PRODUCT EVALUATION BLINGSTAR PRODUCTS Protection for the trails
q You know who you are. You’re the guy who throws a leg over an ATV and hammers through the trails in front of you. If there is an obstacle in your way, you don’t go around it: you find a way to go over it. Those logs in the trail just become a whoop section. You ride those rocky river beds like you’re on the soft sands of Glamis. Unfortunately, you’re the guy that will inevitably be investing in aftermarket protection for your ATV. This month, we turned to Blingstar for our own protection needs.
NOT JUST BLING
Blingstar Industries has been offering high-quality ATV and UTV products for many years now. Their products are found on many top pro ATV race machines, including two-time defending GNCC Champion Chris Borich’s Suzuki LT-R450. Most recently, we entered our own Yamaha YFZ450R in the Stock A class in round one of the World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS) in Taft, California (page 78 of this issue).
Two of Blingstar’s most unique protection products are the dual-sprocket and rotor guards. Sold separately for just under $140 a piece, these 6061 billet aluminum parts allow you to eliminate your sport quad’s swingarm guard, but still offer more protection for your sprocket and rotor. We have seen a product similar to the Blingstar sprocket guard on the Polaris Scrambler 500; however, the Polaris design is half the size and found only on the inner side of the sprocket. The Blingstar design is equipped to surround the sprocket and give it side-to-side and top-and-bottom protection.
This sprocket guard installed in minutes without removing the hub or axle. It bolts right up to the sprocket carrier using supplied hardware. It works with 36- to 40-inch sprockets.
The rotor guard design is the first of its kind and is also built from tough 6061 billet aluminum. Unlike the sprocket guard, the rotor side hub has to be removed. The axle nut and brake housing will also need to be removed since the Blingstar rotor guard replaces the stock brake housing. After removing the axle nut and housing circlip, the stock housing is easily removed. Then, the Blingstar rotor guard slides right on and is secured using the stock hardware.
It is also close to double the weight of the stock YFZ450R plastic skid plate; however, after six months of hard testing, we left pieces of the stock skid plate all over our test loop. Together, the sprocket and rotor guards weighed about as much as a beefy aftermarket aluminum swingarm skid plate. They do not, however, get hung up nearly as much. Those larger skids lower the ground clearance on the rear of the machine up to a couple of inches; less than an inch is lost with the Blingstar guards. We hit a few large rocks and had to skid over logs on the Taft course, and the guards never got caught up. In fact, we slammed a rock so hard on the rotor guards that we’re certain the stocker would still be out on the track. The tough billet aluminum didn’t even look scratched. Take a look at the photos in this test: they were photographed after the hour-long rocky desert race.
Blingstar’s billet aluminum sprocket and rotor guards offer more protection than the OEM swingarm skid plate. They are pricey at $140 a piece, but they’re lighter, smaller and look cooler than other bulky skid plates we have tested.
FACTORY SERIES NERF BARS WITH INTEGRATED HEEL GUARD
Nerf bars are a must-have in protection for both your machine and your body. They are usually the first aftermarket product we install on our project machines. To compete in the WORCS, as well as every major ATV racing event, nerf bars will need to be installed, along with a tethered kill switch.
Blingstar’s latest Factory Series nerf bars are great because they have integrated heel guards. All stock sport quads have heel guards, but combined nerf bars/heel guards are much sturdier and look cleaner. This nerf bar comes with a heavy-duty net system with a repeated embroidered logo and aluminum Blingstar nameplate that rivets directly to the nerf bar. The footpegs are replaceable, but it will take a long time to wear them out.
We had the stock heel guards removed, and the Blingstar nerfs installed in 45 minutes. The stock footpegs are replaced with a Pro Peg mount using the stock bolts. There is also a mount installed to the front of the YFZR, which mounts using the front motor mount bolts. This is a much stronger design than most other nerf bars on the market. Others use U-bolts that mount to the frame or bolt up sharing the lower A-arm bolts. The nerf bars with heel guards install easily, as long as you slide them on before you tighten the mounting hardware. The most time-consuming part of the installation is the webbing. Blingstar makes promises for the preinstalled webbing, but, for us, this is a fallacy. The Factory Series nerfs are available in polished aluminum ($420), gloss black ($420) and textured black ($427).
Blingstar’s Factory Series nerf bars were the easiest Pro Peg/integrated heel guard nerfs we’ve ever installed. The mounts lined up straight, the nets weaved in without pliers, and we didn’t need a hammer like most other designs. The integrated heel guard plate worked well for a large boot size, and the Pro Pegs are wide, sharp and replaceable!
Lastly, we improve the front-end looks and protection of the Yamaha YFZ450R: We installed one of Blingstar’s many front bumpers. The Attack Bumper is one of our favorite-looking designs on the market. They also sell their popular Iron Cross, H-Bomb design, DC Racer, Flight, Ultra Light, V2, Victory, Maltese and beefy X Country bumper for the YFZ450R and every major sport ATV.
This bumper is made of 6061 aluminum and comes with a powdered-coated, replaceable faceplate; integrated skid plate; and a Blingstar icon badge. It runs for $120.95 for the polished aluminum, like the one we installed, and $135.95 for a textured powder-coated black. q