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'Lectric Clothing

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Rider, Oct 18, 2002.

  1. Rider

    Rider Spectacularly Correct

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    Okay, I've been riding for 27 years but when it gets cold outside, I usually wuss out and stay indoors and concentrate on other hobbies, primarily Makers Mark and various imported suds ... :beer
    I have occasionally done some winter riding but always behind big ol' fairings (R1100RT, K1200LT).
    Now with the GS in my garage and winter clearly on the way - it's in the fifties and I'm already freezing my arse off - and much less wind protection, it's time to consider some electric gear.
    A few questions:

    * Which brand do you prefer: Widder, Gerbing, BMW, etc.?
    * Which type to you prefer: vest or full jacket?
    * Is it smart to get one with a thermostat control?
    * Do you have to hook them up to the battery terminals or can you just use a BMW plug to the accessory outlet?
    Also, any other tips would be appreciated. And keep in mind I have a somewhat limited budget, so the "Nuclear Powered Glow 'N' Go" models are simply out of the question. :D
    #1
  2. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Once you get a Gerbing jacket, you'll scoff at the rest of the stuff on the market. My current one is nearly 10 years old, and it still works pretty good. The new ones are even better.

    Jon
    #2
  3. Rider

    Rider Spectacularly Correct

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    Jon, does it just plug into the accessory jack using a BMW plug?
    #3
  4. dizave

    dizave Team Blitzed

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    It seems like most of them have an SAE plug, and then come with various adapters. The BMW plug adapter is common. I can't think of a reason why one brand adapter wouldn't be compatible with any other. So for example Rabia has a simple on/off adapter, without a coiled cord, which I believe annoys her. But I'm pretty sure she could buy the 'stich solid-state adjustable adapter with coiled cord and remove the annoyances.

    I have a 'stich vest, it is OK (read: way better than nothing) but I have nothing to compare it to and it looks like the Gebring stuff is cooler. I want pants that plug into my jacket, and gloves that plug into my jacket :) Maybe even the socks that plug into the pants :evil

    -daf
    #4
  5. Wings

    Wings RockiesToSandbox

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    From what I hear the BMW heated vest is made by Widder. Looks like it's actually a little cheaper through BMW than through Widder. I don't know if BMW carries the newer version yet that lets you add the 'lectric arm and leg chaps...that might be worth the price difference right there.
    A little while ago I didn't think I'd ride in weather cold enough to need a vest...now I can't wait to get one. It's only a matter of time before I'm gonna want the chaps too!
    A big difference between Widder and Gerbing are the way the heat elements are laid out, the Gerbings has panels (I think 3, not sure) so the heat is more concentrated in those areas-the Widder has the heat things all over so the heat is distributed more evenly. That's the way I understood it anyway...if anyone knows better let me know! I'm leaning towards the Widder right now.
    #5
  6. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    That's what I use. I even convert my brand X bikes to use the BMW outlet.

    Jon
    #6
  7. PhilSpace

    PhilSpace The Ex-Gov

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    Gerbings, only way to go. I have the jacket and pants liner and they will cover me at any temp. Our F650 has heated grips and hand protectors, but I use the Gerbings gloves on it and have been toasty down in the twenties.

    The only one that suffered was the 400W alternator on the F650:):
    #7
  8. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy BMW Rider,

    One word says it all, "Gerbing", yes it will cost you some bucks but it works, comes with a life time warranty on the wiring what more can you ask for. Heated vests are ok to take a chill off, the full jacket liner will keep you warm when it's COLD outside. DO NOT wear cotton, I recomand the high tech poly fiber stuff they sell at REI, I use the expidition wieght top and bottom. I ride in the cold and rain all year around, my gear is as follows; REI poly top and bottom, Gerbing heated jacket liner, Joe Rocket Revolution jacket and pants, I also have the Gerbing heated gloves and socks, I have never felt the need for the heated pants liners. The gloves plug into the jacket liner, pants can be pluged into the jacket liner, socks plug into the pants or in my case plug into the jacket via a cord. There is cheaper stuff out there, that's what it is CHEAPER STUFF, buy the good stuff a piece at a time if that is what you can afford, that's the way I did it and I am one WARM happy camper. Hope this helps.
    #8
  9. Rider

    Rider Spectacularly Correct

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    Okay, can I wear the jacket liner under my Firstgear Kilamanjaro jacket?
    And thanks to everybody for the input so far.
    #9
  10. Rider

    Rider Spectacularly Correct

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    Okay, can I wear the jacket liner under my Firstgear Kilamanjaro jacket?
    And thanks to everybody for the input so far.
    #10
  11. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

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    Howdy BMW RIder,

    This is what I suggest. When you go shopping for your electric gear, wear the cloths that you plan to wear when using it.

    Have the undercloths on then put on the electric gear, then the outer cloths, you want the electice gear to fit close but NOT tight, you want to be able to move freely. If the electirc gear fits you to tightly it is possiable to get burned, be SURE you get a "Heat Troller" if you decide on the Gerbing gear.

    When I first get on the bike, I crank the heat up full, then as I warm up I turn it down to where I am comfortable. Be advised, this gear works so good you can become so warm and coszy that it is very easy to drift off into lala land and forget what your doing, I have learned to use this gear to keep warm but not to the point of becoming inatentive.
    #11
  12. Rad

    Rad Done riding

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    Yes

    I wear a very thin long sleeve synthetic pull over shirt as my first layer.....It must be long sleeve or you will suffer burns. I then wear the Gerbings thin jacket liner and then my Kilamanjaro with it's liner

    On spring days where it is cold in the morning and warm in the afternoon I will use the Gerbings without my jacket liner. With it turned off it is not as warm as the liner and with it on it is warmer.

    Make sure you get the adjustable thermostat. You will be able to ride all day with changing temps and be just right.

    I recommend against using the BMW accessory plug for the Gerbings. The plug means you must use a long chord that just gets in the way. The plug is also more fragile than the Gerbings two prong connector. My thermostat is under my seat on the left side. It is wired with a fuse link to my battery (10 min job, fuse link provided by Gerbings) The two prong plug comes up between the front of the seat and the tank. I like this a lot, clean, simple, no exposed wires,, no big wires hanging from me when I’m off the bike, and if I forget to unplug before I get off....I do that sometimes, the Gerbings connectors just pull apart.
    #12
  13. Captain PHX

    Captain PHX Western Adventurer

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    I've been using Gerbring heated jackets for several years. My wife has one too, for when she rode. Works great. Just one complaint. My jackets were purchased about 5 years ago, so maybe they've fixed the problem now. When I zipped up the jacket, if you put even slight tension around the waist area, the zipper would unzip from the bottom up. Very annoying. I fixed the problem by taking it to a taylor and having them install a hook type clasp at the bottom below the zipper. Fixed the problem right away. Both of the jackets did this. Still use 'em. They work great.
    #13
  14. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Another data point.....my Gerbing jacket is nearly ten years old. The same BMW plug has been on there the entire time, but the two-prong trailer connector that Gerbing uses to attach the jacket to the outside power cord failed the second season.

    And this includes plenty of incidences of getting off the bike without remembering that I was plugged in. I seemed to start forgetting a lot of stuff when I turned 35. :)

    Jon
    #14
  15. RedMenace

    RedMenace Adventure Sidecar

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    Another thought is that the vest uses less juice. I like keeping the load down in the winter. Drawing down the battery and not being able to start the bike sucks. It really sucks if you are dressed lightly because of the toasty warm electrics and find yourself in the boondocks with a dead bike!
    ...which brings me to the second point; the vest is less bulky. Worn over your first layer, probably a light thermal undershirt, it leaves room for a shirt and sweater on top. THis gives you some margin of protection from the cold when you get off the bike. It also insulates the heat in, close to your body, allowing you to set the thermostat lower for less draw( at least I believe Gerbing told me there was less draw with it turned down). Lower load is a good thing, particularly for bikes with marginal alternator output or lots of accessories drawing current.
    #15
  16. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Vernon, brings up a good point, but if you've had a jacket, you'll never go back to a vest. I tried the GR8 Designs CF vest a couple of seasons ago, but sold it because I just couldn't feel any heat. I damn near froze in western North Dakota in July two summers back on a foggy morning, and it was 55F outside!!

    My SV650 had 300w generator, and my R65 does about 280w, and I use hot grips and an electric jacket with both of those bikes.

    Of course, if I had a sidecar, it would have a car-sized battery in the chair anyway. :)

    Jon
    #16
  17. XtreemLEE

    XtreemLEE insignificant being...

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    On my ride from Minneapolis to milwaukee I was cold. My wife who has Gerbings jacket with just an on-off switch kept having to shut her jacket off because it got too hot. My BMW/Widder barly kept me warm . Get a Gerbings, get a thermostat, get gloves and socks that what I am going to do.
    #17
  18. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Kinda makes you pine for another one of those 90/90 days like when you came down to meet Baldy, eh?

    Jon
    #18