A few months back we reviewed the Acerbis X-Factory handguards, which we liked, but needed a bit more backbone for our central Oregon singletrack. The awesome folks at Acerbis emailed us shortly after that review went live and suggested we try a handguard a little better suited to our riding style and terrain, the burly X-Factor handguards. According to their website, the Acerbis X-Factor handguards are the brand’s new ultra-resistant guard “Made for people looking for more protection in extreme enduro and maxi-enduro applications.” We were excited to see how they’d hold up on our Husqvarna FE350.
The Acerbis X Factor Handguard Lab
The Acerbis X-FactorHandguard uses an anticorodal bar with a 35-millimeter “C” section. This construction ensures a resistance that is 5 times higher than classic aluminum handguards. Acerbis claims this increases the resistance of the bar 5-times more than a traditional aluminum handguard. Acerbis increased the thickness of the bracelet from 15-millimeters to 19-millimeters, further solidifying their claims that this is the dirt bike handguard built to take it all. In addition to the thicker bracelet, Acerbis uses a steel expander to help increase rigidity and torsional strength.
The Acerbis X-Factor Handguard shell is made of a bi-injection plastic that protects almost all of the rider’s hand. Acerbis designed the covers with pre-shaped slits to allow for increased ventilation if you want to remove them. Since I have poor circulation in my hands and prime dirt bike season in Bend is during the cooler months of the year, I opted to leave the material in place.
The Acerbis X-Factor handguards are available in a wide array of colors to match most of today’s 2-wheeled offerings with a 140-dollar price tag, although I would have loved to see a white and blue option instead of the white and black to better match my Husqvarna.
Compared to the X-Factory guards, the Acerbis X-Factor Handguards look and feel a lot burlier. I actually loved the angular looks and cool weaved bar of the X-Factory but I quickly started breaking parts when dropping the bike and wished for a bit more coverage while slapping through overgrown manzanita-lined singletrack. The X-Factors don’t have the cool, edgy look of the Factory guards, but my hands instantly felt more protected, and I liked that!
In Bend, we have everything from wide-open desert terrain with sand, lava rocks and Juniper trees to handlebar wide singletrack weaving through pine trees. Without a doubt though, one of the most frustrating parts of riding here are the overgrown manzanita groves that always seem to smack knuckles! These guards offered more protection than my old Fastways, X-Factory’s, or anything else I’ve ridden yet.
While I absolutely loved the protection in the manzanita, it was the bigger hits that really impressed me. We ride a lot of user-built trails in the area and many are very freshly cut with trees unexpectedly reaching out to check your speed. I had lots of impacts with trees both big and small and found the guards remained in place well and never even flinched, even when my eyes were closed as I slammed on the brakes while squeezing through narrow tree passages.
Long story short, in the few months I have been running the Acerbis X-Factor handguards, I have been thoroughly happy. My knuckles don’t quiver every time I see manzanita on the horizon and I know that once I get into the tight and twisty stuff the guards will hold up to the occasional tree bounce. Despite the surface scratches and battle scars, the X-Factor guards have undoubtedly saved me and my hands some considerable pain and anguish. If you are looking for a big and burly handguard to protect you on dense trails with big trees, rocks or brush, I’d highly suggest giving these a look.
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