The perfect pair By the staff of Dirt Wheels
In the heat of woods racing, circumstances can lead to “close racing.” In other words, you feel the jarring sensation of getting nerfed hard by another racer and must quickly redirect through a tree gap your quad shouldn’t fit through. The first of the branches blast over your knuckles, threatening to remove your hand from the bar, but you manage to keep your grip. Then a hidden branch snags your front brake with unexpected force, and over the bars you go.
Events like that, whether it is in a race situation or merely while having fun in the woods, can be avoided by installing a set of wrap-around handguards. We favor Fasst Co. Flexx handlebars because they smooth out a lot of abuse that transfers through the suspension to the bar. We also understand that it can be tricky to mount hand guards to them without restricting their ability to absorb bumps. Fortunately, Fasst Company offers the Simple Solution handguard kit that we mounted to the Flexx bar on our 2019 Yamaha YFZ450R.
Fasst sends out the Simple Solution kit in many different variations to fit their handlebars specifically. You can choose different color shields to match your ATV and options that will fit the different bar bends and heights. We have an Enduro/Moto bend bar on our Yamaha, which has 9-inch handles, so we got the kit to fit.
The handguard kit comes with the shields, and the metal wraparound guard starts at the handlebar end and goes to the Flexx bar’s pivot pin. Also included is a 10mm button-head bolt with a stainless steel stay, a threaded bar insert and a large tap that is perfect for creating threads in the bar end.
Instructions are clear, and the install takes around 30 to 45 minutes. You will need to cut the ends of your grips off to use this kit. We suggest getting new grips, cutting the ends and installing them after you have tapped the bar ends, but before mounting the guards.
The bar ends must be tapped in order to utilize the threaded bar inserts, which are what the guards connect to. Some cutting oil and a few rags are a smart idea. We took our time to thread the bar ends, cleaned them out and installed the threaded bar ends. There will be a lot of metal shavings, so have something to catch them. It is a good idea to do this when the bar is attached to your machine to use the bar clamp as a vise. After that, all we had to do was install the rest of the mounting hardware to secure the handguards to the bar and then mount the deflector shields.
On our Yamaha YFZ450R, we learned that in order to run these guards, we had to remove the parking brake setup that is connected to the clutch perch. That usually means finding a company that offers a parking brake block-off kit for the rear brake caliper. We also realized that the clutch lever was quite long, and if you like your levers level with the ground or close to it, this could require some trimming of the clutch lever or repositioning of the perch. These issues may not occur with other ATVs, but be aware that some modifications might need to be made (as with many other handguard kits).
The Simple Solution handguard kit was quick and easy to install, and once installed we could already tell that they were very sturdy. The guards don’t take up any room on your bar, and they protect your hands from trail debris, roost, branches and a reasonable amount of mud getting flung at you. We didn’t want to test how well they protect the bar in a roll over, but we trust they will do a good job. We took to our tight wooded trails, and followed close behind riders to see how well they stop roost. They did a great job and are much stronger than floating deflectors.
These handguards are made by Enduro Engineering for Fasst Co., and they offer kits for regular handlebars if you do not utilize the Flexx bar. The kit is priced at $135.99. Go to www.fasstco.com to check out their lineup of ATV-related products, or go to www.enduroeng.com to see their line of hand protection kits.