Engine guards made of moulded and welded steel tubing provide limited protection against damage to the engine and painted parts, as well as the lower leg of the motorcycle, in the event the bike is dropped at zero to low speeds. The guard available for the Harley-Davidson Sportster comes in chrome or painted black to match the motorcycle's frame. Installing an engine guard adds aesthetic value, or curb-appeal, to the motorcycle.
Cover the front bumper with a clean, soft blanket or a few layers of clean, soft shop rags to protect the bumper from damage should a tool or part be dropped on it.
Note the position of the horn wires at the back of the horn, then disconnect the wires from the horn by sliding the connectors off of the terminals. (1200 Custom models disregard this step.)
Locate the upper tie-link assembly at the top of the frame downtubes behind the horn. Remove two screws and washers mounting the upper tie-link and horn bracket to the frame with a ratchet and socket. Do not unbolt the upper tie-link from the engine. All models except 1200 Custom lay aside the horn. Discard the screws and washers.
Locate the short crossmember near the bottom of the downtubes. The threaded inserts built into them will receive the lower engine guard mounting bolts.
Install two flat washers onto two 3/8-16-by-1-1/2-inch screws. Place the engine guard upper mounting tab in position under the upper tie-link. Hold the horn bracket in position under the engine guard mounting tab on all models except the 1200 Custom. Tighten the bolts finger-tight by hand.
Install two flat washers onto two 3/8-16-by-1-1/2-inch screws, and insert them into the lower-crossmember threaded inserts through the engine guard's lower mounting-tab holes. Tighten finger-tight.
Center the engine guard on the motorcycle by sight, and tighten the mounting screws to 25 to 35 pound-feet of torque with a pound-foot torque wrench and socket. Reconnect the horn wire connectors to their terminals at the back of the horn on all models other than the 1200 Custom.
Swing the handlebars through the full range of motion to ensure there is sufficient clearance between the clutch and brake cables and the engine guard. Remove the blanket or rags from the front bumper.
Mount comfort accessories such as soft lower fairings to the engine guard to protect the components from spray and cold air temperatures. Highway pegs are frequently mounted on engine guards to provide a second place for the driver to rest his feet, which increases comfort over long distances.
Do not use the original upper tie-link screws as they are not long enough to sufficiently engage in their threaded inserts. Engine guards are commonly referred to as "crash guards." Do not take this to mean the guards will protect you in a collision. Engine guards provide limited protection in a small range of incident speeds and are no substitute for alert and defensive riding.