Heated grips and hand guards are 2 important upgrades for a proper touring bike. Heated grips ensure, that your hands stay warm and hand guards protect your fingers from wind and any mechanical impact in case of a crash, that will happen for sure some day. Since the Oxford Heated Grips already did a great job on our old bikes, we decided to use them again. However, this time we took the shorter version called Oxford Premium Touring. Last time we used the Adventure grips, but we had to trim them.
After some research for hand guards, I decided to use the No-name ones we had also been using on the old bikes. The reason is, that I looked for guards with big plastics, a strong aluminium frame and no ventilation openings. We don’t need ventilation, but a proper wind and impact protection. These requirements don’t leave many options. I had ordered Acerbis X-Factory guards, but returned them in the end. They have a steel frame and their weight is ridiculous + they have ventilation. The Cycra Probend hand guards look promising, but I was not willing to spend ~150€ for some aluminium and a simple plastic piece. So in the end I returned to the “old”, proven No-name hand guards.
Let’s start with the installation.
Remove the stock grips from the handlebar. Either cut them completely, use a screw driver and push some alcohol underneath the grips or bloat them with a high pressure compressor. I simply cut the grips, since I won’t need them anymore.
Use a 6,8 mm drill (+cutting oil) and enlarge the thread of the handlebar weights to a M8 core drill hole. Be careful when drilling and cutting the new M8 thread. The material is quite tough. Best to use is a 3-piece tap set and cutting oil, of course. A single tap also works, but you must be even more careful, since you really don’t want to snap your tap.
The throttle tube has to be ground down completely. We also have to grind down the mechanical stop of the grip until only a tiny collar is left, that fits exactly into the recess of the Oxford heated grip. That’s the only way to be able to mount the new grip properly and the ground down mechanical stop will fit into the Oxford grip completely. We also have to open the closed end of the throttle tube to be able to mount the hand guards later on. Important! Don’t cut it, just drill it out on the side. The total length of the throttle tube is already exactly as long as the new heated grip. In case you cut the end it will be a bit too short. So make sure to keep the whole length!
Next thing to do is to roughen the handlebar on the left side. The internal side of the Oxford heated grips is plastic and we also roughen this internal surface on both grips. That’s important, since the heated grips become extremely hot. If we don’t do that, the adhesive won’t bond properly and they might start rotating afterwards.
Important! Before we glue the new heated grips onto the throttle tube/handlebar, we have to try out, that they slide completely onto the throttle tube/handlebar without heavy effort. Especially on the throttle tube, you will have only 1 attempt as soon as it is covered with adhesive. Furthermore it is important to clarify the alignment of the heated grips in advance. It won’t be possible to adjust it afterwards anymore.
Degrease the parts and cover the throttle tube/handlebar carefully with the Oxford adhesive. The adhesive has a quite low viscosity, so make sure it doesn’t drip and messes up something. Start with the correct alignment and slip the new grip onto the throttle tube/handlebar without interruption. The new heated grip should be perfectly placed now.
You can look at the right photo, how I decided to align the heated grip on the throttle side. It shows a vertical alignment of the grip’s cable outlet while at full throttle. In case it would be rotated more anti-clockwise, it might collide with a pulled brake lever. With an alignment rotated more clockwise, the cable outlet would stick out further towards the rider and the cable would have to be buckled more to lead it back to the handlebar + it would also look poorly.
Before I started mounting the new hand guards, I disassembled them completely, deburred all edges and holes and recut all threads. Since they are much cheaper compared to branded products, they obviously aren’t retreated as well as much more expensive hand guards when they come out of the box. I also replaced all the screws (except of the small ones holding the plastics) with proper A2 stainless steel torx screws. The Allen key heads just round out too quickly.
In addition to that, I cut the aluminium frame facing inwards (where they get attached to the bar mounts) and the part of the bar mounts, where the frame gets connected to. The reason for that, is to get more space for the break hose outlet. The first part of the outlet is inflexible and has a mechanical stop. It can’t be rotated upwards anymore and it is very close to the hand guard’s frame mount. By grinding the mount a little bit, I got a bigger gap between the mount and the break hose outlet. So in case the handguard should rotate due to a crash, it doesn’t get banged against the break hose outlet instantly.
Also – if you use no bar risers and the stock handlebar, the handguards come very close to the upper fork bridge. By grinding the tip of the hand guard frame, you get some more space there, too. There is too much material anyway and you also reduce the weight like that 😉
On the right side the handlebar weight is in-plane with the end of the handlebar. I trimmed 2 aluminium washers down to 22,2 mm (handlebar diameter) and used an additional 5 mm stainless steel spacer with 18 mm diameter towards the outside to install the frame of the handguard. The 2 aluminium washers are still situated inside the throttle tube. They close the opening as good as possible to keep out dust, but also provide enough space for the throttle tube to move freely.
On the right side of the handlebar is a ~5 mm offset between handlebar weight and the tip of the handlebar. I also used a 5 mm stainless steel spacer on that side + 5 additional washers – all 18 mm diameter (I didn’t have another 5mm spacer anymore) to provide enought space between the fork bridge and the hand guard. In case you are using bar risers, you can mount it like you want, but it also looks pretty symmetrical like that (on the photo are still some spacers missing btw).
On the left side you can see a photo of the completely installed throttle side without bar risers yet.
Finally I mounted the Oxford heat controller on the left side of the handlebar. I didn’t like the controller mount, that comes with the grips. It looks poor and is basically just a cheap, silver metal sheet. So I found a company in the internet, that could make me a proper 3D print. I chose black Nylon PA 11 – to get it as strong as possible.
To place the controller cable close to the handlebar, I installed a thinner bougie pipe, some heat shrink tubing and shrinked it in a bend. Afterwards I strengthened it with some self sealing tape.
The connectors of the Premium Hot Grips are not weatherproof and I can tell you first-hand, that they will cause trouble after some time. So you have to options. Either exchange the stock connectors with weatherproof connectors, or just solder them together like I did. You can find some more information for wiring devices soon in this article…