Heated grips - everybody wants them, and if you don't shop around, you're going to pay for them - and pay a lot. I came across the Symtec
grip heaters at one of my favorite sport-touring shops. Why did I try them over the more well-known choices? (Hondaline heated grips, Hot
Grips, etc.) simple - the price. These things are $25. I usually like to stay OEM with accessories, but with my Honda dealer charging
$500 to install them, I simply laughed. Even if I wanted to do it myself, it would cost $225+ just for the materials. That's insane to
me, and so I decided to give these things a shot. After all, I didn't think I could go wrong with the investment. I was skeptical as to
how well they would work, but at $25, no big deal even if they really sucked.
First question out of the way: Do they suck? Not at all. I couldn't be happier with the performance of these things for the price. They
will keep your hands toasty warm even on the frostiest mornings. They come with two settings - high and low, and simply work great. The
only complaint I have is that you have to buy some extra parts at your local Radio Shack if you really want them to work correctly (and
They are basically large adhesive pades with wires that you wrap around the handlebars under the grips. Acting not unlike a rear defroster
you have on your car, they use electrical resistance right in the pads to generate the heat. You then slip on the grips over top, wire
them up to the battery and a switch and you're done. It's not an easy job, but it's not hugely difficult either. With some basic skills,
an hour or so of time and familiarity with your bike and its electrical system, you'll do fine.
If you choose to use them, here we go...
Removing the grips is a pain, but if you have compressed air, it makes it much easier. After you've removed the end weights, blow it into
the end so that the air gets under the grips. Move it around and the grips will work off eventually. Another way to do it is to squirt a
1:6 detergent:water mixture as you work them off. When you slip the grips back on, coat the inside of the grips lightly with the mixture
and they will slip on easier. After the water dries they will stick nicely. Don't ride for at least a day if you use this method to give
it time to dry - for safety's sake of using a slippery throttle grip.
After you get the grips on, you need to string wires back to the battery/fuses. You have to remove the seat, raise the tank and remove the
side panels. You pretty much need to do these things to install anything electrical on the bike, so get used to it. The wires that come
with the grips only come to the glovebox panel, so you need other wires to get to the back. I used 18g stranded wires. String them back
(following the paths other wires take) and use cable ties to secure them along the way.
Before you continue, remove the negative lead from the battery.
You'll need an inline fuse connector (I used a mini-blade type from Radio Shack with a 7.5amp fuse) and then tap into the powered side of
the accessory fuse. You could use the post-fuse side, but I'm the kind of guy that likes to use an individual fuse for every aftermarket
item. You want to attach to the accessory switch because you only want these active when the ignition is on. If you don't, you might
leave them all night and come out to a dead battery in the morning. The negative wire can be wired directly to the battery, but use a
crimp-style connector to properly attach it.
Back at the dash area, using the diagram and the switch supplied, along with crimp connectors, connect all the wires together as described.
Red wires from the grips go to the negative battery. The positive lead connects to the center of the switch. The blue (low) and white
high) wires go on either side of the switch. Looking at the switch from the side, the center is off. If you flip the switch to the right,
the left lead on the bottom is active. This is useful to know if you care that up=high and down=low when you install the switch. I
installed this in the area on the left glovebox panel just to the right of the box. There's an open space perfect for the switch.
Once you're finished wth that, test them out. If things go well, check all connections, close her up and you're almost done.
Only last thing to take care of now. Remember that the throttle moves, and as such, the wires will be rubbing the outside of the grip
base. To help prolong the life of the throttle wires is to use some UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight) plastic tape in that area. It's
basically an almost frictionless tape that you can find at specialty woodworking stores. As you can see in the picture, the wires move
along the tape and as such, aren't being worn down every time you turn the throttle. The brake wires don't move, so you only need to do
this on the throttle side. Btw, the tape looks really crappy in the picture, but it's pretty much invisible in real light.
Things to buy from Radio Shack
Things to buy from Home Depot
This rubber cover screws on and fits the switch perfectly and makes the assembly waterproof.
You can find them (two per pack) at Home Depot in the electrical section near the
light switches. They were kinda hard to find, on a top shelf in my store.
- 18g stranded wire (black and red)
- In-line miniblade fuse connector
- 7.5 amp mini-blade fuse
- Crimp connectors (that match the switch size)
- Crimp connector (for the battery terminal)
As for the grips themselves, you can get them from
$25 + $10 or so in additional materials + 2 hours or so of your time and you've got a warming system that works pretty darn well. I
haven't used the Hondaline ones or Hot Grips, so I can't speak to their performance, but I am really pleased with the Symtec offering.