Many motorcyclists approach winter in the same way some animals do; stock up on luxuries, hunker down and wait for spring and the onset of better weather. Others use a more arctic approach, adapting to the conditions and continuing to ride throughout the darker months.
We know from experience that it is fairly straightforward to cope with temperatures and conditions that are reasonably typical of a British winter; a set of proper base layers, perhaps a mid-layer and a good outer layer with proper gloves and boots. However, what do you do when this simply is not enough and the mercury really drops?
In this case, it’s time to break out the heated clothing. I know from personal experience that this can make a massive difference to your ride.
While even the best winter clothing is designed to try to keep as much heat in as possible, sometimes the combination of speed, exposure and temperature are too much and you need to actively generate heat within your clothing to maintain your temperature for not only comfort but also, safety.
Thankfully there are plenty of options to help you do this, that work from your chin down and will generate heat for every part of your body.
One thing you will need to consider is how often and for how long you will be using heated kit. This is because it can generally either be powered by rechargeable batteries or hard-wired directly to the bike’s battery.
Related: Best winter motorbike clothing
The advantage with batteries is that they are portable and you can hop on and off the bike as you need to without worrying about disconnecting.
The downside is that they have a limited life – a couple of hours perhaps – and if you are riding for longer or are wearing multiple garments then hard-wiring means you will never run out of power. Which you opt for depends on your riding.
Here is a selection of products if you want to get the maximum warmth and comfort from your winter riding.
These gloves from heated motorcycle kit expert Keis are designed to either be worn on their own as
They are supplied with a hard-wire lead to connect to the bike and a Y-lead to power both gloves, though optional batteries are available. Unlike more traditional heated gloves, they give a single level of heat, though external controllers are also available.
Work well on their own
Add heat to normal winter gloves
Wire direct to bike’s battery
Single level of heating may not be enough
This mid-layer from clothing expert Gerbing features some 30 metres of heating wire inside it to
The sleeves feature wiring connectors for matching gloves and the jacket comes with a bike hard-wiring harness though no temperature controller. The material is also wind-resistant to help maintain the warmth within.
Hard-wired to bike
No temperature controller included
While not strictly clothing, British motorcycle kit giant Oxfordu2019s Hotgrips are de riguer
Many riders prefer heated grips to heated gloves and if you’re one of those, then these will see you right.
Variety of designs to suit different bikes
Range of heating options
Won’t heat fingers or backs of hands
If you donu2019t need u2013 or like u2013 the heating effect of a full jacket, then this vest from
It can be powered by either the company’s rechargeable battery packs or directly from the bike – the hardwire kit is included – and like other items in the range, will connect to trousers and gloves. It doesn’t come with a temperature controller but the company’s new Bluetooth version will work.
Heat to the chest and back
Less restrictive than full jacket
Dual power options
May leave arms cold
These heated socks are Amazonu2019s Choice and they get good reviews online. They are very tall,
They come with two rechargeable batteries and provide four levels of heating, from 38°C to 70°C. Battery life ranges from three hours on the highest setting to up to 18 hours on the lowest and the battery tucks away in a small pouch at the top of the sock.
High-leg to keep leg warm
Electric heating of the foot
Battery powered so limited life
These heated trousers from Macna will keep your legs warm in even the coldest of rides. They are
The heating elements run throughout the whole trousers, to ensure an even heat distribution and they can be powered either directly from the bike or by one of the matching Macna battery systems though neither is supplied with the trousers. There are also connections for jacket and socks too.
Even, all-over heating
Connections to jacket and socks
No power-supply options come with trousers
Theyu2019re not cheap but these heated gloves from French brand Furygan are worth every penny
Feel is excellent and they are warm even before the heating is activated. There are three levels and once they are paired with your smartphone via the app, one button controls both, making them safer. There is D3O armour for protection and they are waterproof as well.
Warm even without heating
One-button control system
Optional hard-wire kit is expensive
If you like your boots and socks but want some extra heat around your tootsies, then these might
The cabling is designed to run up the back of the boots and they can connect directly to several of the company’s vests and jackets and can be powered by the bike or a battery pack.
Heat in your favourite boots
Maintain feel for the bike’s controls
Connect to existing clothing
Heat the underside of the feet only