Wrist Relief: What To Do When Your Motorcycle Doesn't Have Cruise Control
As relaxing and rewarding a long motorcycle ride can be for your body and mind, after a couple hundred miles (or even 50 miles for some people) holding the throttle open can cause your wrist to ache, cramping, or numbness. Most motorcycles don't come with the luxury of setting a desired cruising speed via an electric mechanical cruise control. You may find cruise control on the big touring and ADV bikes but after that the offerings are pretty slim. Before Harley Davidson went to a throttle by wire system their bikes came with a thumb adjustable throttle lock located on the underside right side control housing.
Trying to add cruise control to a motorcycle that doesn't already have it can be really expensive, mechanically in-depth, or just not possible depending on the year, make, and model of the bike you own. But don't worry there are options out there that will allow you to relieve some pressure off your throttle wrist or to remove your hand from the grip completely without losing speed. These aftermarket solutions may not be as clean as a factory cruise control system but they effectively do the job of holding the throttle at your desired speed.
There are basically two central concepts: cruise assist devices, and throttle locks. The difference between the two is that with a cruise assist you still have to have your hand on the throttle however you can use your palm to keep the throttle open. Cruise assist are often the least expensive and easiest to install/remove and use. A throttle lock secures the throttle in your desired position allowing you to take your hand off the grip. Throttle locks are typically a little more expensive and can vary between a quick and easy install to requiring a little more time and tools. Below are some of the various cruise assist and throttle locking devices that are available.
Motorcycle Cruise Assist Devices
The Cramp Buster has been around for quite some time and is a quick and easy solution to helping relieve pressure and stress off your wrist. It's also one of the least expensive options coming in at less than $10.00. Cramp Busters are made out of durable plastic and feature an open loop that fits around the grip and a paddle/tail that hangs off the backside. The paddle allows the rider to rest their palm on the device and use that force to hold the throttle in position. By simply using the palm the rider can then stretch out their fingers and relax their hand. Over the years Cramp Buster has created different versions to suit the needs of various riders, you'll find long skinny paddles, wide paddles and fitment for standard as well as oversize grips.
Installing the Cramp Buster is really easy, all you have to do is slip the looped end over the grip and then rotate the paddle down into position. As you ride if you need to adjust throttle positioning for more or less speed you simply rotate the Cramp Buster on the grip to get the desired speed and a comfortable resting position.
Kuryakyn Contoured ISO-Throttle Boss
If your bike is already outfitted with a set of Kuryakyn's grips you cans install their Contoured ISO Throttle Boss ($20.99) onto the end and have yourself a nice little respite from gripping the throttle. As expected from Kuryakyn, they have an array of throttle bosses that can be bolted up to their grips. You can go with something clean and straight forward like the Kinetic Throttle Boss ($20.99) or showoff your inner (or outer) Badass with the Transformer Throttle Boss ($19.99). The Kuryakyn Throttle Bosses bolt onto the end of the right side grip and are adjustable so that you can get the perfect placement.
Motorcycle Throttle Locks
The great thing about the Go Cruise and Go Cruise 2 throttle locks is like the Cramp Busters they are quick and easy to install and require no tools. The price on either of these two devices isn't too bad either, the original Go Cruise is $19.95 and the Go Cruise 2 is $32.95. The difference between the two models is that the original Go Cruise is made from composite materials and the Go Cruise 2 is CNC-machined from aluminum. The newer version also has a built in tension adjuster that enables you to open or close the device for easy on off and to add more or less tension as desired while riding. The Go Cruise is available in small to fit 7/8 inch handlebars and large to fit 1 inch handlebars. The Go Cruise 2 is a one size fits all.
The Go Cruise is a pretty simple and smart concept. Basically you slip included silicon ring over the grip and all the way to the inside edge of your grip. Then you do the same with the Go Cruise and then rotate it forward so that the tailend is resting against the top of your brake lever. As you start riding the Go Cruise will rotate with the grip as you apply more or less throttle. When you get to your desired cruising speed you use your left index finger to push the Go Cruise forward so that it's resting against the top of the brake lever again. Once in position the Go Cruise has enough tension that it will hold the throttle open at speed using the brake lever as stop to keep it from rolling back to the closed throttle position. When you need to slow down or cut the throttle you simply roll the throttle forward and the grip will rotate through the Go Cruise like normal.
While the original Go Cruise does an adequate job of holding the throttle in the desired position on rough or bumpy roads it can slip a little causing you to have to reset your speed. And that's where the Go Cruise 2 comes is, with the built in tensioner you can apply more pressure to really make sure the throttle doesn't slip-just be sure not to over tighten it so that it's difficult to back off the throttle in an emergency.
NEP Cruise Control
The NEP Cruise Control ($22.95) is available in several different models to fit various motorcycles. Installation is pretty basic and only requires the included allen wrench. The NEP Cruise Control locks onto the throttle tube on the far left side. The allen wrench is used to adjust the tension (to be done before you start the motorcycle). The tabs at the end are used to anchor the NEP Cruise Control against the throttle cables so that it won't rotate. Then as you ride and get to speed you lock the throttle by flipping the control Lever down. The control lever pinches the two halves together against the throttle tube and holds the throttle open. To release you just flip the lever up.
Kaoko Throttle Lock
Kaoko calls their devices throttle stabilizers. They are quite a bit pricier than the other items listed so far but that's' because they feature a robust design and along with holding the throttle in position they are bar end weights so in most cases you get two end pieces (one for each side of the bike). Unlike the others that mount externally and on the far left side of the throttle, Kaoko Throttle Locks mount inside grip/throttle tube end. If you can't unbolt or remove your bar end or grip cap and you have rubber grips you will have to cut the end of the grip off in order to install the device. The Kaoko slides into the bar end and has a tensioner/bar end weight that secures itself on the inside of the handlebar. The external knob rest against the outer edge of the grip/throttle tube and when engaged uses friction to stabilize the throttle at the desired position.
Engaging and disengaging the Kaoko throttle stabilizer is pretty straightforward, as you are rolling down the highway you move your hand to the outer edge so that your pinkly and outer portion of your hand are resting on the Kaoko device then you the throttle open to set the friction. When you need to slow down or disengage you simply do the opposite, roll the throttle forward with you hand on the Kaoko. If you don't want to use the device then you just place hand on the grip so that it isn't touching the Kaoko.
Kuryakyn Mechanical Throttle Cruise Assist
Kuryakyn's Mechanical Throttle Cruise Assist is similar to Kaoko concept. Basically it looks like a bar end weight but has the added benefit of a rotating friction lock that holds the throttle in place. Installation requires removal of the grip end and you can pick up an optional left side to balance out the look of your bike.
As you are riding down the highway you engage the device by rolling your pinky finger back on the Throttle Cruise Assist. There's a spring-loaded tensioner that makes it easy to get the desired speed without overtightening. When you need to disengage you just grab a handful of throttle and cruise assist and rotate forward or use your finger to roll off the tension. You can pick up the Kuryakyn Mechanical Throttle Cruise Assist for $91.99. The matching clutch side piece is sold separately for about $35.00.
Kuryakyn Premium Affordable Cruise Assist
This Kuryakyn Premium Affordable Cruise Assist ($35.99) offers a wide range of fitment for motorcycles with 1-inch or 7/8-inch handlebars as well as stock or aftermarket grips. While it may look like some kind of weird puzzle with all the different pieces it comes with the Cruise Assist is pretty easy and straight forward when it comes to installation and operation.
This Cruise Assist from Kuryakyn has three main parts: a handle bar clamp, an arm, and a throttle/grip collar. The bar clamp sits on left side of the switch/control housing and the throttle collar sits on the left side of the grip (against the right side of the control housing). The Arm sits between the two and acts as an anchor to hold the throttle collar in the locked position when engaged. To engage/disengage you just flip the lever to the Set position or off position. The spring on the back side of the lever makes it so the collar releases tension on the throttle quickly and smoothly. It should be noted that you may have to move your brake lever/master cylinder mount in order to fit the bar clamp into position. There are a couple different rubber fillers that come with the kit so that you can fit the collar on thicker or thinner grips.
BrakeAway Motorcycle Cruise Control
While the BrakeAway may be the most expensive ranging from about $190 to $210 it's the most durable and offers a few great features that the others really don't First and foremost, where the others are made of plastic materials the BrakeAway is machined from billet aluminum and then polished and finished for a bright and long lasting shine.
The BrakeAway has a simple push button mechanism to engage the throttle lock. Unlike most of the other devices you can adjust your speed faster or slower without having to unlock or reset throttle engagement. Another really cool feature of the BrakeAway Motorcycle Cruise Control is that it is the only option on this list that disengages the throttle when you grab your front brake lever. This design makes for a more natural and instantaneous reaction when encountering an emergency situation.
Along with releasing the throttle by tapping the brake lever you can also disengage the device with manual lever on the front. If you're willing to spend the money and want something that's as close to an electronic cruise control system as you can get this is the best choice. It looks great and works equally well.