Scott's 2001 VFR 800, No frills and pretty much stock


Beth's 98 VFR 800, OEM blue bodywork and stripped rims

Beth's 2001 Suzuki SV650S - Hot Grips


  Riding a motorcycle with cold hands and thick gloves is just not fun. This is especially true for long rides on the highway where you shift very seldom and your hands go numb in one position. Then when you try to exit and drive on the regular streets, it is difficult to manipulate the controls. Not good. So I decide to try heated grips on our bikes. After doing some checking around, I decide on Hot Grips. My VFR 800 is the guinea pig. Having worked out all the bugs installing the grips on my bike, I turn my attention to Beth's SV.

  There is very little difference in the procedure for her bike so I have not included an in depth description of the process here. For more details, see the install description on my bike. I discuss the few differences below. The grips for each bike are identical, 4-3/4" long and for a 7/8" bar. I have included the final install pictures on her bike here.

Side View of Controller
Side View of Controller: Close up
View From Seat: Close up
Left Grip
Throttle Grip

  The grips come with a toggle switch as the default. I opt for the Variable Heat Controller because it allows fine tuning of the desired level of heat, resulting in less fiddling with the controls while riding. There are not very many options concerning the location of the Variable Heat Controller. I cut a circle from a piece of paper the same size as the base of the controller. Then I place the paper in potential locations to see how much room will be needed. I decide that the front left dash is exactly the size it needs to be, no more and no less. The controller knob is easy to reach while riding and is not obtrusive.

  In each of the side views, you can see a red wire coming from under the front of the gas tank and running to the front of the triple clamp. This is the hot wire coming from the Relay that powers the controller. In retrospect, I would have used a black wire as it would be much less noticeable. However, I don't have the desire to go back and change it out so bad that I am willing to un-ziptie everything, change it out, and re-ziptie everything. Besides, Beth does not mind it.

SV650S Specific Instructions

  There is one important point at which the install procedure for the VFR and the SV differ. It is the removal of the throttle grip. The stock grip clips over a lip at each end of the throttle tube on the SV. Also, the throttle tube is ribbed to keep the grip from spinning on the tube when you twist the throttle to wheelie mode. This makes it more difficult to remove the grip. The hairspray trick mentioned in the procedure for the VFR helps. Once the grip is removed, the lips on each end have to be removed in order for the Hot Grip to fit over the throttle tube properly.

  There is a tool that no one should be without... a Dremel! I whip out the tiny little cutting blade and get after the plastic lips. In a matter of minutes they are gone, mostly, actually... what is left of them is all over the front of the bike like snow flakes hehe. But I just wipe and blow them off the bike after I am done. I use a small grinding wheel attachment to tidy up the ends of the throttle tube and then check the fit of the grip. The ribs on the tube do NOT have to be removed. At this point, installation and gluing of the grips is just like the VFR.

  The final assembly of the wires is a tad more difficult on the SV because I don't remove any of the body work. On the VFR I could access the underside of the dash by removing my left side fairing. No such luck here. It helps to have small hands so that you can more easily reach behind the fairing and get to all the wires to zip tie them so they don't flop around. Also, the location of the ground wire is different. I run a ground wire from the grips, under the edge of the fairing near the controller, and to the rear fairing screw back by the frame and gas tank, just under the clutch lever. I use an eye hole connector and slip it between the bolt and the underside of the fairing. I am a bit surprised that it is actually a ground point, but it works fine.


  We have since been riding in temperatures in the mid-forties. I had on my winter gloves (not very thick or bulky actually) and Beth had on her regular thin summer gloves. After about an hour of riding, Beth's hands were cold and she was ready to head home. However, I had mine set on about 60% power and was nice and toasty. Down to about 50 F, the street gloves are fine with the grips. But for anything lower than 50 F, I prefer to use the thicker gloves because they keep the wind off the top of the fingers better and keep the thumb warmer. Remember, it is typically hanging below the grip and in the wind! We both love the grips. Now we are working on the tush and the toes!

  I have had to remove the Vista Cruise throttle locks on both of our bikes. They attach to the throttle grip with a ring that slips over the flange on the end of the grip near the switch housing. The wires coming out of that flange on the Hot Grips precludes the use of the throttle lock in the normal manner. I will be thinking about this problem as I really want to have the use of the throttle lock. However, the end result is that we installed Throttlemeister throttle locks on the bikes. They replace the bar end weights and do not interfere with the Hot Grips at all.

  The diameter of the grips is larger than the stock grips on both of our bikes. However, they are not so large as to be uncomfortable. After a brief ride, I had already begun to get used to it and not really pay any attention to it anymore. The grips are also harder than the stock grips because of the type of rubber they have to use. Neither of us put much weight on our hands when riding so it does not appear to be a problem. If it were, I would try using some gloves with the Gel pads in the palm.

  Some folks say go with the electric gloves. I guess if I was riding in sub 40 F temperatures for any distance, I might be inclined to do that. However, the grips are just so much more convenient. We never have to remember to throw them in our pockets or tank bags so they will be there when we need them. Also, I don't have to mess with plugging my self into the bike and running cords all over the place. Last, the gloves I saw were all at least $150 or more. The grips are $89.99 and it was an additional $39.99 for the Variable Heat Controller. The total, with shipping, is well worth the cost for the comfort and performance. I highly recommend these grips.

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