ZX-6R Heated Handgrips

Warning

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.

Heated Handgrips

It’s usually uncomfortably cold here for a month or two before there is a permanent snow cover, so heated accessories can extend the riding season by several weeks. I use an Aerostich heated vest, and heated handgrips. These allow a last few rides in the cold autumn days of October and early November, when the roads are still good but a days ride is numbing cold without heat.

This page shows the installation of the heated grips on a 2000 zx-6r. (For installation on a 2009 model, and use of a variable heat controller, see this page.)

I bought HotGrips heated grips for the ZX-6R. These are available direct from the manufacturer, but I bought mine from Aerostich Rider Wearhouse, as their prices were better and they’ve always been a pleasure to deal with. I received the grips by courier two days after placing the order. The grips for the 6R are 4.75″ by 7/8″, Hotgrips part number 475-875. Since the 6R has bar-end weights, you must also ask for the free option of having the outboard ends bored out.

I didn’t order the optional variable heat controller, so the grips come with a simple two-way switch, one side of which is to be wired through a heavy power resistor to give “full” and “half-intensity” heat options.

Mechanically, mounting the grips is simple. The electric wiring was more work. I wanted the grips switched, with a pilot light, and wanted them driven by a source that was not on when the ignition was off, so I passers by couldn’t flick the switch on and leave the grips running, draining the battery. I ended up mounting an automotive relay under the seat, switched by power from the running lights, and having the relay switch the high-current line from the accessory lead for the grips. To get the setup I wanted, I didn’t use the switch (a single-pole, double-throw, centre-off toggle) that came with the grips. Instead, I bought a DPDTCO (Double-pole, double-throw, centre-off) and used this wiring setup, and I machined a small aluminum bracket to allow the switch to mount neatly on the triple clamp.

Here’s how I installed my grips and wiring:

This is the “before” picture.
The bar-end weights had to come off temporarily.
The screws holding the weights in were very tight, and secured with semi-permanent loc-tite, so it took some effort to get them loose.

Here the weights are off. Feel free to try to get the old grips off in one piece, but I gave up on that while doing grips on my other bike, . . .

so I just slit the old grips with a sharp knife,
and peeled them off.
Next, I test-fitted a grip on each side, to see if the bars needed any cleaning or sanding to get the grips on.
They fit snugly with no problems.
I also cut the grip off the throttle side. The right-hand grip has a larger inside hole, to accomodate the throttle tube.
On the throttle side, it’s important to test turning the throttle through its full range of motion, to decide how to orient the grip. You want the protruding wire toward the back to be out of the way, but not so far that it hits the brake lever when the throttle is rotated.
Next, I roughened the throttle tube with coarse emery paper, leaving lots of scratches for the glue to adhere to.
The instructions are very specific about using standard 8-hour epoxy, not the 5-minute kind, because the 8-hour glue holds up to extremes of temperature better.
I mixed up a large portion of epoxy — about 1/2 tube for each handlebar.
I held a scrap of cardboard under the bar to catch drips,
and spread epoxy over the entire surface of the bar, being careful not to get any under the throttle tube or into any part of its moving parts.
Then I slid the grip on, carefully aligning the wire with the previously-determined position.
After making sure it was snugly in place, I quickly checked for any epoxy squeeze-out and cleaned it up.
The clutch side was the same routine — roughen with sandpaper, . . .
spread epoxy, . . .
covering the entire handlebar. No moving parts to worry about on this end.
I carefully slid the new grip on over the epoxy,
and lined it up so the wire is nicely tucked away at the bottom rear, out of the way. Next, I left the set-up alone for 24 hours for the epoxy to harden thoroughly. The instructions warn not to move the grips while the epoxy is curing.
While waiting for the epoxy to harden, I machined a little aluminum bracket to hold the switch and pilot light, with a right-angle flange to screw into the front of the triple-clamp.

I purchased a 12V auto relay, so I could switch a low-current supply from the ignition-switched running light, and use the relay to switch the high-current supply for the grips. Here’s the wiring plan I made up.

Next day, glue hard. First, I removed the windshield to give myself more room to work at the front of the bike. (I thought, for a while, I could avoid removing the whole front fairing.)
The switch bracket I made the previous night was designed to screw against the front of the triple-clamp, with the tops level.
I held it in place and marked it, . . .
then gave up on my attempt to work with the front fairing still mounted. Taking it off made a lot more room and reduced the frustration I was already starting to feel.
Next, I carefully drilled the front of the triple clamp to accept tapped threads,
and broke a tap off in the hole. (This is a personal tradition.) After a couple of hours, I managed to get the tap piece out and finish the tapping. Good thing you can buy taps in bulk, eh?
Here are the switch and pilot light in the bracket, mounted to the triple clamp with stainless machine screws.
Next, I mounted the power resistor to a fork tube, securing it over a bed of silicon sealant. The sealant absorbs vibration and the fork tube acts as a heat sink. I moved the handlebars to make sure the resistor wouldn’t hit anything in this position.
Next, I located a source of 12V power switched by the ignition switch. The headlight connector I had to remove to take off the front fairing seemed like a good place to look,
and it wasn’t hard to locate the wire that drives the front running light when the ignition is on.
I spliced into the wire carrying the switched current, and re-insulated with electrical tape.
To protect the relay from weather, I mounted it in an unused recess under the seat, and ran a pair of wires back, under the gas tank. I drew the high-current supply from the 10-Amp fused accessory lead in the fuse box under the seat.

Then I completed the various wiring steps as shown. Here is the power resistor, wired to the power supply and grips. Every connection is soldered, and most are insulated with shrink-wrap tubing.

This is a view of the underside of the switch and pilot light.
A wire with a crimp-on eye lug, screwed through by one of the fairing stay mounting bolts, provided a convenient ground for the circuits.
With the main seat replaced, the relay sits in the recess just at the front of the compartment under the rear seat. It’s held by a stainless screw through the left plastic wall of this area.
Here is the finished product. The new grips match well and the wires are out of the way.
And the switch panel blends nicely with the triple clamp. This is a 3-position switch. Centre is off. Down for low heat, up for high heat, and the pilot light comes on in either case.

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