I never plan on falling in a rock garden or bashing my handlebars into a tree on a single track, but it does happen—at least to me. Just like wearing protective boots and having a full-coverage, heavy-duty Touratech RallyeForm Skid Plate, I always ride with handguards. Although the Yamaha Ténéré 700 comes standard with plastic handguards, I wanted something more substantial. I would like to keep all my fingers and the Ténéré’s levers intact, so I ordered the Touratech Defensa handguards with the Defensa Expedition option for the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike.
My riding partner and I were taking it easy as I was getting to know the Ténéré 700 when we ended up facing a long, three-foot-deep mudhole created by a summer thunderstorm the night before. I walked it and determined it was a no-go for me. I found the only way around, and that happened to be through bushes and trees. I didn’t expect to need the Defensa Handguards on that ride, but I was glad they were there.
Touratech sells the Defensa Core base unit ($170) as an exoskeleton structure of forged aluminum. I chose the Defensa Expedition configuration ($220)—the Core unit, plus large, integrated plastic shields to deflect brush, flying rocks from your partner’s rooster tail, and cold highway speed air. The plastic shields come in your choice of black or white, so they’ll go with any color scheme.
There are several pieces to assemble, loosely at first. You also have to route around cables and everything else that is already attached to your handlebars. One end securely bolts to the ends of your handlebar, and the other grasps the bar nearer the triple-clamp bar mount. Once you have it assembled, check to make sure neither rubs on your tank at full lock, and then tighten it all up. The second side went much faster than the first, and the entire installation process was under 30 minutes.
Since I put them on, I haven’t dropped the Ténéré or bashed it into a tree, but I know that is coming as I get more adventurous with the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike. I’ll update the review as the inevitable falls happen.
On my early morning rides to the off-road areas, I have noticed that my hands are not as cold as I would expect them to be due to the wind deflection.
I have also realized that my muscle memory of waving to fellow on-road riders has my left hand sliding off the end of the handlebar. With the Touratech Defensa handguards installed, a protective aluminum bar is there to block my hand slide. It’s just a little thing, but if you find yourself shaking your head in exasperation for this silly reason, know you are not alone.
Installation is quick, the protection comes from 14mm high-strength forged aluminum, and the Touratech Defensa handguards have a clean and finished look. With the Defensa Expedition option, I’m confident that my digits and levers will be protected from inclement elements, local flora, and unavoidable crashes.