The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a rather appropriate description of this small item. However the word “pound” should be replaced with “a couple hundred pounds and a fistful of cash”!!! This little item can literally save you that much.
What we have here is a stamped piece of lightweight steel that mounts using the same two holes and screws that hold the countershaft sprocket cover in place. That’s it!
What it does is prevent a broken drive chain from slamming a very sickening hole into the backside of the engine case. While I suppose it does happen, modern motorcycle chains rarely simply break.
Usually a master link from a previously replaced drive chain will come loose because the end plate will break and fall off allowing the master to back out and the two ends to separate.
This will then be followed by the engines continued rotation of the countershaft that pulls the loose end of the chain forward and between the case and countershaft. The chain will then whip around the countershaft throwing itself against the relatively soft metal of the case.
Depending on several variables, such as road speed, engine speed, age of the bike, etc., this can lead to anything from light scratches up to a hole big enough to insert several fingers (not that you would want to do that…).
This is where the money is well-spent. While a good welder could possibly patch the hole, it may be necessary to remove the engine from the bike. Not to mention the stray bits of metal that can find their way into your precious motor. And we don’t even want to talk about the further damage this can cause!
Installation is quite simple. Remove the countershaft cover using an Allen head driver on the two retaining screws. The hydraulic clutch slave cylinder should also be loosened from the case as well to make room for the protector to slide in-between the case and the chain.
This is also easily done using an Allen head driver. Removal of the slave cylinder is not necessary; all that’s needed is enough movement to allow access. Once in, use the same screws for the countershaft cover to hold the engine case guard in place and tighten them down then do the same for the slave cylinder. That’s it — you’re done!
And what does this little piece of miracle steel cost? Depending on where it’s purchased, anywhere from about $15 – $30. Does this sound worth it to you? Unfortunately, most dealers do not have the part in stock but can order it. You may also find that they will report it back ordered. Specialty shops will generally keep a small supply in stock. I found mine at BCM Motorsports in New Hampshire.
The only reason I can think of as to why Ducati doesn’t include this as standard equipment is that the occurrence is rare enough that it may not justify the additional cost it would add to the sticker price.
Then again, I am not aware of any other manufacturer including them either. But trust me. After you hear someone describe the ordeal whose chain let loose without a cover in place, you will want this on your bike as soon as possible. Very cheap insurance…hey that old saying fits as well!