Earlier this year at Sea Otter, Tyler scoped out the new heated Ergo Tri and 1.3 Tri grips that A’ME had on display. While drastically more expensive than your average set of grippers, the special ability to keep your mitts warm will surely rank high among seasoned cold weather riders coming in a close second only to a good pair of winter riding boots.
While at Interbike, A’ME had their heated mountain bike grips on display but also were quietly pushing their newest innovation: heated road tape! I say tape, because it’s not really a grip but keep in mind the actual cork tape isn’t the heating element. The actual heating element wasn’t shown due to A’ME wanting to secure patents before showing it to the public. However, it was described as a long and flat heating element that is flexible and thin enough to hide under bar tape or hoods. The tape is long enough to wrap under a hood and back to the curve in the bar, or wrap the entire top of a road handlebar.
More details to come after the break!
While wrapping under the hood does add a little bulkÂ to the tape job, it wasn’t annoyingly big and when you are wearing gloves in the winter it will be hard to notice. Plus, they flexibility of the heating element will allow you to choose exactly where and how you want to heat your bar which enables you to place the heat directly where you ride the most.
I was able to speak with Bob from A’ME who has done an amazing amount of testing with the heated grips in cold rooms with great results. He really helped illustrate that this is not just a gimmick, but a product that produces real results while riding in the cold. When the temperature starts to dip, our bodies go into self preservation mode directing blood flow to vital organs and away from our extremities. Keeping your hands warm will improve circulation and therefore improve performance and obviously dexterity on cold rides. Not to mention heated grips mean thinner gloves which improves shifting and braking performance.
Honestly to the casual observer, short of the battery pack and connectors, the entire system is completely unassuming. The interesting thing about the road setup is that you still chose your own tape, allowing complete customization. The routing is fairly clean and includes DuxButt (tighter than a..) weather proof connectors which allow you to not carry the battery pack if you choose not to use the heating function for any reason and help to keep the system weather tight. Currently there at two diamond shaped controllers that contain a push button to toggle through the different levels of heat for each side of the handlebar.
All of the wires will plug into this fairly compact Lithium Ion battery which will provide 1.5 to 2 hours of heat depending on the level chosen. Also important to keep in mind is the fact that metal handlebars will only act as heat sinks and therefore carbon bars will provide the best performance for the grips. Pricing and availability is TBD, but keep an eye our at your local retailer or check on the status at A’ME’s website.