After all this time, we still haven’t got the plastic tank thing figured out. As soon as you take a new bike into the dirt, it isn’t a new bike anymore. The stickers immediately peal off the tank and if you wear knee braces, you might as well take a hammer and chisel to that nice, shiny plastic. It kind of makes us jealous of those street bike guys. Sure, they have to wear sissy tight leather, but at least their bikes look good for a long time. That’s why we think that Hot Tops are a good idea. These are plastic shells that fit over your stock tank. When you install a Hot Top, it actually looks better than the original tank–the finish is glossier and the stickers stay on longer. The vacuum-formed plastic is much harder than normal fuel tank plastic, so it resists gouging from knee braces and crashes. And no fuel vapor seeps through, so tank graphics stay put. A side benefit is the possibility of color change. Sure you can get white fenders for your YZ to get that Euro look (UFO is a good source), but buying a white fuel just to get that look is a little extravagant–you can’t even buy the Euro tanks here in the U.S. Hot Tops come in black, white, red, yellow and blue. They aren’t indestructible, though. The Hot Top we installed on our YZ426 developed a few minor cracks in just two outings. And when we peeked underneath, we could see the beginnings of the truck bed liner phenomenon–little grains of dirt had worked their way in between the plastic and the tank and the abrasion was taking the shine off the stock tank. That’s what we get for installing it on a brand new bike. We should have waited until our knees had already done the damage (maybe three days). Still, we want Hot Tops for all our test bikes now–they look that good. Currently, they are only available currently for late model YZs, Honda XR400s and Honda CR80s. The suggested retail price is $89.95. For more info call (408) 364-9882.