The cold!

Now before I start this instalment, I would like to mention my crew mate and good friend Del.

Unfortunately a few weeks ago Del had a major “off” on his GSXR whilst riding to work, you’ve probably read about it on his blog but if you haven’t, I will cover the incident now. I have ridden with Derek for approximately three years now, trips which have included 200 mile day runs out, week-ends away and two major mile munching excursions to France.

He is and extremely experienced, fluid and natural advanced rider. I can count really good riders that I have ridden with on one hand and, trust me, Del is situated close to my thumb. Now Del decided to ride to work at 6am while the temperature was -1 degree. As he negotiated a long, sweeping bend on a dual carriageway, his bike struck black ice at 70mph and the machine washed away from under him. Del received four broken ribs, a punctured lung, a dislocated thumb and a badly damaged bike.

I learned from this incident at Del’s expense, unfortunately; if a rider of his calibre can crash then so can the rest of us…During my recent advanced police course, my instructor drummed into me from day one: ‘If its +3 degrees or below, then don’t turn a wheel, it’s not worth it because not all roads are treated for ice!’

While keeping on the subject of cold and Del for that matter, I would like to explain how to install heated grips. Just before Del’s ice skating lesson, I fitted a set to his GSXR and he really rated them! I have a set fitted to my Blackbird and they come standard on the BMWs at work.

I hate name dropping but I have to say it, for quality, easy fitment and value for money Oxford “Hot Grips” are the way forward.

Fitting Del’s pair only took me 15 minutes and I needed very few tools to do the job. The process is detailed below:

Step one

Because you are fiddling with electrics on the bike, disconnect the battery (always the negative, – or black side).

Step two

“Hot Grips” come in two sizes either for cruisers or sports bikes, so make sure you purchase the right size. The seller should have a list of bikes covering the various sizes.

Step three

Take off your bar ends then pull off your old grips. This might take a bit of effort because bike grips are normally glued in place, so as you pull the grip off twist the grip at the same time. Once both grips are off, clean up the glue residue from around your bars or “Clip-ons”.

Step four

Dry fit the grips onto the bars and then refit the bar ends. If the “Hot Grips” bind against the bar end on the throttle side and does not allow the throttle to spring back, you will need to trim the end of the “Hot Grips” with a sharp blade. Don’t worry, “Oxford” expect you to do this.

Step five

Once the “Hot Grips” fit properly, remove them again and cover the surface of the bars with the glue provided. This will ensure the “Hot Grips” stay in place and don’t spin around when riding.

Step six

At the other end of the “Hot Grips” are moulded wiring harnesses. They need to be plugged into the control switch which we will look at next. You cannot plug them in the wrong way round because the connections are individual.

Step seven

Find a convenient location on the handle bars (normally the clamp holding the clutch or brake leavers in place) and attach the control switch.

Step eight

Feed the red (+) and black (-) cables under your bike’s side fairing and attach to the battery terminals. If the positive is not colour coded red, then its easy to identify the positive wire because it will have an in-line fuse attached to it.

Step nine

Finally after connecting the wiring to the battery, test the grips with the engine running. Within a few minutes, the grips should become toasty warm. During this warming up phase, take time to double check that all the wiring loom is hidden under the fairings and make sure the steering moves from lock to lock without stretching the wiring at all.

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