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How to install heated hand grips for $27

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 09, 2003
Heated hand Grips for $27!

I have never been sure why all motorcycle manufactures do not put heated hand grips as standard on all bikes. They do a great job of keeping your hands warmer on cool days. This is not only a factor as far as comfort, but it also makes you a safer rider. Cold, numb hand do not move quickly or have good feel of the controls. This can spell disaster for the cool weather rider.

Today's lesson is how to install a heated grip kit on your bike for only $27, and a few hours work...

The heated grip kit allows you to continue to use your stock hand grips. The heating elements fit under your grips. The kit includes two self adhesive wrap around heating elements to go around your bars as well as wiring, resistor and a on/off high low switch. My experience is you will want to go to the local auto parts store and also purchase some 16 gauge wire and some butt wiring connectors. It seems that on most bikes the kits wiring is not quite long enough. This will also allow you to route wiring in a way that it will not interfere with the motorcycles operation and keep the wiring neat and out of site.

Prior to your purchase the first thing to determine is if your bikes electrical system is up to the additional strain. The heated grips will use approximately 24 watts( 2 amps) on the low setting and 36 watts (3 amps) on the high setting. While virtually all modern motorcycles should be able to handle the added power drain it is advisable to make sure on your particular bike.

The installation process starts by removing the grips from the motorcycles bars. Be careful during the removal and you can reuse the grips. Slide a long thin screwdriver underneath the grip and spray some contact cleaner into the opening between the grip and the handlebar. By working the screwdriver around and pulling on the grip it should be removed rather easily. Remember to be careful on the throttle side as there is a throttle twist grip tube over the bar you don't want to damage. For those who have an air compressor the best way I have found is to insert a long thin screwdriver under the grip and then insert the air nozzle the grip will blow up like a balloon and is easily removed with no mess or fuss. Clean off the bars and the inside of the grips to remove all the old grip adhesive. The heating elements are now ready to be mounted.

On the clutch side I have found applying some electrical tape to the bar prior to mounting the elements will act as a insulator from the metal of the bar and allow your grips to heat up faster. This is not necessary on the throttle side. Remove the wax paper from the elements self adhesive backing and wrap one around the bar on the clutch side and the other over the throttle side of the bars twist grip tube. Make sure that the wires coming from the elements do not interfere in any way with throttle operation or bar movement. You are now ready to reinstall the grips over the elements. I have found spraying contact cleaner in the grip before reinstalling will help the grip slide on, and will also allow it to adhere to the bar upon drying.

Find an area preferably on the left side to mount the switch to. Mounting the switch on the left side will mean you can flip the switch without removing your hand from the throttle. You will need to drill a ½ inch hole for the switch to fit in. Now you can connect the y shaped wiring included in the kit to the switch. The side with the resistor will go to the switches high side the other to the low side. Mount the resistor to an area that gets plenty of air flow, because it gets very hot. I would suggest it be mounted to a non plastic surface because of the resistors high ambient temperature.

You are now ready for wiring. Before doing any wiring disconnect the motorcycles battery. You now need to find a source for the grips power. A source of switched power is better than wiring directly from the battery, because it alleviates the possibility of battery drain while the motorcycle is not running. While there are numerous sources of switched power, I have found the easiest way to do the wiring is to tie into the motorcycles fuse box. This gives a switched power source without the need to splice into your bikes electrical system. The extra wire I advised you to purchase can be used for this purpose. The power wire from the fuse box can be run to the kits included power line (the y shaped wire with a resistor). The unattached wire from the switch can be connected with a butt connector to the line from the fuse box.

It is now time to give the grips power and a ground. There are two wires coming off each grip. Either one can be used for power or ground. Connect one wire from each grip to the off portion of the power switch. The other wires from each grip will need to go to a ground source. You have the option of running a wire to the batteries negative side or to the motorcycles main frame.

The only thing to do now is to secure all the wires with zip ties and electrical tape all connections. Do a final check to make sure throttle and bar movement are not impeded by any of the wiring you did.

Now you are ready to enjoy the warmth of your heated grips. The warmth will feel even better with the satisfaction that you did it yourself for less than $30.

The heated grip kit can be purchased form Aerostich Rider Warehouse. I would suggest you also ask for a catalog. It has most anything a motorcyclist could want and is written in a humorous and entertaining way. Aerostich Rider Warehouse can be contacted at aerostich.com or by phone at 1-800-222-1994

Steve Hornung

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