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You straddle your bike leaving your house headed for the hills for a beautiful ride through the fall colors… the weather is a perfect 68 degrees so you toss on your favorite leather jacket, toss the liner in a saddlebag, and you are off! The views are so spectacular you lose track of time… as the sun begins to set, and the temperature drops below 60 degrees you pull over to put on your jacket liner or sweatshirt. The ride home continues… and you are now an hour or more from home and the temperature has dropped below 50 your hands are getting cold, knees are freezing, and your teeth begin to chatter. At this point you begin to doubt if the spectacular scenery was worth the “torture.”
With the invention of heated gear, this does NOT have to be the case! If the rider above would have had a heated jacket liner, he or she could have plugged in, adjusted the temperature setting and ridden happily home “warm and safe.”
Believe it or not, when you get cold your body begins to shut down to “reserve energy” and your brain does not think like it normally does when it’s warm and content. Keeping yourself warm on the road is not only a comfort thing, it’s a safety thing!
In this Heated Gear Buying Guide we will be looking at the top four manufacturers of heated gear and then Kyle will break down the top three in his idea of the Good, Better and Best heated gear options for the motorcycle application.
Let us begin with a little backstory. Gerbing was the the leader in heated gear for the motorcycle industry… let us be honest… they were dang near the only option! There were however three downfalls of this product in its infancy:
In 2005 or 2006 FirstGear launched a line of heated gear called Warm and Safe with the goal of overcoming these issues. Offering their systems in 65 watt and 90 watt options solved the power issues and running the wires inside the jacket liner solved the cumbersome wire issues. Price… well it was prices as this gear / technology was not inexpensive to re-invent or create. $200 for the jacket and $129 for the heat troller put this a bit out of many riders’ reach.
Within a year of FirstGear’s Warm and Safe launch, TourMaster came out with their Synergy line of heated gear. The goal here was to eliminate the “confusion” and to get the price point down so the average consumer could reap the benefits of heated gear. Starting at $169 a rider could now purchase a heated jacket liner with all of the necessary hook-ups. This was revolutionary!
Just two years ago, many new players came to the market and Mobile Warming was the first to do it “cordless.” Mobile Warming came to the motorcycle scene with a “portable battery” powered jacket and gloves. While perfect for the golf course, baseball game and the like… the amount of heat produced in volume, the actual temperature output, as well as the duration of the temperature leaves room for growth in the motorcycle segment.
|Good: Mobile Warming = If mobile warming was more powerful, lasted longer and was not so affected by wind chill, this would be our “Best” option... It is bar none the best option for walking around town, baseball games, and any other outdoor activities, but on the motorcycle, the ambient wind had a negative effect on this product. It works well... just not as good as the other two "motorcycle specific" options we will talk about in a minute. Mobile Warming jackets heat via three patches. One between the shoulder blades and one on each side of the chest. The 7v battery is 2.5 amp hours and lasts between 1.5 hours on 100% power and up to 10 hours if used at 25% power. An additional 4 amp hour battery is available for about $70 and this battery will double the length of warmth.|
|Better: TourMaster Synergy 2.0 = We choose this as the better option as it is really the most "plug and play" or in other words "all inclusive" package. The jacket or vest come complete with battery lead and controller. Plug it into your battery and you are ready to ride and as long as your bike is running you have warmth… and lots of it!|
|Best: FirstGear Warm & Safe = Best motorcycling heated gear option as it has the most options, is most customizable, has the thinnest liner, creates the most heat, and comes in 65w and 90 watt options allowing it to work on all motorcycle big and small. In addition there are many different heat troller options such as the portable troller, wireless troller, hard mount troller, and many more. FirstGear even has a battery pack you can plug an walk around town for about an hour before it goes cold!|
That’s in in a nutshell… Heated gear will allow you to safely ride longer into the winter and will get you back on your bike earlier in the spring. Who wouldn’t like to extend their riding season by 1/3rd? We hope this heated gear buying guide has helped you understand heated gear and has helped you learn which option is best for you.
Thanks for watching and until next time, take care and ride safe!
Kyle and the Cruiser Customizing Team