Because adventure motorcycles tend to be heavier, more feature-laden bikes, when ridden off-road the likelihood of a dirt nap doing expensive damage is pretty high, so they really need factory or aftermarket guards to protect vulnerable engine parts and fragile plastic (paradoxically making the bike heavier still, but such is life). In an effort to keep my Honda Africa Twin as light as possible yet protected from horizontal misadventures, I recently bolted on a set of German-made Hepco & Becker Engine and Tank Guards acquired from Moto Machines. Available in your choice of shiny stainless steel or black powder coat for a variety of ADV machines, both the tank guard and engine guards are made of tubular steel using a strong but minimalist design that keeps weight down without sacrificing any protection — the black $301.68 Tank Guard weighs 8 pounds and the $272.85 Engine Guards weigh 5.5 pounds total. Their installation kits come with everything you need to securely mount all four main left and right pieces in about 90 minutes, using existing bolt holes on the bike’s frame, so there’s no drilling or cutting required.
On the 2016 and later Africa Twins, the tank guard attaches at the front engine mount on each side, with another frame mounting point under the headlight. Hepco & Becker’s instructions are pretty good, and with a bit of creative contortion I was able to install the tank guard by myself with basic hand tools, though a helper would have made it easier. The engine guards bolt on in several places around the twin’s bottom end for maximum protection, and only required removing the skid plate and loosening some exhaust bolts to install (and Moto Machines offers a tough-looking Hepco & Becker Skid Plate for $313.20 that could be added at this time). The left engine guard is wide enough to accommodate the Africa Twin’s optional dual-clutch automatic transmission, so there’s a sizable gap between it and the engine on my manual trans model, but it doesn’t stick out any farther than the Tank Guard. The toes of my size-13 boots contact the back of the engine guards occasionally, but they don’t interfere with using the brake pedal or shift lever on the manual trans model.
In addition to protecting the engine and fairing from most tipovers, rocks, etc., the bars make great places to mount auxiliary lights, luggage, cruising pegs and more. The Tank Guard has hole tabs on each side for the optional Bracing Bow ($99.50) that crosses in front of the radiator, and Moto Machines also offers a Headlamp Guard ($114.01) for the Africa Twin’s expensive LED headlight that bolts on top of the Tank Guard. Overall it’s well-made protection that bolts on quickly and easily and can save you far more than it costs when your ride goes sideways.