Andrew Cox rigged up his first radiator guard on his Yamaha YZF-R1 racebike as a way to reduce the chances of a DNF. A decade later, Cox radiator guards are used by factory race teams all over the world and are rapidly gaining traction with preventive-types on the street. "It's an easy way to avoid having to replace your radiator or abandon your bike somewhere because you sprung a leak and can't ride it home," he says.
The radiator guard I got for my long-term Triumph Daytona 675 is crafted from anodized aluminum grate, with neatly folded edges and a smooth bend that matches the contours of the cooling array. Installing the screen proved harder than expected, requiring the removal of the lower fairing in order to get the protective panel properly mounted. Once in place the grill rests about 1/4-inch above the radiator surface, standing guard against stones, wheel weights, bolts or any of the other projectiles commonly encountered on the road and racetrack. Shortly after installing the guard, I was kneeling down to check the Daytona's front tire pressure and noticed a sizeable dent in the center of the screen. The shape of the impression suggests a lug nut, and the slug tore up the guard and deformed a few of the cooling fins below. Can you say good timing? Had the Cox guard not been in place, whatever I caught would certainly have done some serious damage, potentially punching a hole in my radiator and ending my ride.
Cox radiator (and oil cooler) guards are available for most late-model roadracers and sportbikes, plus adventure-tourers like the BMW GS, Ducati Multistrada 1200, Suzuki V-Strom and Triumph Tiger.
"At the end of the day, it's cheap insurance," Cox says. When most of his guards go for around $80 and replacement radiators cost upwards of $600, that argument certainly holds water. Or should I say coolant?
Cox Radiator Guard
Contact: Cox Racing Group
Verdict 4.5 out of 5 stars
It could save you hundreds of dollars and a long walk home.