Aerostitch Heated Grip Wraps
By The Man In Black
Nov 4 1998
With the colder weather coming, and the wet weather here, I decided that I was tired of having cold hands as I rode into work every morning.
I considered the following options:
Waterproof gloves with good insulation, heated gloves, heated grips, and heated grip wraps.
The problem with most of the waterproof gloves or heated gloves Ive found for motorcycles is that they either dont work well for keeping your hands warm, or they are too bulky to be comfortable on the throttle/brake/clutch. Any set Ive found that was both warm AND comfortable was very expensive. So that brought my decision down to heated grips or wraps. I decided to go with the wraps, for ease of installation & removal at the end of the cold season.
I ordered a set of Areostitch "Warm Wrap Grips" for $47 from their Riderwarehouse catalog (1-800-222-1994). These are heavy cordura pads that secure around your stock grips with Velcro, and plug into your bike. They heat up to keep your hands warm as you ride.
First thing I noticed is how far away they put the on/off switch from the grips. (You can order a switchless set for $10 less, BTW) I suppose their idea was that you would have these set up so that you put them on your bike when you want to ride, and stuff em in your sidebags or a pocket when you are done, and that youd never dress the wires. Personally, I didnt want to mess with having wires hanging everywhere and I felt that having a bunch of wires stretching from my grip to my battery was butt-ugly so I wanted to dress my wires. The switch is an inline affair with a little rotating clicker wheel (the same type you find on hanging lamps). Unfortunately, the switch was so far away from the grips, it would have wound up under my gas tank when the wires were dressed. If this had been an electric vest or jacket, it would have been ok, as I could have set it up so that the switch was in my pocket. Why Areostitch decided to go with an inline switch on this is beyond me- for a jacket thatd be cool, but for grips, why not a simple handlebar mounted toggle? After all the grips are by definition right there on the handlebars anyway.
At any rate, a few minutes with wire cutters/strippers, extra wire, quick-crimp connects, and heat shrink tube, and the problem was rectified. The switch now is mounted on my handlebar next to the riser clamp, and the wires are all hidden under my tank. I did kind of a quick job dressing the wires along the underside of my brake lines with electrical tape, and I plan to clean it up a bit this weekend for appearances sake, but the switch is now easy to reach, and the grip wraps are on.
I connected mine directly to the battery, but I think I will likely move it to a different circuit, so that the grips will turn off with the key, and I wont have to worry about the drain if I accidentally leave them on. (Although theyre only 1 amp.)
I was happy to see that the wraps fit over the Valks large grips. It looks like they could easily fit over grips several sizes larger or smaller. It took a few minutes of riding to get used to the larger size of the throttle (these wraps add about a ¼" to the total diameter of the grips.), but it was really no big deal. These did not interfere with the use of either my throttle lock, or my throttle rocker. (I just slipped the rocker back on over the wraps.)
The Important Stuff
My hands were warm today!! I went ahead and kept my gloves on, but I suspect that it wasnt necessary (for heat anyway). Through the gloves, my hands were not hot, but nicely warm. As a test, when I arrived at work, I removed my gloves, and held the grips for a few moments- they were hot to the touch (though not uncomfortably so), so I dont think that the gloves are truly necessary with these suckers on the bike.
Anyway, just thought Id share. Next step - having Gerbing re-wire my FirstGear jacket liner!
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