Heated handlebar inserts work with a bike's existing grips
Nobody likes having cold hands while cycling, which is why heated handlebar grips do exist … but what if you prefer your existing fair-weather grips? Well, that's where the Polar Plug system is designed to come in.
Invented by mountain biker Brandon Lentz, the setup consists of two cylindrical modules that are inserted into the two ends of the handlebars, in place of the existing plugs. This means that they end up almost entirely inside the bar, directly beneath the existing grips.
Each unit contains an electric heating element and a lithium battery, along with a power button on the protruding outside end. One push of that button turns the element on, causing it to radiate heat through the handlebar tubing and into the rubber grip. Lentz tells us that the module reaches a temperature of 100 to 105º C (212 to 221º F), causing the outside surface of the grip to get up to 40º C (104º F) within 15 minutes.
An integrated sensor monitors the internal temperature, not only boosting the output under particularly cold conditions, but also keeping everything from getting too hot.
The system is said to be compatible with both aluminum and carbon fiber flat handlebars, as long as their inside diameter is no wider than 17.5 millimeters. One 2-hour USB charge of the batteries should reportedly be good for at least five hours of use – although that figure will obviously vary with the temperature of individual users' surroundings.
Should you be interested, the Polar Plug system is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of US$99 will get you a set – assuming they reach production, that is. The retail price will be in the range of $150 to $200.