Handguards for your dirt bike are a must have for trail riding. It’s the only way to protect your hands from potentially being broken if you ever clip your handlebars on a tree. They also come in handy for deflecting mud and rocks from hitting your hands and grips when you’re following another rider through a trail. I’ve also found them to be a great defense against those POS “pricker bushes” that would always snag my gloves before I installed the hand guards.
When it comes to choosing the right handguard for your bike most of the decision comes down to personal preference. Style and color are what the majority of riders are paying attention to and thankfully, everybody and their brother is putting out a handguard so they can slap their logo on and sell. This gives you A LOT of hand guards to choose from.
Besides what the handguard looks like, what else should you consider? Well, let’s start with the types of handguards that are available. You have a single mount guard also known as the “racing handguard” or “motocross handguard”. Then you have the full wrap around guard, the kind that mount on the handlebar and extend around to the tip of the handlebar and mounts through the end of the grips.
The single mount handguards are primarily used on bikes that race motocross. These guards have one mount that is located on the inner part of the handlebars and the other end of the guard is unsupported. Riders use these guards to help protect their hands from getting hit by debris from the racer their following. The guards also keep the controls and grips from getting covered in mud. While these guards serve their purpose on the track they don’t offer the best protection for trail riders. These guards act as a deflector to flying objects, not as a shield against inanimate objects such as trees. Racing guards will flex and you still have a good chance of breaking your levers or getting your hand crushed in a crash.
If you’re riding trails and racing hare scrambles you should definitely install full wrap around hand guards. These guards have a steal or aluminum piece/bracket that extends from the inner part of the handlebar and out to the tip of the grip and mounts in the end of the handlebar. The plastic deflector is then attached to the handguard bar.
These guards offer the most protection in a crash or brush-in with a tree and they won’t flex like the other style guard. They do require more effort to install, but they are well worth it. Full wrap around handguards will basically pay for themselves over time, just buy protecting your brake and clutch levers in a lay down and keeping you from having to buy new ones to replace them. If the deflectors need to be replaced you just unbolt the deflector it’s self and then install the new ones. The hand guard stays mounted.
When you’re scouting which guards to get make sure to check if the mount brackets are the right size to fit your dirt bike’s handlebars. This is critical to riders who have bought fatter after market bars. Some handguard kits do not include the mounting bracket and they will need to be purchased separately, so make sure to reference what is all included with your purchase.