Many handguards are simply lifted from motocross bikes and slapped onto mountain bikes, but that's not the case with the Sendhit Nock Handguards. They've developed mountain bike specific handguards from the ground up. While coverage, looks, customisation, and functionality are top-notch, there's still some refinement left to be made.
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Sendhit reckons that the Nock handguards are the first mountain bike specific designed. The brand has approached the construction with two goals, to achieve good protection while looking rather sharp. Handguards may be polarising, but I think these are definitely the best looking out there.
Sendhit Nock Handguards - how they're made
That said, there's quite a lot that makes the Nock handguards pretty unique to the rest of the, albeit slim, crowd. Most obviously, each guard comes with a patch of foam on the inside that uses what Sendhit has dubbed 'MicroSHOCK' technology. Essentially, it's a foam that's designed to cope with high impacts. It's there to offer a bit of cushion for those glancing blows against trees and the like.
In the box, along with the guards, you get a selection of stickers made from the same material as what you find on motocross bike's plastics and on jet skis, so it's tough stuff. The customisation doesn't stop there because Sendhit has teamed up with NLDesigns to offer 35 designs for the handguards. If that's not enough, they'll even magic up some completely custom ones for you. There's also an alcohol wipe provided to clean the guards before putting your stickers in place.
The guard part of the setup is made using polyamide-nylon, promising a stiff but impact-resistant quality. Then there's an aluminium bracket to attach the guard to the bar. The combination weighs in at 169g, so they're not the lightest guards out there.
The guards get 12mm of forward and rearward adjustment with the aluminium bracket, indicated with notches etched into the top. The brand recommends positioning the guards as close to your hands as possible, which is easily achieved, thanks to that adjustment.
However, the nuts and bolts that come in the box to fix the guard part to the arms are made of a rather cheese-like metal. It's a tricky system to master without the use of a bit of bodgery.
The nuts slip into a little groove on the inside of the attachment arm, and then you screw the screws in with a 3mm Allen. Even with the nut firmly sat in the groove, I found that there's still a bit of space and softness in the nut's metal. This causes the nut to spin, unless it was butted right into the end of the groove, or held steady with a pair of pliers. Even then, I found one of the nut and bolt combinations to be threaded rather poorly, so it took a hell of a lot of force to snug one of them up. It would be great to see threads somehow built into the system to save what can be a bit of a juggling act.
Although fiddly, it's a fit-and-forget system. Since fitting, I've not needed to adjust the handguard's distance to the bar because I very rarely adjust my brake lever's distance from the bar.
Sendhit Nock Handguards - how they feel
Once installed, the handguards goldilocks, the not-too-big, not-too-compact, shape is pretty spot on. It covers from the knuckle to, very nearly, the tip of my braking finger. Though, those who prefer their brakes at a wild BMX-esque angle will find their braking finger to be a little more exposed.
One true downside to running handguards (unless you're someone who shuns the look) is that there's not yet a model that integrates properly with Shimano levers, and that's no different with the Nock handguards.
Usually, I like my short Shimano brake levers right up to the lockrings on my grips. Still, because of how the aluminium bracket is shaped, I've had to run my brakes slightly more inboard than usual. Though, it's worth noting that there's no other handguard (that I know of) that tackles this issue. At the moment, it's just a quirk of running them.
Value and verdict
Against their competition, the Nock handguards offer pretty good value for money. At £63 is the AVS handguard (available as the Nukeproof AVS Sam Hill Handguards in the UK), which gets some forward adjustment using a 10mm spacer. However, there's no adjustment to bring the guard closer. They're lighter at 123g and easier to put together, still, they lack the coverage, adjustment, protection, and look of the Nocks.
Then, there are the Acerbis X-Elite handguards. They're half the price and much more prominent, thanks to the optional spoiler attachment. They're lighter still, however, they're not built nearly as nicely, and they don't get that nice pad of foam.
Thanks to their ground-up design, the Sendhit Nock Handguards offer more towards the mountain biking crowd than their competition. Although a little refinement in regards to Shimano brake integration and the fixings will greatly improve the guards, they offer a level of adjustability, customisation, and protection that's yet to be found on other handguards.