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MCN Fleet: Hot under the collar

Published: 19 September 2017

Updated: 19 September 2017

Now the weather has turned, it’s time to fit heated gear to the Harley

When it comes to cold weather, I don’t really mind admitting that I’m a bit of a softy. As soon as the mercury sinks, I’m straight into the box of winter gloves and thermal baselayers, so it was a bit of a disappointment to see that the Street Glide doesn’t come with any heated parts as standard (by comparison the BMW K1600 Bagger has heated grips and a heated seat). CVO models come with heated seats (but they’re also about £30,000…) and you can buy Harley heated grips but again they’re quite expensive (about £250). I already own a heated vest, so I thought I’d just fit that instead.

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To fit an Oxford Heated Vest, it’s just a case of digging out the battery and connecting it straight to the battery terminals. The vest is fused and it can only draw when it’s connected, so there’s no risk of running the battery down like with a pair of grips, hence there’s no need to bother with a relay.

Down to business

To get to the battery on the Street Glide you’ll need a large Philips screwdriver (#3) and a Torx driver (T25). The first step is removing the panniers, which have tool-less locking bolts inside. With the panniers to one side, first remove the pillion strap with the screwdriver. The seat has one small bolt at the back, then the whole thing slides off to the rear. Once in, you’ll see a large array of wiring and important bike bits (including the ECU).

They’re all push fit or clipped, so carefully move them to one side – it’s obvious where they go on reassembly and the slots are labelled. The battery has a small plastic cover, which is removed by two Torx bolts and it pops off towards the front revealing the battery itself. Before you go for the terminals, you need to disable the alarm system, or the bike will go berserk (don’t ask how I know this), then remove the negative followed by the positive. Then it’s just a case of attaching the heated vest terminals (being careful where you route the wiring) and then reversing everything to put it back together. It looks and sounds more difficult than it is, but it’s easily done in 20 minutes. Then it’s just a case of nipping out for a ride and feeling the beautiful, warm feeling from the vest satisfaction of doing a job yourself. 

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