I have been huddled away in the garage playing electrical engineer the past couple of weeks. Although the Tiger came with many an aftermarket farkle it did not come with heated grips and of course, we all know that once you have heated grips that this would not do. It started with a discussion on the forum regarding heated grips, what works what doesn't. I have Hot Grips on the America, which heat well enough but they lack any sort of grip, padding or comfort. These are very hard plastic, ugly and expensive; I was up to $150 for the grips, the relay and switch. I would not recommend these nor buy again.
I installed the SPI heated elements on Trobairitz's TU250. These came highly recommended, most Google searches for anything remotely related to motorcycle electrics leads you to Tbolt's page. Don't believe me? Try it, and if you're going to steal photos from online you may as well take hers.
I personally haven't ridden the TU since installing these but I understand they do work well. The element kit is quite inexpensive, although I replaced the big old switch for the Radio Shack micro switch, I still came in under $40. We even mounted a set on Rick's bike.
Knowing I'd be riding off road and wanted better grip and padding than the stock grips could offer, discussion on the forum got heated and I was reluctant to dish out another small fortune for the crappy Hot Grips I put on the America.
Amongst our group we all value and respect Daren's opinion and several of us heeded his recommendation of the Oxford Sport Grips he installed on his beloved Misty.
I think there are four of us that bought and installed these grips including Josh and Erik on either side of Daren in the photo above, myself and Bluekat.
What sold me was the aggressive grip...
and the control module, all for just under $80.
Install is easy peasy, hook them directly up to the battery and you're good to go, the rest is plug and play. Unless you're me, then you have to make things difficult.
The Tiger has an accessory plug behind the fairing for heated grips, I'll just hook them up to that and I won't have to fish the wires under the tank to the battery. Easy enough, there are three wires to the plug: ground, constant power and switched power. Although the module will shut off if the battery drops below 11.4 volts I thought it'd still be nice to have them wired to the switched power. A Sunday afternoon later I was all wired, or so I thought. My Monday morning commute to work had the grips shutting off at idle whenever I was stopped at an intersection. This can't be right.
I was back in the garage taking off the fairing and dragging out the multi-meter. Now I know just enough about electricity not to shock myself and as long as I stand upstream it all flows downhill, right? Hmmm, ohms, amps, volts, resistance...can't be that hard.
I discovered that the switched power I hooked into was also stepped down, a resistor perhaps, probably the low power wire for the factory grips, but I figured it out only after I went roundy round consulting forums and Google trying to see if it was the battery, stator or regulator/rectifier causing the problem. An evening shot, I wired into the constant power and called it a night still fretting over the charging system.
I Googled motorcycle voltage monitor and who's site should appear? It's scary, I swear she owns Google stock.
Blatantly stolen from Bolty.net
Now I had another electrical farkle on order...this can't be good.
That night I was thinking, the previous owner only put 1000 miles on the bike in 3 years, maybe the battery is shot? Rolling the bike out of the garage the next morning confirmed my suspicions, good thing I had another bike to ride.
That evening we ran up to Salem and I bought a new battery with a lifetime warranty, if I was going to cook a $90 battery due to a bad charging system I was going to protect my investment.
The next day the bike seemed to run better and with a new battery, the grips worked, I was happy.
I should have left it at that....but noooooo, the voltage monitor arrived and I still had to hook it up to be sure that everything on the bike is doing what its supposed to be doing at any given moment.
Back to the garage again, off comes the fairing, a tap into power and a tap into ground, test, all is good, the new battery is in and another evening is shot.
Did you know that when a brake light is not lit, it makes a fantastic ground? However, when you leave for work the next morning and touch the brakes it causes the voltage monitor to dance all pretty colors. This will drive a person completely bonkers after a 13 mile commute.
Another evening of removing and reinstalling the fairing I had it hooked up, solid ground, ready to go...
I did mention I knew just enough about electricity to get myself in trouble and the next morning the voltage monitor was dancing pretty colors again. I pulled over and pulled a piece of electrical tape from my visor (makes a great sun visor) and taped over the light, I'll fix it when I get home.
I took inventory of my leftover electrical supplies then went to Radio Shack and bought a 30 amp relay, a distribution block, some wire then used a 20 amp inline fuse and a jumper strip I had at home to wire everything correctly.. I used Canyon Chasers website as a reference guide to wire everything up, but if you prefer, Google "motorcycle distribution block", evidently Tbolt has a pretty good write up.
In the end, the grips work, the monitor light stays green above 2k rpm, turns red at idle, flashes red at idle if the heated grips are on and then back to green at speed. The glare from the little LED light is terribly distracting but a fresh piece of electrical tape solved that problem. Sometimes I'd just rather not know, besides, I have AMA roadside assistance if need be.
Note to self: If I ever need to wire an electrical farkle again, call Stacy first.