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BarkBusters Storm Guards - 2018 Africa Twin

inexorable

Active Member
Aug 16, 2018
104
40
28
UK
#1
2018/11/07: Sorry everyone. I have re-written this post to rectify important errors made on my part.
I was a frustrated muppet when I created the post and was too quick to judge BarkBusters.
For that I openly apologise to them and to this forum.
My BarkBusters install was unsafe - but for reasons less easy to apportion blame for.
Please read if you are installing BarkBusters on your Africa Twin.

**********************************************************

A continuation from the thread Musings on Drop Protection & Crash Bars. I also made a post for my Outback Motortek crash bars.

I bought the BarkBusters two point harware kit BHG-062 and Storm hand guards from The Adventure Bike Shop in the UK. This was my first time buying from them. Very friendly and helpful and they delivered quickly. So all good - I'll use them again.

The instructions were well presented and clear and the initial install was easy. But there was a big problem.

I will go through the issues with a more grown up attitude this time.


Issue 1 - Bar clamp bolts

Two of mine rounded out at the 10Nm torque specified. BarkBusters have said about the bolts:

"We literally go through hundreds of thousands of these bolts and we never have any issues for stripping heads."

I believe them but I stand by my experience here (which is why I didn't ask them for new bolts). I drilled out the BB bolts and bought some new marine grade (A4 stainless) bolts to replace them with. They have been on and off the bike several times now with the same tools and same torque wrench with no issues. I think the new bolts have a deeper recess for the hex bit (although the heads look the same).

Is this a big issue? Well the BB kit wasn't cheap - but maybe not. My replacement bolts and spacer cost me £5 with postage. More a frustration at having to spend extra time and money. Certainly not a safety issue and I'm happy with the result now.


Issue 2 - Bar clamp size / position

This is coming down to a matter of opinion. In my opinion the clamps are slightly too small for a good aesthetic. BarkBusters' opinion is that they are bang on spec. For me they felt a little too difficult to get onto the bar (leaving bar scratches) and they didn't close far enough compared to the Honda clamps that sit next to them. BarkBusters reply about the clamps was:

... their location on the handlebar is not only well considered but also tested for good fitment. With the style of clamp in the BHG-062 hardware we especially avoid the fat tapered section of the handlebar. Instead the clamps mount to the 22mm control area of the handlebar."

That bit about them being positioned on the 22mm control section of the bar was because I outright implied (with rolling eyes and everything) that they hadn't thought it through and that the bar was wider at the point where the clamps are installed. I was convinced. So out came the digital calipers!

The control section of the bar is 22mm. The section of bar where the BarkBusters clamps go is 22.5mm give or take a few tenths. Someone play the muppets theme tune for me while I wave my arms around in the air! 😂

Sorry BarkBusters - you were right. 👍

Is the clamp size a big issue? Technically no, they clamp tightly and hold the guards in place.
Am I being too critical here? I was, I think I'm being fair now. Again, they weren't cheap.


Issue 3 - The big safety issue

I will do my best to explain - please read to the end.

After install the bar end weight was tight against the throttle rubber causing the throttle to get stuck open. Not just sticky - stuck.

This is potentially a deadly issue and cannot be played down.

PLEASE ALWAYS CHECK YOUR THROTTLE AFTER INSTALL.

BarkBusters agree. They said:

"It is paramount during testing that original controls are unaffected and not compromised in any way.
The free operation of the throttle is always thoroughly tested."


They continued to say there should be: "... visible distance between the bar end weight and the throttle grip."

All good except I had no gap. Visible or otherwise. I was already frustrated after the clamp bolts had rounded out and in my rage I blamed BarkBusters and their "badly designed" install kit.

I vented my rage publicly in this post before I received a response from BarkBusters. A response for which I have to give them full credit. They genuinely seemed to be as concerned as I was and sent me the manufacturing specs for me to measure the kit components against to see if everything was within intended tolerance.

I have learned a lesson about patience and humilty.

However....

There was (and still is) a serious safety gotcha here.

I will try to choose my words carefully this time ;)

This is a new Honda Africa Twin picked up with zero miles on the clock. The BarkBusters were also brand new. I can also confirm that the BarkBusters kit was supplied to me exactly as they intended it to be. All components measured to the manufacturing specs they sent me. The kit I received was the kit BarkBusters designed and intended AT owners to get. No manufacturing or supply mistakes. I followed the install instructions to the letter making no mistakes - yet a serious and dangerous problem remained.

I'm not going to lie - it took me far longer to work this out than I'm happy admitting. If I was a hammer head shark it would have been a lot easier because I could have had an eyeball on both grips at the same time. 😂

First, here is a comparison between the OEM bar end weight and the BarkBusters replacement weight.

The following picture is the OEM bar end weight. The throttle rubber isn't perfectly rounded but the gap averages out to be about 3mm. It's clearly designed to have a good safe gap. Let's call it a "good safety tolerance". Those words will be important in a minute.


OEMBarWeight1.jpg

This is the BarkBusters end weight as installed with a single washer as supplied.

I don't need the calipers for this one. No gap.

BBBarWeight1.jpg

Here's why... this is a picture of the left hand bar end with no bar weight.
The important detail here is that the bar sticks out further than the rubber grip by an average of about 1mm.

BarEndLeft.jpg

Here's the right side (throttle side) bar end with no weight.
The important detail here is that the rubber is not flush with the bar by an average of about 1.2mm.

BarEndRight.jpg

This is the spacer I had to install inside the BarkBusters' bar end weight to solve the probelm (compared to the supplied washer).

Spacer1.jpg

I know - I could be a hand model right 😂

So what does all this add up to? I have a feeling that there will be a few different opinions here.

Here's mine.

I would wager that Honda aim to install all of their hand grips perfectly flush every time. I reckon they know this isn't always going to be 100% possible so they allow for a certain tolerance. I don't know what that tolerance is (I will ask them) but It is clear that their bar end weights allow for at least 3-4mm to account for fluctations. Looks and sounds sensible to me. This is really well designed.

On my bike the left grip is short of flush by about the same amount that the right side is over flush - a max of say 1.4mm.

I have no doubt that BarkBusters will be happy to tell me what their intended tolerance is - but I can clearly see it's less than required for "my bike".

Is that a fault on their part? Honestly I don't know.

We live in a world where nothing is perfect (yup especially me BarkBusters) and I'm wondering if the design of the replacement end weight is forgiving enough to Honda's manufacturing and fit tolerances? If my bike is within Honda tolerance we will see this issue again. It looks like the Honda weight is the way it is for a good reason.

I chose not to try and get the throttle grip off and re-glue it over a bit. I've not done it before and didn't want to experiemnt on my new shiny bike. So my solution (for now at least), apart from acting like a muppet with this post, has been to add a super fat washer as a spacer.

This left me with a small but "visible gap".

FixedGap1.jpg

As you know, the throttle does have a small amount of lateral play and it can still contact the end weight - but so far I haven't noticed any sticking in operation. I would put a thicker spacer in but I have now used up alomst all of the recess in the bar end weight with the spacer. If I drop the bike on that side I expect it will now be litle more than the fixing bolt that takes the force. Even so, I'm confident these babies will perform much better then the OEM.

In conclusion. Blurgh. Had enough. Wish I hadn't started this thread. 😂

BarkBusters are in my experience a good (patient) company that communicates well and cares about their products.

I've asked them to comment now that It's clear what's happened.

The Result

I'm really happy with them now that I've made them safer. I expect them to work well if they have to and I think they look good too.

BarkBusters1.jpg

BarkBusters2.jpg

BarkBusters3.jpg

BarkBusters4.jpg


If you decide to choose BarkBusters - and I would again - just check your grips before your install.

But above all - CHECK YOUR THROTTLE AFTER INSTALL.

👍
 
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Likes: Admin

Black99S

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2016
54
34
78
BC, Canada
#2
Really don't understand why you had problems. Claiming they are unsafe is silly.
Did you buy the right kit?
I bought the proper Barkbuster set for 2017 AT Standard from Twisted Throttle https://www.twistedthrottle.ca/bark...rica-twin-crf1000l-16-non-dct-multiple-colors
No issues on the installation - just followed the instructions. All the included hardware was top quality. No issues with the washer for the throttle tube. I used good quality Metric allen keys ...
 

inexorable

Active Member
Aug 16, 2018
104
40
28
UK
#3
This post has been re-written since the reply from Black99S above.
I can longer claim I'm not silly 😂
 
Last edited:

Graves

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2016
880
273
123
So. Cal.
#4
I love aftermarket parts. Engineering students should be made to install aftermarket bits on all sorts of things to the point of their complete frustration.
 
Likes: inexorable

inexorable

Active Member
Aug 16, 2018
104
40
28
UK
#5
I've completely re-written this post with accurate details of the actual problem.

I made a mess of the original and there were few monumental mistakes that I had to retract.

Sorry for making a mess everyone - it won't happen again. 👍
 
Last edited:

Black99S

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2016
54
34
78
BC, Canada
#6
Looks like you didn't receive or install Threaded Insert part#8? The picture on 2nd page looks like the real part. Page-1 of the instruction's more a cartoon.
It threads into the bar ends and the shoulder provides the necessary gap so with the washer the throttle tube moves freely.
Pics of my install Feb 2017 attached. I've since installed the Honda heated grips and the fit is the same.
No impingement or drag on the throttle. The gap to Barkbuster end weight is large.

1541659903823.png 1541660057479.png barkbuster - 1.jpg barkbuster - 1 (1).jpg
1541659903823.png

1541660057479.png
 

inexorable

Active Member
Aug 16, 2018
104
40
28
UK
#8
Thanks for taking the time to post the instructions - they are very similar to the ones I had.

I installed the threaded insert - I couldn't have attached the guards without the inserts - they are what the guards bolt into ;)

I worked with BarkBusters to confirm that the kit I received was exactly as BarkBusters intended it to be. No faults or missing bits.

I made no mistakes during install and as you can see from my pictures the gap was non existent (and with a factory grip that only overhangs the bar end by 1.4mm). Your gap looks perfect though - where does your grip end relative to the bar?

BarkBusters got back to me. Their position is this:

"We indeed do everything in our power to ensure we offer customers the parts and fitting guides to achieve at least 3 - 4mm clearance for all scenarios. Many times the clearance is even greater."

"However, since we also accept that it is somewhat impossible to account for every conceivable manufacturer “error” or out of spec tolerance, we also include notes with all instructions that every vehicle must be inspected for safe and correct operation of controls after handguard fitment before any riding (which is precisely what you did thankfully)."

And that's true of course they do include clear instructions to encourage you to check your throttle.

Something doesn't add up though. BarkBusters say they allow for 3-4mm. My picture clearly shows the grip overhang of 1.2 - 1.4mm resulting in zero gap. The maths just doesn't hold. They must expect the perfect factory grip install to be short of flush by almost 2mm. I wonder how often they are like mine?

I reckon it's not easy to find out what factory tolerances are from every manufacturer - and even if you could it must be a nightmare for BarkBusters to try and meet them all. I totally understand that. But we are not talking about an aesthetic issue here. Blame aside - this is a safety concern.

It doesn't matter if we point a finger at Honda and say the grips should have been installed further over or if we point a finger at BarkBusters and say they should be able to cope with that tolerance from a major manufacturer - the result is the same. A potentially dangerous install.

My worry is that the less experienced you are the more likely you are to blindly trust a brand. And look at the brands we are talking about. Honda and BarkBusters. Who doesn't just expect it to be perfect straight out of the box? I bet it almost always is just that.

Mine wasn't. Mine was a dangerous combination. Check yours!

Perfect solution? Make the bar end weights designed for the AT look like the Honda ones. They are like it for a reason fellas - to keep the edge cases safe. ;)
 
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inexorable

Active Member
Aug 16, 2018
104
40
28
UK
#9
Hang on a minute - just noticed something.

Look at the gap on the last @Black99S picture - left hand side install (not the throttle side).

There is a big gap there. My install has almost no gap and my pictures clearly show my left hand grip is short of flush on that side.

Something is definately different here. My brain just can't fathom what it is.

@Black99S install - with a big gap...

Comparison1.jpg

My install with no gap...

Comparison2.jpg

And this is my grip position on that side - short of flush with the bar end.

BarEndLeft.jpg

What's going on here???? 😂

@Black99S - can you remember if you installed any extra washers or spacers in your left hand install that weren't in the supplied kit?

... or is your left hand grip maybe much further away from the end of the bar than mine?

If not, I'm going to have to check the internal recess in the bar end weight again because something doesn't add up here.

I've asked BarkBusters for comment again - hopefully they can shed some light on it.
 
Last edited:

JimInOz

New Member
Jul 28, 2018
15
21
3
Melbourne AU
#10
I have a standard 2017 AT and fitted BB Storm guards using the items in the kit and following the instructions. Never had any problems at all and everything fits fine.

Both grips are 12cm wide and the gaps are about equal at each end.

Pics below for reference in case you want to compare with your bike to see if there are any problems.

I won't describe each one, the pictures speak for themselves.

RightGuard.JPG

RightGap.JPG

RightGrip.JPG
 
Last edited:

JimInOz

New Member
Jul 28, 2018
15
21
3
Melbourne AU
#11
And the Left side grip and guard fitting. This is mainly to show the size of the grips and the positions on the bars relative to the switch blocks (which should be immovable and the same on all bikes).

LeftGap.JPG

LeftGrip.JPG
 
Aug 16, 2018
104
40
28
UK
#13
Thank you both for taking the time to take and post the pictures - really appreciate that 👍

Just adds to my confusion though. My install is clearly nothing like yours.

You both have such clear gaps. I can only think that your grips are nowhere near the ends of the bar like mine or that the bar end weights I've got have a deeper recess in them. I'll have another measure up tonight.

Haven't had further comment back from BarkBusters yet. I'm sure they will want to get to the bottom of this though.

Nice idea with the tyre pressure sticker in there @JimInOz - copying that ;)
 
Last edited:
Aug 16, 2018
104
40
28
UK
#14
Ok - to wrap this up, BarkBusters have confirmed that the spacing is down to how Honda position the switchgear and grips.

Thanks to BarkBusters for their time helping to understand what's going on here.

Importantly, there is no safety spacing built into the BarkBusters kit. It depends entirely on Honda installing the grips away from the end of the bar.

Your grips will need to be installed 3mm away from the end of bar to have the desired safe gap.

Mine were not. Seems lke most people's grips are though.

Hopefully Honda aren't moving the grips to the end of the bar for 2018 models like mine.

My final thought on it all..... I kind of feel that as the manufacturer what Honda decide to produce is "right" and after market kits should allow for the OEM fluctuations. I'd like to see the BB bar end weight redesigned to look more like the Honda ones. They look good and work well over a far greater range of tolerance. Much safer for everybody - probably why Honda chose them. The BarkBusters though? - love mine and clearly a good company that cares too.
 

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