Acerbis or Barkbusters: which installs easier? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
Versys-X 300 General Discussion Please post any 2017+ Kawasaki Versys-X 300 related topics that DO NOT fit into any of the other topics here.

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-12-2019, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Acerbis or Barkbusters: which installs easier?

Confusing reviews/feedback: some say Acerbis are universal and go on the 7/8" handlebars far easier than the Barkbusters, though they need Barkbusters end weights to close the handlebar gap between connection point and grip (and especially for vibration purposes) while others are saying Barkbusters are truly fitted to the 300, and a less invasive install.


-Am I going to have to take the bar-end weights off with either the Acerbis or Barkbusters kits?
-If I'm losing the OEM bar end weights, will the Barkbusters bar end weights (sold separately, I know) take care of the vibration and seat properly between new grips and the handguards, or is it inevitable that rigid handguards sacrifice vibration dampening?
-Which is the easier handguard install?
-Any other brands you prefer/recommend for the 300?

Thinking about Acerbis x-strong super moto handguards + Progrip 714 grips, but your recommendation/thoughts are why I'm here.


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 10:49 AM
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I don't have any frame of reference for the Acerbis guards. But I installed a set of Barkbuster Jet hand guards and found the entire process a bit more challenging than I anticipated. First of all, yes you will have to remove the bar end weights and as many have shared it's quite the PITA. This means Barkbusters weights are indeed required, unless you're impervious to relentless vibration. Keep in mind that even with the Barkbuster weights, the vibration is worse than stock. Another interesting thing is I have an aftermarket MRA windscreen, and after installing the barkbusters I couldn't lock my forks without them touching he screen. This was solved by using 1"bar riser blocks and rotating the bars back slightly to avoid contacting anything while locked. I do like the new riding position better, however I wish I would have known how involved it would be just to get some darned handguards on.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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This is incredibly helpful (and what I was concerned about) thank you!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-18-2019, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Sharing this for reference now that I went with the Acerbis guards (excerpt of what I posted in another thread:

A few takeaways for anyone looking to do a similar mod:
-RISERS: In the ADV Pulse article build where they also used Acerbis guards and Barkbusters bar end weights to make all work, they also used Rox anti-vibration 2" pivot risers which were a total nightmare (not to mention $160)...after two days, removing the front and side fairings, trips to the hardware store, we had rerouted clutch and brake cables but were unwilling to extend them, so we called it on the Rox risers which also looked far too bulky even in black for the dash area, and in turning the handlebars full each way created a concerning cable-stretch sound. Point being: Even after re-routing (but not extending) certain cables, the Rox still had things way too tight for peace of mind. Go with the Bikemaster risers, which are about $35, come with variable height pieces so you can choose your comfort level/height and aren't locked into a 2" riser which is A LOT and actually uncomfortably high even for a tall rider like me. The Bikemaster risers also work great without extending the cables (you may have to re-route a cable or two which isn't the end of the world once you have the fairings off). Risers also helped the clearance of the handguards which don't touch the windscreen when the handlebars are turned to the right and barely touch (but don't interfere) when handlebars are locked to the left. And the risers provide a more comfortable riding experience. Rox risers returned.
-HANDGUARDS: I went with the Acerbis guards and Barkbuster bar end weights off the ADV Pulse article because I liked the look and reviews far more than the Barkbusters handguards which have a lot of reviewers unhappy about the installation process and the gap between the end of the grips and the handguard handlebar attachment (solved by getting these Acerbis handguards + the Barkbusters bar end weights which closes things up nice and flush and looks intentional rather than piecemeal). The Barkbusters guards also have more exposed aluminum/grey color and just look generally boxier to me than the sleeker Acerbis guards, which I think look like they belong on the Versys a bit more. Better visual pairing. Functionally, the Acerbis handguards are great (and have vents for hot weather as well as provide wind-chill coverage for cold weather), not to mention a really tough aluminum spine and replaceable black arm that attaches to the end of the handlebars- a really nice touch visually and functionally.
-GRIPS: GET RID of the puny, cramp-inducing OEM grips (which will vibrate worse with ANY aluminum spine handguards, even with added bar end weights, because you have to lose the OEM bar end weights for aluminum spine handguards). Go with the Progrip 714 grips. Super inexpensive and highly recommended after a nice, long ride testing them. They come close-ended but an Exacto knife will lop off the ends like butter, and the comfort and finish, again, up against the bar end weights looks really polished. They're also thicker and softer so they dampen the increased vibrations (honestly not an issue between the 714 grips and bar end weights of this particular setup; I have yet to miss the promised "anti-vibration" of the Rox risers, and am not so sure it provided much of any of that had they stayed with my bike).
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