6 Best Dirt Bike Handguards – For MX & Enduro Riders

dirt bike handguards

If you’ve ever been roosted by rocks, had your knuckles clipped by tree branches, or dropped your bike and broken a lever off you know the value of handguards.

The best dirt bike handguards are designed to protect not only your hands but save your clutch or brake lever in a crash.

Of course, not all riders are looking for the same benefits out of their handguards.

If you are an enduro rider tacking some pretty tough, rocky terrain or an adventure rider who finds himself a long way from anywhere, the last thing you want is a broken clutch or brake lever. It can make life very difficult if you’re not carrying a spare.

If you are a motocross rider you may only be looking for roost protection, or if you do a lot of street riding you may be looking to keep your hands warmer in the winter months. If this case you may not need the heavier duty Enduro style handguards.

I’ve been riding dirt bikes since the 70’s when handguards didn’t exist, and now that we have these available to us, it spells the end of broken levers and injured knuckles.

In this review, I look at 3 of the best motorcycle handguards of both Enduro and Motocross style.

Quick Summary

Best Enduro Handguards:
1. Cycra Probend CRM Handguards – Top Pick Most Innovative Design
2. Barkbusters EGO Handguards – Maximum Protection
3. Acerbis Rally Pro X-Strong Handguards

Best Motocross Handguards:
4. Cycra Stealth DX Handguards
5. Acerbis Uniko Vented Handguards – Best MX Handguard
6. PowerMadd Star Series Handguards – Best Budget MX/Universal Handguard

How To Choose The Right Handguards

There are a few things to be aware of when choosing handguards.

Dirt Bike handguards are basically divided into two types, the open MX type usually used by motocross riders, and wrap around handguards used by enduro & trail riders. It depends on the level of protection you’re looking for.

Motocross (Open) Handguards

If you race motocross, you know all about roost. Motocross Handguards are designed to deflect roost and protect your hands from rocks and mud, but will not protect your levers.

They fix to the handlebars at only one point. If you drop the bike, they will probably break.

They are lighter and sleeker than wrap around handguards, and may even offer a bit of warmth for your hands on cold days if you use them for trail riding.

It’s not only motocross riders who use this type, but some trail/enduro bikes also come fitted with open handguards.

MX handguard

Advantages of MX Handguards:

  • Open end design allows easy hand movement
  • Lighter weight
  • Less bar clutter with single-point fixing
  • Less expensive than wrap-around guards
  • Easier to install

Disadvantages of MX Handguards:

  • Will not protect your hands from large impacts from trees or rocks
  • Will not prevent breakage of levers
  • Will probably break in a crash

Enduro/Trail Riding (Wrap-Around) Handguards

Wrap around handguards are designed to not only protect your hands but save your levers if you crash. The full wrap around brace behind the plastic shield fixes to your handlebars in two places, the end of the handlebar and to the bar again closer to the handlebar clamps.

Typically in enduro and trail situations, you want the protection from branches (and even trees) and the last thing you want is to have to ride home without a clutch lever. I know this from personal experience before handguards were even available.

The name ‘Barkbusters’ has become synonymous with this type of handguard (the Australian company who first developed the concept for dirt bikes back in 1984) but they now have a lot of competition from the likes of Acerbis, Cycra, and Tusk to name a few.

Enduro Handguards

Advantages of Wrap-Around Handguards :

  • A much higher level of durability
  • Will survive most crashes
  • Protects your hands in a crash
  • Will save your levers in a crash

Disadvantages of Wrap-Around Handguards:

  • May limit hand movement on the bars
  • Heavier than MX handguards
  • More difficult to mount and requires cutting of the grips
  • Higher cost than MX handguards

Top 3 things to consider:

1. What type of riding do you do?  Whether you ride motocross, enduro or trail, there’s no law that says you can’t use MX type handguards if you’re trail riding or Enduro type handguards if you ride motocross. It just comes down to the level of protection you are looking for.

2. What diameter handlebars do you have? Stock handlebars are a standard 7/8″ (22mm) diameter. You have to be careful in your selection if you have aftermarket tapered bars, or oversize (fat bars) which are usually 1 1/8″ (28mm) diameter. It’s important to order the right size for your bars.

3. The color you want. Most come in a wide range of colors to coordinate with your bike’s colors.

Best Enduro Handguards

1. Cycra Probend CRM Handguards  (7/8″ handlebar)

Cycra Probend CRM handguards

The Cyrca Probend has been a rider’s favorite for a few years. Cycra has been mainly known for their plastic bodywork, but their Probend handguards are one of the best on the market.

The Probend CRM has a couple of unique features not found on other handguards.

The aluminum brace has a dip down bend at the fixing to the handlebar end. The reason for this is that it allows easier hand access or removal.

It’s also a safety feature which reduces the chance of having your hand snag on the handguard in the event of a crash. There is also a replaceable plastic abrasion bar which fits over the aluminum brace at the end fixing to protect the aluminum brace.

The other unique feature is the central handlebar fixing. It fixes to the bar right next to your handlebar clamps and provides maximum reach and clearance of other gear fixed to your bars.

The Center Reach Mount (CRM) system avoids the problem of fixing the clamp on the bend or angled part of the bar, which is different for every bike.

The replaceable plastic hand shields are quite large, but if you prefer something a little smaller, there are lower profile hand shields available which easily fix to the same screw holes.

One thing to be aware of is that the shield fixing screws are self-tapping, which means there is no thread in the holes in the aluminum brace. Not a big deal, screws just take a little more effort to screw in.

They come with all necessary hardware and installation is a lot easier than some other models.

Also, be aware they are not a universal handlebar size, so it is necessary to order either the 7/8″ or 1-1/8″ oversize bar model.

Features:

  • Trademark Probend shape
  • Patent Pending design
  • Center Reach Mounts (CRM) provides maximum reach and clearance to fit a wide range of bars
  • Available for 7/8″ and 1-1/8″ handlebars

Pros:

  • The dropped design keeps hands from catching on bar
  • Replaceable plastic guards
  • Made in the USA
  • Large color selection

Cons:

  • Price

2. Barkbusters EGO Handguards (7/8″ handlebar)

Barkbusters EGO Handguards

Barkbusters have been manufacturing handguards since 1984, so they have over three decades of experience in producing the finest handguards available today.

The Barkbusters EGO is one of the toughest handguards on the market today.

The aluminum backbone is heat treated for maximum strength, and the plastic guards are replaceable, as is every piece in the kit.

I have been using EGO handguards on my KTM for 10 years now. They have withstood every impact with the ground, rocks or trees, and show no signs of deterioration other than a few scratches on the plastic guards.

The EGO handguards are available for 7/8″ and tapered bars, and also EGO Mini handguards for Youth bikes 80cc to 150cc with 7/8″ bars.

For a Full Review on the Barbusters EGO: Barkbusters EGO Handguard Review

Features:

  • Heat treated aluminum backbone for maximum strength
  • Replaceable high impact resistant plastic guards
  • A compact curved profile which is ideal for tight bush riding.

Pros:

  • Toughened aluminum backbone
  • Easy to install
  • Replaceable plastic guards

Cons:

  • Price

3. Acerbis Rally Pro X-Strong Handguards

Acerbis Rally Pro handguards

 

The Acerbis Rally Pro X-Strong Handguards are a very popular handguard and come with fittings to allow you to fit them to both 7/8″ or 1-1/8″ bars.

A unique feature of these is that the anodized aluminum backbone is encased in the plastic guards for extra strength.
This, of course, means that the plastic guard section is not replaceable if you scratch it.

The indexed steel bar-end fitting is a great feature to prevent the guards from rotating if you crash. This is often a problem with handguards and some may require retightening occasionally.

They are designed to allow plenty of room for cables and brake lines.

Pricing is mid-range between cheap handguards and high-end professional level.

Acerbis Rally Pro X Strong handguards

Features:

  • Includes X-strong universal mounting kit for both 7/8″ and 1-1/8″ handlebars
  • High-impact nylon composite handguards are injection molded around a hard anodized aluminum inner support backbone
  • Includes an indexed steel bar-end insert that mounts solidly and prevents the guard from rotating in a crash
  • Available in Black, Orange, Red, Blue & White

Pros:

  • Durable backbone
  • Easy to install
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Plastic guards not replaceable

Best Motocross Handguards

4. Cycra Stealth DX Handguards

Cycra Stealth DX Handguards

The Cycra Stealth DX Handguards are a lightweight MX type handguard which comes with aluminum mounting brackets.

They were designed with input from the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team.

The Stealth DX handguards are constructed of a durable injection molded plastic with an in-molded rubber edge to provide better roost and brush protection.

The brackets are constructed of aircraft grade 6061T-6 aluminum which provides a solid mounting to both standard and oversize bars.

The set comes with a rotating bolt plate, which means the brackets can be mounted above or below the levers.

They’re a mid-range priced MX style handguard which makes them a good choice if you don’t want to go cheap, but also don’t want to blow your budget.

Features:

  • Lightweight MX style allows for maximum freedom of adjustment and space for levers
  • Brackets are aircraft grade quality 6061T-6 aluminum
  • Mounts completely independently of your lever perches to give you the flexibility to mount them anywhere on the bars
  • Rotating bolt plate allows brackets to be mounted above or below the levers
  • Fits 7/8″ handlebars or oversize bars that taper to 7/8″ at the ends

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Lightweight
  • Fit almost any full-size bike, mini or quad
  • Large color selection

Cons:

  • Roost protection only

5. Acerbis Uniko Vented Handguards

Acerbis Uniko vented handguards

Acerbis is a company who are constantly improving their products. They were established in Italy in 1973. The Acerbis Vented Uniko has been developed in response to feedback from their professional riders.

Acerbis realized there was a demand for a vented version of their popular Uniko handguard.

The large venting panel is strategically placed to best direct airflow past the levers.

The universal mounting system has also been improved which allows the guards to be positioned independently of the angle of the levers.

Features:

  • Well-ventilated for riding in hot areas
  • Lightweight Polypropylene construction for the best performance and durability
  • The included universal mount kit allows the guards to be positioned independently of the angle of the levers
  • The universal mounting brackets are suitable for all MX bikes
  • Nylon mount kit included –  Aluminum Race mounting kit also available

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Good ventilation
  • Lightweight
  • Low priced
  • Large color selection

Cons:

  • Mounts are nylon not aluminum
  • Roost protection only

The Uniko handguards are also available in a non-vented version, so you can choose what suits you for hot weather or cold weather riding.

Acerbis Uniko handguards

6. PowerMadd Star Series Handguards

PowerMadd Star Series handguards

The PowerMadd Star Series Handguards are another vented handguard like the Acerbis Uniko at No. 5, but with the added option to be able to snap the cover back in for cooler weather riding.

These are a multi-purpose universal handguard and can be used on ATV’s and snowmobiles as well. Because of this wide range of uses the mounting kit is sold separately.

They are fully adjustable kits which consist of aluminum brackets, hardened steel straps, and stainless steel hardware.

As they are available for Motorcycle, ATV and snowmobile it is important to select the right Handguard Mount Kit.

PowerMadd Star Series handguard mounting kit

The mounting kit has a slight bend in the mounting brackets which flares the end of the handguard away from the handlebar, which provides more room for brake and clutch levers

Features:

  • Removable vent covers to allow airflow but still blocking branches and debris
  • Snap the vent covers back in for riding in cooler weather
  • Offers plenty of room for clutch and brake levers
  • 1 year ‘no questions asked’ warranty

Pros:

  • Removable vent covers
  • Multi-purpose use
  • Large color selection

Cons:

  • Mounting kit sold separately

Conclusion

Top Pick Most Innovative Design:  Cycra Probend CRM Handguards.

These handguards get my vote for their innovative mounting design at both ends of the brace. The drop down end fixing which reduces the chance of hands catching on the brace, and the Center Reach Mount (CRM) system which fixes near the handlebar clamps. They’ve been a popular rider’s favorite for years.

Maximum Protection: Barkbusters EGO Handguards. 

A personal favorite of mine. Having used Barkbusters EGO handguards for about a decade and smashed them against rocks and trees more times than I can remember, I still can’t break them. One of the few with a heat treated aluminum backbone brace that can take the punishment.

Best MX Handguard: Acerbis Uniko Vented Handguards

The Acerbis Uniko handguards have long been a rider favorite and now the vented model gives riders looking for ventilation a new favorite.

Related Posts

Barkbusters EGO Handguards Barkbusters EGO Handguard Review

 

Best Dirt Bike Upgrades 10 Best Dirt Bike Upgrades For Dual Sport Riding

 

Best Dirt Bike Grips

10 Best Dirt Bike Grips

 

 

Which type of handguards do you prefer, the open or wrap-around type? Have you used any of the handguards reviewed here?  Let us know your thoughts below.

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8 thoughts on “6 Best Dirt Bike Handguards – For MX & Enduro Riders

  1. Wow, it’s pretty well-organized review.

    Well, I actually know Motocross handguards only so I find Enduro/Trail Riding handguards for the first time.

    I’m not sure if it is more comfortable than the one I used. But I want to use it because the one that I used was so weak.

    Wrap-Around handguards would survive most crashes and be a much higher level of durability.

    I think durability is the most important factor when I choose handguards.

    Thanks for the explanation! I think I’m going to buy the one you recommend!

    1. Hi Shawn. Yes, I agree, the wrap around guards give your hands and levers the best protection. They save you money every time you drop the bike and don’t break off a lever.

      Thanks for dropping in.

  2. My husband is looking for a great deal on this. I cannot choose for him so he’ll have to visit this page again. I’ll bookmark this for later.

    But overall you have a good collection of Handguards here. I like the one that you mentioned cannot break even if you smash it against something.

    Thank you for this post and all the best.

    1. Hi Aabidah, thanks for your comments. Hope this post is some help to your husband. The wrap around guards are what I use for the best protection, there are some good ones on the market now.

  3. This is a very useful review on hand guards. Everyone that embark on any outing always wish to get home safe, so investing on a safer hand guide that can protect one from rock,mud or other things that can injure or dirty our hands should be the top priority for our motor cycle after making sure the Tyre and seat are in good shape. I knew how the barkbuster look like. It has been on market for a long time. I still remember it is what my uncle is using. It can also last longer.

    1. Hi Stella, yes the Barkbusters have been around a long time. They’re what I use and have saved my hands more times than I can remember. Thanks for your thoughts.

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