Has there ever been a sport or activity that came with more risks than that of Powersports? We don’t think so. Every time you “Just Send It” is like a throw of the dice as to whether your car stays entirely intact. However, we continue to push the envelope to see how far our machine can go. Hence, the reason why having adequate protection for your make and model is essential in keeping the adventure going. Friends, we are here to help you do it! Welcome to the Skids and Guards Main Event: Aluminum vs. UHMW.
Is adding protection to your buggy even really a question? Obviously, for more rigorous riders, OEM skids and guards don’t cut it. Some barely have coverage for the driveshaft, let alone plastics, CV joints, or suspension. The real question is, what type of security is suitable for the way you ride, UHMW or aluminum? Boy, let us tell you that this took some heavy digging, but we think we’ve gathered some firm evidence on both pros and cons of each material.
Dirt baddies and brutes, tonight’s main event: In this corner, the lightweight, affordable ALUMINUM. Fighting in the other corner, the nearly bulletproof UHMW. Let’s… Get… Ready… To… Rumbleeeeeee…
UHMW Skid Plates and Guards
What is UHMW: ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene is an offshoot of the thermoplastic polyethylene.
UHMW has vastly become one of the most sought-after materials for aftermarket UTV skid plates and guards. Why? This substance is highly durable with incredible impact, sound, corrosion, weather, and heat resistance. In other words, they are super quiet and absorb impact instead of dispersing to the machine’s frame. It’s so dang durable, it’s nearly impossible to break or bend. These SxS guards generally glide right over extreme topography like rocks, heavily wooded areas, and other obstacle-ridden terrains.
On the flip side, UHMW offroad skids or guards are not repairable. If, for whatever reason, you manage to break the unbreakable, the entire assembly will need to be replaced. They are also much thicker than standard steel skids and guards. Another iffy characteristic is the fact that UHMW has been known to gouge relatively easily. That isn’t the case in all UHMW protective accessories, but it has happened. Now, on to the opponent.
Aluminum Skids and Guards
What is Aluminum: a lightweight metal that is pliable and soft.
Aluminum side-by-side skid plates and guards have been substituting steel components for years. It is used most for the protection elements as it is cheaper and weighs a lot less than other metals. These particular units are repairable and will not rust if scratched or gouged. They are impact-resistant while offering increased strength to the car’s chassis.
The downside of opting for the more affordable UTV skids and guards is the durability factor. Though they are super tough, they can be bent and often get snagged on more intense terrain like rocks and large limbs. The whole dispersing impact to the rig’s frame could also be a massive downfall. These assemblies also seem to rattle and are noisy upon impact. Still, nothing that causes any huge red flags.
Adding structural integrity to your offroad experience in the form of UTV parts and accessories is a must. The only actual negotiating factor is which textile you use to provide that protection. Aluminum or UHMW. That concludes the main event of this boxing match. Did you come up with a conclusion? Let us know in the comments! Then, once you decide…
Get your aluminum or UHMW skid plates and guards at SideBySideStuff.com.