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ADV ProductsADV Bike AccessoriesVision Handguards Offer Two ADV Motorcycle Upgrades In One

Vision Handguards Offer Two ADV Motorcycle Upgrades In One

 LED auxiliary light technology meets wind and impact protection handguards.

Published on 08.19.2015
The Acerbis Vision Handguards offer basic wind and impact protection, while integrated LED lights make night rides a safer and more enjoyable experience.

Handguards are a popular upgrade for Adventure Bikes. They’re almost a necessity when riding off road, as they help keep your hands from getting smacked by trees or flying debris and protect brake and clutch levers during the inevitable fall. While on the road, they deflect cold air and rain to help keep hands warm and dry.

Motorcycles lag behind cars when it comes to innovative use of LED technology in stock headlights and it seems dual sport and adventure motorcycles often suffer from weak lighting from the factory. Ride almost any dual sport or adventure motorcycle off road at night with the stock lighting and the need for more powerful lights becomes clear. And while adding LED auxiliary lights are popular Adventure Motorcycle upgrades, it can be a hassle to figure out where and how to mount the lights and run the wiring.

With their new Vision Handguards, Acerbis has combined two Adventure Motorcycle upgrades — handguards and auxiliary LED lights — into a single simple-to-install product that fits almost any bike.


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Technology

The Vision Handguards consist of a plastic housing styled to look like carbon fiber backed by an aluminum bar for stability and rigidity. Each side has a four-watt LED light mounted slightly above the level of the bike’s levers. The lights can be precisely aimed with screws in the back of the housing, and the guards come in black, white and orange to match the color scheme of most motorcycles.

Acerbis Vision Handguards Motorcycle Upgrades
The Vision Handguards are color matched for most bikes and have an OEM look.

The lights only draw four watts per side so they are friendly to your bike’s charging system. They are made to work with smaller dual sport motorcycles that don’t have a lot of extra watts to waste. The Visions put out a combined 300 lumens, which may not seem like a lot, but when combined with good optics (how the beam is focused) it’s enough to make quite a big difference.

Installation

In theory, installing the Vision handguards is simple. After assembling the handguards, slip the expansion bolt into the end of the handlebar and tighten. If your bike doesn’t already have handguards installed, you may have to cut a hole in the ends of your grips before you can insert the expansion bolt into the handlebar. Make sure to crank down hard on the expansion bolt or the Visions can move out of alignment on rougher off-road trails.

Things get a little tricky when you go to wire the lights. While there is plenty of wire from each light to allow you to find a 12-volt source, the kit doesn’t contain any bike-specific connectors. Also missing is a wire for the supplied switch. You’ll either have to source some additional wire, or do what we did and use the extra wire cut from the handguard lights to hook up the switch.

The switch itself is designed to mount on the handlebar, but is sized for thinner 7/8-inch bars. If you have a KTM or other bike with “fat” 1-1/4-inch bars, the switch will only fit out toward the end of the bar where it tapers down. That limits your placement options. On our KTM 690 Enduro test bike, we were just able to squeeze the switch housing behind the clutch master cylinder.

Installation took about an hour with most of that time spent wiring the lights. Some understanding of wiring connectors and soldering may be required.

Field Testing

The design of the Vision Handguards is both its greatest strength and biggest drawback. Instead of each guard connecting to the handlebar at two points, the Visions only attach at the bar end. That gives them an almost universal fit, but it also means they don’t offer as much protection as wraparound-style guards for your hands or levers in the event of a fall. Acerbis states as much on the package, saying the guards are not meant to protect your hands.

Acerbis Vision Handguards with integrated LED lights
The Vision Handguards offer limited protection in a fall with only a single connection point on the bar ends. LED lights can be precisely aimed with screws in the back of the housing.

At night, the light generated from just four watts per side is amazing. They don’t compare to the light output of a set of high-end auxiliary lights but they do provide a significant improvement. The lights are more “flood” than “spot,” and their wide spread on the handlebar ends helps illuminate the side of the road or trail, bringing much more of the periphery into view. Most of the extra light is focused right in your direction of travel though.

high low beam LED handguard light comparo

Like most LEDs, the lights in the Visions are similar to the color of daylight. They make a stock headlight look orange by comparison. Once you get used to having them on at night, riding without them feels like being in a tunnel.

During the day they make you more conspicuous to other motorists, but keep in mind that they are not DOT approved for street use. Our admittedly unscientific testing method of riding around in a city with the lights on, day and night, didn’t cause other motorists to flash their lights at us.

Final Thoughts

The Vision Handguards are an exciting product that combine two common Adventure Motorcycle upgrades into one. They are stylish, provide good wind protection for your hands, and make night riding much more fun. At $169.95 MSRP ($113.48 from Amazon), we think they are better suited to adventure bikes and dual sport motorcycles that are not used on rough off-road trails often.

The one-mounting-point system means the Acerbis Vision Handguards are easy to install on nearly any motorcycle, but they don’t offer the same protection for your hands and levers as a wraparound-style guard. If you do push the limits of your bike off road regularly, you may find the limits of the design.

Favorite Features:

  • Stylish OEM look.
  • Significant improvement in light output at night.
  • Makes you more visible during the day on the street.
  • Low power draw won’t strain the electrical system.
  • Minor Gripes:
    • Not as much protection as a full wraparound-style handguard.
    • No bike-specific connectors and no wire provided for on/off switch

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    Author: Bob Whitby

    Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

    Author: Bob Whitby
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    5 thoughts on “Vision Handguards Offer Two ADV Motorcycle Upgrades In One

    1. Exactly… these aren’t going to be durable enough for many riders. Plus… depending on your bar setup, these things may not necessarily be level. The Barkbusters on m DR650 for example, are a little cock-eyed due to how the controls fit on the bars.

      Plus.. the point of hand guards is to actually protect your levers. So these might do that, but in exchange you’ll ruin the guard and light. Doesn’t seem like a good trade-off to me.