I’m not going to keep you waiting, The A’ME heated grips work as advertised. If you were already planning on purchasing them just based on if they will keep your hands warm on a 10 deg winter ride, then hit that “buy” button. On the other hand, if you are on the fence about these grips, keep reading. I have been riding for a couple months with the grips and I’m ready to drop some opinion.
First and foremost, they are grips. There are a million different grips out there for you to choose from. Big diameter, small diameter, anti-vibration, ergo, color, texture, stickiness, shape, material, even some with bar ends. As just grips, the A’MEs are very nice. They have a good sticky feel with riding gloves or bare hands, just like the leading competitors. I was surprised that even with wiring and heating elements, they didn’t feel big at all. From an overall tactile perspective, the grips feel just as good as the leading competitors.
But these aren’t simple grips so let’s get into the setup. You receive a lot of stuff with in this package. Battery, battery charger, grips, lots of wires, velcro straps, and an allen wrench. It seems like a lot but it is pretty straight forward. Charging of the AME Li-Po battery is done through their smart charger, by connecting one of the batteries leads to the charger via the DuxButt waterproof connector. While it may not seem like an a stand out feature, the DuxButt connectors are really nice as they are nearly impossible to screw up, are easy to attach with gloves on, and seem waterproof. There is a light that comes on when you plug in the battery, red means you are charging, green means you’re done. Simple.
Attaching everything to your bike is also fairly easy. The grips are held on like any others with a ring and an allen head screw. The cables and battery take some planning. Things to consider: handlebar rotation, power/level button location, and battery location. I chose the battery location first. The kit comes with a thoughtful rubberized battery tray. the rubber helps immensely in two ways: it keeps the battery in place with friction, and it is soft in a way to keep from scratching your frame by rubbing. Along with the supplied velcro strap and rubber tray, the battery fit nicely against my top tube. The strap is nice in that it has a D-ring, allowing you to tighten it quite a bit by pulling through.
With the battery in place I started running the wires.You are supplied with plenty of wire length. Some might say too much, but better too much than too little I guess. I wrapped mine around my bar a couple times and attached the power button to my stem with a zip tie. The button is easy to push even with pretty thick gloves. As previously mentioned, the DuxButt plugs are pretty foolproof and easy to plug in.
Now, it was time to ride! I tried to go out on the coldest morning I could find, around 15 deg, to try the grips out. The settings are 1 (warm) through 6 (almost hot). With fairly thick ski gloves on, the highest I got was 3. and even then It was almost too much. These things put out the BTUs! One thing I noticed is since the are producing radiant heat, the heat up is gradual through your gloves, not like just touching something hot. A person could easily get away with just some normal riding gloves with these grips and be comfortable. I went on a pretty techy, rough trail and I was pleasantly surprised that the battery, along with it’s rubber tray, didn’t move at all. Also all the wires and plugs are rubberized, no scratching or rubbing the paint like you see with shifter cables. over all, aside from having warmer hands, I don’t notice the grips or battery at all.
I have crashed a couple times, and like those of you who are reading this, I used my body as a shield to protect the bike. The ends of the grips have gotten a little torn up from the crashes and leaning of the bike. It hasn’t hurt the heating element at all.
As the rides have moved into the slightly warmer 20-30 deg. I have started to keep the grips at the lowest setting and wearing thin summer gloves which are much more comfortable. Also, after 2 months of testing, I took the battery off my bike and, again, was pleasantly surprised that it hadn’t left any scratches or rub marks despite some serious riding.
The battery lasted around 1.5 hours. According to A’ME the type of handlebar you have can affect this. Carbon, being and insulator (doesn’t conduct heat), is the best since it keeps the heat in the grips. Aluminum, an excellent conductor, can leach heat away from the grips and therefore drain the battery faster, all else being equal. My bar is aluminum. A person could get around two hours per charge with carbon bars. Long term there might be a reduction in charging capacity of the battery, but I haven’t noticed anything in a couple months of use.
They are actually nice grips.
They work exactly as advertised.
A lot of care was taken to make sure the battery and wires don’t scratch your bike.
Battery isn’t too heavy or bulky.
Price, the system is quite expensive.
It can clutter up the cockpit quite a bit.
Certain crashes could damage the battery or pull wires from the grips.
This system is not for everybody. I think I could personally live without them. But, for some people, it could be the single greatest invention ever! If your are a cold-blooded individual, these grips could extend your riding season from Nine months a year to Twelve. As a side note / alternate benefit, I can imagine that an older rider with arthritis would get huge benefits from the warmth of the grips. It would increase blood flow in your hands and keep them from getting too stiff. I haven’t seen research on this, nor do I have arthritis, but it seems like it would help a lot.
4.5 gnomes out of 5
Honestly…the only problem is the price. The grips do exactly what they promise, and maybe more. it’s just a little pricy for some people. Especially if your fat bike is one of a couple bikes and used seasonally.
Requires 45 watts of power per pair (22.5 watts each) and draws 3.5 amps per pair @13 volts in order to sustain the grips when initially turned on.
A comfortable hand temperature improves blood flow which reduces fatigue and maximizes dexterity and performance. 6 Month Grip Replacement on Manufacture Defect.
2-Year Half-Price Replacement Warranty on grips for damage due to fall or excessive wear.
Simple push button, 6-setting temperature adjustment with LED lights.
Patent pending / Made in USA
GRIPS ONLY $80.
BATTERY PACK $89.
BATTERY CHARGER $26.
MOUNTING SYSTEM $4.
COMPLETE KIT $199. NOTE: US Pricing ONLY. Call for International Pricing.
For further information visit – http://amegrips.com/category/catalog/mountainbikeheated
Great review. Have you guys tested out any heated gloves like the Sealskinz? Which do you prefer? I’m thinking there’s better grip with heated grips but more junk on your bike.
I have had two sets of these grips on my commuter and fat bike over the last three seasons….well, technically, this was supposed to be the third season until last night.
The problem is the switches used to power on and set the heat levels. I have had three of them stop working and it is because they are too small and sensitive to pressure, which I learned from an employee of AME after the first switch died and they sent me another.
I think this has been an ongoing issue for them as the two sets that I have both have different switch/battery configurations and my friend who also has two sets has two different configurations on top of that. Plus, you cannot purchase the switches separately (which is i suspect is due to all the different configurations?)
When the switches work, the grips are great for Canadian winter riding but I am done with these now. Too expensive for such a delicate and sensitive item.
Did the design get more robust? Anyone purchased these recently – are the switches more robust?