PRODUCT EVALUATION:RICOCHET OFF-ROAD TRX450R SKID PLATE
Tough in the rough By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Most of our favorite sport quads have slid sideways off of major manufacturer production lines, which means the mass quantity of used ones are getting older and more beat up. The only way to keep our cherished steads in good shape is proper maintenance and protection products. We went to Ricochet Off-Road to pick up a $131.20 full-frame skid plate and a heavy-duty swingarm skid plate for $157.45 for a Honda TRX450R. Most parts can be easily replaced on a Honda. However, the frame is sacred, and saving your chain, sprocket and rear brake rotor is always good practice to keep going fast.
Ricochet’s full-frame skid plate is made from .160-inch-thick 5052 H-32 aluminum. The plate gets cut out and then machine-bent to fit the desired ATV or UTV. Ricochet stamps mounting and oil-drain holes in the plate so you won’t have to remove it every time you need to service your engine. All the mounting hardware required comes in the kit. You get chromoly steel clamps that are heat-treated and zinc-plated with lock nuts that won’t rattle loose while the underside of your ride takes a beating.
This heavy-duty swingarm skid plate is built to take a beating. The aluminum is thick, and protects the rear suspension linkage, chain, sprocket and the rear brake rotor. Rocks and trail debris can derail a chain and sprocket, and easily bend a rotor if it isn’t protected. There is a chainguide built into the swingarm skid plate as well. Ricochet Off-Road cuts and bends multiple pieces to create this plate. It is then welded together to create the final piece. They designed a drain hole near the suspension linkage.
These parts are made for a 2004–2015 Honda TRX450R. You can also order A-arm skid plates from Ricochet, but we didn’t since our test vehicle, a 2006 TRX, is utilizing aftermarket front suspension. Custom anodizing is offered to color-match the skid plates to your machine for an additional charge per piece.
We mounted the Ricochet protection on a quad to race the Best in the Desert Parker 250 race in Parker, Arizona. There are miles of sand washes, whoop sections, jumps, rock gardens, deep two-track ruts, and that’s just one leg of the race! Once the race was completed and we took a look at the plates, we were impressed with how well they held up. Not a single bolt came loose, and we didn’t break either plate.
The swingarm skid took far more abuse than the frame skid did since it is much lower to the ground. There were gouges, scratches and scrapes in the metal, but nothing that would cause the components it was protecting to break. Some aluminum skids can bend and crack, and this one is susceptible to that, too, even though we didn’t experience it.
We were happy with the performance of the setup. We suggest putting foam strips between the frame and the skid plate to minimize rattling noise. It is important to note that Ricochet’s swingarm skid plate won’t work with certain aftermarket rear suspension linkages, so check with them or the linkage manufacturer before making the purchase at www.ricochetoffroad.com. You can call them with questions on what plates they carry for ATVs and UTVs or to order this set at (801) 483-2389.