I have had my set of Oxford Hot Grips (Sport) on my 1250 Suzuki bandit for the last three winters, and have found them invaluable. Although Adelaide winters are not that cold – occasional mornings down to 4 or 5 degrees Celsius – navigating commuter traffic with warm responsive hands is a must. I find I can wear medium weight gloves on even the coldest days and rarely have to have my grips on anything lower that the second lowest of the four available settings.
The grips come with a controller that can be bar-mounted to existing standard mirror brackets via the supplied mounting plate. It can also be stuck to a flat surface provided you can find a suitable area on the dash that is about 4cm x 4cm.
The weatherproof controller has an On/Off switch and then 2 buttons to toggle up or down through the four heat ranges, which are displayed by four separate (and differently coloured) mini LEDs. The lowest setting is suitable for those days in the 15+C range, and the settings increase progressively to the top heat level which I like to refer to as 'Weld'. Warning, plastic gloves would be inadvisable at this heat level which I am led to believe can generate up to 50C. J
Suffice to say that you would be hard pressed in our conditions to find yourself without a suitable heat range.
The Oxford grips compare very favourable to those on the BMW F800GS I rode around Peru whilst following the 2012 Dakar. The BMW has only 2 settings, and whilst belting through sleet and snow at 3500+metres with ambient temperatures at minus 3C, the hottest of the BMW settings couldn't cut it. I tried the BMW grips in more gentle conditions, too, and I didn't feel they put out anywhere near the maximum heat levels of the Oxford grips.
The Oxford unit has a small electronic box that connects between the battery and the dash or bar-mounted controller and the grips themselves, and this has a failsafe which stops the grips consuming voltage if the battery drops below around 12.8Volts, so if you inadvertently leave the ignition on the grips will not drain your battery. The lights might, but the grips won't.... J
To further ensure battery drain does not occur, I would advise anyone to wire the connections to the battery via a 30Amp relay, and put a fusible connection between the relay and the hot terminal of the battery. The switch circuit (pin 86 on the relay) can be spliced into the tail light circuit, for example, so as soon as the lights go on, the relay is energised.
See my post on this issue on the NSW Bandits Forum.
If you are planning on using other electrical items like GPS, phone chargers, etc, I can also advise on how to set up a common power source from the relay to allow rapid connection of additional devices.
Installation is straightforward. The most work is generally removing your old grips and cleaning off any residual glue on the bars. After that the trick is to dry fit the new grips, and work out how you have to position them to clear the clutch lever and brake lever when they are pulled in. The grips have a bulged output to supply energy to heat them, and you need to pay close attention to how you want the throttle in particular to be positioned for the normal range of openings.
Once you've settled on the correct position, follow the instructions supplied and apply the SuperGlue to hold them in place. Note that SuperGlue will stop them rotating when they shouldn't, but the nature of this glue means that if you decide to remove the grips for some reason, sliding a screwdriver between the grip and the bar should be enough to shear the adhesive and release the grips.
Then it's time to hook up the idiot-proof connectors, check everything works OK, and then judicious use of cable ties to tidy it all up.
In my own experience, the $120 or so for the kit and around $25 for the relay and fused link and wire has been a cheap solution, compared to the amount of comfort it has supplied.
I'm happy to help anyone who buys a set and wants to fit them properly, too. Probably take no more than 2 hours out of my life......
DaveB, Sabers Committee