- You developed first of its kind radiator guards – how do they work?
It’s an expanded anodized aluminum frame that fits over a motorcycle's radiator so any debris coming off the road or tire is blocked by the guard. In racing, rubber shards (worms) melt off tires and can get into the radiator, cool off and harden. The Cox Guard stops the worms from getting into the radiator cooling core. You can then brush them off and you're ready to race again. They have a little more functionality than a car grill and there's a lot more management of the airflow.
- What gave you the idea?
I had a 91 FZR 1000, my first road bike, and I rebuilt it. When I took the radiator off and turned it upside down a half a pill bottle of stones came out of it. All those stones were buried inside the cooling veins. It was a lot. So that's when I came up with the idea and I've been chasing it to market ever since. I developed the guards for road bikes and race bikes. I've also competed in endurance races and wanted to avoid a DNF (did not finish) for what occurred to me as a solvable problem - "protect the radiator." In five years not one DNF. We won the overall NorthWest Endurance Championship, the Heavy Weight (Open Class) Championship and the Light Weight Championship.
- Seems like a no brainer - why do you think these weren't invented decades ago?
Probably market size. We're not building a part for a Ford Mustang. That's been the last 10 year riddle - how do you do this and make a living. Effectively the Cox Guard is a piece of insurance - you don't want to be 200 miles east of nowhere and have your bike leaking fluid. As for racing, a new radiator is $900 and to not finish a race for a $100 part doesn't make sense.
- What are the guards made out of?
The frame is stamped out of a sheet of aluminum and then we hemmed the screen - expanded metal - into place. There is no welding. Each one is hard anodized. We also have a Pro Guard - for those guards we put in a expanded titanium screen as opposed to aluminum. The Factory Yamaha team has used the Cox Guard since 2002 and upgraded to the Pro-Guard in 2005.
- How many prototypes did it take?
The Designs are still evolving - How do we best attach it to the motorcycle and have look as nice as possible? Material wise, aluminum was the way to go with Titanium for the extra security.
- And racers use them?
Sure, all but two of the AMA Factory Teams and 80-plus percent of the Privateers use Cox Racingroup Radiator guards. It just makes sense. The Privateers spend between $5,000 to $10,000 to participate in an AMA Road Race Weekend event, and to not finish because you do not have a $100.00 part? And for factory teams multiple that cost by 10. It's just cheap insurance.
- What else is Cox Racing working on?
We want to make sure we are #1 in radiator guards. There are other things we could work on but I don't want to roll out a partial product line. I want to maintain the quality and focus on radiator guards before we move on. We are wrestling with a number of things we hope to roll out in the next 12 months. Our priority is making sure customers get what they want – world class parts with world class customer service.
- Is there a chance a factory might pick your guards up as OEM?
We are in the 2013 Yamaha accessory catalog. Perseverance makes a difference and there are other possibilities for sure. Cox Racingroup has been on winning Daytona 200 machines for the last five of seven years. We've been on 18 of the top 20 bikes at Daytona 200 for the last two years. We are getting calls from customer who are racing dirt track, super motard and doing Adventure touring. We are doing more and more adventure touring models as that market segment expands. We have been included on some very nice show bikes as well. That speaks to our design ascetics more than performance but I do feel it is still a feather on our cap, so to speak.
Written By: AndrewT