Originally Jim Hollander developed the heated grips for motorcycle off-road Enduros, including the ISDT (International
Six-Day Trial, later known as the ISDE).
National Enduro Champion Dick Burleson and Jim knew each other from competing in the USA ISDT Qualifer Series and 5 years together at the International Six Day Trial. After Jim retired from endurance competition and returned to engineering school, he made working prototype Hot Grips® for National Enduro Champion Dick Burleson in 1980.
"King Richard" installed them when snow and cold were forecast for the Georgia Stone Mountain National Enduro that year. He won convincingly with a smile for his "secret weapon" that converted his headlight voltage into warm hands as he rode. An article describing his win then appeared in CYCLE NEWS and MOTORCYCLIST magazine. Then came write-ups in CYCLE WORLD, CYCLE magazine, and most of the national motorcycle magazines. After that win, Hi-Point Racing Products (Penton Imports) ordered 2,000 pairs if they could be made by the end of the year.
A large demand for heated grips on snowmobiles existed in the 1980s. While in Europe at
the Six-Days supporting the USA Team in 1982, Jim drove to the Magura GmbH factory in Germany. Meeting with engineers,
they indicated a serious interest in making a heated grip for BMW motorcycles, but they were primarily interested in the utility
patent Jim had acquired, not in having his fledgling business manufacture grips for them.
Jim purchased a new Austrian Battenfeld 75-ton clamp
injection molding machine in 1983, and built up a manufacturing facility in New England around the Battenfeld. An established machine
shop and an Italian 100-ton clamp MIR injection molder on a 400 amp 3-phase site was purchased in 1984. Bombardier asked for a heated grip for their Ski-Doo snowmobiles. Soon Polaris and Arctic Cat wanted heated grips for their snowmobiles. For the most
part, the heated grips were sold as aftermarket kits in the 1980s. In 1989 Yamaha Motor Corporation (of Japan) engineers approached us
to make OEM grips for the Yamaha snowmobile line.
Production of Yamaha's heated snowmobile grips took place from 1990 thru 2001. During that period of OEM supply Hot Grips Mfg., Inc. had the distinction
of being the only supplier to Yamaha without a single defective item on the production line. Even the Japanese suppliers had never accomplished
that for a ten year span, and Yamaha invited Jim to the Japan factory for a special ceremony recognizing the accomplishment. In 2001 Yamaha's sudden need for a
multitude of different models and heat outputs became unreasonable, and we elected to discontinue supplying Japan.
We continue to supply aftermarket kits and replacement grips for Yamaha Canada and Yamaha USA. Snowmobile companies have switched to printed
foil heating circuits that stick to the handlebar under the grip. Despite numerous reports of these kinds of heaters developing a hot spot
and burning a hole thru the grip (and sometimes through the rider's glove) these low cost heaters satisfy the "bean-counters" when the warranty claim rate
is put into the equation. OEM grip heaters that barely last the warranty period result in steady internet complaints, and boosts our bulletproof
model 123 sales, a patented 3-wire grip design that contains 12 feet of resistance wire internally.
OEM heated grips and manufacturing our own injection molded power-resistors for the snow-thrower industry became a part of our production in
the period of 2002 thru 2012. A steady demand for heated motorcycle grips has existed from 1980 thru 2012, despite numerous copy-cat products
from the Far East.
Jim's Racing Background, Prototypes, Early Years