As riders, we all know how painful the cold can be on our hands. Not only is it annoying, but it is also potentially very dangerous. Trying to ride with very cold hands can make it very difficult to manipulate the motorcycle’s controls. There is also a large threat of hypothermia and frostbite. By adding grip heaters, you are protecting yourself and your motorcycle. And not being held back by the cold and getting in some extra riding time is always a good thing!
There are two main types of grip heaters. The first is a heating element that will be placed under your existing hand grips or new after market grips of your choice. The second is a new hand grip with the heating element already integrated into the grip. The choice is yours on what you want. This installation will work with either type.
* Grip heaters of your choice.
* Inline fuse holder and fuse (15 amp).
* Standard 12v15a automotive accessory relay. (This adds an extra circuit of its own to the motorcycle so we do not possibly over power and blow an existing circuit)
* Extra wire (your choice in size (14-18 gauge will work fine)
* Toggle switch
* Crimp connections to connect to the relay and switch.
* Splice connections to extend wires.
* Ring connectors to connect to battery and chassis ground.
* Zip ties (small high temp ties, your choice of color)
We will first start by removing your existing hand grips. If you are not planning on saving the existing grips, you may take a razor blade and simply cut them off. If you will be saving them or reusing them, remove your bar end weights on the handle bars. Take a small, thin, flat blade screw driving and gently lift the grip between the bar (or throttle tube on the right side) and spray some WD-40 between the grip and the bar. Do this in a couple places on the grip and the adhesive should break away allowing you to remove your grips. You will need to then take a solvent such as denatured alcohol and remove all adhesive residue from the handlebars and the inside of the grips.
Once the bars and grips are clean of all adhesive and are dry, you can install the heaters at this time. Make sure you have enough slack in the wires on the throttle side heater for the movement of the throttle. You do not want them to bind and eventually break from the throttle movement.
You can now replace your hand grips at this time if you used the heating element type of heater. You will need to have some sort of adhesive so your grips will stay in place over the heaters. They make motorcycle specific grip glue just for this which is recommended. Place some on the inside of the grip and slide the grip on fast so it doesn’t get stuck half way on.
Once your grips are in place, we can now start the wiring process. If you are using a standard “on-off” switch, you will take one wire from each grip heater (one inside wire on one, and one outside wire on the other) and terminate this to your toggle switch (your grip heaters or switch will show the correct position as they vary with design). You will mount the toggle switch anywhere you desire. Take the other two wires from the grip heaters and terminate these together to a good chassis ground on the motorcycle or the negative (-) terminal on the battery with a ring connector.
Next you will run a power wire from the other location on your switch to your relay, which you will also place at your desire. The power location on the relay will be number 87. On most standard relays, you should see numbers 30, 85, 86, and 87. These will all be used. If you have extra numbers such as 87a, that is fine, we will just not use that location. We will now finish wiring the relay to complete the power circuit.
Wire a ground wire from location 85 on the relay to a good chassis ground or to the negative (-) battery terminal on the battery with a ring connector. Next you will need to find a switched power source. A switched power source is an item on the motorcycle that does not receive any power from the battery until the ignition is switched to on. This could be either the headlight, taillight, etc. I used the taillight power because that was the closest location to where my relay was placed. You can find a switched power location by taking a volt meter and connecting the negative to ground and the positive to an assumed power source. If you have no power when the motorcycle is off and then have power when you have the motorcycle on, this is a switched power source and can be used. Also make sure it is 12v so you are receiving the full power from the battery.
Once you have located a good switched power source, you will need to splice into that power wire using a splice connection and wire that into location 86 of your relay. We are doing this so the heaters will not turn on unless the motorcycle ignition is turned on. This way you will not accidentally drain your battery if you leave your switch on or if someone turns it on when you are not around. It works this way by using the relay. The relay will not close and give the heaters power until it receives power from the taillight (or whatever source you used). Since the taillight is only on when the ignition is on, the relay remains open and therefore not sending any power to the heaters.
We now only have one position left on the relay which is location 30. This is your power location which will go to your battery with a ring connection. Create your inline fuse wire and run it from the battery to location 30. Your fuse should be as close to the battery as possible. This way, the distance of damage if there is a short somewhere is minimized.
Once you are sure everything is wired correctly, you can place the fuse in the fuse holder with the motorcycle turned off. Now the circuit is completed, you can turn the motorcycle on. Test the heaters and make sure everything works. Route all your wires and use the zip ties to hold them all in place.
You are now done installing grip heaters on your motorcycle. Your hands will stay toasty warm year round and no longer will you be held back by cold frigid days.