too.
KTM 990 Adventure
Ironically, the most off-road-capable machine of the trio features very few stock impact-protection parts. Touratech’s (www.touratech-usa.com) electropolished stainless steel crashbars ($342) provide protection for the fairings and fuel tanks. The company’s 4mm-thick aluminum skidplate ($347) is backed by a tubular-steel structure and offers full under-engine coverage and some side-case protection.
Yamaha Super Ténéré
Yamaha’s big adventure bike just arrived in the U.S. this past fall, but it was available in Europe in 2010, so Twisted Throttle already has a long list of aftermarket products available for it. R&G Adventure crashbars ($297) have three mounting points to evenly distribute impact forces and reduce damage to the fairings (and left-side-mounted radiator). The 3mm-thick aluminum SW-Motech engine guard/skidplate ($229) provides impact protection underneath while also shielding the header pipes and vulnerable oil filter.