Koso Apollo Heated Grips – Long Term Review

I’ve been running the Koso Apollo Heated Grips on my CB500X for the past 14 months and they’ve served me very well so far. I’ll break down the review into a 3 different parts: Installation, Fit and Finish, & Usage and Durability.

Installation

 

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This is the first set of heated grips I’ve installed, but it was fairly easy. The included instructions were pretty good for a “universal fit part” and it took just a few hours. The wiring that comes with the grips is well laid out and includes waterproof connectors for each of the grips to the controller box/harness.

There were a few quirks that anyone with a modern Honda CB500 should be aware of though.

  • Bar End Weights – These are a royal pain in the ass, you can either use an impact gun on the phillips heads on the end or press in two clips hidden underneath the grips and slide the entire assembly out. When the former strips the head and you resort to the latter, it’s easiest to start by just cutting the grips off. You will also need to loosen the throttle housing to slide it out of the way of the pinholes.
  • Throttle Tube – The throttle tube is ribbed, and will need to be smoothed out to fit the new grip over. I used a medium file and it was fairly quick work.
  • Grip Length – The stock grips are 110 mm long and the Koso grips are 120 mm long, this requires the throttle and switch housings be moved in at least 10 mm to fit, if you are also adding Barkbusters you may want to move them a little further. On the inside of each housing is a locating pin and a hole in the handle bar. You can either drill new holes in the bars, or file off the pin. If you do the latter, I would suggest wrapping a layer of tape around the bars to help keep the housings from rotating.

Fit and Finish

After everything is installed, the grips look almost stock since there is no separate controller box mounted to the dash or bars. The only thing that gives it away is another Honda specific quirk, the turn signal switch and horn are opposite most other bikes. This does mean if you’re wearing bulkier gloves, it is pretty easy to hit the grip button instead of the turn signals. Otherwise installation is super clean, all the wiring is wrapped well and can all be easily hidden with parts of the stock harness. The LED indicator is bright and easily seen day or night.

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Usage and Durability

Usage is quite simple, it’s one button that takes care of all functions. Press the button once to turn the grips on and each press after will cycle through 5 levels of heat. To turn the grips off, hold the button for 3 seconds. The controller does have a memory after 3 seconds and if you turn the grips off they will  return to the last heat level selected when you next turn the grips on. My only suggestion for improvement would be to reverse the order of heat levels, they currently cycle low-high but in my usage I most often start on high and turn them down once my hands are warm. Reversing the order would reduce the number of button presses to go from high to medium from 4 to 2.

Durability so far has been excellent operationally but could use some work cosmetically. The electronics have functioned without a fault. I ride in all conditions and my bike is stored outside, if there were opportunity for failure the rain or winter road brine would have found it by now. However, the grip pattern has worn smooth after a year of use. The rubber is still quite grippy, I’ve never felt like I was at risk of my hands slipping on the bars, but they do look worn.

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Grip wear

In conclusion, I would recommend these heated grips to anyone looking for a set of grips that wants a cleaner installation than traditional heated grips offer. They are a little pricier than other options, but I feel that they are a high quality product and worth the premium.

Review Disclaimer – I received this item as a gift but full retail price was paid. I was not asked to write this review by the manufacturer or retailer.

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