Solution for aluminum handlebars + heated grips? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Solution for aluminum handlebars + heated grips?

For next winter, I'm planning new heated grips and perhaps new handlebars for my 2007 Vee. It would be easiest to install heated grips on new bars, and I'm not in love with the stock bars anyway. Aluminum handlebars have some benefits, but apparently there is a problem with heated grips on aluminum handlebars.

The problem is that aluminum conducts heat much better than steel. The handlebars act as a heat sink, especially on the left grip, as it is in direct contact with the bar.

Some manufacturers simply state that their heated grips are not to be used with aluminum handlebars, due to unsatisfactory results:

Model Ergo1-520-750 - kit - for 7/8" Handlebars

Hotgrips also state that stuffing insulation inside the bars will not fix the issue. That seems reasonable. Doing so wouldn't stop the bars acting as a heat sink.

Surely a fix does exist? Have other heated grip manufactureres addressed the issue? All the threads I found that mentioned the problem are at least a few years old, but nobody seems to have a solution.

Has anyone tried heat-reflective, metal foil tape under the grips? I'm not sure that would work, for a number of reasons. Chiefly, it's that the primary thing we're trying to stop is heat conduction, where foil tape is really only effective against radiation.

I have read about using dish soap as an alternative to grip adhesive. Supposedly the soap, plus a little water, makes an excellent lubricant when installing the grips. Then when it dries, acts enough like glue to do the job. If you ever want to remove the grips, force some water in there and the soap again acts as a lubricant (supposedly, rain won't cause the soap to re-activate by itself).


Not sure what handlebars I'm going to get, though adding some rise and reducing sweepback would not hurt. For the grips, I'll probably get Oxford Heaterz Adventure.

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post #2 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 12:01 PM
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Not sure what the benefits are of Al bars. They do not dampen vibration as much as steel bars with bar end weights. I actually switched back to steel from Al for that reason.

A crude workaround is making your own heated grips by placing a pair of snowmobile heating elements (https://www.denniskirk.com/sports-pa...rd/5903656.sku or something similar, same type for left and right side) on top of the regular grips and securing them with self fusing silicone tape. That setup is amazingly effective. You need a heat troller or similar to control the temperature or else it gets too hot. I have that setup and it held up well for many miles. Need to renew that tape every now and then, it gradually wears off a little.
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Last edited by blaustrom; 08-07-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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post #3 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Aluminum vs. steel bars may come down to availability. I'm having a hard time finding some of the bars I've read about in older threads. Perhaps some/all were discontinued.

Steel bars with a cross member could be OK. I need to look at my setup & see if the cross member would get in the way at all. I don't hate the stock bars as much as some, but stronger bars wouldn't hurt.

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post #4 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blaustrom View Post
Not sure what the benefits are of Al bars. They do not dampen vibration as much as steel bars with bar end weights. I actually switched back to steel from Al for that reason.

A crude workaround is making your own heated grips by placing a pair of snowmobile heating elements (https://www.denniskirk.com/sports-pa...rd/5903656.sku or something similar, same type for left and right side) on top of the regular grips and securing them with self fusing silicone tape. That setup is amazingly effective. You need a heat troller or similar to control the temperature or else it gets too hot. I have that setup and it held up well for many miles. Need to renew that tape every now and then, it gradually wears off a little.
I second this solution, by far the best idea. The grip heaters I bought came with heat shrink for over the grips. I installed them under the grips but I actually regret this.
The downside is that after you install them, the grips are smooth, so not the best when things get wet, but there could be other solutions for that as well. The bang for your buck is incredible, they are so cheap it's worth it just to experiment, and the heat is thrown directly at your hands so it's very quick and you get a lot of adjustment range if you use a controller. There are cheap options for controllers as well, DC motor controllers work well.
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post #5 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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That's a thought. I could milk more mileage out of my stock bars and save all the work of swapping bars & installing the Oxfords. I'm all set up for wiring projects & it wouldn't be that tough to hook up.

I don't really need the "smart" controller on the Oxford Heaterz anyway. I was planning to use the factory heated grips power plug, which draws from a switched circuit (Signals).

The OEM grips are now worn a bit smooth, but a little self-amalgamating tape could fix that up. Wouldn't be as pretty as the Heaterz, but meh.

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post #6 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 03:41 PM
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I use Symtec grip heaters. They go underneath your grips of choice.

2 levels of heat with the toggle switch. Usually low is plenty, high if you need to bake your hands!

The clutch side is warmer but you still need to insulate the bar. A layer or 2 of electrical tape is sufficient. You'll need to insulate the throttle also if you changed out the plastic one to metal.
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post #7 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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If I don't change the throttle tube, any problem with warping from heat?

I've read about those G2 aluminum replacement throttle tubes, but I'm not about spending $80 on one if it's not needed. The OEM plastic one has been just peachy for >25k miles.

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post #8 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertBike View Post
If I don't change the throttle tube, any problem with warping from heat?

I've read about those G2 aluminum replacement throttle tubes, but I'm not about spending $80 on one if it's not needed. The OEM plastic one has been just peachy for >25k miles.

I've used those heaters on a variety of bikes for years, never had a plastic throttle tube warp. I don't run the heaters on high very much though they get seriously hot.
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post #9 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 06:19 PM
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"Hotgrips" invented the heated grips and their left grip is ribbed internally to eliminate the heat loss that the copies have.

They know their stuff and if they say they aren't for aluminum I would suspect other heated grips would be even worse in this case.

..Tom
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2012 DL650 139,500+ km, 86,700+ miles. Sold
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post #10 of 45 Old 08-07-2019, 08:58 PM
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Look for a set of stock bars from BMW R1200GS. Steel no crossbar and great ergos. You will probably have to fat bar adapters as they taper from 1-1/8" to 7/8" at the grips.
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