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Knower of Stuff
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The primary function of the lower belt gaurd is to keep rocks out of the belt.
It was not put on a a safty issue, chain drive bikes never had them except for the enclosed oil bath drive chain on the FLH's in the early "80s and it was to keep oil in.
If you tour and ride down gravel roads any at all it is a good thing to leave in place. I for one do not turn around for construction and gravel when on a road trip and have been known to venture down a few gravel roads also. The newer gaurds even have a rubber flap on the back to help keep the rocks out. My "93 does not have the flap but my "99 does. I have gotten rocks in the belt on my "93 but none so far on the "99.
Each to there own and do what makes you feel good, but remember, keep the rubber side down and ride safe.
 
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