GEO HANDGUARDS REVIEW
Words by Drew Rohde
Born from an unfortunate accident, GEO Handguards came about after founder Glenn E. Olsen suffered a serious hand injury after what should have been a minor encounter with a tree. Over the next several months Glenn brainstormed a way to create a product that could save him and other riders from having preventable injuries or crashes. After lots of tinkering and testing, GEO’s “Helmet for your hands” was born. Now, we’ve admittedly been on the handguard program for a while now as our e-biking adventures frequently take us into overgrown and seldom-ridden areas where juniper, sage and Manzanita wreak havoc on knuckles and gloves. We were curious to see how these unique-looking guards would compare to the more traditional “flag” style guards we’ve grown used to.
Built out of a proprietary hybrid polymer specially formulated for this application, GEO Handguards looks raw, and ready for battle. GEO claims the guards are unbreakable and some videos on their website show them dropping heavy weights on the curved guards while they protect the handlebar controls behind. Just in case you do manage to do something crazy, GEO offers a 1-year replacement policy if your guards break under normal use.
The hardware securing the guards is made from aircraft-grade 6061-aluminum and is anodized for maximum durability and corrosion resistance. GEO also shipped their handguards with a sticker pack full of outdoor-grade vinyl stickers so you can match your bike or components with a bit of flair.
Now, to talk about the elephant in the room, the aesthetic…honestly this was one of the harder things for us to get over. Obviously looks are very subjective but we were a bit skeptical about a thin curved bar wrapping around the bar and trapping our hands in the bike. Surprisingly, after the initial weirdness, the guards didn’t inhibit our movement at all and we were still able to ride with our hands on the outer edge of the grips like they weren’t there at all. The dropped outer edge design means no lost real estate.
So, how did they perform? As expected. GEO Handguards are located on the East Coast and they spend a lot of time riding in tight trees and narrower singletrack where knuckle bashing is a regular occurrence. This is definitely where the GEO Handguards shine. They’re designed to conform a bit and deflect the bike away from obstacles like trees when they hit them.
We have a very different reason for wanting handguards here on the West Coast however and this led us to some long conversations and calls with GEO. We’re happy to learn that because of their small, garage-run business, they were able to hang up the phone and get to work on making modifications based on our feedback.
While I ride with full wrap around grips on my Husqvarna enduro motorcycle because I regularly bash into trees at speed, I prefer flag-style handguards on my ebikes for brush deflection and protection from cold air in the winter. These thin polycarbonate bars did not offer much protection as we’d charge through Manzanita-lined trails or plowed through damp, overgrown shrubs on cold winter mornings.
As you can see here though, GEO took our feedback and went straight to the prototyping room and whipped up some Max handguard covers. They will be retrofittable, easy to install and should offer more protection against shrubs, sticks, brush and cold air. They should be available in the near future and we’ve been told they’ll retail for around $25.
The Wolf’s Last Word
We give serious props to GEO for thinking outside the box with these handguards. From an engineering, business and shipping perspective, they’ve been able to create a unique product that ships flat to reduce cost, is strong and durable, and offers serious impact protection if you happen to hit a tree, post or other immovable object. We also like that the system spins easily in the event of a crash, which they claim reduces the stress risers that can form in your handlebars unlike other handguards with a single, rigid mounting point. Certainly worth considering, especially if you’ve got expensive carbon bars.
That being said, as they sit now, they are not the right tool for the job here in the dense shrubbery of the deserts we typically ride. The promise of add-on brush deflectors is certainly exciting and something that we envision a lot of people will be happy to see as an option, however that will also put the guards at the $100 price point.
If you interested in these handguards, use code “loamwolf2020” at checkout to save 5-dollars.
Respect the Unique Design and Idea
Protect Your Controls and Hands from Trees
Not Large Enough to Protect in Shrubbery/Brush
Looks Aren’t for Everyone
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