Product Review Koso Heated Grips

Koso Heated Grips Review

I am doing a full product review of the Koso heated grips. Are they worth their price? What do they have more than the competition? Read along for a detailed test in real conditions.

In a nutshell for our busy readers

What I like about them

What I don’t like about them

  • Quality of finish
  • With integrated switch in the left handle
  • The set heating level is also indicated by the colour on the left handle
  • Memory function (last saved set-up)
  • Low battery warning ensures that the bike has enough power to start
  • Handlebars switch off automatically if the motorbike voltage drops below 11.5 V for >5 seconds
  • Price in the average of the market (<150 CHF/€), and cheaper than the original manufacturer’s grips (295 CHF/€)
  • 2 years warranty
  • Available in 120 and 130mm (length), depending on your bike type
  • Glue provided did not hold -> use a bi-component glue like UHU-Schnellfest
  • Heating time: minimum 10 to 15min -> less suitable for short journeys
  • Installation required some work (Triumph Tiger)

Product Review Koso Heated Grips

In details now

Intro

Often capricious, it is true that the Swiss climate can sometimes put bikers to a severe test. Therefore, especially in the off-season, heated grips can be a highly recommended feature for bikers for whom riding a motorbike does not have to be synonymous with masochism.

In addition, it is also a safety feature to a certain extent. Indeed, in case of prolonged cold, fatigue can set in which can distract the rider from the road as he/she will focus on the sensation of cold.

And while many manufacturers offer them, particularly on premium vehicles, now either as standard equipment or as a factory option, some of you may not have had the possibility to choose or may want to upgrade later.

So that’s where the OEMs come in. And even if Oxford is the leader in this market, it is challenged by other manufacturers.

This is why I wanted to test the Koso brand in real conditions. With more than 35 years of experience in designing and manufacturing high quality products, Koso is indeed not a newcomer on the market and the specs of their touring/trail heated grips looked more than adequate.

 

What comes in the kit

Dimensions

  • Grips with integrated temperature controller
  • High-temperature grip glue
  • Battery connection fused wiring harness
  • Grip end caps (if not using bar end weights)
  • Length: 120 mm or 130 mm
  • Width of gripping surface: 100 mm or 110 mm
  • Outside Ø of gripping surface: 32.5 mm
  • Outside Ø inside/outside: 52/38 mm
  • Cable length from inside the handle to the junction of the two cables right/left: 710/820 mm
  • Cable length from junction to on-board power socket: 1600 mm
  • Weight: 300 gr.

Test Koso Poignées Chauffantes | Product Review Koso Heated Grips

Product Review Koso Heated Grips

Installation

Installed on a Triumph Tiger 800, the assembly required some work.

Indeed, first of all for the right-hand grip, it was necessary to file the small plastic dents at the end of the handlebar, which aim to maintain in place the rubber handle. Because of the stiffness of the plastic/rubber of the Koso grips, it was impossible to get past them.

And once the right handle had been inserted on the end of the handlebar, it had to be hammered in all the way to the end of the handlebars. The left-hand grip, on the other hand, could be fitted without any problems.

Concerning the connectivity, and even if the manufacturer announces a safety function, like a killer-switch with automatic switch off when the battery goes under a certain level of charge, I didn’t want to take any risk and wanted to connect them in “after contact”. And it took me a while, with the help of Robin from Rideshaper and a multimeter, to find the right point of connection, on the rear light. But that was more due to the wiring harness of the bike than the grips themselves.

Product Review Koso Heated GripsWhat tools will you need? 

  • Standard tools (hex keys among others)
  • A sledgehammer (if it’s difficult to insert) with soap as a lubricant to facilitate the process.
  • Zip ties to avoid floating cables
  • A multimeter and a soldering iron if you want to connect “after contact”.

By the way, check out the article on the tool essentials every biker should have at home.

Also note that the glue provided in the kit, araldite bi-component type, did not hold, and this despite the scrupulous respect of the setting time (announced in 30min). Indeed, after a few days, the left handle started to rotate around the handlebar.

Did the glue melt because of the temperature differences when the grips are at full power? Or because I didn’t let it rest/dry long enough? It’s hard to say. But in any case, it had to be fixed. In a hill start when you let go of the clutch and the handlebar makes a quarter turn, I let you imagine…

On Robin’s advice, I decided to use a two-component glue, like UHU-Schnellfest. They say that the glue holds after 30 minutes and that it definitely holds after 12 hours. However, it should not be applied if the air temperature is below 15 degrees. To be sure, I let it dry for 24hrs with a clamp to put pressure on the handle.

Also, they say it can withstand temperature ranges of -20 to +100 degrees. We’ll see if it holds up better over time. I’ll update in a few weeks.

Product Review Koso Heated Grips

Usage

With the start of the 2023 season not being the most clement in terms of climate, the weather was just right for a test in real conditions (temperatures between 5 and 15 degrees). After that it is clear that I did not test them in freezing temperatures. But it’s true that I don’t ride in the middle of winter either.

I also ride these days with leather gloves from Fuel. Even if they are relatively thick leather, they are not big winter gloves either. Also, the feeling of warmth will not be the same depending on the type of gloves you are using.

Are they easy to use/intuitive?

Yes, absolutely! A single switch on the left handlebar, 5 heat levels with a corresponding colour, plus a memory function, i.e. the system saves the last level used.

In addition, unlike the Oxford equivalent, the switch is integrated in the handle and you don’t have to carry an extra unit on the handlebars. This is a big advantage in my opinion.

Because if you also have a Quadlock (smartphone) and maybe a Beeline or a classic GPS, then your handlebars will look more like a Christmas tree than a motorbike handlebar, which can be distracting.

Key aspect: what about the warmth delivered?

With the gloves on, it is clear that the 2 or even the 3 least powerful levels, the feeling was almost nonexistent. Also, I was almost always on the two maximum levels.

And according to the manufacturer’s data, it takes at least 10 to 15 minutes to reach maximum power.

Test Koso Poignées Chauffantes

Product Review Koso Heated Grips

Also, for short trips, especially in the city, you may have the feeling that the handles don’t get hot enough. But with a little patience, the feeling of heat will be there. Especially if you also have a hand guard to protect you from the wind.

Therefore, on longer rides, where you will easily spend 1 to 2 hours on the bike without stopping, then there will be no problem. But if you use your bike for short (peri-)urban trips, especially in winter, then you might be a bit unsatisfied with the level of heat.

Any flaws?

Not really in my opinion. The price is correct and almost 2x cheaper than their equivalent at Triumph (295.- CHF/€ without installation).

You may even find them on sale online (e.g. early or late season action).

And the price for the Oxfords’ is about the same. And again, the switch is not integrated. Well it seems that Oxford is now also offering a version with an integrated switch, aware of this shortcoming.

The only thing left is the installation, which, depending on the type of bike/handlebar, can be a bit of a hassle. So if you don’t feel up to it, ask a DIY friend for help.

I hope this article has been helpful to you.

Ride on !

Adrien

Product Review Koso Heated Grips

Cruizador

Hey, I'm the founder and Chief Biker Officer of Cruizador. I've been a motorcyclist and travel enthusiast for a long time, and it was in 2018 that I decided to launch this new service, hoping that it would speak to as many bikers as possible who share the same philosophy and the same thirst for the great outdoors. I'd be delighted to take note of your comments, ideas for improvement, etc. Ride on!

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