Cold-weather riders, rejoice. Here are 10 ways to stick it to Mother Nature this winter.
Price and availability confirmed at time of publication. Subject to change, please visit the product website for the latest prices and availability.
1. Powerlet sockets kits are designed to handle the demands of heated apparel while withstanding the elements. The kits come with custom brackets of varying sizes and colors coupled with heavy duty wiring harnesses to ensure a correct fit. Price: $24.95 and up. More info: www.powerlet.net.
2. Hot Grips manufactures nine different models of heated grips for motorcycles, with options such as handlebar-mounted switch controls as well as fairing-mounted controls with variable heat. Price: $66 to $110. More info: www.hotgrips.com.
3. A drawback to traditional electric vests is that the fit needs to be closely tailored to get the heating elements close to the body. The Aerostich Kanetsu AirVantage Vest’s adjustable insert not only allows for a roomier fit but increases warmth. Removeable sleeves are a nice touch. Price: $237. More info: www.aerostich.com.
4. Gerbing’s Heated Gloves warm the entire length of each finger as well as the back of the hand. The shell is leather, and the lining provides breathable protection from wind and water. Price: $139. More info: www.gerbing.com.
5. Red Wing Shoes’ Model 970 boots were specifically designed for motorcyclists. High-grade leather and high-top construction provide excellent strength and weather protection. Price: $165. More info: www.redwingshoes.com.
6. Lectric-chaps from Widder offer seven elastic/Velcro straps to make the heating element conform to individual riders’ leg dimensions. Their lightweight design enables them to be worn under pants, leathers or a riding suit. A windproof polyester exterior and Tinsulate liner minimize bulk for storage. Price: $101.99. More info: www.widder.com.
7. Combine the union suit with the space shuttle, and you get Thermo-Gear Premier. Thermo-Gear resists stains better than other polyester fabrics, is machine washable and features channel knit constuction for optimal wicking. Price: $25 top, $25 bottom. More info: www.aerostich.com.
8. Widder’s Lectric-ArmChaps snap directly into the company’s System1 and System2 Lectric-vests with no need for additional wiring, as the snaps themselves serve as electrical connections. Price: $77.99. More info: www.widder.com.
9. Aerostich’s Respro Foggy Breathguard features a thin layer of neoprene that helps eliminate visor and face shield fogging on cold days. Fits all full face helmets. Price: $20. More info: www.aerostich.com.
10. Gerbing’s Heated Jacket Liner features heating pads in the chest, back, sleeves and collar. The liner is designed to fit snugly and easily under outer garments and features pockets in the sleeves to keep glove plugs secure when they’re not in use. Price: $199. More info: www.gerbing.com.
The last electric vest I had was, to be kind, junk. Finding the right balance between a tight fit so it would keep me warm and a comfortable fit so I could enjoy my ride was difficult, at best. Too tight and I roasted, too loose and I froze.
Aerostitch’s Kanestsu AirVantage Vest solves that problem by using air panels to transfer heat from the vest’s heating elements to the rider’s body. It’s a clever system that works beautifully: Inflate the internal air panels, plug in the vest and ride away. Too warm? Simply deflate the vest for a cooler ride or unplug it: The air panels insulate quite well.
Removable sleeves provide further warmth and comfort options, and construction is top-notch, with an attractive fleece outer lining and durable nylon inner lining. The two-way zipper is a nice touch, allowing easy access to the power cord and its interior storage pocket. A choice of three connectors makes hooking up to your bike’s battery a snap.
Attractive, comfortable and thoroughly effective, this vest is the perfect companion for cold-weather riders.