I know what you’re thinking (again); this guy is getting desperate if he is writing about a mudflap! You’re right, I am. Not desperate for things to write about (I have over 10 unfinished posts) but I don’t like posting without photos. Someone once said that they (the photos!) can say a thousand words…can’t remember who it was now…but anyway, I was going through some of my photos and I found these pics so I thought I could write something about that, so here we are.
What is it about Ag bike mudflaps? You could go surfing on the silly looking things! They are huge and I bet the original designers were thinking mud right (duh!)? But I think the more important thing here is crap…yep, from a cow! I don’t think there is a more insidious and destructive thing on a farm (weeeell maybe DDT and Dieldrin come close!) than bovine effluent. Problem here is most farmers just leave it where it sticks! That’s OK, they use their bikes as a tool, nothing more. But we as the custodians and/or “discerning” users of the AG200 need to be aware of a few things that might help us with longevity, reliability and general cosmetics of the bike. Work on Ag bikes for a while and you will see that this crud effects everything if left, especially where it accumulates and sits for long periods.
Rubber, aluminium, steel, paintwork and even plastic doesn’t like it for very long. So you can either wash your bike after every ride or you can do as much as you can to try and keep it off your equipment. I don’t know what the exact material used by Yamaha on the front mudflap is, but it’s not immune to damage from cow manure. I’m not 100% sure if it’s manure or heat from the exhaust pipe but the flap tends to curl up and therefore show a narrow path of protection for anything flicked up by the front tyre.
I have noticed in my travels that the bikes I see on dairy farms are the worst where there’s more crud than other farm types and its also common to see melt marks on the back of the flap from the exhaust pipe and/or being pulled in by the tyre. When they curl up bad you can see bad degradation of the rubber material. Another thing that could contribute is the use of highly caustic cleaners on a lot of farms these days. The actual cause is probably irrelevant if you keep your bike clean and the following mod will make the cause moot as well.
If your bike has been on a farm devoid of cattle then there is a good chance this mod will make limited difference, but for me you should still keep an eye on it because it can cause other issues. This mod can be useful no matter what you use your AG200 for. Take your mudflap off and go for a blast up a gravel road and listen for the stones hitting the underside of the engine and the frame rails, especially if you have a new tyre on and more especially again (can I say that?) if you have a nice sticky motocross tyre on, which you should because it’s insurance for an appalling front end!
A lot of crud can get caught up under the engine and stones can damage the paint on the frame rails, the AG200 has no bash plate and the ground clearance is low so the more you can block rubbish from the front wheel, the better your undercarriage will stay. So while I suggest to do this mod if you are just doing jobs around the farm, I suggest that if you have the curl issue and you use your AG200 for other functions to do it as well.
Enough waffle…so what’s involved Mr. hot AG200 mods man (sorry, couldn’t help myself)? First thing…give it a wash will ya! Give it all a bit of a clean up so you can see what you’re doing. I also suggest you remove the flap assembly so its easier to work on. If the bike is in really bad shape the two fasteners holding the flap on will be corroded and they will break or you will have to cut them off. It’s probably a wise thing to replace these bolts with stainless ones if you ever get the opportunity, they cop a flogging. There also should be a plastic spacer (in the photos and item 5 in the parts list) that helps keep a bit of rigidity to the flap to stop it getting pulled back in by the tyre, make sure you don’t misplace it.
Now you have all the bits apart, give it another good clean up so you aren’t working in crud! Take a look at the photos…pretty self explanatory I’d say, not rocket science at all is it? I used an Aluminium strip with a few M3 stainless screws and plenty of anti-seize. You could use anything you want to do the same thing but just try and keep it light – no 3mm RHS with 1″ bolts OK people?! If I was to do it again I would probably use a plastic strip actually, but anywho…
The whole point is to keep the flap at its wide, effective best as it came from the factory. You might not think it makes much difference but I’m telling you from someone doing 70 to 80kmh up gravel roads with a sticky Dunlop motocross tyre on the front it made a lot of difference. It costs next to nothing to do so if the things I mention above are important to you then I suggest you give it a go.
So there you go, a big hot mod for your AG200! The elephant in the room here is that you could just buy a new mud flap but I wont go there. They only do the same thing eventually anyway so why not just mod the old flap and keep the cool old agbike patina to boot – nice! 😀