You Need Heated Motorcycle Grips Before It Gets Cold

In praise of warm hands on cold days.

Heated grips, like the ones on this BMW R NineT are sure to keep your hands nice and warm on any cold winter motorcycle ride.
Thumbs-up for heThumbs-up for heated grips on cold, wet mornings!ated grips on cold, wet mornings!Ari Henning

It's not often cold here in Southern California during winter (that's why so many of us moved here, after all), but we understand not everyone lives here. It's been unseasonably cold and wet here and that's fine with me, because my Tourmaster Transition Series 5 jacket keeps me safe and dry, and the BMW R nineT Scrambler I've been riding has heated grips that keep my paws warm.

Why Do You Need Heated Motorcycle Grips

If you’re thinking, “Damn, Ari is a wuss,” chill out. I went years without heated grips, including a mid-winter, cross-country, 10,000-mile ride wearing $60 unlined leather gloves. I’ve paid my dues, done my roadside push-ups to stay warm, and earned the comfort offered by electrically enhanced grips. Suffering with cold hands might build character, but having numb, undexterous digits is unsafe. You forfeit control feel, reaction time, and strength due to deadened nerves and reduced blood flow.

Warm hands mean that you can stay in control of your bike, no matter the temperature outside.
The R nineT’s heated-grip button is conveniently located.Ari Henning

Heated grips are subject to the same criticisms as quickshifters and traction control. It’s true, you don’t need warm hands, clutchless full-throttle upshifts, or an electronic safety net to enjoy a motorcycle ride, but if you’re a staunch opponent of any of these things, it’s probably because you haven’t tried them. All of these electronics do is try to keep you safe. Well, not quickshifters. Those are just plain fun.

Can I Put Heated Grips On My Bike?

If your ride didn't come with heated grips, don't fret. There are plenty of aftermarket options out there that'll push plenty of BTU into your palms. There are a couple of different routes you could take. Many manufacturers offer bike-specific heated grips that replace your stockers and are plug-and-play. You’ll normally pay a premium for this because of branding and the fact that the grips only fit your bike.

You can go aftermarket with these Heat Demon elements under your existing grips if you want, but I'm not a fan of that style since they tend to make your grips rotate and the heat output is always uneven because the handlebar acts as a heat sink. (The plastic throttle tube acts as an insulator on the right grip). For more warmth, you're better off replacing your grips with integrated units like Oxford's Heaterz grips.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you’re not a wuss for wanting warm hands. Between comfort, safety, and just being able to ride more when it’s cold out, heated grips are a great thing to have.