Starting as early as October here in South Dakota you could be in danger of losing your precious riding season due to bad weather, namely snow and freezing temps. This winter the snow came a bit early, then it left. Leaving dry pavement and cold air. Generally if there’s at least semi-dry pavement (or dirt for that matter) I’m good to go. But after a while the cold temps can make riding downright miserable. Even with good cold weather gear when it drops below 40 degrees things get cold and stay cold. Instead of pouting in the shop this year I figured I would do everything I could this year to stay on the road as long as possible. So I decided to invest in some heated gear.
I looked at a handful of coat and pant set ups but ultimately decided on some First Gear heated liners and gloves. I opted for the liners because I wanted to be able to use the gear I already had, and with the liners I could pair them with whatever jacket and pant set up I wanted. I picked up a jacket liner, pant liner, heated socks and went with the heated gauntlet style gloves instead of a glove liner. I went with the full glove set up because most of my gloves fit pretty snug and I didn’t want to try and stuff the liners in them. The sizing is pretty standard, but expect a snug fit, and that’s a good thing. You want them to fit under your jacket and pants without bunching up. The connections and control can be a bit confusing, but of the clothing can be plugged into each other and “daisy chained” together so its on one heat zone together. Meaning your feet, gloves, jacket and pants would all be the same temp. I opted to break them into two zones, my gloves and jacket on a zone and socks and pants on another. You have to purchase the controller separately and it comes in a few options. You can get a single or a dual controller, meaning you can control one or two zones. And you can get a standard wired unit or a wireless unit that allows more freedom to mount the controller in different places. I ordered a 2 zone wireless controller and velcroe’d it to my master cylinder on my handlebar.
I decided to go for a rip around the hills and test out the new gear. But I figured I would put them in a worst case scenario to see how the held up. Instead of wearing my standard big coat and heavy pants and putting the new heated liners under them all I wore was my trust Biltwell sweatshirt and some thin Dickies pants. I threw my heated layers and gloves on, fired up the trust Dyna and headed out on a beautiful 38 degree afternoon ride. A bit to my surprise they gear worked great! I did some 75mph highways, some 45mph twisties and some putting around town for about 2 hours. Not once did I reach the capacity of the heated gear. On the highway I ran both zones about ¾ of the way up, from 45mph to 65mph I had it about ½ way up with the pant/sock zone a little cooler than the jacket/glove zone. Under 45mph I only had it 25-30% on, with the bottom zone a bit cooler. Even at fairly high speed i could feel the wind and cold cutting through my sweatshirt and Dickies but I still felt toasty warm from the heat elements. It was a bit weird because instinctively I kind of expect my hands to get cold and stiff and it never happened, even with zero wind protection of any kind on the Dyna my hands felt like it was the middle of July. I can’t recommend heated liners enough if you plan on doing any type of cold weather riding. It’s a great way to extend your riding season without freezing your ass off.