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Heated Grips ( ST1300 ) *

Started by KoTAOW, October 28, 2011, 08:47:41 AM

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Contributed by Scott Fairchild, STOC #4728.
Original article can be found here:


Heated Grips ( ST1300 )

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 safely).

They are basically large adhesive pads 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 glove-box 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 in-line 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 after-market 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 glove-box panel just to the right of the box. There's an open space perfect for the switch.

Once you're finished with 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®:

  • 18g stranded wire (black and red)
  • In-line mini-blade fuse connector
  • 7.5 amp mini-blade fuse
  • Crimp connectors (that match the switch size)
  • Crimp connector (for the battery terminal)

Things to buy from Home Depot®:

  • Waterproof toggle cover

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.

As for the grips themselves, you can get them from California Sport Touring.

$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.


Thank You again for your contribution Scott Fairchild, STOC #4728


Heated Grips with Thermostat made by Honda is part number:  08T50-MCS-100 and approximately $210.95

Available from your local dealer:  Honda