the casting process. Emperor machined
a small notch in its guards so no filing
is required for a perfect fit. Once the
guard is bolted up and mounted on the
bike, there’s a smoother line from the
back of the skid plate to the front of
the rear tire. Looking at the nicks and
scratches in the guard showed us how
vulnerable the KTM linkage really is.
Riding on rocky trails or in areas with
lots of roots and logs will put an unprotected linkage at risk. This guard works
in those conditions.
NEGATIVE: We noticed that the front
link-guard plate hit the frame as the
suspension moved through its stroke.
This isn’t something we felt while riding;
it was discovered because we often
remove test products to check for fit
and wear issues after a couple of rides.
Also, the front guard is open and, in
muddy conditions, the lower shock
clevis became packed with dirt.
BOTTOM LINE: While we had a few
minor groans (mud packing and clearance issues), the protection factor is
superb, as is the price. At $76, it’s one-third the cost of some of the competitions’ guards. We really like that.