I am not a mechanic or a representative of Kawasaki or anything else official. This page is only my notes on doing this procedure myself. Although I believe what I have documented here is correct, I make no promises and you do this at your own risk.
I’ve had heated grips on bikes for many years now, and have come to consider heat a near-necessity — it extends our riding season here by several months. The time to install heated accessories is in summer while the weather is warm, not in the autumn with the snow flying and numb hands.
They come with a simple two-way switch and a power resistor to give a “full heat / half heat” option. I don’t like that option because the system is still drawing full power from the bike even when on half heat (the other half goes to heating the resistor instead of the grips). Instead, I prefer heat controls that reduce heat by cycling the grips on and off — this gives a true power reduction at lower heat settings.
For this installation, I tried the Heat-Troller control for the first time, as I liked the way the actual controls are very compact and are connected remotely to the control box. (I chose a unit with two controls and wired it to control the handgrips and an accessory jack for my heated vest. You could modify these same instructions for the single-unit controller for grips alone, or vest alone.)
I had already installed a source of ignition-switched 12V power and used that.
- Heated Grips
- Zip ties
- Variable Heat Controller (Heat-Troller)
- Epoxy with High Temperature rating
- Crimp-on lug terminals
- Black electrical tape
- Wire suitable for 12 volts at 5 amps (I used 14-gauge lamp cord)
- Rear stand (recommended)
- Metric hex wrenches
- Small slotted screwdriver
- Wire cutters
- Soldering iron and solder
- Coarse sandpaper
- Sharp knife
Difficulties & Warnings
This is a straight forward procedure. Removing the old handgrips is a little challenging if you are squeamish and don’t want to cut them off. Likewise grinding the little ridge off the throttle tube (see below) is a bit nerve-wracking. So is drilling a hole in an interior panel for a control. In fact, the whole thing is nerve-wracking. Other than that, you need to be comfortable with basic electrical wiring and soldering.
One warning: the heated grips are glued permanently to the handlebars. If you are making extensive track use of your bike, you may need the ability to replace clip-ons, handlebars, grips, etc. You won’t be able to do this without replacing the grips, so this option is probably not for you.
I started by pre-wiring the heat controller. If you are not using a variable heat controller, you can skip down to the grips installation.
Pre-Wiring the Power and Temperature Controllers
I used a “Heat-Troller” from “Warm and Safe” for this installation. They have several product offerings, and I picked the one that has two panel controls and drives two separate outputs. (They advertise this as being for a rider and passenger, but I wanted it to separately control grips and heated vest.)
The panel controls are small knobs with LEDs beside them, while the main electronics are in a module remote from the controls.
To re-install the rivet, you push the plug back out so it protrudes above the rivet face. Install the rivet in place, then press the centre plug down flush with the face.
When the plug is flush, the rivet is expanded. When it is pushed in beyond the face, or pulled out above the face, the rivet is shrunk and removable.
I rejected #1 because it would interfere with removing the battery, and #2 because it interfered with re-installing the seat.
#3, outside the frame and below the side cowling, seemed like a good spot.
Installing the Grips
They come out with a 6mm hex wrench.
However, they are mounted with Red Loctite, so they are extremely difficult to remove.
Note that the holes in the heated grips are not the same size, as one must clear the throttle tube.
I test-fit the clutch-side grip to make sure it would go on ok (and to make sure I had the correct one).
Then I tried to test-fit the throttle-side grip, and encountered a problem.
That little ridge at the end of the throttle tube prevented the grip from going on. (The inside of the grip has rigid ribs and can’t be “squeezed over” this ridge like a normal grip can.)
So, off comes the ridge. Unlike the original grips, the heated grips are held in place with epoxy, so this ridge isn’t needed to secure the grip.
I ground it away with a burr mounted in a hand-held drill.
(You could use a Dremel, or even a file, to do this.)
Now I test-fit the throttle-side grip and confirmed that it fits OK.
Next, I determined the best rotation for the grip. You want the wire to be “down” and out of the way, . . .
When I found a suitable position I marked it with a small dot so I could install it exactly, without having to do more rotation, once the epoxy was in place.
I rotated the grip on the clutch side to the same position and marked it too.
You need to use an epoxy that can stand heat. The HotGrips manufacturer warns against using the “5-minute” epoxy products, as they will break down when heated, and recommends using one of the “slow curing” ones.
You’ll need a lot — a full tube or two. Get extra — you don’t want to run out after you have mixed the hardener in with the resin.
I put several rags on the bike bodywork where any glue might drip, then mixed the epoxy and carefully spread it all over the handlebar tube.
On the throttle side, I took great care to stay away from the edges to ensure no epoxy got under the tube to interfere with its motion.
Then I carefully slid the grip on, using the previously-applied mark to get the rotation right. You want to avoid rotating the grip at this point — you’re trying to create channels in the epoxy that hold the ribs inside the grip, and you don’t want to get any squeeze-out that would cause a mess.
Repeat on both sides.
Now the glue needs to dry.
You could just leave it undisturbed overnight. However, the HotGrips instructions have a good suggestion: temporarily connect the grips to power, through the “half-power” resistor, so they run at low heat.
They suggest running them this way for 45 minutes. The heat will help the glue cure, and also ensure that it is doing the initial curing with the grips and handlebar at the size to which they expand when heated.
So, I used a nearby battery to wire them this way.
After the 45 minutes of heat, and a few more hours of curing, I was ready to re-install the bar-end weights.
The heated grips are very slightly longer than the original grips and the bar-end weight prevented the throttle grip from turning freely. So, I installed a thick washer between the grip and bar, providing about 2mm of extra space, and allowing the throttle to turn freely.
I put a similar spacer on the clutch side just to keep things equal.
Now we need to connect the power wires.
To leave room for the throttle grip to rotate, we need to create a 2- to 3-inch “loop” of wire.