It'll mess up the clutch or gear box if you run with the string too long for a long period of time bc it'll not let the motor get to top rpms. But the benefits of much lighter weight and fatigue on you make taking the guard off totally worth it. You may also break a few more windows over a lifetime. Definitely worth it, try it and you'll get used to that lighter weight really quick. With the guard on, it gets caked with mud to increase weight and just all around sucks.