Thursday, August 14, 2014

Barkbusters review

Below you can read our on-going evaluation of our Barkbusters, or you can go straight to the Barkbusters website by clicking on the Barkbusters logo on the left
Having worked as a mechanic on a huge Australian Outback Station, I should have known better and fitted Barkbuster hand guards from the start. I had seen with my own eyes how good they are and the impact they can handle. The cowboys (and cowgirls!) riding there, have cattle to chase over harsh terrain and thus drop their bikes quite often. Bending the Barkbusters back into shape was a common part of any service, but we never lost a lever or had any of them injure their hands. They obviously worked… so why didn't I fit them to our Bonnevilles?

This is the version fitted to Mike's Yamaha, which has take a few hits already as you can see in this blog. They protected the Yamaha from any damage but more importantly, he hasn't broken any bones himself because of them.
Honestly, I don't know, but I surely regretted it when I dropped Jeanette's Bonnie on a stupidly steep hill covered in powdery sand in Nicaragua! See and what I did to fix it temporarily at Having seen the prices for the Triumph replacement parts… it was definitely time to fit Barkbusters! There are plastic hand guards on the market too but the Barkbuster VPS system with their immensely strong forged aluminium backbone are just the only ones offering the kind of protection we need. Dropping a 340 kg bike, which will land on just the crashbars and the Barkbusters takes more than plastic can handle.

Lee from CI Sport in the UK kindly helped us sort out what would fit on our Bonnevilles, which turned out to be a combination of Honda Transalp and tapered mounts and he had everything in stock too!

Barkbusters are an Australian product, proudly made by RideWorx for over 30 years, so where could we get them in Europe? Because that is where we had the option to do some much needed maintenance work. Luckily the guys from Barkbusters came to the rescue via CI Sports in the UK. The Bonnie has 1" handlebars rather than the more commonly used 7/8". Bonnevilles are not a big market for Barkbusters of course, so there is no standard fitment, but there are so many different versions and brackets that they can be made to fit virtually anything. A trial fitting session is what we needed and Lee at CI Sports helped us out by having lots of different versions for different bikes in stock that we could try. The ones I have fitted on the Bonnies are the BHG18 for a Honda Transalp with tapered brackets BTC-06 for 1" handle bars. 

I had to cut a section off the beam and re-drill the hole, but that was all that was needed to make them fit. Rather than Mike's more Adventure orientated plastic covers, I fitted the Storm version to ours. All plastic covers use the same aluminium backbone and brackets but give better protection from the elements.

The Barkbusters will take the impact on the next fall, because there will be a next one… rather than breaking mirrors and brake levers. But that's not all. They will also protect fingers and wrists from impact, which as my dad can testify are injuries that will plague you for the rest of your life.

Update: An extract from the post 'All our gear after two years on the road'

What can I say. It simply is the best hand protection system available. Period! Working as a mechanic at a cattle station in Outback Australia I had seen first hand how good they are. Having seen the competition, there is simply nothing on the market  that comes close. We have the Storm version fitted to our Bonnevilles, which in far north Norway has been a real blessing. It was miserably cold at times, wet too, but the Barkbuster Storm kept our hands dry. We hadn't quite planned on testing their crash protection but when Jeanette ran into Mike and the Triumph hit the bitumen because of it, they took the whole hit preventing any damage to the bike. They have already paid for themselves in that one incident.