Date reviewed: February 2024| Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £129.00 | abikething.com
The Ammo Guard on review here is made by Leicestershire-based A Bike Thing to offer headlight protection for the BMW GS and GS Adventure.
I pre-ordered mine when it was first announced back in 2022, and while it was delayed for quite a while, Steve Abel – owner of A Bike Thing – kept buyers well informed via email and his YouTube channel, and didn’t take any money until dispatch. It was a long time coming, but having had mine fitted for several months now on a 2019 R1250GS, this is what I think…
Quality materials, fasteners and threaded inserts add to the premium feel of the Ammo Guard
The Ammo Guard replaces the plastic bezel that surrounds the headlight on the R1200GS and GSA, and R1250GS and GSA, meaning it fits bikes from 2013 to 2023.
The protector incorporates a 4.7mm-thick Perspex lens, and also includes an optional 3mm-thick amber insert that covers the daytime running lights in either an ‘X’ shape on 2021-2023 bikes, or a ‘G’ shape on the machines that came before (like mine).
This feels every bit a premium product, with the 2.5mm-thick bezel being the same plastic as the original, and almost indistinguishable from the finish BMW applied. Only the keen-eyed will spot the subtle ‘A Bike Thing’ logo moulded into the top to realise this isn’t a factory part.
The Perspex lens is held in with four M3 Torx screws (a driver is supplied), with different lengths supplied to accommodate fitting the amber daytime running light cover if you want (I didn’t). These screws sit in proper threaded inserts, rather than self-tapping into plastic.
The screws that hold the bezel to the headlight in place of the original are also Torx, in keeping with the BMW originals. A nice touch, and certainly a lot better than the cheap and nasty screws supplied with some of the budget options.
A foam strip is fitted in the bezel that presses against the lens, and another surrounds the edge to seal against the lamp itself.
A mirrored lens is also available, which does reduce light output a little but might be the style you’re looking for. It’s £34.99 normally, or save 5% by buying it at the same time as the main unit. You can save the same by also picking up a yellow daytime running light insert that matches Denali’s yellow lights, or a blue one, each usually £22.50. A Bike Thing doesn’t recommend the blue – presumably because the police will take a dim view of it – but it’s been in high demand so it’s there if you want it. Red is also an option, but again not recommended and described as being strictly for off-road use only.
The hardest part is unclipping the original bezel
Fitting is simply a matter of removing the original four screws that hold the bezel around the headlight, then keeping them safe for if ever you want to replace it.
A supplied rubber plug is fitted to a cut-out on the lamp housing to help seal it, then the Ammo Guard is placed over the light and the four new Torx screws secure it. Job done.
The amber daytime-running light cover comes already installed, so if you want to take this out you’ll need to unscrew it and replace the screws with the shorter ones, but it’s a five minute job.
Technically, putting any headlight protector at all on your bike can go against type-approval as it modifies how the part went through homologation. The Ammo Guard is no different, and certainly not unique, but A Bike Thing does make it clear in the listing, unlike the majority of others on sale.
After my testing, a small amount of water got into the Ammo Guard, but it didn’t cause any problems. I’ll likely add some silicone grease to the foam seal for additional protection.
For me, one of the key selling points of the Ammo Guard is not just how good it looks, but how it properly covers the headlamp. Many others have a gap behind them that can allow dirt and grime in, which makes them much harder to keep clean and leaves it more likely that the headlight will get grubby behind the protector.
I haven’t actually ridden much in the rain on my GS as most of my miles over winter have been on work bikes, but I did want to test how water-resistant the seals are, so set the hose up one foot from it and left it hammering against the headlight for 20 minutes. After this, a small amount of moisture seemed to have found its way in, but taking the bike out for a ride at night there was no sign of fogging.
Despite the headlamp being enclosed, there’s no sign of any undue heat-build up, and overall I haven’t had any issues with the Ammo Guard.
Viewed at the right angle some fine scratches can be seen after cleaning, though these can be easily polished out. It’s no different to the screen on the bike
My one minor criticism is that cleaning the Perspex lens can lead to very fine scratches on the surface if you’re not careful. These are really hard to see, but will build up over time. Still, you can easily polish them out with an acrylic polish, or if you’ve treated it really badly, a replacement clear lens costs just £18. Ultimately, in the same way that your bike’s screen shows scratches if it’s not carefully cleaned, so will this.
So far though, I’ve felt no need to polish mine, let alone replace it.
When I bought my bike it had a cheap protector on that I removed immediately. In the 3,000 miles between that and fitting the Ammo Guard, this chip appeared on my headlamp
Headlight protectors are one of the most common accessories fitted to the BMW GS range, but do you really need them?
A new GS headlamp costs over £1,000 and you can’t just replace the front of it, but I asked the workshop manager at my local BMW dealership how many broken headlamps they see. Pretty well none was the answer, unless the owner is riding off road, in which case stones are more likely to be flung up and hit the lamp.
Of course, there might be fewer cases of damaged headlights due to so many riders using protectors, but the fact is that the plastic in a lamp used is extremely resilient so unlikely to get damaged. But… I found two small chips on the front of my previously unprotected headlamp, and while it’s not as vulnerable to cracking as a glass car windscreen, the right shaped stone at the right speed and angle could be the one that proves the value of protection.
Your insurance might cover damage to the headlamp, but claiming could have an impact on your future policy prices / affect any no claims discount.
I weighed all this up before parting with my £129, and I don’t regret doing it at all. I’d rather invest in a quality product like this than take a chance.
Compared directly to the original headlight bezel, the Ammo Guard is a little deeper
Search for ‘GS headlight protector’ and you’ll find loads of options at various prices. As you’ll likely be unsurprised to hear, I spent a long time researching before buying this, but here are some other options you might consider.
These are just four of many alternatives – you can find all the motorcycle accessories, security and riding kit we’ve tested here and be sure to regularly check for the discounts available through Bikesocial membership.
The Ammo Guard has clearly had a lot of time and passion put into its design, and you shouldn’t be surprised to have to pay for that. It is expensive, but it’s a fraction of the price of a new (or even used) headlight, and while there are many options out there, after a lot of research, this is the one I chose to buy for my bike.
Whether you’re ever likely to suffer serious damage to your GS or GSA headlight without a protector is questionable, but I’d definitely prefer not to find out the hard way, so if you ask me, the Ammo Guard is worth the investment.
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