Motorcycle Heated Clothing: Warm Winter Riding!

Gerbing Heated JacketWinter riding in Southern California is only chilly in the morning and evening. I delayed getting myself some heated gear because the need just did not seem so vital. But I’m sure that anyone who owns heated riding clothing would attest that once you’ve ventured down the road of warmer, lighter and more comfortable motorcycle apparel, you can never go back.

I find that I wear my heated vest more than I originally envisioned. In our neck of the woods, it just makes the lower temperatures moot.

In most of the world where winter environments feature real cold — heated motorcycle clothing will extend your season’s riding beyond what you might enjoy otherwise.

Gerbing and Widder are the most established manufacturers of heated clothing. Widder has been making electric vests since 1971 and has expanded their selection considerably since then. Gerbing’s Heated Clothing was founded in 1976. Aerostich has been manufacturing their own heated clothing since 1997.

In addition to a heated vest, you can consider heated gloves, socks, pants and added warmth along your arms. (Socks are not available from all the manufacturers).

I’ve been using the Widder System 1 Lectric-Vest and coiled electronic heat controller for several years and I would not leave home without it (stored in my side bags when not being worn) in the cooler months. Also, because it is so compact and lightweight, I also stow it on the bike for long-distance tours even in the warmer months. It especially comes in quite handy for long, late-summer, night rides through damp weather: knocking off hundreds of miles through cool evenings has never been easier.

I highly recommend the heated vest and especially the heat controller which allows you to fine-tune your heating preferences in the same way you can adjust the thermostat in your own home.

By the way, a common question is “What happens if you ride in the rain with electric gear?” The answer is simple, “You get wet.” All the wiring is coated and there is no risk of shock.

Of course if you wear good rain gear, you don’t even have to be concerned with getting wet….

[UPDATE: Widder is out of business in 2009]

6 thoughts on “Motorcycle Heated Clothing: Warm Winter Riding!

  • Wonderful review. I find it to be so useful to have those apparel during the winter season. It would be close to impossible to withstand the cold while riding during cold months. I better check those apparels out and try them on to see if they really are something.

  • Question: Isn’t is more dangerous in the event of an accident to be tethered to your bike with wires that are INSIDE your jacket sleeves, with the potential of finding their way to being wrapped around your neck/spine? Even without getting wrapped up, the thought of having those wires ripped up and out of my jacket along my body makes me wonder……

  • For all my riding (mostly to work and back) I like to wear a heavy protective jacket with armor. I use a neon yellow one so I can be seen better. Leather pants with armor also. I wear a heated jacket liner and heated gloves. These are great for commuting with below freezing ambient temperatures. I would wear them for touring on my little Honda 250, but the alternator on the ’73 Honda 350 won’t keep up with the clothing demand.

    (Iused to use this stuff on a Yamaha 1200, but the little bikes are more fun and more controllable.)

    I feel that for safety the most important things are the reflective yellow jacket and the heated garments. It is incredible how much better you can control the vehicle when you are warm and toasty, it can make the difference between avoiding or not avoiding an accident IMHO.

  • Just upgraded to Gerbing heated items. Got the jacket liner – pant liner – glove, And insoles. Went for a 75 mile ride a few days ago. Hight temps here in NJ were 31. Lows on the ride home 28. Avg speed on highway 65 mph. I was very comfortable the entire ride. Could have kept going if not for work in the morning. By far the best heated gear I have ever owned & I tried several. Gerbing is tops for real heat!!

  • I have bought one of the heated jackets from Gerbing’s Company and the thing is awesome, I put this thing on not excpeting it to heat up so fast, i was wearing it inside and i started sweating, lol. This product has by far exceeded my expectations and will be great to wear while i am doing snow removal. i just have to buy another one because my wife wont give me mine back 🙂

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