What are the Best Dirt Bike Handguards for Motocross, Enduro, and Trail Riding?

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Have you ever had a rock come up and whack your knuckles? It seems like most guys don’t run handguards on their dirt bikes. And to be honest, I’m not sure why they don’t. I’ve gone and found the best dirt bike handguards for various types of riding

Installing a set of dirt bike handguards isn’t too difficult, they’re not too expensive, and they can save you time and money. And pain.

The best dirt bike handguards protect your hands against rocks and terrain (roost), tree branches and limbs, and the cold weather. Although there are motocross-specific hand guards, the best ones are designed more for trail riding because of the level of protection they offer.

Depending on they type of hand guard you get, not only can you prevent your knuckles from getting busted up, many times they’ll save your brake or clutch lever from snapping when you go down. And if that weren’t enough, they can even keep your hands warmer while riding in the cooler months.

Which Dirt Bike Handguards Should I Buy?

There are a lot of different brands out there that offer some viable options. However, the below are the only companies we’re going to look at here:

Picking a set of dirt bike handguards isn’t too hard. In fact, it really only comes down to two things:

  1. What type of riding are you going to do most?
  2. What size handlebars do you have?

Well, maybe a third question. What color do you want? 😉

Type of Riding

There are many different types of riding, but for this scenario we’re just going to look at two.

Motocross – If you’ve ever raced (and by some chance didn’t lead every-single moto) then you’re probably no stranger to roost. It sucks. Not only is dirt bike riding gear like a chest protector and a knee brace good at deflecting roost, but so are handguards. Even if you wear thick gloves, having a rock or chunk of hard-packed track come up and bite you in the knuckle can sting. It hurts and it distracts from what you’re doing.

Motocross handguards are lighter, sleeker, and well… less protective than other types of handguards, but they still do a good job at deflecting roost and even keeping your hands a little warmer on cold days.

Enduro / Trail Riding – Enduro handguards not only protect your hands, but they also can save levers and even handlebars. You may have heard of these when people mention “bark-busters” when referring to their dirt bike handguards. The term comes from the fact that many times they’re used to, well, bust up some bark – whether on a branch or an actual tree.

These types of handguards provide more protection than motocross handguards because they have a reinforced bar behind the plastic shield. The bar connects to the end of your handlebars and then again just inside of your hand grips.

What Size Do I Need?

If you’re rocking stock handlebars then chances are that you need a set of handguards that will fit a standard 7/8″ handlebar.

Many of the after market handlebars (fat bars) will require a handguard designed to fit a 1 1/8″ handlebar.

How to Measure Dirt Bike Handlebars

Figuring the diameter of your handlebars is fairly easy… once you know where to measure and what you’re measuring for.

You need to get the measurement of your handlebars where the mounting clip is going to go. This will be just inside of where you’re grips and levers are. You want to get the thickness of the bar.

Where to Measure Handlebar

 

Now that we’re clear on the type of riding you do and the size of your handlebars, here are the three best dirt bike handguards (in my opinion).

Best Enduro Handguards

In this case, I’m pairing enduro racing and trail riding in the same category. I realize they’re technically different, however choosing which type of hand guard to buy basically comes down to if you’re looking for lightweight, roost protection… or something more.

Here are the top three options, in my opinion, for enduro and trail riders. If I could only choose one set out of this entire list (motocross included), I’d go with Cycra Probend.

Cycra Probend (#1)

Cycra Probend CRM Handguards for 1-1/8' Dirt Bike Handlebars

Although known mostly for their aftermarket plastics, Cycra is largely known for their aftermarket plastics, but also their motorcycle handguards. Because of that, the Probend handguards are very well designed and made.

Features:

  • Solid/sturdy design
  • Patent-pending design
  • Replaceable plastic guard

Things to know:

  • Must buy for oversized bars or standard bars (not universal)
  • Plenty of room for brake and clutch levers
  • Sold in pairs
  • Sold as complete kit

Click here to view pricing and read reviews for the standard sized option (7/8 inch), or here for the oversized option(1-1/8 inch), both on Amazon.


Acerbis Rally Pro (#2)

Acerbis 2142000001 Rally Pro X-Strong Black Handguard

Like Cycra, Acerbis offers a variety of different dirt bike products and accessories. With that in mind, these Acerbis handguards are an excellent choice. They come in a variety of colors and they’re very reasonably priced.

Features:

  • Solid/strong aluminum bar
  • Indexed steel bar-end insert
  • No interference with cables

Things to know:

  • Room for brake and clutch levers (no cutting required)
  • Universal – fits standard and oversized bars
  • Sold in pairs
  • Sold as a complete (installation) kit

Another cool thing about these is that they are universal – they fit stock and fat handlebars.

Click here to view pricing and read reviews on Amazon.


Tusk D-Flex Pro (#3)

Tusk D-Flex Pro Handguards Black 7/8' Bars

Tusk makes a respectable handguard at an affordable price. Although I wouldn’t rate them as good as Cycra (or Acerbis), they are still just fine. If you’re on a budget – get this and don’t look back.

Features:

  • Replaceable, solid/strong aluminum bar
  • Replaceable plastic guard
  • Large bend to make room for levers

Things to know:

  • Must purchase for either 7/8″ or 1 1/8″ handlebars
  • Sold in pairs
  • Sold as a complete (installation) kit

Click here to view pricing and read reviews for the standard sized option (7/8 inch), or here for the oversized option(1-1/8 inch), both on Amazon.


Best Motocross Handguards

I’ve broken out motocross-specific and enduro-specific into two categories. Of course, you can interchange and there’s no law against running motocross handguards on the trail.

However, as already discussed, motocross handguards will provide less protection (hardly any) in a crash. They mostly prevent your hands from getting beat up by roost, but they can also cut down on the cold wind that hits your hands.

Acerbis Uniko

Acerbis Uniko MX Vented Handguards (BLACK)

The Acerbis Unikos are very popular among motocross riders. They’re easy to install, lightweight and offer a good amount of protection against roost. They also come in a wide variety of colors.

Features:

  • Solid/durable design
  • Lightweight
  • Direct airflow past levers

Things to know:

  • Room for brake and clutch levers (no cutting required)
  • Universal – fits standard and oversized bars
  • Sold in pairs
  • Includes mount kit for all handlebars
  • Choose vented for hot weather, non-vented to for cold weather riding

Click here to view pricing and read reviews for the vented option, or here for the solid (non-vented) option, both on Amazon.


Are Dirt Bike Handguards Worth Buying?

Yes, I believe they are. They’re often an overlooked add-on that can save you time and money, and prevent injury.

How can they save you time and money? Easy. Here’s a true story…

My brother-in-law and I went trail riding a few months ago. He didn’t have a set of handguards for his dirt bike. We found a cool hill climb and we gave it a go. My brother-in-law laid his bike down on the descent back down and broke his brake lever. Being the smart guy that he is, he had a spare so he replaced it.

Story over. Awesome, story, huh!? 😉

  • Time: It took a little bit of (riding) time to change it out.
  • Money: He’s got to buy another (backup) lever now.
  • Injury: He avoided injuring himself but could have hurt his pinky. LOL

See there, they can save you time, money and pain. Again, I’d go with this set here if you can, but if not, something is better than nothing.