Contrary to what many people think, a pair of heated grips isn’t purely the domain of riding in the deepest of winter. Of course, when the temperature drops, they can help enormously to keep hands warm but they can actually be really useful in spring, autumn and even in the height of summer as well.
Why use heated grips?
Heated grips can help warm hands on chilly early morning or late evening rides – arguably some of the best times to be out riding. Typically in the warmer months, you want a pair of summer riding gloves – all about the feel for the bike’s control through thin material and cooling air flow during the heat of the day. However, this comes at a price – they can leave the hands feeling chilly at each end of the ride, and this is where heated grips come in.
A little warmth against the palm of the hand where you hold the handlebars and inside the fingers can help stave off unpleasantly cold hands, which can affect your enjoyment as well as your safety.
Many motorcycle manufacturers offer heated grips as an option when buying new but they tend to be expensive and of course, older bikes may not have them at all. So a pair of aftermarket items can be a relatively quick and easy fix for chilly hands, not just on early summer rides but deep into winter.
One thing to bear in mind though; Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane works by heat transfer – the water (moisture generated as sweat) flows from the hot side (inside the glove) to the colder side (outside). However, if you’re using heated grips in the wet with Gore-Tex, then water will flow in the opposite direction, as the outside is now hotter and you may end up with wet hands.
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The best motorcycle heated grips
Oxford Hotgrips Premium Sports
Good value and effective, you can't ask for more than that. As standard, they come 123mm in length but can be trimmed down as far as 114mm if you need. The necessary hardwiring ensures reliable performance, as does the heat controller. We like the grips too with its diamond tread.
Universal Replacement Grips
Replacement grips are a neater and more integrated solution than wraparound sleeves but they do mean you have to remove your existing grips, which can be tricky. These generic items are designed for 22mm diameter bars and wire directly to the battery through a two-position switch on the left-hand grip. They draw either 10 Watts or 15 Watts depending on the setting and reach 50u00b0C and 70u00b0C, according to the manufacturer.
Oxford Hotgrips Advanced
Oxford has a range of grips for different styles of bikes, including these sports, as well as tourers, adventurers and cruisers. These sports grips, for example, are inspired by race items and give great grip and feedback. They have an 'intelligent' heat controller and nine heat settings on a separate controller than can be mounted in the most convenient location. They are 123mm in length but can be trimmed to 114mm.
R&G Motorcycle Heated Grips
Designed for all bikes using 22mm handlebars, these replacements from R&G are 124mm long, apparently, the most common length for sportsbike grips. They heat up quickly, hitting 35u00b0C in only two minutes and on the highest of the five heat settings, get to 60u00b0C. They come with the necessary wiring and hardware but you will need additional glue to fit them to the bars.
These replacement grips from Ultimateaddons are super-slick with an integrated activation and heat-setting switch built in to the left-hand grip. They are 22mm in diameter and come in either 120mm or 130mm length to suit various bikes. Connecting directly to the bike, ideally an ignition-switched live, they include a low-battery warning, have five heat settings and will remember their last setting when powered back on again.
BikeTek Premium Heated Grips
Designed for 22mm handlebars, these grips from BikeTek feature a soft rubber outer with four-setting heat control via a push-button separate control panel. The large buttons on the control panel are apparently easy to use in thick gloves as you'd be wearing in winter. They are supplied with bar-end plugs and connect to the bikes battery or a switched live.
The own-brand replacement grips from Bike-It come with an adjustable heat controller so that the heat output can be varied almost continuously, thanks to the thumbwheel, for optimum heating in all conditions. This also activates the grips and they can reach a maximum temperature of 40u00b0C on the highest setting.