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 How important is a radiator guard, really?

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Midnite171

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PostSubject: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:25 pm

I gotta say, over the years I've had about 15 dirt bikes and about 4 street bikes, and I have never had a radiator guard on any of em (of course not all had radiators). I dumped, crashed and burned MANY times and have never done any damage to my radiators. What are we protecting it from? Rocks being kicked up from a rider in front of us? Tree limbs? Some people say that is one of the first things they need to put on their bikes but I just don't see it! I think the black plastic shrouds do good enough job (knock on wood)!

Anybody care to give their 2 cents?
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dc4stroke

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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:57 pm

It's like anything else on a bike. If it makes you feel better.....put it on. Ya may never need it. But if ya do need it and don't have it......well ya get the picture.
I like mine. And hopefully it just winds up being "Farkle".
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SheWolf
Alpha Rider
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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:19 pm

Where I ride, there's lots of sticks, bushes, rocks and crap that can get in there (and have with other bikes). An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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A wolf's voice echoed down the mountain 'Share the bounty of the hunt with your brothers and sisters, and forever be strong and free.'
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Sproat Sport




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:26 pm

I think it's the side impact that's the most potentially damaging thing that can happen to the rad. More so than from rocks, etc.

I was riding my KLR with no rad protection down in Baja. Near the end of the trip, after many long days of hard riding on all sorts of challenging terrain we were nearing the US border. We stopped to take a moment and have a celebratory "We made it!" session and to get all our papers in order for customs. As we headed off from there, I suddenly hit a weird rut in the dirt going about 35 km/h and whammo! Bike smacked hard onto the left side, where there was kind of mound/crown in the hard dirt. Mucked up the shroud and BENT the rad. Just like that. Luckily it was just bent and not broken, so I was able to carry on to LA, albeit with a flared out shroud on the left side. First thing I did when I got the bike back to Canada was install SW-Motech crashbars. I had lost the "invincible bike" feeling. But, I tell you adding those big crashbars to an already heavy-pig bike was the nail in the coffin for the KLR. It was just too much of an elephant for the kind of riding I like to do.

Despite my Baja lesson, I'm not going to install a rad guard on the WR. I just don't want to get caught up in adding a bunch of stuff "in case" this or that. Anything can happen out there....you never really know, so might as well just live it up and ride.

I'm tempting fate, I guess.....and maybe getting a little bit of the "invincible bike" feeling back with this R2.
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Scharcon




PostSubject: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:37 pm

Quote :
I gotta say, over the years I've had about 15 dirt bikes and about 4 street bikes, and I have never had a radiator guard on any of em (of course not all had radiators). I dumped, crashed and burned MANY times and have never done any damage to my radiators. What are we protecting it from? Rocks being kicked up from a rider in front of us? Tree limbs? Some people say that is one of the first things they need to put on their bikes but I just don't see it! I think the black plastic shrouds do good enough job (knock on wood)!
Anybody care to give their 2 cents?

My 2 cents

FWIW. I see you are in Mass, I am from NH but now live in Los Angeles, so i think i understand your question. Assuming you may be riding alone. How far are you ever from help? From cell service? What are the weather extremes that you are riding in? Here in the west the tempature extremes are great and the distances are vast. For a hundred bucks anything i can do to make my bike more dependable I will do! It helps me enjoy the ride more. I put on a Force Guard from Australia were they have the same concerns. I enjoy hiking but at 48 years old i just like any bit of insurance i can get.

If I lived back east i would probably put my $ elsewhere.

bruce
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f3joel

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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:35 am

If I rode rocky trails I would get one.
I mostly ride street so I don't feel the need.
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Jäger
Admin
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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:26 am

A rad guard, like a helmet, is totally unimportant - until you need it.

So... the guard cost me less than $100. The weight is nothing.

And a new radiator costs how much? Once you drag it back to civilization.

I ride way up in the mountains. Lots of times by myself. Where it could be days before another vehicle came along.

I KNOW I'm not invincible. And, it's true, anything can happen out there - but nobody uses that rational to go riding in the dirt without a helmet.

It's cheap insurance that I hope I'll never have to use, and if things do go bad, hopefully it won't be such an extreme crash that the rad guard can't save the rad.
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Midnite171

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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:59 am

Ok, maybe I will rethink my position. I ride in rocky conditions sometimes and when I ride with other people, I do get sprayed with flying debris. So maybe it would be a good idea. SO,,, let me ask this; What type of rad guards are people using? I just got the Flatlands skid plate, and I love it. I think they have a rad guard too. So maybe I will get one for a little extra protection, if not just for some little extra bling!
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Sproat Sport




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:24 pm

Another time when I was way out in the bush on the KLR, one particular evil little branch actually lanced my oil level sight glass. Shattered it. Shards of glass, steam and hot oil shooting out all over my right boot. Shut the motor off and pushed that fat pig out of there. Took me 3 hours of grunting and sweating to get back to pavement...where I still had to keep pushing, but at least it became easier. That one stumped many of the KLR gurus. Despite this as well, I'm not about to try to protect the sight glass on my WR.

I've seen a pic somewhere on here where someone's rad guard didn't really even guard the rad properly and it still got bent from a fall on that side. I believe it was ChadX?

Have there been any reports on here or the ADV thread of someone's unprotected rad being damaged by rocks or sticks somehow?

Also, for those who have a rad guard installed, are there any issues with the rad getting hotter? Wondering if the replacement of those stock plastic air fins with a flat aluminum casing impedes the little rad's ability to keep cool?
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SheWolf
Alpha Rider
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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:29 pm

Running the Force rad guard on mine. It's light, easy to install, tough. I've dropped it numerous times on that side and the only damage I got was a scratched fairing. Rad held up, nothing bent, rad guard frame is still straight. I also put some fly screen in behind it too which really helps with keeping the bugs and critters out of the rad fins. thumb I can't say the rad runs any hotter, if anything it's cooler because I took out that black plastic shroud. I've got the Thermo Cap on too so I can see just how hot it's running, and it does run cooler without that shroud, IMO.

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A wolf's voice echoed down the mountain 'Share the bounty of the hunt with your brothers and sisters, and forever be strong and free.'
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Sproat Sport




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:51 pm

Oh cool! (literally). When you say shroud are you talking about the thing behind the rad? If so, maybe I'll take that thing off. I think Yamaha claims that it "improves rider comfort" or something, but that's probably BS. Thanks SheWolf.
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SheWolf
Alpha Rider
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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:56 pm

Yeah, it's that black plastic piece that is where the fan sits in. I removed that when I put in the guard; other have modded it and put it back in but I haven't noticed any more heat without it than with it on. Just more crap to get stuff stuck in...like mud. Very happy

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A wolf's voice echoed down the mountain 'Share the bounty of the hunt with your brothers and sisters, and forever be strong and free.'
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Jäger
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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:58 pm

Sproat Sport wrote:
Despite this as well, I'm not about to try to protect the sight glass on my WR.
There's more than a few businesses out there that make a living out of repairing radiators and/or selling replacements. I don't think anybody has a profitable business replacing oil level sight glasses. You're comparing an apparently unheard of event to a fairly common event.

The decision on what you do and don't put on the bike is yours alone, of course, but it's worth pointing out radiators get damaged with far more frequency than oil level sight glasses.

Quote :
I've seen a pic somewhere on here where someone's rad guard didn't really even guard the rad properly and it still got bent from a fall on that side. I believe it was ChadX?
There's also some posts on here regarding how HighFive's skid plate did not completely protect his motor. Most of us have not taken that as a sign to remove our skidplates, although some of us have modified our skidplates in some manner like HighFive did to address that shortcoming.

Without hunting down Chadx's post to refresh my memory, the problem Chadx discovered with his rad guard was that the manner of attachment caused the mounting tab on his radiator to be bent slightly by his side shroud still being attached to the radiator. This allowed the side shroud to move in sufficiently far enough to partially deform the radiator at the mounting bracket until the rad guard stopped further movement One choice could have been to run without the side shroud. The better choice for most of us is to simply use a small zip tie instead of the existing bolt to secure the side shroud to the mounting bracket on the radiator. If the side shroud gets driven in, the zip tie simply breaks away, preventing the force being transferred to the mounting bracket on the radiator.

This problem also exists for those who choose not to run with a radiator guard, except it gets even better. In their case, without the guard, there is nothing to stop that inward movement of the side shroud and it can continue driving right on in to the radiator as far as it has force to do so - not just bend a mounting tab and slightly buckle the radiator in that area.
Quote :
Have there been any reports on here or the ADV thread of someone's unprotected rad being damaged by rocks or sticks somehow?
No to that as far as I'm aware of. Yes to damaged radiators in biffs.

Quote :
Also, for those who have a rad guard installed, are there any issues with the rad getting hotter? Wondering if the replacement of those stock plastic air fins with a flat aluminum casing impedes the little rad's ability to keep cool?
I see no difference and I haven't heard of anyone else reporting cooling problems that I can recall. Which is actually kind of impressive - I live and ride in the Rocky mountains where we think it is miserably hot when the temps get over 90 - the guys in the south are running around in the desert in temperatures much hotter than that. There have been some discussions about using Engine Ice and whatnot, but I don't think they were in response to inadequate cooling problems.

Quote :
When you say shroud are you talking about the thing behind the rad? If so, maybe I'll take that thing off. I think Yamaha claims that it "improves rider comfort" or something, but that's probably BS.
What do you think its purpose is, then?

I do feel the hot air from the fan more often on my leg with the radiator fan shroud removed. It isn't a huge issue, but I might find it annoying if I was giving 'er such that the fan was on all the time. Mostly, I'm travelling fast enough that my fan doesn't come on unless I'm climbing pretty good. I can't remember why I didn't leave that fan shroud on and I'm not where my bike is, but I think I recall that part of the Force mounting bracket is at the back, just over the fan, so that shroud had to go.

I'm with SheWolf - I've gone down a couple of times on the rad side and just scratched the side shroud. I don't know that the radiator would have remained undamaged without that side guard, but the one particular drop I suspect I would have at least tweaked the rad pretty good.
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Sproat Sport




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:44 pm

Thanks for the comprehensive responses, Jager.

I think I've officially changed my mind on the rad guard question.

Good thread. Good forum.


Yet another thing to add to the list. $$$ damn it.



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Jäger
Admin
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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:24 pm

Sproat Sport wrote:
Yet another thing to add to the list. $$$ damn it.
Maybe it will save you from a long tow out on some FSR back by Bamfield or Toquart Bay....
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SheWolf
Alpha Rider
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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:54 pm

That or $400+ to replace the rad assembly. eeek

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A wolf's voice echoed down the mountain 'Share the bounty of the hunt with your brothers and sisters, and forever be strong and free.'
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Midnite171

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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:43 pm

SheWolf wrote:
That or $400+ to replace the rad assembly. eeek

YOUCH!!!
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greenboy

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PostSubject: back from the dead   Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:17 pm

I've done search engine time on this, and most of the data I've found goes back into 2009 or earlier. I'm pretty new to dualsporting but one farkle I feel I need is a radiator guard. I'm looking at one that gives dirt-nap crush protection and not just sticks and stones from the front -- and doesn't need a bunch of refitting to work well and protect the bottom-back, and will work with IMS 3.1 tank...

Any new insights or products?
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Fiftygrit

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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:48 pm

Flatlander makes one at a decent price, I have there skidplate and it is built well.
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Biglake




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:41 pm

I have the flatlander rad guard.

It needs a slight add on in the form of a small strip of alum with a hole drilled in it to go between the guard and the plastic that bolts to the rad. This add on makes the plastic push on the guard not the rad in tip overs, out of the box the flatlander guard does nothing to stop the rad from bending in a tip over as the plastic is still bolted to the rad.

Theres post with pics on here about this somewheres if you do a search, that's where I got the idea to add the strip of alum to the guard. thumb
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greenboy

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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:07 pm

Yes Biglake, I had read several threads that showed or mentioned that about the Flatlander.
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andy3d




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:25 pm

Biglake wrote:
I have the flatlander rad guard.

It needs a slight add on in the form of a small strip of alum with a hole drilled in it to go between the guard and the plastic that bolts to the rad. This add on makes the plastic push on the guard not the rad in tip overs, out of the box the flatlander guard does nothing to stop the rad from bending in a tip over as the plastic is still bolted to the rad.

Theres post with pics on here about this somewheres if you do a search, that's where I got the idea to add the strip of alum to the guard. thumb

I just installed the flatlander and it sure seems robust - however like you say the radiator still can be damaged in a fall.
Please send a picture of your fix I'd love to copy it!! Very happy
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Biglake




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:55 pm



I only have a aluminium strip on the top shroud mount and its not real pretty cause its hard to see and doesn't need to be, the bottom shroud mount has the hole slotted and is zip tied so it cant push on the rad at all.

Its hard to see in the pic but the aluminium strip is T shaped a bit so you can get the bolt through it.

I made a cardboard template then cut it out of 3/16 aluminium I had, its pretty easy to do. thumb
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GusinCA

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PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:11 pm

Will the flatland racing rad guard work with the larger IMS 3.1 gallon fuel tank?

Do I need to remove the tank to install it?
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Biglake




PostSubject: Re: How important is a radiator guard, really?   Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:24 pm

Any rad guard will work with the 3.1 gal ims tank as its just taller than stock and no different by the rad. wink
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