Catalunya, Spain – 2006.Lap 1. Ducati’s Sete Gibernau clips the back of teammate Loris Capirossi’s bike going into turn 1 at 150 mph, sending Sete flying over the handlebars and into the sand traps. When the dust settles, three riders are injured and valuable championship points are lost.
The reason for the carnage? Sete’s front brake lever was compressed on impact with Capirossi’s bike causing his front wheel to lock up. The incident immediately leads to the design of what we now know as lever guards.Lever guards, unlike pneumatic valves and carbon brake rotors, are one of those MotoGP-inspired essentials we can and should use on a normal road bike. Ever been splitting lanes on a chocked up Los Angeles highway and come dangerously close to clipping a lever on the back of the oblivious Prius drivers trunk? I know it’s happened to me a few times, so when the opportunity to customize my 2014 Ducati Hypermotard presented itself, lever guards were my top priority.Like all Ducati motorcycles, the 821 Hyper is a great looking bike. But the cheap looking plastic handguards and after thought integrated turn signals are an eye sore to say the least. Something had to be done and I knew exactly who to turn to.Enter Rizoma – the Italian based specialists passionately design and manufacture a huge variety of aftermarket accessories for all types of bikes. Rizoma offers everything, from model specific, direct replacements to universal customized pieces. And the quality is outstanding.I love receiving Rizoma parts in the mail. The packaging is so pretty that the empty boxes now fill spaces in the workshop next to old dusty trophies. I can’t bring myself to throw them out. And like I said, the product is crafted to perfection.First job was to take the OEM hand guards off. What a relief it was. The bike immediately looked 10 lbs. lighter. The new Rizoma Proguard lever guards come with a variety of adapters, spacers and easy to follow instructions. Two bolts and you’re done.The length of the arm is adjustable to suit your desired lever travel. Only my brake lever had adjustment, which is moved thee clicks closer to the bar. So I could pull the guard nice and close to the lever ball.My clutch lever travel is not adjustable and needs a full hand stretched out to get hold of it. But the Rizoma Proguards have enough length to cover it perfectly.Next job, mirrors. Again the OEM units are a real let down. Perched up high like insect antenna with very little mirror surface area. Everything you see in them seems miles away, instead of right on your tail where they actually are. The Rizoma Veloce Naked mirrors bolt directly to the OEM adapters only they are adjustable and sit a good 4 inches lower than original. Despite this, I now have a much clearer and wider view of what’s sneaking up behind me. The Veloce mirrors have the high powered LED turnsignals seamlessly integrated into the streamlined profile. Wiring them up is as simple as soldering 2 wires together.I must confess, I had my doubts on whether the stainless fasteners would hold tight after a few bumps and jumps. So much so that I hauled my allen wrench set with me on the 150-mile test ride into the mountains. The last thing you need is a floppy mirror halfway through the R33 canyon. I needn’t have worried though.My new functional bling from Rizoma performed flawlessly. I even caught my hard to impress riding buddies spying them out. Look up our friends Rizoma – you’ll be glad you did.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!