Proper hand guards are a must if you are planning on taking any adventurous chances with the bike. I fully intend to take the bike to situations where a fall is quite possibly in the cards. A snapped lever bent out of commission is a sucky situation on an otherwise spectacular road trip.
The two things preventing breaking stuff mounted on the bars are mad skills and handquards. Since the first one eludes me, I threw cash at the potential problem.
*** Disclaimer: This is my first hand guard installation where I need to cut into the grips, so DO NOT use the information below as installation instructions***
Cut off the end of the bar with carpet knife