Oxford "Hot Hands" Heated Grip Wraps Review

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by War Hammer, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. War Hammer

    War Hammer Evil Monkey

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Well, I ordered some Oxford "Heaterz" grips from an EBay vendor, but they sent me the "Hot Hands" grip wraps instead. I went ahead and tried them out, but decided I'd rather have the actual heated grips instead. So, here's a quick review on the Hot Hands. These may be a good solution for some, just not exactly what I want.

    Pluses:
    -Super easy to install
    -Super easy to remove
    -They get HOT!
    -Add to the diameter of the grips (like Grip Puppies)

    Minuses:
    -Not a very clean look when installed
    -Not adjustable, they're either off or on
    -Doubtful as to how long they would last (see comment on loose Velcro)
    -Obviously not intended for permanent install

    Here's the package:
    [​IMG]

    Here's what you get:
    -Two Hot Hands grip wraps
    -Switch
    -Wiring harness
    -Zip ties
    -Well written instructions
    (They also throw in an Oxford logo neck warmer)
    [​IMG]

    Install took all of 5 minutes. The instructions were clear and well written, but totally unnecessary. If you can't figure out something this basic, you probably also have trouble the the double d-rings and strap on a helmet.
    All you have to do is:
    1. Hook the two ring-type connectors to your battery
    2. Route the wires and secure the extra with zip ties
    3. Mount the switch (also with a zip tie)
    4. Wrap the Hot Hands around your grips and plug in the 3 connectors

    That's it! They are installed and ready to use. You do need to remember that this method hooks the wraps directly to your battery, so if you leave them switched on you will drain your battery.

    Here is the simple, color coded hookup to the battery. You can also see the in-line tube fuse at the left.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the switch, zip tied onto the handlebars. You can also see the extra wiring zip tied onto the bars. The switch has a bright green led to let you know when the grips are on. It is bright enough to easily see in bright sunlight. The connections are all clip-together plastic plugs, so they shouldn't shake loose.
    [​IMG]

    The right and left wraps installed on the grips. You can see that they add quite a bit of thickness to the grips. This felt really good when used with thick winter glove as it was easier to grip the larger diameter grips.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The outside of the wraps: There is a very thin layer of nylon mesh over the heating elements; you can actually see the elements under the mesh. The instructions warn you to use these only with thick winter gloves. This is good advice. The wraps will reach 131 degrees! When I tried them with my summer weight gloves, they got uncomfortably hot and I was constantly turning them off and on. They would most likely burn you if you tried to use them without gloves.
    [​IMG]

    The inside of the wraps: There is a nice tacky layer of neoprene to make sure the wraps won't slip around on you grips. On my 300 mile test ride, they stayed put and did not rotate at all.
    [​IMG]

    The Velcro was not completely stitched onto one of the wraps in my set. If I had decided to keep the wraps, I would have exchanged this particular set for one that was put together better. This makes me worry a little bit about the durability of the wraps, but Oxford does warranty them for a full 2 years.
    [​IMG]

    The test:
    My test ride started at about 40 degrees in the morning, but the day warmed up to about 70 degrees before the ride was over. I rode mostly twisty Farm to Market roads, so the wraps were really tested as to their ability to stay put. They did very well on this count. When I switched them on, the wraps heated up VERY quickly. It was only about a minute before I could feel the warmth through my heavy Tour Master winter gloves. In 40 degrees, and at speeds of 80-90 mph, they eventually got hot enough that I was periodically turning them off. As the day warmed up and I switched to my summer gloves, I was FREQUENTLY shutting off the Heaterz. The 4-setting adjustability of the Heaterz grips would have been much more useful. The added diameter of the wraps was comfortable when wearing thicker gloves, but not really needed with the lighter gloves. It felt kind of like riding a cruiser with 1/2 bars.

    Conclusion:
    The Oxford Hot Hands wraps would be a good solution for someone who wants to temporarily heat their grips (maybe for only one or two rides each year) but retain the stock grips for the rest of the year. They would also be good for the mechanically challenged, as the installation is a snap. The wiring could be cleaned up and hidden a bit more, if you were so inclined, but Oxford states that it cannot be trimmed in any way.

    Overall, I prefer the finished look and feel of the actual heated grips versus the wraps. I also like the 4-setting adjustable nature of the Oxford grips. So, these are going back to the vendor and I already have a set of Heaterz on the way.
    #1
  2. 5th-Elefant

    5th-Elefant Long timer

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    2,495
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    Wales
    Nice review. I've got a set on order. I'll only ride a few times in the winter so the temporary nature is a plus for me (I think).
    #2
  3. Mucka

    Mucka Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    607
    Location:
    Orrville, Ohio
    I have used these in the past with great success. I did not want heated grips. This was a great solution for me.....

    Russ
    #3
  4. Megamoto

    Megamoto Yes, I do look like this. Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
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    Location:
    You know...I think I've been here before.
    I've had a set for three years. I also use Oxford bar muffs (:rofl every time...) and I can ride with summer gloves. Fit the muffs(:rofl ) over your bark-busters and secure them with the mounting bolt on the end of the bar.


    [​IMG]

    Not my bike, but hopefully you get my drift.
    #4
  5. TonyKZ1

    TonyKZ1 Long timer

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    Location:
    Marble Hill, MO. U.S.A.
    I've also used them in the past, I liked them and they worked good. With the heated elements insulated from the bar by the rubber grips, they put out a lot of heat while using less power. I did upgrade to the Oxford Heaterz heated grips eventually and do prefer the heated grips with their electronic controller.
    #5
  6. PerfectStranger

    PerfectStranger Systema Enc├ęphale

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    North Coast of Ohio
    Any practical reason that the wires can't be shortened as needed? I'd only reduce the long ones to the battery. I want to do that and run it through a controller. Just need to pop on a coax male end.
    #6
  7. Duckworth

    Duckworth Taking the high road

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
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    I don't see why not, although I never bothered. I have them on my Concours and I'd like to get a second set of wires so I can swap them back and forth with the Ural. Mine are wired to an aux. fuse box with a relay so I don't drain the battery if I forget to turn them off.


    My only gripe is that they make the grips too fat and soft, and my hands get cramped from squeezing them.
    #7
  8. srileo

    srileo dot Indian snakecharmer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Francisco
    I love my oxfords. i have had them on the bike for 2.5 years. they are in tatters now,but still work. i should get around to changing them.
    the only issue i have had is that the right grip tends to twist itself over on the throttle,sometimes interfering with the throttle function but it makes itself known over time. all u have to do is velcro it back on tight
    #8
  9. Oilybimmer

    Oilybimmer Long timer

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    I fitted a used set of these on Saturday, I cut off the ring type battery connectors and wired direct to a powerlet plug as I have a power socket up near the headstock, I coiled up all of the spare cable and tucked it inside the crossbar pad, wow these things get hot, after ten minutes I had to turn them off again, The only thing did not like was how fat they make the grips, maybe the GS has fat grips to start with? I have now removed them, I use Tucano handlebar muffs in the winter so 99% of the time my hands are warm even in unlined summer gloves, very good item though, just mount the switch where you can easily knock them on and off at will, I shall use mine wrapped around the passenger grabrail to keep the pillion happy.

    Stewart
    #9
  10. PerfectStranger

    PerfectStranger Systema Enc├ęphale

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    Thanks for your replies, guys. I think I am going to pick up the HotHands. Am going to shorten the power lead and put a coax connector on it. Then I can run them through my HeatTroller. Any thoughts as to if I should removed their supplied 'controller' from the chain?

    Stewart - if you were on this side of the pond I'd offer to take those off of your hands.
    #10
  11. Lappeman

    Lappeman He's Down Again!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
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    Location:
    Lappe, ON Coldest, wettest place...well not quite!

    Ordered a set for the few cold rides that I will do. I believe the reason for not shortening the wires is a warranty issue. Voids the warranty if you cut the wires. Makes sense from their point of view, IMHO.
    #11
  12. SpitfireTriple

    SpitfireTriple Seek Truth

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    Bristol, Britain
    Great review War_Hammer, thanks for posting.

    Looks like these are just the job for the very occasional cold weather usage. Me, I'm looking now to use my bike for commuting every day, so for me the more permanent Oxford option would be better.
    #12
  13. carlitod

    carlitod CalgaryRider

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
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    Calgary
    I think the reason they specify not shortening the wire is probably because the electrical resistance of the overall heating circuit would change. The longer wire probably adds a couple ohms of necessary resistance. (More resistance with thinner wire). I did some quick calculations (so I could be off here), but I figure each side of the wraps has about 10.5 ohms resistance. If you were even able to remove just one ohm of resistance from the circuit by shortening any of the wires, each individual heating wrap may be subject to current flows greater than design specifications. This could lead to the heating element in the wrap failing. A way around the the extra wire issue may be to ad some resistance to the circuit, equivalent to what the extra wire (which you cut out) provided. (Just a thought) I'm thinking of getting these wraps for temporary relief from the cold. I live in Calgary Alberta, and it's pretty normal to head out for a ride in the morning and its a few degrees above freezing in the morning and then maybe temperatures in the teens (60's Farenheit) during the day and back to real cold at night. I also figure that if I get these, I'll rig up some sort of variable timing relay or switch etc. to switch the wraps on and off depending on how warm I want them to be. This is different than a thermostat type switch, but should still work well I think.
    #13
  14. Gringorojo

    Gringorojo Doonhamer in Strathclyde

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    I've always thought these were more suited to fitting to the pillion grabrails/handles rather than the handlebars. keeps the pillion happy(er) and you can remove them as and when.
    #14
  15. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    Just did one ride up to Santiago from southern Patagonia on a KLR650.It was in May, which is late fall and downright cold down here. Without some sort of grip heaters the trip would have been in jeopardy.

    The installation was quick and simple as a "provisional" installation.That is, I did not plan to leave the setup on that particular bike. I used a direct connection via provided fuse to the battery -- using only the provided control switch. The extra lengths of wire were taped into submission but it still looks messy. On the other hand, being readily "transportable" between bikes is one of the advantages of the product. The longer wires allow you to consider installing a second set of hothands elsewhere, such as inside a riding jacket, in which case you would have not hothands but hotguts, ha ha. Not very neat but it would provide options.

    Issues:

    1. As others have noted, the "overgrips" makes for a grip diameter that is a bit too large, esp for my smallish hands. As a result I tended to wear my lighter gloves since the bulkier winter gloves would have been dangerously goofy to use.

    2. The effect of the heat came on rather quickly, in a little over a minute. These were used in conjunction with MSR "elephant ear" wind deflectors. The effect of heating my hands had the benefit of spreading a bit of extra heat throughout the body. It was foggy and wet and cold to the north of Puerto Montt and I was underdressed for the occasion, but having warm hands provided the confidence to press on and stay on schedule.

    3. The tiny toggle switch is just that.. tiny. Hard to find at night and hard to accurately operate. A disadvantage - room for improvement here.

    4. Just two positions - hot and off. Hot was just too hot so I tended to float my grasp over the grips to prevent overheating. The thumbs suffered a bit but that is the nature of heated grips.

    5. This is Chile and petty thievery is rampant. The easily removeable over-grips could be carried away rather easily by a delinquent. Similarly, if you don't have a good way to securely keep the power off, a passing brat (and there are many) could easily finger the switch on while you are away, leaving you with a dead battery.

    I wish I had used the Oxford hothands on a trip to the new mountain road on the Chilean side of southern Tierra del Fuego a couple of months ago, when snow and cold kept me from my objective (and a potentially good trip report).

    saludos
    #15