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Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Review

Barkbusters Blizzard Review

Fabric Multi-Fit Hand Guards Help to Fight the Cold Winter Winds

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by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com

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Heated Grips and Heated Glove Reviews
Hippo Hands Review
Barkbusters Storm Hand Guards Review

Summary

The Barkbusters "Blizzard" fabric hand guards are like XXL-sized buddies to help to block cold winter air.

These windstoppers can be fitted to 240+ different motorcycle makes and models of all types.

Here's the Barkbusters Blizzard BBZ application chart (.pdf); chances are your bike is on the list.

It doesn't matter if the bike has hand guards or not and the Barkbusters Blizzard units can even fit over the existing hand guards on some bikes.

They're made from fabric that resembles a heavy-duty Cordura-type of nylon with a semi-rigid stiffener to ensure they retain their shape.

The kit comes with a whole mess o' spacers, bolts of various lengths and other unidentifiable parts; I only needed a pair of small washers from the pack to fit the V-Strom.

Fitting the Blizzard hand guards will differ, depending on the individual bike and there's a certain amount of noodling and fettling necessary to get them installed, but once you figure out one side, the other side is easy.

Once they're on, the cold air is blocked but the Blizzard hand guards don't get in the way...at least on the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (Blog). They're also much less constricting and probably safer than Hippo Hands (review).

I couldn't quite get the Blizzard guards to fit over the stock Suzuki hand guards but it was easy enough to remove the Suzuki guards, which don't fit on a metal backbone.

I also didn't have the correct length bolt that would allow the Blizzard hand guards to be placed over the outside of the bar end weights, so I mounted them with the weights on the outside.

[UPDATE: The Blizzard hand guards fit perfectly over the Barkbusters Storm hand guards (review).]

Mounting the bar end weight on the outside has an added benefit of placing the widest/tallest part of the Blizzard guards over your hands. You'll need all the room you can get when you're wearing heavy winter gloves.

And one more thing -- I didn't have a bolt long enough to mount the Blizzard guards with the Kaoko throttle control (review) in place, so I removed that for winter.

[UPDATE: See the updated review of the Kaoko throttle control for Barkbusters hand guards.]

Let's take a quick photographic tour:

Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Kit Contents
The Barkbusters Blizzard BBZ-001 hand guard kit with assorted hardware pack.
Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Inside
Inside a Blizzard hand guard. Note the removable metal stiffener to prevent the guard from rotating.
Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Close-up
The inside has a movable wind protector. Adjustable nylon strap secures the inboard section over the handlebar.
Suzuki V-Strom Stock Hand Guards
Here is the stock Suzuki plastic hand guard. It doesn't have a metal bar for a backbone, so it's pretty much for show only, like the OE engine "guard" that I replaced with an SW-Motech skid plate engine guard (review). The stock hand guards also fit at a low angle and the result is that the don't really block much of the air flow coming over the top of the grips.
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Suzuki V-Strom Stock Hand Guards Height
Front view of the Suzuki V-Strom stock hand guard. Note the hand grip isn't really protected.
Suzuki V-Strom Stock Hand Guards Inside View
Inside view of the stock Suzuki hand guards. Note bar end weight and Kaoko throttle control.
Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Mounts
Here's a close-up. Removing the stock Suzuki hand guards is easy. Loosen the 4 mm hex bolt at the top (L) and the 10 mm security nut at the bottom (R). Stow them away somewhere safe in case you want to reinstall the hand guards.
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Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Right Side
Mounting the Barkbusters Blizzard hand guards is easy. I removed the Kaoko throttle control and pulled out the stock bar end weight. There's a small thin metal washer in the Blizzard kit that I placed between the bar end weight and the Blizzard, then I tightened the Phillips head screw in the bar end weight. Secure the inboard part of the Blizzard using the nylon webbing and place the loose end in the stretch keeper, as you can see on the left.
Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Hand Front
The Blizzard hand guards can be rotated into the desired position, then tighten the bar end weight. Be sure to leave enough room for your fingers and make sure the hand guards don't interfere with the brake and clutch levers.
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Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Grip
Here's a photo showing the amount of coverage provided by the Barkbusters Blizzard hand guard over my hands.
Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Left Side
Side view showing the bar end weight on the outside. The Blizzard hand guards can be mounted with the bar end weight on the inside or outside; this will depend on your choice and particular application. I figured having the bar end weight on the outside would also help protect the hand guards from tearing if the bike tipped over and this method also ensures the widest/tallest part of the inside of the hand guards maximize the amount of space available when wearing heavy gloves. Make sure the Blizzard guards are tight to prevent them from moving and that they don't push against the brake and clutch levers due to wind pressure as you get up to speed.
Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards Side View
Another side view of the Blizzard hand guards.
Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards on V-Strom
Here's the V-Strom from the front showing the amount of coverage provided by the Blizzard hand guards.
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Conclusion

The brutal winters we've experienced the last couple of years here in the Mid-Atlantic are quite a change from what used to be considered the norm.

We now go for weeks at a time with weather that is simply too cold to ride, with snow and ice thrown in for good measure. Thus, we have to go all-out to do what we can to protect against the cold.

Although the Barkbusters Blizzard hand guards were installed about 8 weeks ago, I've only been able to ride a couple of times with them -- the weather has been that bad. So my evaluation is brief.

But the difference is definitely noticeable compared to the stock Suzuki hand guards, which aren't very protective even during a slightly cooler day in summer.

The only downside I've noticed is some light extra buffeting in certain heavy crosswind conditions, apparently due to the larger size of the Blizzard hand guards.

I really like the Blizzard hand guards and I'm going to order a set of the Barkbusters "Storm" hand guards with the aluminum backbone that bolts to the Suzuki's handlebar.

I'd like to see if I can fit the Blizzard hand guards over the backbone and also fit the Kaoko throttle control; apparently this does work. I may just end up leaving the Blizzard hand guards on the bike all year 'round.

More wBW Motorcycle Hand Guard Reviews

Heated Grips and Heated Glove Reviews
Hippo Hands Review
Barkbusters Storm Hand Guards Review

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wBW Review: Barkbusters Blizzard Hand Guards
Manufacturer: Barkbusters
List Price (2015): $109.99
Colors: Black
Made In: Not listed.
Sizes: Sizes fit many different motorcycles.
Review Date: March 2015

Your Comments and Feedback

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From "P.V." (November 2015): "I purchased these in October 2015. I ride a BMW K1200S and live in Connecticut.

Even though I have heated grips, my hands would get extremely cold riding in the fall and winter. I considered heated gloves or Hippo Hands but then saw these. They were probably one of the best investments Iíve made to improve my riding comfort.

They block the wind and rain and allow my heated grips to do their job. I went for a ride the other day at 42 degrees and actually had to turn down the heated grips because my hands were sweating! Highly recommended."


From "H.S." (June 2015): "Israel is considered a warm country, therefore these arenít easy to find here...

Easy to install, no real change of mass and a great improvement through the winter for my naked MT-09 Yamaha.

And even though winter is no longer with us, I keep them on as I ride at cool sun-up (05:45) from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem all weekdays (80 miles round trip) and I still find them helpful.

A very good purchase."


From "A.B." (March 2015): "I've got a pair of these mounted on my 1997 Yamaha Seca II and they work pretty well on blocking the cold wind and rain. They make heated grips work even better. And unlike some of the other options out there, you can still see your controls/switches."

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