After a rather embarrassing and wet incident in a ford crossing that went wrong last weekend I needed some new hand guards. I've been eyeing up the Polisport Sharp Handguards for my DR-Z for a while, but never got around to buying them so I figured I'd give them a go on the V-Strom. 1. First Impressions/Unboxing Impressions Considering that I paid £32.98 to have these delivered to me I wasn't really expecting a lot. I've bought some other cheapy handguards before and they were terrible. The Polisport Sharp handguards were a pleasant surprise though. There was nothing special about the packaging at all, it was merely functional. The seller had opened it from the side to put the bar end kit inside and used clear tape to seal it again. The handguards themselves are made from some glossy plastic that's flexible, it feels a bit rubbery. The guards are made for fatbars, but included some plastic adaptors for fitting to 7/8" bars like mine. Allen socket cap bolts along with some washers and flange nuts were included for fitting. The bar end fitting kit was also included. They are just the simple sliding expander style and I figure they would work well although I didn't use it. The handguards have some Polisport stickers on, one could remove them if you wanted, but I just left them on. 2. Initial Setup/Installation The packaging has a diagram of how the various bits fit together for fitting. No rocket science is involved and I think you could do it without even looking at the picture. The only thing that I did check on the picture is which way around the plastic 7/8" bars adaptors go, but there really is only one way that you could find via trial and error to (if that's your thing.) I had a struggle with these adaptors, the kept moving when I was fitting the handguards to the bars and then things wouldn't look as neat as I wanted them to look. An extra pair of hands might have been good here, but it occurred to me that I'm going to have this little problem each time I removed and refit them (not that I plan on doing that a lot.) I ended up applying some glue to them, then assembled them off the bike making sure the adaptors were aligned properly. I left them like this until I got home the next evening. Now I could fit them without having to worry about the spacers at all, they were practically part of the handguards now. After this it was a doddle to fit the handguards. I first fitted the bits that clamp around the bars and made sure they are positioned well, only tightening them halfway. Then had to bend the handguards slightly to get the bar end side in place. Bending them causes no problem, they are flexible and they spring right back if you let them go. It didn't appear to stress the plastic either. I used the stock V-Strom bar ends, I simply put the stepped spacer the other way around (see picture below.) The narrow part of the step fits in the hole on the handguard and then it's just a matter of tightening everything up. I would advise caution when tightening the end that clamps the bar, it seems you have to leave a little gap rather than tighten it up flush. The plastic clamp was just bending too much for my liking when I tried to tighten it more than that. There are no issues with leaving the gap (only about 3mm gap each side), they are already fixed properly at this stage. The left handguard clears the clutch lever and clutch lever perch well. The right guard also clears the brake lever and master cylinder reservoir properly. 3. Real World Testing (how did it perform) I've not ridden or fallen with them and I don't plan on doing the latter although I suppose it's inevitable. I doubt there's much to be said for them anyway, they will keep the wind and stones off your hands and they are a better shape for my bar muffs to fit over than the stock ones were come winter time. I'll update this if I find something particularly good/annoying. 4. Specs & Other noteworthy facts Polisport Website As previously mentioned, the guards are made from flexible glossy plastic. Flexible does mean soft, at least to some degree, and this would mean they scratch easily. I scratched the inside on the brake lever perch when I was fitting them. This doesn't put me off, they are there to protect levers and other important bits and a few scratches won't mean that they won't do this job. The fittings do not appear to be of good quality, I have a feeling they will fur up and go ugly quickly. On my Wee I'm not bothered about this, it's ugly already, and I prefer it that way, it's my work horse. If you wanted to you could replace them with decent A2 stainless ones or something of your choice. For the price of these handguards you can't complain about cost cutting on the fittings. An interesting fact is that these handguards are used by KTM on some of their bikes as the stock handguards. I bought them through eBay linky and had to tell the seller what the inside diameter for my handlebars is so that they could send the correct bar end kit. The guards come in different colours, see the eBay link above for a picture showing all the colours. 5. Tester's Opinion (summary) Over all I'm quite impressed for the price. They are much better looking than I thought they would be and I think they will do a good job of protecting the levers and lever perches in an unplanned horizontal manoeuvre. I don't expect them to crack in a fall, but rather to flex and scratch. I would replace the low quality fasteners if I were to fit them to my DR-Z as I care what that looks like. Fitting was easy except for the plastic 7/8" bar adaptors, it would be better if they sold them either for 7/8" bars or fatbars, but they are obviously doing it this way to keep costs down. It's great that you can still use the stock V-Strom bar ends as they do help with vibration. 6. Star Rating I give these a 3 star rating. You can do a lot worse for more money and fitting hassle. If the fasteners were of better quality and the 7/8" bar adaptors weren't such a PITA I'd have given them a 4. I'll be getting a set of these for my DR-Z too 1 star = piece of crap 2 star = maybe I should have done more research before buying this? 3 star = decent bit of kit for the money 4 star = better than expected with some nice extras/features 5 star = does it have a sister I can marry?! (aka I will buy this again!) 7. Pictures (click for larger image)
Review by Juvecu
23rd June 2013
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