With my winter riding only a few rides in, the AME Heated Ergo Tri MTB grips are already one of the most controversial parts I’ve ever had adorning my bike. Comments have ranged from that is the coolest thing ever, to rage filled rants about the relatively high price tag and the fact that they can’t possibly work. I’ve always tried to keep an open mind when it comes to new products, though I must admit that I was stoked when a package from AME arrived in the mail.
Obviously due to the price and the intended use of the AME heated grips, they are not for everyone, so just who are they for? I feel that my disdain for bulky winter gloves along with the fact that my hands and fingers get cold very quickly make me a likely candidate for use of AME’s heated grips. I’ll delve deeper into why I would want heated grips, and their performan in a later post of my final review, but for all the haters, yes they do actually work, and yes they get extremely hot!
Inside the box you will find the grips, Li-Po battery, Smart charger, and battery mounts. Everything is carefully packaged, and comes with concise instructions making initial set up extremely quick and easy.
Just how much weight are you going to add to your bike? Find out after the break!
Next to “do they work?” the next question that usually followed was “just how much heavier are they than normal grips?” Above on the lefts is the exact same grip as the Heated Ergo Tris, simply known as the Ergo Tri. AME has been in the grip business for ages, and seems to have the art of the grip down, with tacky rubber, an excellent lock-on system, and good shape, all of which add up to one of my favorite grips on the market regardless of the heated option. Amazingly, the heated version only adds 26 grams to the overall weight of the grip, which includes the heating element, switch, led indicators, cables, and Duxbutt connectors. Even more impressive, is the fact that somehow they managed to not make the heated grips any wider, and maintain it’s slender profile. Keep in mind that AME also offers the heated 1.3 Tri grip which offers a fatter grip, if that’s your thing.
The entire system weight comes in just over a pound at 489 grams. This weight includes the rechargeable Lithium-Ion Polymer battery, and the excellent battery mount. The best part of the whole weight issue, is that almost all of the extra weight can be placed on the frame, helping to center any extra mass.
The battery and battery mounts are easily one of the best designs I have seen when it comes to rechargeable batteries for bike related activities. The battery itself is fairly compact at 3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ x 1″, and features plastic loops around the perimeter for threading the velcro strap through. What it comes down to, are 3 main ways to attach the battery, horizontal or vertically on it’s side with the smaller rubber mount, or flat as a pancake against the frame with the addition of the large rubber guard.
In order to allow for the battery to be removed for charging, AME heated grips feature one connection per grip to the battery via DuxButt connectors. As you may imagine with a name like DuxButt, these connection are water tight and due to the interlocking semi circle design it would be nearly impossible to connect them improperly ensuring no damage can be done to the connecting pins. The Large barrel shape to the connectors also allows for easy operation even with winter gloves on, which if you’re using these, that’s almost guaranteed. In addition to the protection of the connections, all of the cables themselves feature a sort of mesh “armor” to prevent abrasion or cutting of the cables while in use or transport.
AME claims that the smart charger will charge a fully depleted battery in under 4 hours, however mine has never been on the charger for more than 1 hour. Like most high end battery chargers, the AME smart charger has two LEDs to show that the battery is either charging, or fully charged. Connection of the battery to the charger is accomplished by attaching one connector (it doesn’t matter which) to the DuxButt connector on the charger. Supposedly ride time with both grips set on high is two hours, but the closest I have gotten so far is just over an hour, and the grips were only set to 3.
Once the grips are installed, and the battery is connected, control of the heating element is easily accomplished via a simple push button on each grip. Both grips are independent of each other and feature 6 levels of heat, which are made known to you by the blue LED on the grip itself. Press the button once to turn it on, and it is automatically set to heat level one and the LED will flash once. If more heat is desired, simply press the button until the level is reached, say level 5 and the LED will flash 5 times. Once the LED flashes to let you know the heat level, it will begin to pulse showing that it is heating up. After the final temperature is sensed by the micro processor in the grip, the LED will dim letting you know the heat setting has been reached. When you are done riding, holding down the button will turn the grip off and the LED will turn off.
Just like the connectors, the control button on the grip is also easily operated with winter gloves, and due to the fact that is is molded into the grip, there is no chance for mud, snow, or ice to get into the button and cause a malfunction.
Installation is a breeze thanks to the excellent battery mount, and one of the best lock-on systems on the market. It’s so easy in fact, that it isn’t a problem if the weather swings violently and you don’t need the heat that day. Removal of my non heated grips and installation of the heated variety can be accomplished in under a minute, and only requires one Allen wrench.
So, about that price, yes they are expensive. At over $300 for the complete set up, you aren’t going to see every guy in you local club sporting a pair. However, when you compare them and the amount of technology involved to similar high end head lights, it starts looking more reasonable. Also, AME is running some special pricing now through local distributors and LBS’s.
Just like a good headlight, the point of the AME heated Ergo Tris is to extend ones useable riding time, and increase the comfortable range of temperatures that you can ride in. While it may be hard for some to justify, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. What do I think about the effectiveness, and value of heated grips? You’ll have to wait for my final review to find out!