Heated gear keeps your body warm and toasty while riding in lower temperatures, thus preventing loss of body heat and the onset of hypothermia (read my article on hypothermia by clicking on the link below).
Heated gear is as simple as it sounds; motorcycle apparel that contains a heating element or motorcycle gear that is heated.
Heated Gear Manufacturers include Warm & Safe, WarmGear, Gerbing, and Widder. Motorcycle manufacturers also offer branded versions such as Harley Davidson and BMW, which are usually produced by premium manufacturers.
How Heated Gear Works
There are two types of heated gear. The type that you plug directly into your motorcycle’s power supply and the type that has a self contained power supply. Heated gear uses about 15 to 100 watts depending on the brand and the amount of gear you use while riding. Most 500cc motorcycles or greater can comfortably power three pieces of heated gear but be sure and check your manufacturer’s manual on the alternator output.
The plug in type connects to your motorcycle’s 12 volt battery and provides extended riding hours.
Most of the clothing choices provide interconnectivity between items so that one connects to the other and the control is from one temperature controller switch or a dual controller switch. This keeps you from being overloaded with wires sticking out everywhere.
The dual controller switch allows you to adjust the temperature of the separate clothing components to different temperatures where the single controller allows the same temperature setting for all clothing components.
The self contained usually have a 7.4 volt lithium battery supply connected to or sewn into the jacket and lasts an average of 4 to 10 hours depending on the heat setting. When the battery is exhausted simply plug in to the battery charger and it is fully charged in less than 4 hours. The self contained provides a little more flexibility and warmth when you are away from the motorcycle.
Heated Gear Clothing Choices
Heated gear comes in jacket liners, pants liners, vest liners, glove liners, arm chaps, gloves, jackets, and socks. Prices start from $69.95 for arm chaps and can reach $299 for a jacket. Many times, just the liners are enough under your jacket without the heat on, but it is nice to have the option when the sun goes down and the temperature drops.
Tips for Wear
Heated gear is meant to be worn as close to your skin as possible without actually touching your skin. Light layers underneath the heated gear are the best possible combination. For added protection, wear your leathers for road and wind protection over the heated gear.
Always remember to keep hydrated when riding in any type of weather, even in colder weather as the wind and perspiration can dehydrate you without you knowing it.
I have heated gear and ride in the winter months when the temperatures plunge to 30 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and do so comfortably because of my heated gear. Heated gear is definitely a great investment for extended riding pleasure.
Next week’s article will discuss Global Positioning Systems for motorcycles, the brands and prices. Until next week, ride free and safe.