A hundred bucks could save you thousands
Much as we try to be polite out there, it's a fact that bikes can touch at speed. As was proven so dramatically at the finish of the Daytona 200 in 2011, if a machine's front brake lever gets applied during contact, the poop is going to hit the propeller.
Following this horrific crash, AMA and MotoGP subsequently mandated brake lever guards and since then, many companies have produced their own version of this device. While not specifically required at club races or track days, such protection has become all the rage there as well. Apex Manufacturing, the team which has built dozens of Triumph 675R race bikes for club and pro racers alike, including Elena Myers, offers a simple, inexpensive and attractive option to fit any bike.
The $99.00 Apex Manufacturing Brake Lever Guard is made from aluminum. The distance from grip to guard can be adjusted to suit the individual machine. The material used for the protective hoop itself is slightly springy and would likely take a fair knock without breaking. This device is attached to your bike with an expansion device that fits inside the clip-on tube. Apex Manufacturing clip-on tubes are properly sized for this but if you're running a different brand, you'll have to drill out your bar end to accommodate this guard. Not too keen on drilling your own bar? A $109.00 kit is offered that includes both the guard assembly and also a clip-on tube that has been properly machined to accept it. In our opinion, the extra $10 investment is well worth it, allowing you to avoid the hassle of sourcing the correct drill bit and modifying the bar.
Our test guard was from the first batch made by Apex. Others from first run were submitted to the AMA for certification and received approval for competition. Our guard has been on the bike since February and we've found absolutely no reason to dislike it. The device is lightweight, solid, well constructed and attractive. It gives our machine a very purposeful look and draws a lot of comments from onlookers. Most importantly, the Apex Manufacturing Brake Lever Guard gives us a sense of security. If a bump from the side were to result in a violent, end-over-end crash, the cost to man and motorcycle could be devastating. As we see it, this device is a $100 insurance policy that racetrack riders shouldn't be without.