AVS Racing Hand Guards Review – A Sensible Bit of Protective Kit?

At the final round of the EWS 2016 in Finale Ligure we spotted several riders sporting these AVS Racing hand guards, including the one and only Sam Hill. But are these hand guards a sensible bit of kit or a waste of space on your cockpit? Curiosity well and truly piqued, we put a pair on test and turned to the inventor Arnaud Vincent to answer our burning questions.

Thanks to the AVS hand guards Sam Hill didn’t have to worry about wayward branches or bushes while tearing through the undergrowth. Spotted his name emblazoned across them?
Sam Hill’s AVS Racing hand guards channel the colourway running throughout his whole bike.
Julie Duvert crashed during a training run at the EWS in Finale Ligure, but both her and her brake levers came out unscathed and she ended up finishing second in the U21 category.

First impressions of the AVS Racing hand guards split opinion, but these nifty little things have been designed for hurtling through forests along tight, gnarly trails without having to worry about wayward trail decorations. Arnaud Vincent explains how the design was inspired by his youth spent road racing before moving across to motocross at the tender age of 13. By the time the year turned 2002, he was even crowned World Champion in the 125 cm category. In 2014 Vincent, while out on his regular mountain bike route, crashed when a branch came between his grips and brake lever. This mishap immediately threw him back to his motocross roots, in which where hand guards are a staple part of the sport. So, why aren’t they a firm component on mountain bikes?

Sam Hill in race-mode on the trails around Finale Ligure.

“I based the design on experience I’d got from developing motorbikes which I teamed with my passion for mountain biking,” Vincent explained. “Then together with some top-level riders, the AVS Racing Hand Guards were developed with the purpose of protecting your levers and hands from bushes and other obstacles on the flanks of the trails. Plus, they give a cool, modern look to your bike too.”

How to Mount

You have to take off your handlebar grips before mounting the AVS Racing hand guards. There’s a 9 mm-wide aluminium mount that you push onto the bars and tighten with a 3 mm Allen key.

The AVS Hand Guards on Test

We’ve been riding with the AVS hand guards in the Corsican backcountry as well as our standard German woodland. Once you’ve got used to the visual impact they’ve got, you won’t even notice that they’re on your bike. On narrow, natural, overgrown trails the hand guards are a serious asset, showing how capable they are at deflecting branches and the like. One test rider crashed and their fingers and brake levers stayed intact while one of the hand guards just got a little grazed.

The aluminium clamp for the hand guards is pretty big to ensure that there’s sufficient place for your hand and the brake levers.

Our Thoughts

The AVS Racing hand guards might not immediately catch your eye but they undoubtedly serve a great purpose, particularly if you enjoy riding on super narrow, unkempt trails.

  • Kit Price: € 55
  • Weight: 110 g (Pair)
  • Plastic protectors in 12 colours: € 27.50
  • Aluminium mount (anodized in 7 colours): € 27.50
  • Sticker in various designs: € 10
  • Individual parts can be ordered separately

For more information head to AVS Racing!

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Words: Manne Schmitt Photos: Manne Schmitt, Enduro World Series, Valentin Rühl

About the author

Manne Schmitt

As the proud father of Robin and Max-Philip, Manne has been there from the start and is the wise elder of the editorial team. He won his first cycling race in elementary school at a school sports day. After less successful attempts at football, he found his passion for cycling via endurance racing in 1989! The world of racing still consumes him and no one in the team knows the EWS pros better than Manne. As a former head analyst of a state agency, he knows how to do proper research and finds exclusive news that no one else has. He supports his sons in day-to-day business dealings as the authorised signatory for 41 Publishing – viva la familia!