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Thumpertalk reviews the X-Factor Handguards

Thumpertalk reviews the X-Factor Handguards


Recently I decided to upgrade the factory all plastic wrap around handguards that came on my KTM 690 Enduro. They never seemed to stay tight inside the handlebars and having read about other all-plastic guards breaking on harder hits, sometimes resulting in some pretty jagged edges, I wanted something with a full metal bar. I did a Google image search for my application and the Acerbis X-Factor handguards caught my eye, so I decided to give them a shot. The most stand-out feature of the Acerbis X-Factor handguards is its over-sized 35mm c-shaped extruded aluminum bar. Acerbis claims that this design offers greater rigidity over more traditional rectangular-shaped aluminum. As the old saying goes, "Proof's in the pudding.", but they certainly look and feel beefy. Acerbis X-Factor handguards are designed to fit all 7/8" & 1 1/8" off-road motorcycle handlebars. They accomplish one of the best fits I've had, most notably at the tapered section of 1 1/8" handlebars by including inner mount spacers that are also tapered to match the handlebar profile. This virtually eliminates uneven mating between the clamping surface and the handlebar when tightened down. The backside of the spacers is also serrated, so they won't spin inside the inner mounts. Speaking of the inner mounts, they have an offset design that offers good clearance for cables, including the thicker bundle of hydraulic clutch & brake lines, stiffeners, and wires for thumb controls.

mounting kit

Tapered aluminum inner mount spacers allow for an accurate, solid fit

Acerbis also did a good job with the design of the mounting system at the ends of the handlebar. The heads of the toothed steel barrels have a rectangular profile machined into them that mates with a matching groove on the inside of the c-shaped bar, locking the two together when tightened.  The barrels have been increased in size from 17mm to 19mm and function much like a concrete anchor, where a tapered slug forces the toothed rectangular tangs of the barrel into the walls of the handlebar as it's drawn in. Once fully tightened down, they feel rock solid.
Over-sized, steel-toothed barrels lock with the c-shaped bar when tightened down

KTM 690s have fairly long control levers. To get adequate clearance inside the c-shaped metal bar, I did have to move my controls inboard a bit. But, this is well within the range of flexibility of brake lines & cables and nothing that I noticed after riding a few miles. I also had to clearance the factory plastic throttle tube a couple mm so that it wouldn't bind with the inside of the c-shaped bar. This isn't all too uncommon when installing aftermarket handguards, with my angle grinder making short work of this step.

That plastic shields are the largest Acerbis offers and the upper & lower molded groves in the face can be trimmed out with a razor knife for venting. This wasn't something I cared too much about, so I left them as received. For those that care about aesthetics, the Acerbis name is colored all the way through the shield, so bouncing off brush, rocks, or the ground won't remove any lettering. The carbon fiber look sections aren't real CF, but it looks nice and is pretty convincing.

So, how have they held up? First off, I'm a dual-sport guy, I don't ride in hard enduro conditions, so I can't tell you how they'll stand up to cartwheels down rocky embankments. My rides include backroads, sandy doubletrack, and as much wooded singletrack that central Florida can offer up. We have a long growing season, so lots of Palmetto bushes, Sugar Pine, & Oaktree limbs and brush. Depending on the weather, there are tightly wooded detours around flooded sections of the trail. For these conditions, Acerbis X-Factor handguards have been perfect. The oversized shields have done a great job of protecting my hands and levers from brush, even when smacked at higher speeds and the occasional glance off Sugar Pine trunks haven't caused them to move or loosen up a bit. I've not got down hard since installing them and while I have no plans to so for your benefit, I do expect the X-Factors to hold up to most hits very well.



  • The intelligently designed mounting system provides an accurate, solid fit.
  • C-shaped aluminum bar offers increased rigidity over more typical designs.
  • Excellent materials quality & finish.


  • None.


I'm super happy with my Acerbis X-Factor handguards. They look good, fit well, are rock solid, and have done a good job protecting my hands and levers. For my particular needs, this product checks all the boxes.