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Sharon's Hand Guards

Blog Date 12 April 2022

There are some good people out there - so don't "over-watch" the news otherwise you might end up believing the whole world is dark, evil and filled with despair. It is wise to keep an eye on current affairs, it is unhealthy to obsess over them.

In November last year I received an email from Richard offering me the handguards off his own CB500X. Richard and I have communicated occasionally over these last 4 years, just a few casual questions and thoughts on the 500X and travelling upon one, 2 random dudes connecting over a shared interest from time to time. I never expected a gift!

I pointed out I already have my own magnificent, impressive, eye-catching and stylish handguards... but a certain lady I'm also occasionally friendly with has murmured a passive, casual, almost indifferent interest in the benefit of handguards. Maybe she could be the beneficiary of Richard's kind offer?

The CBF125 with ridiculous homemade hand guards
The 125 also has equally impressive and cool hand guards.

Sharon has changed. Once upon a time her motorcycle was polished to a gleaming shine, anything that even came close to the bike had to be a thing of wonder and beauty. She has come to realise and accept however that unless you keep your machinery in a climate controlled bubble and never use it for its intended purpose, it *WILL* age, no matter the efforts and love you bestow upon it. She still cleans and maintains them both well yet she is far more pragmatic about it these days.

She's also more open to the concept of function over form, of pragmatic solutions over aesthetic perfection. She still fears the idea of "ugly" handguards on her beautiful Z250SL however cold little pinkies are no fun at all. She will allow me to fit them while reserving judgement on both their form and function.

A plastic motorcycle hand guard in black
Richard semt this image - yep, definitely a hand guard.

Richard sends me the guards by post. Sharon did offer to pay for the postage, instead Richard asks Sharon to put something into the local foodbank. This pleases Sharon as its something she believes in and already does. The guards arrive soon enough and I spend an evening working out how to fit them. I get the bits I need then another evening is spent fitting them. Sorted.

Sharon's reaction is better than I expected. I can tell she's not exactly enamoured with their impact on the bike's overall looks but neither is she repulsed. I know this because she's not hitting me and using some very rude words. That is what I would call a result.

The Z250SL with handguards fitted, looking acceptable neat
In the greater scheme of things they look fine. My opinion is worse than useless.

Do they work? That, dear reader, is as subjective as the great oil debate. 

No, Sharon is not riding around through the winter's bitter cold with fingers as toasty warm as though they were nuzzled into the deep furry folds of a big friendly bear. On one particularly chilly Sunday ride she complains her pinkies are in fact chilly. 
"Can you feel your fingers?"
"Can you wiggle them, operate the levers?"
"Oh yeah, it's not like disastrous"
"Then the guards are working"

I ask her to remove her left hand from the bar on our return journey and rest it on the mirror - when it is safe to do so - and report back. She reports she can feel the difference. 

It is my experience hand guards will not leave your fudgy fingers as warm as they'd be if you were in your heated car. They will however on the darkest, dampest, coldest and most miserable evenings move you from absolute agony and unable to operate the levers to "holy cow that's cold and my fingers hurt but they can still move." They won't keep your gloves dry either but they'll get soaking wet considerably less rapidly.

So my thanks to Richard for his kind gift and I believe the guards are a reserved success for Sharon and the Kwakker. Now, being the miserly skinflint that I am I don't suppose anyone fancies sending me a cheque in the post for, I dunno, maybe £500,000? I mean it's just a little slip of paper with some random numbers and letters on it, snot much to ask?

send poor poor Ren money - contact him on ren@bikesandtravels.com

Reader's Comments

nab301 said :-
They look great IMO. Short of fitting handlebar muffs which really do keep you warm there's not a lot more you can do short of fitting heated grips .
I have to change financial institutions shortly ( withdrawing from the market) , so when the deed is done ( and the account is closed) I'll send you a cheque for whatever amount you like !

12/04/2022 20:23:06 UTC
Bogger said :-
Ren, I do hope the hand guards were repainted, to get rid of the scuff marks?

12/04/2022 20:29:34 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed'ster, I like em.
They've never really taken off on road bikes have they, although you would be taken to the waters edge at dawn if you're "Adventure" bike wasn't so equipped. It's fashion Ed, Sharon will explain.
Didn't some of the FJR13's have them as accessories?
The cheques in the post Ed, just don't cash it!

14/04/2022 09:11:01 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Well, the memory hasn't completely gone yet.
This is Yamaha's solution for the 13, I think. My own ST has accessory flip ups on the mirrors, not sure they do too much though, although they are apparently much sort after because Honda stopped making them along with the ST13 aero packages.

Posted Image
14/04/2022 09:40:55 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Just in case you're interested Ed, and just in case someone has a pair they want to sell to me cheap, these are the ST11 flip ups. The 13's were more elaborate. On the 11 you often find them fitted with accessory flips on the fairing by the knees. Mine also has them.

Posted Image
14/04/2022 09:47:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I thought it was rather smart to combine the mirrors with quasi-handguards. Is this some random image from the web or do you know this garage? That's a lorra oil they got(had) there.
14/04/2022 17:05:32 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
T.I. Motorcycles in Berwick upon the Tweed Ed, it's where the BeaST goes for its MOT test.
He's a good bloke and that's probably his porker in the piccie, I know he likes em.
It's my nearest motorcycle MOT station I think.......
Now here's a question, does anyone else have to travel almost 20 miles to their nearest bike test emporium, thankfully the car test is within walking distance.
So yes Ed, that is the BeaST.
14/04/2022 20:32:47 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
My local MOT station is about 15 minutes walk, the car MOT is another 2 minutes beyond that. I take the vehicle up there first thing, leave it there all day then collect in the evening.

20 minutes drive/ride? That's the price you pay for living somewhere nice innit.
16/04/2022 07:44:42 UTC
Glyn said :-
Bike station 20 minute ride, car 2 mins walk. Always a bit worried about a bike failure and not being able to ride it home. My local bike man is Mark from Power Links, Ringwood. Great guy but he's a stickler so if it passes you know it's safe.
16/04/2022 18:53:34 UTC
Borsuk said :-
My local station is 45 minutes drive / ride away. Does cars, bikes, trailers, SPTTs and lorries. They are dedicated stations in Spain, they do nothing else and there is a mobile bike testing van that does the rounds of the villages, only seen it twice in a decade but I have been told its every couple of months or so. Test takes about 20 min tops, there is 6 testing lanes and it's all done by appointment in advance. Big boards where the reg numbers and appropriate lanes are displayed.

There's no back street places issuing dodgy certificates. Though I do wonder how the neighbours car passes it. Mine was failed on the headlights not transmitting enough light, a half hour polishing the plastic cover sorted that but it was only slightly opaque. Their's is so bad you can't tell there is a headlight behind the plastic. I fixed mine that day, booked it in for a retest 2 days later, 30 seconds passed and waiting on the new sticker.
18/04/2022 21:35:53 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Forgot to say, I had handguards fitted on the Himmy at purchase and notated on the V5. If you don't do it then you have to do a separate ITV after fitting them, with all the paperwork from the garage saying they are fit for purpose and correctly fitted by authorised person. Same for panniers, driving lights or anything else that changes the dimensions, handling or affects the safety of the bike. A total faff. Put a towbar on the wife's VW and the garage took 3 months to get the paperwork and then when I had it done they had the type homologation number wrong. I had to get a new installation certificate and go back again to get the ITV updated.
I hope the never notice the Himmy is now 2 cm lower than when it was new.
18/04/2022 21:44:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
So Espana has Type Approval? Wowsers I thought that was just Germany. So essentially what you're saying is if I were to create my wonderful splendid handguards in Spain I'd need to get them inspected and approved.
19/04/2022 17:07:55 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Not at all Ren.

They would send a special ITV Hit Squad to your location and arrest you for crimes against sight and humanity. Then track down every set of hand-guards you have made and destroy them with extreme prejudice.

Should you be passing the Llangollen area you are always welcome to drop in while I am here. Tea is always available I we might be persuaded to break out the jaffa cakes, or in your case the Aldi equivalent.
19/04/2022 20:18:10 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Thank you for your kind offer Borsuk, preceded by your bitter cynical comments. Llangollen ain't too far from Sharon's pad - how long you in The United Kingdom? PS - oddly, weirdly, strangely I don't like Jaffa Cakes. Now chocolate Hob Nobs, they are heaven in a packet. The Aldi/Lidl versions are *not quite* as perfect as the genuine Hob Nob but at less than half the price they are still a worthy biscuit.
20/04/2022 13:25:03 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Possibly till the endish of June. Hope to get up to Scotland soon in the SPTT. But if you are heading this way give us a shout a couple of days before and I'll clear my calendar, not that theres much on it at the moment.
20/04/2022 15:23:14 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I've emailed you Borsuk - if you're still using the same address :)
24/04/2022 18:14:44 UTC

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