Is there anyone out there who still doesn’t believe in heated grips? Electric elements mounted on your handlebars is one of the building blocks of civilised motorcycling life, together with Gore-tex, wheelies, racing wet tyres and 200bhp engines, and should be embraced wherever possible.
First off, they obviously make riding in properly shit weather possible without frostbite. But they also let you use summer gloves in cooler conditions - so you can have the finesse, control and protection of proper race gloves, yet stay comfortable on a cooler spring morning when you set out for a blast.
Lucky enough to have stock fitment hot grips on your bike? Then you’re all set. If you need to fit some though, there are a few options out there. These R&G Racing grips are cheap (£40), easy to fit, and well made. The switch has various mount options, to bars or a flat panel on your fairing/top yoke. For a quick and dirty fit, they can wire straight to your battery, but if you forget to turn them off, your battery will run down, leaving you stuck.
These ones are fitted to our winter hack Suzuki Burgman 650. Most of these are Executive models with factory-fit hot grips, which are top. Ours is a working-class base version though, so we’ve added these R&G grips.
They took about an hour to fit: tear off the old rubber grips, and slip the new ones on, using a bit of soapy water as lube if necessary. Water’s good because it dries out fairly quickly, unlike WD40 or the like. If the grips aren’t a tight fit, you might want some grip glue - R&G can supply this too. On the throttle side, the stock twistgrip had a small flange (!) on the switch side, which we had to Dremel off for a perfect fit. Make sure the wires are tucked away neatly, with space to move freely on the throttle side, then zip-tie the cabling into position down the bars.
The Burgman has a 12v accessory socket inside the glove box, so it was a breeze to add a piggyback spade connector on there, and crimp some spades onto the R&G wiring. Stick the main switch onto the top yoke cover, using a hairdryer to warm it up first for better adhesion, tidy all the wiring away behind the fairing and bosh. I finished off the install with a pair of R&G’s natty stainless bar-end weights, tossing the nasty rusty old stock bar ends in the skip…
The grips heat up fast, and the control is genuinely idiot-proof. Best use of ‘£40 and an hour’ on a bike without hot grips you’ll ever see…