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:
- 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
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.
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:
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.
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