Heated Grips vs Heated Gloves

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Heated grips vs heated gloves is a debate that has been going on for decades. If you live in a cold climate or ride all year round, this question has most likely come to mind at one point. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the temperature and other factors. The best choice for you is dependant on many of those factors. In this article, I will outline the pros and cons of both and make a recommendation based on the Australian climate.

Heated Grips

There are two types of heated grips on the market. One type is integrated into the grips, and the other is a heating element that you glue onto the handlebars. They do share some similar advantages, such as always being plugged in and ready to use on your motorbike and the ability to switch them on and off with ease. Furthermore, they are very comfortable to use and don’t interfere with your ability to operate the handlebar controls.

Heated Grips vs Heated Gloves
Pictured: V-STROM 1050 Heated Grip Set (Heated Grips vs Heated Gloves)

If you choose to go with the heating element, keep in mind that the heat will hold better in steel handlebars. Aluminium handlebars tend to dissipate the heat at a much greater rate. Thankfully, if you are unsure about what your handlebars are made out of, a quick test with a magnet will provide you with an answer. Steel handlebars are magnetic, whereas aluminium ones are not. The great thing about using the heated elements is that you can use whatever grips you want. If you use the heated grips with the integrated element, they will eventually wear out and have to be replaced, heating system and all.

Heated Grips vs Heated Gloves
Pictured: Heated Grip Elements (Heated Grips vs Heated Gloves)

Heated grips do a great job of keeping your palms and fingers warm. The only downside is that the outside of your hand can get quite cold in the wind, but this only becomes a problem in temperatures below 0°C. Thankfully, the Australian climate doesn’t reach those temperatures very often unless you are living in Melbourne. Thankfully, you can solve this by wearing silk inner gloves underneath your regular gloves.

Heated Gloves

Much like heated grips, there are two types of heated gloves. Gloves with an integrated lithium-ion battery that you charge before riding and wired gloves that plug directly into your bikes electrical system. Typically, battery-powered gloves last up to 4 hours on a low heat setting, which is rather inconvenient both for touring, and the forgetful types like myself that head to work in the morning wondering why the gloves aren’t heating up. Alternatively, you can use the wired heated gloves, but these come with more dangerous downsides. The wires have the potential to get tangled up. They feel uncomfortable and can get in the way of the handlebar controls.

Heated Grips vs Heated Gloves

Heated gloves come with the benefit of evenly warming up your entire hand, plus being about to dismount the bike with the gloves continuing to warm your hands. This isn’t as necessary in Australia, though, due to heated gloves being most effective in sub-zero conditions. However, one of the biggest downsides of heated gloves is that they are very thick and make operating the handlebar controls far more difficult. It stops you from being able to feel movement in the levers.

A potential risk of using lithium-ion powered heated gloves is the battery getting damaged and exploding in a slide. It can react to the oxygen and explode, easily reaching over 900°C while you are still wearing them.

Conclusion

The consensus is that most riders, myself included, prefer heated grips since they are set and forget. They provide more than enough warmth for the Australian climate and are far more comfortable, safe and convenient. Although they don’t warm the back of your hand, there are many ways to compensate. Heated gloves are excellent if you expect snow or to keep as a spare on the side if you leave on the bike in more extreme conditions. Before making any decision, it’s important to check both the draw of the element and the output of your stator. You can find this information in your manual.

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