TESTED: OUTBACK MOTORTEK TUAREG 660 CRASH BARS AND SKID PLATE
By Chad de Alva
Adventure bikes have this habit of taking unscheduled naps. Sometimes naps happen when you’re riding in deep sand or on other slippery off-road surfaces. Bikes also tend to take naps when they’ve sensed that their rider has run out of talent, and moments described by using words like power slide, backing it in, or grabbing a handful are sometimes immediately followed by recounting an unscheduled bike nap. Depending on the bike that you’re riding, a nap can result in significant damage that can be costly to repair. To properly protect our Aprilia Tuareg 660 against damage from unscheduled naps, and all of the other engine destroying, expensive part smashing hazards posed by riding the bike off-road, we installed an Outback Motortek Skid Plate and a set of Crash bars. We then went for a ride to see how our shiny new Tuareg would fare in the event of a spontaneous unscheduled bike nap.
If you’re not familiar with Outback Motortek – fire up the YouTubes and watch some of their drop and drag test videos (here’s their Tuareg 660 getting thrown on the ground in Mexico). Clearly, Outback Motortek isn’t afraid to throw bikes on the ground and drag them around with a truck to make it abundantly clear that their products work as advertised.
Installing Outback Motortek Crash Bars and a Skid Plate on the Aprilia Tuareg 660 can be done in a couple of hours with common tools and a bit of thread locking compound. We opted to install the crash bars first, as they share two of the four mounting points used for the skid plate. Outback Motortek has installation videos for their products, and it’s worthwhile to watch the video ahead of time to take notes on what goes where, and for the general order of installation. This way you’re not having to scrub through a video if you need to reference a step. Fit and finish on the crash bars is top shelf, and during the installation you’ll appreciate details like fasteners that are perfect length, and the color matched washers and screws. The crash bars also provide a perfect spot to mount a pair of lights.
The Outback Motortek Skid Plate is 4mm thick, and it feels properly stout after removing the beer cans pretending to be protective plates that the bike comes with. The pre-production example that we received had a few sharp edges, so be sure to handle the skidplate with care. Installation is straightforward, and the installation video shows you exactly what goes where. I really appreciate the use of counter-sunk fasteners on the skid plate, as adventure bikes have a habit of cleaning the heads off of regular cap screws that protrude from the bottom of skid plates. With everything installed and properly torqued, the only thing left to do was to get out and ride.
Our first order of business was to introduce the Outback Motortek Skid Plate to some rocks, which are thankfully easy to come by in Central Arizona. After a few quick rock hits, we high-centered the bike on the skid plate. Here is where you can appreciate the difference this skid plate makes over the stock unit. The Outback Motortek Skid Plate provides comprehensive protection to the bottom of the motor, the oil filter, the oil sensors at the front of the motor, the header, and the stator to name a few expensive, ride ending if damaged parts. Getting the skidplate unstuck from the dirt is no factor, and the skid plate is well shaped to skid over obstacles – unlike some other designs I’ve seen in the wild.
After a bit of honing around in the dirt, we had the opportunity to see just how the Tuareg 660 likes to lay down for a nap. Thanks to the Outback Motortek crash bars, all of the important parts are well protected. It’s also blatantly obvious what parts of the bike would hit the ground were the crash bars not there – and let’s just say the results wouldn’t be pretty.
Aprilia has built a great adventure bike in the Tuareg 660. The bike is great on the road, and in the dirt it’s light on its feet chassis and impressive suspension make the bike quite capable. However, the stock protection on the bike is almost nonexistent and the aluminum plates the bike comes with can hardly be considered splash guards. Given the number of critical components at the bottom of the motor, adding protection is mandatory for any Tuareg that’s going to venture into the dirt. Outback Motortek has a great protection package for the Aprilia Tuareg 660 in their Crash Bars and Skid Plate. These products look great on the bike, and the crash bars add a perfect spot to add a pair of lights. Most importantly, they provide real protection to the bike for when you encounter the inevitable rock that is bigger than it looks, or an unscheduled nap strikes. If you own a Tuareg 660, you can’t go wrong by protecting it with Outback Motortek Crash Bars and skid plate.
For more information on Outback Motortek products, visit www.outbackmotortek.com