how-to home |
email me


Installing Tusk D-Flex handguards on an XT225

what you'll need:
Time: About an hour
  • Tusk D-Flex aluminum crash bars and plastic hand shields
  • Exacto knife
  • #2 Philips screwdriver
  • 6mm hex wrench
  • 10mm socket/wrench
  • Dremel with a plastic-cutting saw attachment
  • A magnetic pointer is useful but not strictly necessary

Dualsports need hand guards. This is a fact of life -- between rocks and tree branches and spills, you want to make sure that your levers and hands are protected.

Shortly after getting the XT, I installed a pair of PowerMadd handguards, which worked pretty well when I was on roads that didn't make me fall over. After just two spills on mountain dirt roads, though, the bolts had bent and the handguards were feeling a bit too flimsy.

The guys at seemed to like the Tusk D-Flex handguards, so I figured I'd give them a shot. I bought black ones for my bike and white ones for Peter's. ;)

The procedure is almost exactly the same for each side of the bike, so I'll describe the throttle side as it's a tiny bit trickier.

The first thing you'll do is attach the righthand hand shield to the righthand aluminum crash bar. For some reason, I didn't screw the shield to the bar until after it was attached to the bike, but in hindsight, that was dumb. Go ahead and use your #2 Philips screwdriver and two of the small screws that came with the shields to firmly attach the shield to the bar.

Now grab the mounting bracket. Unscrew the bolt that holds the funny key-shaped piece to the bracket (the bolt is a 6mm hex; the nut is 10mm). Don't lose the nut like I did about 5 times.

Bolt the bracket loosely onto your righthand handebar, with the slot for the key-shaped piece facing out. Keep the bracket as loose as possible, since you'll be sliding it around. I hope you don't have any particular love for the paint on your bars, since I'm warning you right now that it's going to get scratched up.

Attach the key-shaped piece to the aluminum crash bar using the 6mm hex wrench. They key piece should be facing inwards.

OK, now set that down somewhere, and let's have fun chopping up your motorcycle.

Grab your Exacto knife and cut a nice hole right in the middle of the end of the handlebar grip. Make it big enough so that you can roll the grip back over the bar a little bit, exposing the plastic throttle.

See how the plastic throttle covers the end of the handlebar? That's gotta go. Otherwise, attaching the handguard to the end of the bar will press against the throttle, pinning it open. That's not good. So go grab your Dremel and slice off just enough of the plastic so that a couple millimeters of handlebar poke out past it.

Once you've got that, it's time to install the handguard.

The easiest -- and I use that term loosely -- way I found was to attach the key-shaped thingie to the handlebar bracket first. Just insert the key piece on the handguard into the slot on the bracket and slide the bolt through. Thread the nut just enough to keep things together, but you still want this whole assembly to be as loose as possible right now.

All right, now just sorta drop it and let it hang for a sec. Go grab the expanding bolt with its rubber shield now.

Turn the bolt upside down to make sure that the little cone-shaped piece on the end doesn't immediately come flying off. It probably will while you're trying to install the guard (the magnetic pointer is useful for fishing the cone out from inside your handlebar).

Anyway, remove the threaded bolt and gently push the housing into your handlebar. If you hear a "clunk...tinkle tinkle tinkle", the cone piece fell off and is now on the other side of the bar. Remove the housing (it'll pull right out; use a large flathead screwdriver if you need to pry it) and wiggle the bars from side to side. If the cone doesn't barf out, go grab that magentic pointer.

Thread the long bolt through the handguard (both the crash bar and plastic shield) and insert it into the housing. Gently tighten the bolt with a 6mm hex wrench. See above , re: "clunk...tinkle tinkle tinkle" noises. This bolt, you can actually tighten all the way.

Now comes the "fun" part of lining up the guard, key piece, and handlebar bracket so that everything fits solidly together. There's no trick to this, I'm afraid. You just have to hold the handguard at the angle that you want it, and sorta brute force the bracket into cooperating. Eventually, you'll get a "good enough" angle, and can tighten down the two bracket bolts and the bolt holding the key piece to the handguard.

Once everything is tightened down, go get your Exacto knife again. When you unroll the handgrip, it'll be longer than the handlebar. Just trim off the excess grip so that you can flick the throttle smoothly.

The lefthand side is exactly like the righthand side, only you don't need to Dremel anything. You can also cut a smaller hole in the grip end -- just enough to slide in the expanding bolt.

A nice-looking pair of handguards!