A majority of riders probably don’t have a need for this product since most trails are groomed, wide and free from obstacles. As I looked over the fleet of test bikes however, an ebike stood out to me. I remembered the last three rides I’d been on with it, exploring new zones in the high desert east of my home. They were rides full of desert juniper trees, Manzanita and sage brush, harsh, prickly shrubs that grabbed my brake levers, bashed my knuckles and generally put me in a bad mood.
I decided the Norco Sight VLT would be my test mule. I had plenty more scouting to do and I was tired of tearing gloves…and skin. Before getting back to my new ebike playground I went on a couple local rides with friends and endured some enduro mockery and a couple jokes about my “motorcycle.” I understood and laughed along, I was riding groomed, three foot wide trails with no obstacles in sight.
A couple weeks later however, I had an epic loop dialed in and brought two of our test riders along on some fresh ebikes we’d just received. We put the bikes in Boost mode and started shredding through the shrubs on a scratched in trail. My shiny, brand new hand guards soon smelled like juniper bark and sage as they were smacking the debris that was chewing up my fellow rider’s hands behind me. I could hear there cursing as they got pricked and punched hazards that made me smile as I watched puffs of dust and pollen fly into the air as they smacked my handguards.
After all the jokes the weeks before, my friends pulled off their bloody gloves, looked at my scratched handguards and finally admitted, “Maybe these things are a good idea.” Now, before I start sounding like I’m drunk on the Kool-Aid I’ll reel it in. Do I think this is a must-have product for everyone who owns a mountain bike? No, but, I do believe that there are a lot more riders out there that can benefit from these little beauties and just haven’t tried them out yet.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Nukeproof’s AVS Sam Hill Handguards aren’t for everyone. BUT, when you need these beautiful plastic shields, you’re gonna sure be happy you’ve got ‘em! I’ll admit it, I was a bit dismissive at first, being a tough guy proclaiming, “I’ve dealt with decades of overgrown SoCal shrubbery without any help.” Now I keep a set in my toolbox and happily mount them up anytime I’m headed out to ride trails that are overgrown, have lots of shrubbery, or cacti.
If you ride bike parks, groomed trails, or live in wide-open spaces, you probably don’t need to spend your money on these. Unless it gets really cold where you live. Then the added wind protection is a definite bonus. If you live in the desert or often find yourself riding in areas that are overgrown or have branches and bushes that creep over the trail, I’d highly suggest you try these out. Don’t tear up another set of gloves. Don’t bust another knuckle or get tossed over your bike by something grabbing your brake as you’re leaning in for that turn. Yes, you may get some jokes hurled at you, and they may take a minute to get used to visually, but when you’re watching your friends picking skin and crap out of their knuckles while you smile and polish your hand guards, you’ll know you made the right decision.