I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post about installing a lever guard! However, since I had a few speed bumps during my journey, I figured I’d document the process, and hopefully, it will be useful to a few fellow riders.
Why do we need lever guards?
A lever guard is a critical safety item on your motorcycle. It can prevent a fatal crash by reducing the risks of someone (or something) accidentally pushing your lever. Most amateur track riders and pro racers will only care about protecting the brake lever side, but you can also install a lever guard on the clutch side.
Selecting a lever guard
Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s talk about the selection process. When you shop for a lever guard, you will need to, depending on the model of your bike, select a few options:
- Which side of the bike will you install the lever (i.e., clutch vs. brake)
- Some guards are offered in different (fixed) lengths.
- You will also find units offering adjustable length.
- Some models, like the LighTech and the Driven, are available with a colored tip that can be swapped/replaced.
- The handlebar adapters are often sold separately, so you need to select the appropriate size based on your clip-on’s internal diameter.
- A few units are mountable on the cylindrical part of the clip-on and will not require an adapter, but you will need to make sure that your clip-ons are long enough to support this type of application.
When I ordered my lever guard from LighTech, I didn’t buy the lever guard adapter since I already had a few spare parts in my toolbox, and I figured I’d be able to “MacGyver” something together. I also was under the impression that because I purchased the lever guard specific for my R3, I’d be able to install the guard without a hitch. Well, it turns out I was wrong. In my case, the bike-specific model only comes with a bolt that will thread into the OEM clip-on and an angled spacer, no other mounting mechanisms… no expanding sleeve, no star-fangled nut, nada! After turning everything upside down in my garage, I found an expanding sleeve with a cone-shaped nut that was a perfect fit for my handlebars. Well, it turns out that the bolt that came with the LighTech guard is a bit unique (rounded head), and it wasn’t long enough to allow me to use the provided angled spacer. I couldn’t find a replacement alternative for this bolt, so I had to go online and ordered the LighTech lever guard adapter.
It turns out that there weren’t a lot of details to help me pick the right adapter, and I wanted to make sure I would get the correct one. I took my micrometer and measured the internal diameter (I.D.) of my Woodcraft clip-on. It’s almost 16mm. I went back to my computer, did a quick search, and realized I potentially had two options for adapters that could support the Woodcraft clip-ons:
- 14 to 15.5mm
- 16 to 17.5mm
I wasn’t sure what would be the better fit since the I.D. of the bar was almost 16mm. I didn’t know if the bigger sleeve would work. I was almost sure it would but wasn’t willing to take a risk and order a unit that wasn’t the perfect size. I read and researched for a bit and didn’t find any useful documentation on this topic, so I ordered the two items. (They are about $32 USD per adapter).
It turns out that the 16-17.5mm is the perfect fit. The other unit has now found refuge in my spare parts kit.
The buying experience
One word – Disappointing! I have purchased many components from LighTech for my two Yamaha R6s and my Ducati 848 EVO over the years. I always bought the parts from online retailers in Canada or the USA but never had to deal directly with LighTech. With COVID, it was impossible to get components in a reasonable timeframe, so I decided I would order directly from the manufacturer’s website. The site itself isn’t great, but I was able to find the Lever Guard and placed the order without any problems. Believe me when I tell you it was the only part of the process that worked flawlessly.
You must be aware that when you shop for a product on the LighTech site, the official distributor is Reactive Parts. Everything is managed and shipped from ReactiveParts to the end consumer. It will add quite a few days of delay in the processing. The items have to be shipped from LighTech to Reactive Parts, then they re-package your order and send it over to you. You need to add 7-10 days of buffer.
The delays were T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E and overall service from ReactiveParts wasn’t much better. I ordered a few parts, and some of the items I ordered were discontinued. Some of my parts never made it on-time, so parts were held until they could ship all the items at once. I even gave up and canceled some of the orders to purchase components from different manufacturers and had to wait up to 10 business days before I could get a refund.
All of this to say that if you are in a rush and need components from LighTech, find them online from a reputable retailer that has them in stock and buy them there to avoid the frustration. I’ve personally had a lot of success with STG and Revzilla.
Watch the clip
As you will see in the video below, the assembly process is super easy. I would recommend adding some blue thread locker on the tiny screw holding the guard’s tip and on the bolt that connects the guard to the clip-on.