Widder vests: sorta lame?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Baldy, Sep 23, 2001.

  1. Baldy

    Baldy Site Owner Administrator

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    So I've been riding with Widder vests and arm chaps for about two years, and of all equipment we own (including boots), our vests are the lamest.

    The quality of construction's fine, but turning the nob to Dark Toast feels more like Cool Day to me. So then you put on those Mickey-Mouse arm chaps in an attempt to get warm, making your arms warm in spots and cold elsewhere. What am I missing?

    I am sure there are contrary opinions on this board. Widder lovers, defend thyselves.
    #1
  2. drholm

    drholm Easily Amused

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    Ok...I guess I'll jump to the Widder defense. Granted, my only experiences have been at upper 30's temps, and I didn't spring for the fancy Knob Kontrol...I'm an on and off kinda guy...worn over a long sleeve shirt and under a windproof jacket, it keep me toasty all ride long, no sleeves attached. I did have a light fleece under the jacket which, I think, helped trap the heat. If I needed a little extra shot, I just arched my back a little to press the vest closer and warmed right up. Could be the t-stat won't let the vest come to full temp...try it without it. Also, they need to fit pretty snug...you may want to try a smaller size or put on a few extra pounds before the cold weather sets in.
    #2
  3. Rad

    Rad Done riding

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    Hey Baldy

    I have a Widder vest and a Gerbings Jacket liner. The vest collects dust in my closet and my Gerbings goes everywhere with me.

    I am sure you know this already but to make any of this electric stuff work you must only wear a very thin layer under it. If you are not warm enough then layer over the electric stuff and under your jacket.

    rad
    #3
  4. Baldy

    Baldy Site Owner Administrator

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    You know, I don't think I've ever heard different from someone who owned both. I think I'd probably love my Widder if I hadn't tried a Gerbing to feel the difference.

    But I think the Widder people are far better marketers and their vests do look nice in the store.
    #4
  5. Marc

    Marc Just sayin...

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    Hey,

    When I bought my Darien Hi-Viz, I also bought the Aerostich Unobtanium electric liner - without doing a lot of research. While the liner looks good and is very comfortable, I find that functionally, it's kind of sucky. The heat produced is rather weak and uneven. I've used it on cold days and have been fairly uncomfortable - wishing I were a lot warmer. The Aerostich Unobtanium is really nice to just wear around though... expensice, but nice.

    I've looked at, and plan to purchase the Gerbing's electric clothing, produced in nearby Union, WA. I'm just waiting for the November motorcycle show for a good deal. IMHO, the Gerbings looks like a good way to go.

    Marc
    #5
  6. Rad

    Rad Done riding

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    Marc

    If you can wait for the Cycle show to buy your Gerbings, do so. You can try the jackets on. If the people treat you like they did me at the show they will throw in other tid bits for free and not charge sales tax if you let them mail it to you rather than take it home from the show. It all added up to a good chunk of change on a big $ item.
    #6
  7. pbansen

    pbansen Hosehead

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    Anybody tried Doug Grosjean's GR8 Designs vest?
    The idea: conductive fabric, rather than wires, is great, how does it work in real life? The vests are more expensive than the competition, but seems like they would outlast the wired vests.

    BTW, I have a Widder with the big thermostat (white with pointy knob) and it works fine - nice and hot. If I had to choose between an electric vest and heated grips, I'd take the grips any day.

    Left Truckee this morning to go to a meeting in Sacramento - about 38-40 degrees at 0700. I wore a short sleeved shirt, light fleece and my bitchin' new hi-viz 'stich. Plenty warm enough with the heated grips on low. Left Sacramento at 3 pm and it was 100 degrees or better - hotter than a baker's apron. Not bad whilst moving, but murderous when stopped. Back to Truckee, down to a delightful 80 or so - had to zip my cuffs back up...

    Pete Bansen
    Truckee, California
    #7
  8. Sparky

    Sparky .

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    It's the best vest ever. Those who insist upon collars and sleeves don't have a Gr8 option. Those who don't so insist will have the most comfortable of all.

    - S
    #8
  9. kehale

    kehale Been here awhile

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  10. wxwax

    wxwax Excited Member

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    Tell you what I don't like about the Gerbing, and that's the really poorly thought out electrical connection.

    Now I may be a dope, but I'm certainly no worse than the average dope. And I've broken one heat troller and lost another on rides.

    For the life of me I can't figure out why Gerbings hasn't discovered coiled wires. Instead they insist on using straight wires that are too long. With the wires too long, and the accessory plug on the GS down by the shifter, gee, guess what happens? A misplaced foot while you're riding and the thing's yanked out and either dragged down the road or it's gone completely.

    It's a stupid design and a real letdown for a jacket that's otherwise truly first rate.:splat
    #10
  11. wxwax

    wxwax Excited Member

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    \

    Sounds familiar, that's what I saw on his page about a year ago. How long ya been waiting? :lol2
    #11
  12. kehale

    kehale Been here awhile

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    Well, 10-04-2001 was the date of his post.
    Let's hope he's got it by now! :)
    -T
    #12
  13. Komet

    Komet The Voice of Reason

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    Did ya try bundling up some of the slack and pop a rubber band on it? :confused
    #13
  14. Augie

    Augie Nincompoop

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    Baldy,
    I too have the Widder vest and arm chaps with no heat controller. Yes the arms do develop a hot spot. but the vest itself is great. I have used it on my K100RS last year down to 20 or so degrees. I was comfortable but never hot. I wear a sweatshirt, vest, light fleece shirt and an insulated Toumaster jacket. my only problem is the tops of thighs. Last year no heated grips, This year 1150GS with heated grips and no riding. Too much ice in the yard to take the beast out.:cry
    #14
  15. 2Laud 2Bro

    2Laud 2Bro Been here awhile

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    Hi wxwax,

    Hardwire to the battery with the supplied Gerbing harness and pop it up between the tank and the front seat. Heat control on/in tankbag. Easier to use for charging battery than accessory outlet.

    Use the BMW accessory plug for passenger, routing the wires through the frame away from foot and muffler (temporarily use electrical tape to attach in place).

    Gerbings newest jackets have a male/female plug similar to glove and sock plugs only larger.
    #15
  16. sherpa

    sherpa ...Robert

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    I had the same problem as wxwax...so on the second time around I sprung for the permanent controller and mounted it on the beak/fairing where they mount the second accessory outlet on the Adventure. The SAE plugs that plug into the Gerbings come up between the seat and the tank...works like a charm now.
    #16
  17. Rusty_H

    Rusty_H no title needed

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    for me its a long sleeve shirt, widder vest, and leather jacket w/liner, no problem down to 45. when it goes lower I throw on my Dickie quilted coveralls then the leather jacket, that covers the legs up also.

    not trying to SLAM anybody or anything but I been looking at this board since DEC. and Ive noticed that a good bit of people on here have no regard for money. they seem to spend it like it grows on trees. Me, I'm poor and broke, hell im in the military what do you expect,

    point is that is dosent matter what kind of jacket you got. layering is the most important thing. try going to wal-mart and spend 49 bucks on some quilted dickies, then buy a space saver bag (the ones that you roll the air out of) stick your coveralls in there, compress them and throw them in your hardcase. then there always there if you need them. and there great. use them with a light jacket and a cheap lectic vest. NO PROBLEMS MAN.

    yes weve got BMW's. so what, I bought it for quality, not because I need fancy PIAA lights and $400 jackets, an $300 boots. whats wrong with jungle boots and quilted socks, NOTHING.

    im probaly going to be kicked off the board for saying this stuff, I dont know. but if anybody else is cheap or wants cheap ideas you can email me. I been riding CHEAP for years,
    Respectfully
    Rusty
    :): :):
    #17
  18. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    its false economy. Lemme know how the abrasion capabilities of the Dickies work in a sliding accident.

    And kick you off the board for being cheap? No way.

    Jon
    #18
  19. Rusty_H

    Rusty_H no title needed

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    they wouldnt work good:cry , I wear my leather jacket over them, as far as the legs they werent protected to begin with. trufully the dickies are only used when its COLD, below say 40. not that thats cold, but on a bike its brisk baby. the coveralls keep the wind from getting in to the eletric vest area. (again when its cold) and really it is nice just to have them in the hard case. I have been out riding in the day and then when night came and im 2 hours from home go oh shit its getting kinda cold out here. throw those on and no problem. I wouldnt say its everyday gear.

    for me, jeans or BDU pants and a leather jacket. thats my most common wear. gets chilly. lectric vest first, more cold, coveralls.

    not saying I wouldnt want one of those fancy BMW cordura jackets :): . But ponying up $300+ bucks.. naw thats not happing. Im fixing to move to CT this summer for a four year tour so maybe I better start saving my pennys or just park the bike in the winter???
    #19
  20. XtreemLEE

    XtreemLEE insignificant being...

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    Coming back from Minneapolis in 30 degree weather I froze me ass off. My lovely wife was cooking in her gerbings. I plan I buying gerbings, jacket gloves and socks.
    #20