Acerbis X-Factory Handguard Review
Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
Acerbis X-Factory handguards are a full wrap-around style handguard made to protect riders hands and controls. We’ve used many different hand guards over the years and have learned a lot about what we do and don’t like. The X-Factory handguards are a pretty solid offering overall, but they have a few characteristics that prevent them from being our favorites here in the high deserts of Central Oregon.
The wrap-around guards are built from a steel bar that is wrapped with an injection molded nylon composite. Mounting the wrap-around bar is quite easy as an expansion plug slides into the end of your handlebar and then spreads out as the Allen bolt is threaded into the insert. A pretty spectacular crash on our first ride ended up cracking the plastic cutout area where the 6mm Allen bolt threads into the expander. Despite the early damage, the guards survived another several months and more crashes without worsening. The crack in the thermoplastic did not spread and continued to keep the guards in place.
The replaceable handguard shield is made from injected polypropylene and mounts to the wraparound bar. They locate nicely onto the Acerbis steel bar, making for a fool-proof installation.
Acerbis designed the guards to work with either 7/8” or 1 1/8” handlebars and they can work on ATVs, however they require an additional part to mount up.
I mounted the Acerbis X-Factory handguards to my Husqvarna FE350 in a matter of minutes and was pleased with the sharp, modern look. They offer just enough coverage to feel protective however, I wouldn’t have complained if they were a little bit bigger.
Here in Central Oregon I ride everything from open desert sand trails to very tight, dirt bike-built singletrack through forests. A lot of our rides traverse through lava flows and high desert shrubbery, like Manzanita brush. While the guards did a great job if I was slapping taller brush or trees, I found that the sharp, stiff Manzanita branches would sometimes catch the bottoms of my knuckles or tops of my hands depending on how much I rolled the hand guards, which isn’t a lot because of the design.
Coming from a pair of Fastway handguards, I felt the protection on the X-Factory guards was a little bit better. They sit a little closer to the hand so I was hitting less shrubbery than before. A very welcome improvement, especially in the cold and wet months.
Speaking of the cold, I was not a fan of the ventilation in the handguards as they didn’t do much to keep my hands warm in the 30- and 40-degree temperatures we often ride in. I ended up using some blue painters tape on the inside of the handguards to block the wind and noticed a big improvement. Obviously if you don’t have baby hands like me, or never ride in temps below 50 degrees, this won’t be an issue.
As I mentioned above I cracked and deformed the left side of my handguards. The image shows the damage to the thermoplastic by the opening for the 6mm Allen bolt at the end of the handlebar. It was a pretty major crash with the bike flying up in the air about seven feet, so I don’t really place any blame on the product. I’m pretty lucky that I didn’t break anything else in that fall to be honest. I was quite impressed however that over the following months and another fall or two, that the guards held up and the crack didn’t worsen. I also broke the plastic shield on the right hand guard in a minor tip over and was a bit bummed about that incident. Luckily the guards are replaceable, although I never did replace it as the guard locates pretty nicely on the metal/thermoplastic arm bar and stays in place while riding. If I were to keep the guards on my bike, a simple $26 order from Acerbis USA would have my replacements on the way.
The Wolf’s Last Word
I’ve had a great few months riding with the Acerbis X-Factory handguards. Their website doesn’t offer much insight as to what each guard is designed for and the intended user for each model, but from what I gather, the X-Factory guards are for riders who live in warmer climates and are looking for solid protection without bulk. Acerbis makes a wide variety of handguards from their super minimalist Rally models to their bulkier X-Factors. Yes we agree having X-Factor and X-Factory products is a bit confusing.
The X-Factory guards are sharp looking and match the style of my Husqvarna perfectly. Acerbis offers a lot of colors and affordable replacement parts when you do crash and break something. The vents make them a bit cool for my frigid hands in the Bend, Oregon winters and the size is just barely enough for our rugged pirate singletrack. If you’re looking for a handguard that looks good, offers just enough coverage without being overkill and is easy to mount, these are a great option. We’ll order up some spare parts and keep these in the cabinet before we start testing some other guards for future reviews. I like them enough to keep them on hand though as they could very likely make their way back on my bike this summer.
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Just Enough Coverage Without the Bulk
Affordable Replacement Parts
We Broke a Few Parts
Ventilation in Cold Temps
Could Have Slightly Larger Shields
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