How to Pick the Best Dirt Bike Handguards

One piece of protection many riders either overlook or forego altogether, but realize later their importance, is handguards.

Handguards attach to your dirt bike's handlebars and protect your hands and clutch levers from damage because of roost, trees, rocks and of course crashes. Now you may be thinking - that's what my motocross gloves are for. Gloves indeed provide a level of protection that work in many riding instances. For example, riding in sand or an open backcountry road or even alone on a track likely won't necessitate the extra protection handguards provide but off-road riding is a completely different story.

When you need handguards you'll know it and wish you had them. We say it's always best to be prepared. Besides, handguards are easy to install/uninstall therefore bring them to your ride day and once you've given a track or trail the once over, if you want to remove them go right ahead. But we'll bet you'll keep them on, just in case.

Picking the right handguards depends on the type of riding you enjoy. There are several options to consider:

  • Motocross
  • Offroad
  • Cold weather/mud

Today's advanced engineered handguards provide a number of features to suit every rider's need. One common feature riders like is the spring loaded version so in the event of a crash they move out of the way. Other options to consider include:

  • Vented options
  • Slim
  • Flexible
  • Conventional

Motocross Handguards

Motocross handguards provide additional protection from roost especially on rocky tracks. If you've ever participated in motocross events you'll know roost hurts and even with a thick glove layer on you can feel the sting of rocks peppering your hands and fingers. Motocross handguards not only keep the roost out but help deflect it from other parts of your body. You brake and clutch levers will thank you too.

Good Motocross Handguards

Better Motocross Handguards

Best Motocross Handguards

Renthal Moto Handguards White

Acerbis Uniko MX Vented Handguards

PowerMadd Star Series Handguards Combo

Price: $29.99

Price: $31.99

Price: $61.99

Features:

  • Dual compound molded plastic shield
  • Flexible synthetic rubber edge
  • Reinforced composite plastic mounting bracket offers protection and allows guard to flex in the event of a crash
  • Mounts independently of perches for versatility

Features:

  • Large vent to direct airflow past the levers
  • Lightweight polypropylene construction
  • Universal mount kit allows the guards to be positioned independent of the angle of the levers
  • Suitable for all MX bikes

Features:

  • Removable vent covers allow airflow but still block branches and debris
  • Snap covers in for cooler weather
  • Offers more room for clutch and brake levers
 

Off-road Handguards

Handguards for off-road and enduro riding is practically required equipment. Yes, you might still find success without handguards for a relatively short 20 lap moto race, just as long as rocks or chunks of brick don't make up part of the soil. However, compare that to a three-hour GNCC event through the woods and you won't ride off without them. Handguards for off-road riding prove to be so popular they are also known as "bark busters."

The difference in off-road and enduro is the higher probability of slamming the gripping end of your handlebars into a tree. If your bike is not equipped with handguards you'll be out of action until the bones in your fingers heal. Plus, you'll be thankful for the protection from the constant whipping of branches as you rip through the forest.

To safely and effectively ride off-road you'll need a great pair of handguards. Check out our selections below:

Good Off-road Handguards

Better Off-road Handguards

Best Off-road Handguards

Acerbis Rally Pro X-Strong Handguards

Cycra Pro Bend - Center Reach 1-1/8" Oversized Bar Mount Kit

Fastway Fit Handguard System Version 3 - 1-1/8" Bar

Price: $83.99

Price: $119.99

Price: $124.99

Features:

  • Durable injection-molded nylon composite construction
  • Anodized aluminum bar for ultimate protection
  • Will not rotate in a crash
  • Plenty of room for cables and brake lines

Features:

  • Constructed of solid aluminum to protect levers
  • Thick plastic Enduro shields protect your hands
  • Center reach mount gives secure fit
  • Replaceable outside plastic bumper adds protection

Features:

  • 6061 billet aluminum impact deflector hand guards
  • 6061 billet aluminum solid top clamp/guard mount
  • Uses integrated hand guard mount tabs for a more rigid and cleaner mounting setup
  • Individual left and right bar clamp/guard mounts
 

Cold Weather/Mud Handguards

Handguards for cold weather and muddy conditions are not as popular but, for riders in areas of the country that brings colder and wetter weather, handguards designed to deflect the wind and keep the mud out are great options.

Handguards for weather conditions typically offer much less venting and actually perform more like deflectors rather than provide all-out protection from the elements. Directing the wind away from your hands is immeasurable to staying warm and the less mud and dirt plastering your controls makes for a more enjoyable ride and easier clean-up.

Good Cold Weather/Mud Handguards

Better Cold Weather/Mud Handguards

Best Cold Weather/Mud Handguards

Acerbis Rally Pro Spoilers - Black

MSR Hand Deflectors - Black

Kolpin Handguards With Mirror

Price: $11.99

Price: $36.99

Price: $51.74

Features:

  • Mounts to Acerbis Rally Pro handguards
  • Added protection from brush and debris

Features:

  • 1000 Denier Cordura« outer material with plastic backing for rigidity
  • Deflects wind in cold conditions
  • Universal mounting straps offer easy installation and removal
  • Sold as a pair

Features:

  • Constructed of durable molded polyurethane
  • Kolpin's trademark Rhino Rib reinforcement
  • Features round 3" fisheye rearview mirror for wide angle views
  • Fits dirt bikes and ATV handlebars
 

The products listed above are suggestions to help you narrow your focus and provide ideas of what's available. See our Dirt Bike Handguards page to choose from a large selection of motocross and off-road hand guards and accessories.

Written By: AndrewT

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