Why do some motorcycles have lever guards?

Since 2011 MotoGP requires the motorcycles to be fitted with brake and clutch lever guards. This is to protect the clutch and especially the brakes from being activated in the event of a collision between two riders. If the front brake is activated when touching another rider or their motorcycle, the bike may flip over and can cause serious injuries.


In this article, we discuss why some motorcycles have brake and clutch lever guards and also if you really need this on your bike that you use on the public road.

We will discuss the following:

  • What is the purpose of brake and clutch lever guards?
  • What happens when the front brake is accidentally activated?
  • Do I need clutch and brake guards on my bike for public roads?
  • How do I install clutch and brake lever guards?

What is the purpose of brake and clutch lever guards?

As you may have seen on MotoGP, the motorcycles have guards on the tips of the handlebars that look more like gear shifters than anything else. These guards are there to protect the levers in case riders ride too close to each other and connect.

This is a serious concern for the safety of the riders and has had some pretty intense consequences. For this reason, MotoGP required that all motorcycles be fitted with lever guards to prevent this from happening.

But with this new safety requirement, also came some other problems. But these new issues still don’t outweigh the risks involved of not having lever guards. We will most likely see changes in the future for the requirements to eliminate or reduce the risks of these new issues.

What happens when the front brake is accidentally activated?

When a rider connects with another rider or their motorcycle, the front brake could be activated among other things. This is usually with a lot of force and the front brake lever could be pressed completely if enough force is present. The result is that the motorcycle and its rider flip over in the direction they are travelling or if they are in a turn, the motorcycle slides out.

The most dangerous is being flipped over as the rider could land on their head or face causing serious injuries to their necks and other body parts. Also, they are not sliding off the track as they would in a corner so they could be laying in the middle of the track where other motorcycles are still racing.

In this video, you can see exactly what happens when a front brake is accidentally activated.

In this video, you can see how lever guards might cause some other new issues.

Do I need clutch and brake guards on my bike for public roads?

I wouldn’t say that it would be unnecessary but it’s very unlikely that you will benefit from having it on your bike. On public roads, motorcyclists don’t normally ride so close to each other. With this said, it’s not impossible that this could happen on a public road.

One thing that you might not have known is that MotoGP bikes have two levers on the left. One is for the clutch as on normal production motorcycles and underneath the clutch lever is the second which is for the rear brake.

You’re probably thinking that the accidental activation of the clutch might not be as serious as what it would be if the rear brake was activated. But what would really happen if the clutch was activated?

You are obviously still holding the throttle when this happens. So when the clutch is activated, the engine speed picks up while the bike stops accelerating. The other rider you touched might still be accelerating and moves ahead and away from you.

When this happens, your clutch gets engaged again but at high rpm. The result could be that your front wheel picks up and you are unable to steer correctly. It’s basically, the opposite of what would happen if the front brake is activated. Instead of a front flip, you might flip backwards.

So even if you have only one brake lever, you would still need both guards to prevent anything happening related to the levers on your motorcycle. In my opinion, it’s not that necessary for the public road but you should keep a safe distance from other riders.

How do I install clutch and brake lever guards?

The video below shows how simple it is to install lever protectors on your motorcycle. Most of them work with the same principles that are shown in this video.

Final words

I’ve never had lever guards on any of my bikes but I have to confess that most of the time I’m riding on my own on a public road. If you often go riding on the track, it would make some sense in having lever guards fitted.

Featured image by r6_nut on Instagram.

I always try to keep my articles interesting and informative. And I’m always thankful when they are shared on social media platforms or Pinterest.

Two Motion

I don’t see myself as an expert in every topic of motorcycling but my articles usually relate to new experiences that are relevant at the time of writing.

Recent Posts