REVIEW: Ricochet Offroad Armor Skid Plates

Like any new ATV owner, we want to protect our investments and make sure they last as long as possible. So we were very excited to see the team at Ricochet Offroad Armor had released a full protection kit for the 2014 Honda Rancher 420. Since Honda has the Rancher sporting a new frame the Ricochet team had to go back to the design phase and update their catalog. The end result is a seemingly bullet-proof set of Ricochet Offroad Armor Skid Plates.

The complete protection set from Ricochet includes a full frame skid plate with bash plate, A-Arm guards and a rear diff skid plate. This means that basically everything on the bottom of your ride is protected from the worst terrain you can find. The kit is made of 3/16″ 5052 H-32 Aluminum. The included mounting hardware is mostly zinc plated T40 Torx bolts and unique clamps to hold everything to the frame. The complete set for the Rancher weighs in at 20.3 pounds.

Ricochet Skid Plates

Installation is very easy. We ran our Rancher up a set of ramps on a retaining wall. You could also stand it up on the back tires and rack. Whatever you choose to do make sure you secure it to keep it from falling. The first step is to remove the plastic guards that your ride came with. You may appreciate your manufacturers efforts to keep cost and weight down but you won’t be impressed by their end result. It’s time to, as Ricochet says, “Armor Up!”

Ricochet Skid Plates

We started with the A-arm guards. The guards are held on by 3 clamp fittings over the A-arms. The clamps for your installation will vary based on the best fit for where on your frame they are going. With the A-arm guards be sure that you leave them loose to start so you can make the their placement is perfect. Too far in or out may cause undesired rubbing against your frame or wheels.

Ricochet Offroad Armor Skid Plate

Next we moved to the full frame skid plate and bash plate. The skid plate also attaches primarily with clamps. Install it first and then the bash plate over it. You’ll noticed the round head Torx bolts will hit a lot less than a standard bolt head or nut like the U-bolts found on other kits. The final piece is the swing arm/rear differential plate.

Ricochet Skid Plates

Besides the obvious protection to the frame, engine, front suspension and rear differential the skid plates offer a few more benefits in some terrain. While you may be losing the slightest amount of ground clearance you are gaining the ability to actually slide over obstacles that you might otherwise get hung up on. The plates create a more solid bottom layer allowing you to slid (skid) across downed trees, rocks and other objects that might otherwise leave you high-centered. Especially if you are going slower in fear of damaging your unprotected frame.

Ricochet Offroad Armor Skid Plate

The complete 2014 Honda Rancher 420 kit carries and MSRP of $359. The sections can also be bought individually. Ricochet also released the kit for the redesigned 2014 Honda Foreman 500 which has a nearly identical kit needing only different A-arm guards. Compare the costs to replacing a few torn CV boots, bent A-arm or worse and the armor makes a great insurance policy. For an extra fee you can get the A-arms guard and bash plate or the full kit anodized in various color finishes.

Ricochet Offroad Armor Skid Plate

Ricochet Offroad Armor has been making armor sets for over 30 years. It’s not unusual to see Ricochet armor on GNCC racer rides. Their catalog includes kits for dirt bikes, utility ATVs, sport ATVs, UTVs and the Toyota FJ, Tacoma and 4Runner automobiles. All armor comes with a lifetime hardware guarantee. To pick up an armor set and some peace of mind check out or call them at 866.273.1197.

REVIEW: Cycle Country CV Boot Guards

It doesn’t take too long to learn that CV joints and boots need a little extra protection. They aren’t particularly cheap or super easy to replace, but they are often susceptible to damage. Rubber boots are easily pierced by debris on the trail allowing mud, dirt and water to penetrate the CV joints. The older the boots are the more brittle they will become. Neecy’s Polaris Hawkeye 4×4 suffered two blown CV joints within a couple of months. We replaced them with new Monster Axles, and it was was time to protect that investment with a set of CV boot guards.

Failed CV joint, causing the entire axle to come loose. We tied it out of the way with a bungee cord to finish the ride.

I picked up a set of Cycle Country CV Boot Guards (sometimes referred to as A-arm guards) off ebay. They are also are available from many retailers. The guards are very solid, made from 12 guage steel and finished with a powder coating. Not only will they protect the boot and joint, but it will also help protect the A-arm itself from damage. It is a huge upgrade from the flimsy stock plastic found on the Hawkeye from the factory.

The Cycle Country guards were super easy to install. For the Hawkeye, start by removing the two screws holding the factory guard in place. Then remove the factory guard. Next place the Cycle Country guards under the A-arms and bolt them into place with the U-bolts. As the bolts tighten up make sure the guards are in the proper spot. The guard should not come into contact with any part of the frame, bumpers, wheels or tires while stationary or while riding. Once you finish tightening them you’ll need to cut off the excess bolt sticking out below so they don’t catch on anything. After a short ride recheck the position of the guards. Readjust and tighten as needed. Checking the position of the guards should be a part of your regular maintenance plan.

Now your ride is much better protected from costly damage that can easily be found on the trails. Prices vary by application. Rear guards are also available for many applications. For more information, including a fitment chart and other accessories, see Cycle Country at