Handguards are nonetheless somewhat divided amongst mountain bikers, at the least in response to some rigorous opinion polls. Some individuals assume it is a step too near moto aesthetics, or simply one other frivolous accent so as to add to your stripped-down bike, whereas others see them as a helpful and useful part for cover and efficiency. As handguards see extra use on the EWS circuit, I might enterprise to guess we’ll begin seeing them at extra tracks as properly, as a result of these issues at all times appear to trickle down.
I’ll evaluate three of the most well-liked and well-designed choices available on the market today in hopes of narrowing down the alternatives for these trying to hold their knuckles protected and sound.
Earlier than the person examples, although, it is price laying out some common ideas concerning the style typically – why even take into account working handguards within the first place? The primary and most evident reply is the safety from brush and particles, which retains your sore little fingers protected and wholesome behind a pleasant plastic defend. They’ll additionally look away from timber in a flash in the event you had been to chop a nook too shut. One other profit is the safety they supply to your cockpit controls, as brake levers and equipment levers will now not be the primary to hit the bottom in a crash, supplied the handguards have enough protection.
The opposite advantages are rather less apparent, being extra psychological than the rest. There’s one thing about having that visible cue proper outdoors your hand that makes cornering really feel extra dedicated and assured, virtually just like the psychological impact of figuring out you are carrying knee pads – you’ll be able to simply go that little additional. Some declare that hand guards may help with chilly arms within the winter, however I’ve discovered that until you are simply flying down a stretch of street, there’s little noticeable distinction within the chilly.
A remaining unanticipated upside to the cockpit equipment was the addition of a unique hand place when climbing hearth roads and softer sections of path. Not not like inboard bar ends or Togs, the mounts on the handguards will let you open your palm and nonetheless get to the brake lever, supplying you with a extra upright and comfy climbing place must you so need.
Every of those choices had distinctive options and advantages, so learn on to see how every of the Handguards rocked out on the paths.
• MSRP: $79.95
• Measured weight: 131 grams
• Replaceable polycarbonate display screen
• Aluminum bracket
• Made in California
With a smoky clear plastic cowl and a grey anodized aluminum mount, the RevGrip hand guard actually makes the additional accent look as clear as potential. Due to a excessive arch within the mount, there is no interference together with your brakes, though the comparatively sq. faceplate permits some levers to contact the plastic when the attain is totally prolonged. This may pose an issue for these working significantly flat brake levers, doubly so when mixed with lengthy lever models just like the one on the SRAM Code.
The onerous polycarbonate defend does a fantastic job of preserving brush and branches off the bars, preserving your arms and brakes untouched. That stated, that stiffness can chunk you in the event you hit a tree on the improper angle, because the defend can dig into your hand at worst.
Regardless of the dearth of attain adjustment, I feel RevGrip’s mount is the perfect wanting of the bunch, with a clean really feel and small footprint. As per the secondary hand place remark above, these served as probably the most snug seatpost when rolled ahead.
+ Fashionable and sturdy bracket
+ Simply replaceable elements
– Exhausting plastic defend can do injury in a crash
– Lack of mounting size adjustment
• RRP: $66.41
• Measured weight: 170 grams
• Flip-chip for lateral and front-back adjustment
• Aluminum bracket
• Versatile plastic with foam backing
• Made in France
The Sendhit Nocks have seen some massive display screen time on the EWS circuit over the previous 12 months, constantly mounting the entrance of total winner Jesse Melamed’s bike at each spherical. This could do each properly, and for probably the most half it does – Nocks are fairly properly made. The protection may be very broad and simply excessive sufficient to do the trick with out an excessive amount of additional materials. Due to a delicate plastic with foam inside, they need to be snug within the occasion of a tough hit or crash.
That stated, they’re a bit overbuilt in comparison with the others on take a look at, with extra elements and a bigger footprint than the opposite two. The first frustration right here is the mounting clamp, as it might probably get in the way in which of some controllers, particularly in the event you’re working an AXS controller. The opposite choices have the mount on the entrance of the bar, which retains the again comparatively low profile and out of the way in which. A small gripe, however with some controls as messy as they’re, each bit counts.
I had the unlucky alternative to see how all three choices fared within the occasion of a crash, and located the comparatively delicate plastic of the Nocks to be the least efficient at defending your controls from being moved round or broken. A comparatively easy flush nonetheless resulted in a twisted and broken brake lever, which is irritating while you’re simply hoping to leap again in your bike mid-race.
+ Largest protection possibility
+ Foam and delicate plastic for consolation
– Least sturdy in a crash
– Extra elements and a bigger footprint than different choices
– Repair design conflicts with some controls
• RRP: €59.90, ~$66.00 USD
• Measured weight: 105 grams
• Adjustable size aluminum bracket (additionally obtainable in plastic)
• Versatile plastic shell
• 13 shell colours, 24 decal kits obtainable
AVS Racing could also be one of many oldest gamers on this recreation, as their delightfully classic web site suggests. As the selection of each Sam Hill and Nico Vouilloz, their popularity appears properly based. The AVS Protect is the smallest of the group, however the form is properly thought out and offers stable safety in your hand, whereas remaining trendy within the areas you have a tendency to increase your fingers to brake. The defend is closely domed and does the perfect job of the group by branches and brush away out of your grip.
The most important draw back to the AVS design is that the comparatively flat mount can battle with some brake lever assemblies, specifically the tall grasp cylinder on Shimano’s. This could solely be an issue in the event you run your levers Yoann Barelli flat, but it surely’s nonetheless one thing to contemplate.
+ Minimal interference with different controls
+ Nice form for watching bumps
+ A lot of wild colour choices
– Protection might not be sufficient for some
– Cannot deal with a flat mount Shimano lever
Every of the handguards right here does a stable job of preserving your knuckles free, your arms somewhat hotter, and your cornering just a bit extra engaged. The worth in every might be as much as you and your particular cockpit setup, however for me there was one possibility that ended up on my private bike greater than the remainder: AVS. They’ve the smallest type issue, however just do nearly as good a job of preserving your arms protected because the bigger choices, with the additional benefit of being much less noticeable while you’re driving.
When it comes to common match and clearance points, each RevGrips and AVS are finest mounted straight contained in the grip, whereas Nocks enable a bit extra side-to-side adjustment must you want it.
Whereas I’ve used the alloy mounts for all three choices, it is price noting that AVS is the one model that makes a plastic model, which strikes me as a wiser transfer for carbon bars within the occasion of a crash. I’ve by no means had an issue with the mounts gouging carbon rods, but it surely looks like the appropriate (improper) state of affairs can do some injury.
Those that journey trails that require handguards know who they’re, and I’ve to say: as a long-time skeptic, I now perceive the attraction. The safety and collision insurance coverage is one factor, however the surprisingly useful curve impact is a giant promoting level. I can see why individuals run them 12 months spherical, and for me they are going to be a cheerful companion when the comb begins coming out within the path once more.
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