Cold hands could KILL you?

If could hands KILL you.. could “Heated Grips” save your life?

— Learn more before it’s too late!

Whether you are riding out early on chilly summer morning, or, on a cold crisp winter afternoon – cold hands will impact most motorcyclists at some point in their riding career but why is this so dangerous?

More than a feeling?

You need to have good feeling in your fingers to control your bike properly. If your hands get too cold, they get numb, and you are in trouble! While heated gloves definitely do have a place, it becomes more difficult to control your bike when your gloves are 4 inches thick. (That being said, heated gloves can be used in conjunction with heated grips for ‘double toasty’ hands – follow up article is the works on heated gloves!)

While you can add multiple layers to your torso and legs to help insulate against the cold, it is difficult to add multiple layers on your hands!

Losing feeling in your fingers or having less control of your hands while riding a motorcycle could really contribute to you loosing control – so yes, cold hands could kill you. Remember your (front) brakes are controlled by your fingers and hands – you need to be able to react quickly, with accuracy and with good feeling at all times. Additionally, any rider will tell you how dangerous it is to have something uncomfortable niggling at you while on the road. Distractions that takes your mind off what you should be doing (concentrating 100% on your riding performance) are a serious safety concern. Do not underestimate how distracting painfully cold hands are.

For those of you who have not started motorcycling yet – or for those fortunate enough to have never ridden their motorcycle on anything but a sunny warm may seem a little dramatic to talk about ‘losing feeling in your fingers!? Don’t underestimate the wind chill factor!

The Wind chill Factor
For motorcycle riders, wind chill factor is of particular importance. For example if you are travelling at 20mph the ambient temperature may be 0 °C, but the wind chill can bring the temperature you experience to approximately -6 °C! Similarly, if the ambient temperature is 0 °C and you are travelling at just 45mph the wind chill is approximately -9 °C.

The risk of frostbite increases at -5℉ with low wind speeds. In a wind chill around -17℉, frostbite can occur in 30 minutes or less. One of the first of several signs of frostbite to be aware of is a prickly, burning sensation followed by numbness.

What exactly are Heated Grips?

Heated grips replace your standard handlebar grips, they are manufactured with tiny wire heating elements inside them. These elements are powered by your motorcycle battery, and can have many different features for example a thermostat for exact temperature control, automatic cut-off, etc.

Do I need a mechanic to fit them?
Fitting electric motorcycle heated grips should take the ‘average person’ no more than one hour max. You will only need some very basic tools and the ability to follow instructions!

Basic tools?
To begin with you will need to consider how to remove your existing grips. So a safety knife is essential. Also consider getting some contact adhesive a spray can (or hairspray) as a good grip tack in case your grips do come with any supplied. You will also need some basic spanners, maybe a small socket set, a set of good Allen keys and some Phillips headed screwdrivers; basically the kinds of basic things anyone who attempted some basic DIY should have to hand.

What are the stages in fitting these heated grips?

1 Check your heated grips product package contains everything it should!

2 Remove your bar ends

3 Slice your existing brake side grip right along the length of the old grip, and remove. Be very careful removing your old throttle grip as you do not want to damage the throttle tube. Use a very thin screwdriver to gently lift your old grip and try to spray some white spirit or any other cleaner or solvent into the gap to help breakdown the old glue holding it on. You may be able to wiggle and maneuver the throttle grip off without having to cut it. If you do need to cut it, just be careful not to gouge too deep.

4 Clean both of your exposed handles ready for the application of your contact glue adhesive.

5 When pushing your new grips on, try not to crumple them, taking care not to damage the wiring within, take your time, there is no rush!

5 When pushing your new grips on, try not to crumple them, taking care not to damage the wiring within, take your time, there is no rush!

6 Run your wiring neatly down to the battery on your motorcycle usually under your seat follow the instructions you have been given in your package with your new grips.

  • Tidy up your wiring with little cable ties and mount controls on the handlebars within easy reach.
  • Test the grips before you set off on the road to ensure they are working properly.
  • Enjoy Warm Hands!

Top 5 Heated Grips Brands

Here are some of the best heated grips I have found on the market today. Many heated grips are universal : many motorcycle handlebars are often common sizes between different manufacturers, but do be sure whatever you buy are right for your particular bike.