Here we go again with another one of my reviews, which I like to call an “Unpaid Testimonial” EDIT: I scrapped that name a few days after making this and went with “Dirt Reviews”
One of the really cool things about my job working at the races it that I get a lot of folks asking me about different products, riding areas, bikes, and more. I have the unique opportunity that I get a little teaser of a lot of different things, and while I may not always get to experience all of these products first hand, I do get to see how a lot of different products work. I also really like to try out different products, and while I’ve got some great friends in the motorcycle industry that are willing to help me out, there are also certain brands I personally prefer and don’t have any support or contacts at, but still favor those brands regardless.
So, with my desire to get back to posting on this site, I also want to do some simple reviews on different products. There are a TON of video reviews out there for many, many different products but I still really like reading written reviews. I’m sure there’s others out there who share that same desire, so I figured I’d keep some written content out there. But, maybe I’ll make some videos down the road too! Anyway, let’s dive into this!
My Introduction to ProTech Guards
In late 2017 an email came to the generic firstname.lastname@example.org email, and it was forwarded over to me to help with the question. It came from a gentleman named Phil Burton who was reaching out to us all the way from Essex, UK. Phil had a company called ProTech Guards and developed a new fork guard and was looking for a few riders to sponsor to get the name out there here in the USA. The guards caught my interest and I thought they would be a great fit for anyone! So, I gave Phil a few names and contact information then got really interested in trying out the guards myself. If you read my XCGear Mako360 review, then this is probably about to sound really familiar. I started reading up on them, and gave them a like on Facebook and Instagram.
After doing a little research, I got a couple of sets on order and mounted a set up on my 2019 KTM 300XC-W before the GNCC season started. I used them through the entire 2019 GNCC Racing season, then at the end of the year I pulled them off the bike and saved them for my 2020. When I got the 2020 KTM 300XC-W, I mounted them onto that bike and have used them in the couple of rides I’ve gotten in so far this year. I’ve put somewhere around 120 hours on these guards so far, and have been able to use them in a variety of conditions.
What’s The Difference Between ProTech Guards and Stock?
Phil’s Protech Guards are fairly simple, but offer a really great benefit, especially if you do more riding than wrenching! ProTech Guards are a wrap-around style guard, which simply adds additional protection to your fork stanchion. Now, if by chance you’ve never heard the word “stanchion” that is the smooth park of your fork that does all the hard work; IE: the part that your fork guards, well, guard! Scratches and chips in your fork sanction can result in leaky fork seals and if you just keep cleaning or replacing fork seals, those scratches and gashes will just keep causing leaky forks. I’ve ridden with my fair share of leaky forks and trust me, it’s overrated. Especially when you’re constantly lubing your front brake rotor.
If you rode KTMs before 2015, you’ll remember that KTM used to have a similar wrap-around fork guard. The KTM guards wrapped all the way around and you either had to completely remove the front wheel to slide the fork guard off, or you had to cut a slit in the back of the guard that would allow you to pry it apart far enough to slip that guard off. ProTech Guards wrap around but do not fully touch. This still gives that additional protection without the hassle of the entire guard wrapping itself around the entire fork. As I’ve already mentioned, this wrap around design adds protection and will reduce your amount of needed fork service. Basically, an investment in these guards will help save you some money in service work, or time if you’re one of those savages that does their own suspension work.
Riding With ProTech Guards
Alright, unless you’re some freak of nature a normal person is not going to notice any immediate performance enhancements from fork guards. Instead, the additional protection of these ProTech Guards will enhance suspension performance in the long run. BUT, there is one pretty big difference I noticed when you ride with the ProTech Guards. They tend to sit a little closer to the fork itself and this smaller area leaves a lot less room for mud to slip into.
Therefore, on a muddy and sloppy day the ProTech Guards are not only adding that additional protection but they also don’t get mud packed in behind the fork like the stock guards tend to do. This was one of the biggest things I noticed because on a muddy weekend of riding sweep at the GNCCs, I found myself constantly digging mud out from behind the stock guards. The mud would pack in there and get so thick that eventually the fork stanchion was just doing its thing and cutting a groove into this big clump of mud stuck behind the fork guard.
Additionally, this mud would get thicker and thicker then eventually push the guard itself so far forward that it would begin to bend the plastic and make it really hard to set itself back in place. The ProTech Guards pretty much eliminate all of these issues. It is much more difficult for the mud to pack itself behind a ProTech Guard and even if it does, the tight design of the wrap around guard forces that mud out the back and keeps the guard clean.
Finally, The Summary
As mentioned earlier, I logged about 120 hours of riding on the ProTech Guards so far. I ordered two sets and I’m still riding on those. In fact, the only reason I switched to the second set is because I worked some of the graphic loose on the first set, and ripped it up a bit, which a pressure washer pushed further off the fork and eventually ruined. The guard itself is still in usable shape, I just switched to the second set of guard to make sure the graphics still look good. So, it was purely a cosmetic switch!
I can’t be happier with the ProTech Guards. I never would’ve thought that such a simple idea would make sure a difference but in the long run, the ProTech Guards will save you a lot of money and a lot of hassle as well. The bonus here is that ProTech is a small company and when you’re dealing with them, you’re dealing directly with the folks behind it making it all happen. That’s always really cool to see and that makes a company much more desirable in my eyes.
The only downside for an average consumer in the USA is that ProTech Guards is based out of the UK and doesn’t have a US importer. This means you have to order directly from them and have it shipped from the UK but the good news is the shipping rates aren’t outrageous, and it while you won’t have it the next day like some US companies, it really doesn’t take as long as you think. They are a little more expensive than your average set of fork guards but in the long run, they really pay for themselves when you factor in the service work and time you’ll save.
Overall, ProTech Guards are an excellent product that I’ve added to my “must have” items on a bike!
Here’s The Star Thing
Product Price: $48 bare or $62-65 with graphics (Depends on Pound to Dollar Exchange Rate)
Shipping Price: $17
Total Price: $65-$82
Where to Buy: protechguards.co.uk