Hey Gang -
I just finished up an install of hotgrips on my bike, anyway, here is the review. (www.hotgrips.com
It's still cold so I figured some people might like to hear about it in case they are riding around and thinking about throwing some on!
I ordered the grips online and they DHL shipped them next day and they got here much faster than I expected in maybe 2 days. The cost for the grips, the thermal epoxy and the low/high switch was about $140 even, delivered.
Pretty expensive I think for what you get, it could be a lot cheaper considering in the manual they recommend right in the diagram putting in a 5A inline fuse and then they don't give you the fuse to put in, LOL.
The install, if done well and properly isn't that hard but it does take a good bit of time. The process for my Ninja 650R involved:
1) removing bar end weights. These are screwed in using a hex bolt with LOCK-TITE on the threads so you want a really good matching hex key and probably some kind of metal pipe or something to slide over it to get more torque ... those bolts are on really tight from the factory.
2) cutting off the old grips, I just used scissors and just cut both of them right off. it was a one way install because of the thermal epoxy and stuff you use so even if you want to undo the install, it won't be very easy. you just kind of have to do it right, take your time, don't rush it and don't screw up
3) alignment tests of wires for controls. in my case I had both grip connector wires pointing straight down.
4) you sand down the old glue on both bars and throttle sleeve. If you have never seen under your grips, there is a sleeve that is plastic like a toilet paper roll that goes over the bar and you rotate it. this will have a little glue from the stock grips but is easy to sand down and clean
5) next you mix the two chemical components that make up the epoxy in equal portion.
6) You then spread this over the bars using the popsicle stick included. I did the left one first for practice. You want to be careful about doing this so that you only have to do it once and do it right.
7) I spread the epoxy on the right hand one also. In my case I was absolutely paranoid about getting any of the epoxy (it is nasty strong strong stuff) near any of the moving parts of the throttle sleeve. so what I did was I covered the sleave from about 30% to 95% across the width of the sleeve if you were looking at it. My reasoning on not putting epoxy on so much of the beginning was that as I slide it on it's going to push some over. when I slid it on this was exactly right and it did push the extra over and was just the right about. I've heard horror stories about people who get a tiny bit of that stuff near an edge of the throttle and the entire throttle sleeve freezes solid and the bike is unrideable then.
8) I started the wiring, again, they basically just give you scrap wire and it seemed to be a couple pieces short. I ended up buying at radio shack more wire ties, some of those "lighter shrink wrap" wiring sleeves, an inline fuse, an inline fuse case, a 12V automotive relay
9) I soldered/taped everything according to the wiring diagram. I connected the relay input off the horn power in the fuse box (all the relay does is it uses one electrical line to power a mechanical switch for a main power line, so this way your new power runs straight off the battery but still goes on/off with the rest of the stuff in the bike based on if it's turned on). I found a bar to mount the heat resistor under the front fairing to that was pretty far from anything. This was the bar that supports the mirrors internally. I'm not certain if this is the best/safest place, but it was pretty decent for my purposes and seemed to work.
10) anyway, lot of wiring/cutting/etc. also because I was adding the relay (and also because I was adding the zumo 450 gps to the power on the relay). I installed a 5A fuse in the container/etc.
11) prior to soldering all the wiring I did test on the system and it all worked
12) Soldered & sealed
Voila! Heated grips. Total install time was probably 5 hours over two days, but like I said, I really took my time. And I also had a battery charger so I connected that to the bike and it's very cold in the garage around here right now so I was actually using the heat grips occasionally to warm my hands while doing the wiring, LOL.
Anyway - on to the part everyone cares about.
Do they work? Yup - they work great. I give them about 4 out of 5 stars. The lost stars is because of not enough wire and not including the inline fuse which in my view was just being a cheap ass for a $140 grip kit. Also the missing star is because the left grip fits the bike perfectly, but the right grip seems to be a little bit short and there is a gap between the end bar weight and the grip (throttle side) of about 1/2" to 3/8". It's big enough that it looks visually too big ... but, aside from these two complaints they do work great.
When you start them up you can feel heat coming from them within a minute.
When you turn them off you can definitely feel the heat drop very quickly which is testamount to just how much heating they are doing.
After about 20 minutes it seems to be "peak heat" on the high setting. This heat setting is just at the edge of being "too hot" for bare hands. If it were a little hotter it would probably be too much, so the high setting is about perfect for cold weather riding.
The low setting is quite a lot lower, it's basically a "warm" setting, and I could honestly see myself using that setting all year long whenever I'm riding about like 25 MPH.
They use a max of about 18 watts per grip or 36 watts. Most sport bikes do not have more than 100 watts available extra power so be careful not to overload your bike too much or your battery won't charge when riding and then it will just run out on you.
They are actually quite comfortable and have a good throttle feel. they are a tiny bit bigger than normal grips (because the heating element is lifted off the bar to transfer more heat to the hands instead of to the bar).
I knew this long project ended up being worth it when I was finishing up and I didn't want to take my hands off the bars because the air was so cold ... LOL!
(points off because of no fuse, not enough wire, having to buy the glue / switch extra instead of with them, and because right side grip was a bit too short ... the 4 stars because they do work really well, heat really well and are nice and comfortable!)