I really didn't want to jump into this discussion, but since I am out of tequila, I figured why not?
I have the Illium Works crash guards- front and rear. I have had the misfortune of my bike tipping over...twice (and once with me on it). I am including photos to show the extent of the damages. The mirror cover cost about $60 from the dealer. The scratches simply needed a very light sanding and a bit of touch-up paint; you wouldn't even know they were damaged in the first place.
I also have the MachineArt Moto covers on as well...they, as well as the fender extender, were the first items I added to the bike. Now while they are not a problem when doing valve work, the Illium Works highway pegs + the valve covers ARE an issue, but only on the left side, where clearance is practically non-existent. I have, sadly, snapped a few valve cover bolts (and always the rear one), when reinstalling the MAM cover, since it is a real bitch getting the MAM cover into position with the highway pegs in place.
So why both the guards AND the covers? Simple- your bike may tumble on its side and the ground may be such that the bike doesn't land on the guards but on those covers instead. Another scenario is that the bike comes down on the guards but a large pointy object, like a stone or piece of wood, may be positioned in such a way they could still impact those engine heads.
The MAM covers are fairly inexpensive and look really good on the bike. In my mind, it's a no-brainer.
Now as to the HEED guards, well, the more I look at them, the more I wonder how they would hold up in a fall. Look at the rear guards and compare them with the Illium Works rear guard....
The guard runs from the bike and does a simple loop back to the bike. No part of the loop is higher than a point of contact on the bike. This will prevent the guard from being bent.
This thing looks like a race track. Notice how the top loop is way above where it connects to the bike? If your bike goes down, that part of the guard may fail enough to actually damage the bike.
Now look at the front:
Again, solid and simple.
You are running the risk of having that rear section, the winged part that covers the head, bend and distort if the bike lands on it hard enough. It could actually damage the very thing it was designed to protect.
But if you really want to know, go ahead and dump the bike in your driveway and see how it all holds up. The guy for IW does just that, but he never shows the "after" video. I, on the other hand, have tipped the RT over more than once and can verify how the IW guards worked.
BTW, when I tipped it over that first time? It was on I-10E in the Florida panhandle around 2AM, pitch black (no moon) while I was on a 3,000+ mile ride. The bike was fully loaded, including a 3-gallon Rotopax fuel can on the luggage deck made by Maple Farkles. I had just left a gas station and minutes later realized my wallet wasn't in my thigh pocket. I immediately pulled-over, but the shoulder was very narrow and had a very pronounced slope...so much of one that I couldn't really get an angle to put the bike on the side stand. I quickly hopped-off and moved the bike to and fro, trying to find that sweet spot, but couldn't. The first semi that went by was pushing enough air to topple the RT.
But the good news is that when I picked the bike up, there was my wallet! It had been wedged between a bag and something else.
PS: I won't even go into the offerings from Wunderlich because they are garbage and overpriced.