As any motorcyclist knows, off road riding can be hard on your machine. Whether you are racing, riding single track, or cruising fire trails, there are always rocks, limbs, and roost to contend with on the ride. One area that is very prone to damage is the cooling system. Damage to a radiator out on the trail can leave you stranded and light in the wallet.
One of the best upgrades you can do to your off-road or dual sport motorcycle is to install a set of radiator guards. When I looked to adding some protection to the cooling system on my Kawasaki KLX250, I contacted Brian Bennett at Unabiker Racing for a set of radiators guards / braces. Unabiker offers a variety of solutions to protect the radiators on a wide range of brands and models. Even though my bike was seven years old, guards for it were readily available in a variety of finishes.
I passed on the bare aluminum and gold anodized options, and ordered a set of black anodized radiator guards. Upon receipt 2 days later, I observed that the guards were packaged in heavy plastic, with all parts separated to protect the finish, along with hardware and an instruction sheet.
Upon opening the package to read the instructions and see how the parts fit together, I was very impressed with the workmanship. All items were properly de-burred, the support rods were properly finished with small chamfers on both ends and the threaded holes were tapped to the proper depth and were free of chips and debris. The anodizing and overall appearances were first class as well.
The sheet metal parts have sufficient slots that are CNC machined to a specific pattern and spacing to allow adequate air flow, yet stop rocks and limbs from damaging the radiators. The aluminum parts are not excessively thick at .080, but their shape and the formed flanges make for very stiff components. The custom machined parts are supplemented nicely with a selection of stainless steel fasteners required to complete the assembly.
I started the installation with a thorough reading of the instructions and matching up the parts. I recommend that you match up where each part will go and verify the hole patterns before starting. This step helps to clarify the orientation of the parts and will make the assembly go smoother. Also, as items are assembled, it is best to thread in all of the screws a few turns before fully tightening any of them.
Considering that the KLX is a dual sport model, there are additional items to consider when fitting a set of radiator guards to this bike. The design of the Unabiker guards allows the horn and fan to remain in their original positions and be fully functional. Also, a possible interference with the front reflectors has been cleverly resolved by moving them to opposite sides, effectively moving them up about 2 inches.
The first step in the installation is to bolt the support rods into the inside face of the radiator face guards. After removing the stock louvers and shrouds, the radiators are unbolted and the face guards are slipped between the radiator flanges and the frame. Unabiker Racing provides button head caps screws that are 5 mm longer than the stock fasteners to accommodate the additional thickness of the flange. The stock fasteners could have worked, but the reduced thread engagement could lead to problems. This is another small detail that makes this product stand out.
The next step was to bolt on the brace that ties the frame to the side of the radiators. The rear attachment point is fixed to the frame via the fuel tank bolts, whereas the front screws thread into the outer ends of the support rods. The last step is to re-install the factory shrouds and double check all fasteners.
While each of the components is sufficiently strong as single item, the strength and rigidity of the assembly is superb and provides protection against blows from all directions.
Rock solid protection at minimal weight.
Radiators do not require draining to install guards.
Excellent workmanship and attention to detail.
Made in the USA
Opportunities for improvement
I would suggest labeling or engraving each component to clarify part type and orientation. This addition could be helpful for people who are installing a product like this for the first time.
Time will tell how these guards hold up over the long haul. But considering I have a 2003 Yamaha WR450 equipped with Unabiker guards that have protected the radiators for nearly 10 years, I am confident that this set will protect the KLX250 cooling system in a similar fashion. Find out more or get a set of your own by going to www.unabiker.com Also receive Free Shipping by ordering your set by phone at (574)-626-3150 and mentioning Usdualsports.com.
*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*