Although handguards are pretty much standard on motorcycles and performance ATVs—and are becoming more standard on trail snowmobiles—you seldom see them on mountain sleds.
However, times are changing. More and more snowmobilers have found handguards very practical for protection from both flying chunks of ice and snow, as well as from the cold.
With handguards, you can wear lighter gloves without freezing your hand. That’s probably the top reason to install them. Not only does it keep the cold wind off your hand, but it keeps trail wash (chunks of snow and ice being thrown in the air by other snowmobilers) from smacking into your knuckles.
We only know of two reasons why you wouldn’t question whether you want them on your snowmobile: 1) interfering with handlebar access when you moving about your snowmobile while sidehilling; and 2) how easy they are broken when you roll over your snowmobile.
While many mountain riders view rolling a snowmobile over to get it unstuck as the first option, mountain riders who have installed handguards tend to view rolling a sled over to get it unstuck as a last option. It just comes down to whether a rider is more comfortable rolling his/her sled.
This spring we installed a set of Ski-Doo handguards on a 2017 Summit. We had a set of Ski-Doo transparent handguards, which are very classy looking. The installation took less than 15 minutes and only required a Torx screwdriver head.
It was just a matter of positioning the left and right arms of the deflector and tightening two screws per side.