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Does Your Riding Season Need to End as Soon as the Weather Gets Colder?

Posted on Jpm9000000pmTue, 22 Sep 2015 16:26:20 +000015 4, 2016 by Peter Anastas There have been 0 comments

 

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My good friend Akop making it possible to ride in the dead of winter with heated gear

For motorcycle enthusiasts, the most depressing time of the year is when it starts getting too cold to ride comfortably. Temperatures near freezing make it increasingly difficult to keep warm while motoring down the highway - and in my opinion, nothing is fun if you’re cold, even riding a motorcycle. In years past I replaced my normal summer riding gear with snowboarding gloves and a heavy winter jacket. My fingers would go numb if I rode any longer than a quick trip down the road, and it was too dangerous to continue if I couldn’t feel my controls. In the Northeast, the month of October was as far as I could stretch it before my bike was sentenced to the garage for hibernation. I was a grouch for the next 5-6 months while I waited for mild-enough weather to ride again.

My entire riding experience changed in the fall of 2012 with a visit to Twisted Throttle. I tried on a pair of Gerbing T5 heated gloves to feel the glorious heat they produce. Having the gloves on was like dipping my hands into a hot tub. I wasn’t leaving without them.

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Gerbing T5 Gloves connected to the Gerbing Jacket liner

The Gerbing T5 Hybrid gloves work with a battery pack that fits into a convenient little pocket on the topside of the gloves, or alternatively, by connecting to a wire harness that attaches to the battery in your motorcycle. It’s nice to know I could use the battery pack for future snowboarding trips, but the primary use was for riding my bike in cold weather; so all I had to do was run the included wire harness from my motorcycle battery. It's simple to wire up; just connect to the positive and negative terminals and place the plug in a spot that will be easy to access when you need it.

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12V power from the supplied wire harness tucked neatly behind some trim

A temperature controller is recommended to regulate the heat output of the gloves. The gloves can be used without the controller, but they would be on full heat (135°F) all the time, which is not necessary and, in my humble opinion, too hot for comfort. I prefer to set the controller on low because the gloves are pretty warm on their own, and it doesn’t take much heat to stay warm. Heated grips are a budget-friendly alternative to heated gloves, but nothing beats having your whole hand surrounded in warmth like only heated gloves can deliver.

If you are considering more than one heated garment, I recommend the dual temperature controller so it’s possible to run the two articles at independent levels of heat.

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Dual temperature controller

I decided to pair my new gloves with the Gerbing heated jacket liner to keep warm without bulking up under multiple layers. The liner is thin enough to wear under my snug-fitting armored leather jacket, and warm enough that you only need to wear a nice base layer like a Twisted Core Winter shirt. The jacket liner has connections in each sleeve to plug your gloves into. Heat can be felt on your chest, back, sleeves and collar. I no longer have to feel like an astronaut in my winter parka to keep my upper body warm. The best part of the jacket liner is that it heats your core, where all of your blood circulates, helping to keep the rest of your body warm.

Gerbing also makes a heated pant liner, but my lower body never gets cold when I don a good set of winter compression pants  under normal armored pants. To keep my toes warm I use Merino wool socks like Smartwool that are warm, soft and moisture-wicking to prevent the feeling of wetness that can make you cold.

Once I had all this toasty new gear, it was easy to feel any exposed skin in freezing temperatures. I quickly identified that the only part of my body left uncovered was my neck, between my jacket and helmet. To keep this sensitive area warm I’ve worn Balaclavas but much prefer a microfiber neck tube, as it doesn’t change the fit of your helmet. I tuck the top into the edge of my helmet neck-roll and the bottom into my heated collar for a completely cozy and wind-proof set-up!

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Microfiber neck tube keeping my neck warm

So, the moral of the story is: I no longer have to put my motorcycle away for half of the year. With the proper cold weather gear, I can continue to enjoy my obsession with two wheels. If you haven’t tried heated motorcycle clothing, I highly recommend it! The only limit now is traction, but there are ways to improve that too....

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This post was posted in Riding Gear

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