Riding in winter and unpredictable spring can be tedious – and incredibly dangerous – if riders are not adequately prepared for it. However, heated kit is the perfect solution for those sub-temperature spells in the saddle and will keep you warm and toasty as you cruise along. As valiant adventurer, Sir Ranulph Finnes famously quoted “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
So, here is a list of our top picks for heated clothing that will ensure that you don’t need to be put off by a little bit of winter.
Black Friday Deals on heated vests
Arris Heated Vest for Men, Size Adjustable 7.4V Battery Powered Electric Body Warm Gilets 8 Heating Panels
The best heated jackets and vests
X99 Electric Heated Vest
This heated vest is a best-seller on Amazon and comes with five heated areas including the central upper back, two in the lower back and two on the front, low down, to keep the torso warm. You can plug it into a USB power-bank or even a USB socket on the bike (the material doesnu2019t specify a current draw) and it has adjustable shoulder straps and side zips to help tialor the fit. Heating temperature quoted is from 43u00b0C to 65u00b0C in three steps and it is machine washable. Editoru2019s Pick - Weu2019ve tested this product and would spend our own money on it.
Keis J501 Premium Heated Jacket
This is a highly popular jacket for good reason. It's made of breathable and fairly wind resistant soft shell. Thus, it's versatile as either an outer or inner layer depending on weather conditions. Heating panels are in all the right areas: chest, kidney, arms, and collar. Run it off a 5200mAh battery or plug in in direct to your bike via the supplied cable. Naturally, it has pockets for the cables and battery, but it also has a few other small pockets for phones and other such items.
Gerbing MicroWirePRO Heated Premium Jacket Liner
This thermal heated jacket liner is superb as an under-jacket, allowing you to tether heated trousers and gloves effortlessly u2013 ensuring you have full body warmth whilst out riding on a cold winter's day. The jacket is tailored to fit snugly underneath your outer motorcycle gear, constructed from a soft polyester shell u2013 making it an ideal, comfortable baselayer. While it comes with a bike connector cable, it does not come with a temperature controller - you'll need to purchase one of these separately.
Macna Centre Heated Jacket
The Macna jacket is a slightly more affordable garment than those above, which we like. We also like the fact you get plenty for your money. Like the Gerbing MicroWirePRO, this is meant as a liner, worn underneath a protective top layer. There are heating elements all over the jacket, which is both effective and comforting like a nice hug. There are three heat settings and these can be controlled via the Macna smartphone app.
Gerbing 12V Heated Vest
If you want a vest to keep your torso warm, look no further. The Gerbing vest has three heated panels - chest, back , and collar - and features synthetic Thinsulate insulation too. It's therefore rather compressible and doesn't feel bulky to wear. Run it from a battery or plug in directly into the bike with the supplied connector cable. This vest also has some water water repellency thanks to its nylon shell. The high collar is somewhat of a dilemma: it's nice and high up the neck, but it's fat and can also get in the way of doing your outer jacket all the way up.
Keis B101 Heated Bodywarmer
The Keis B101 Heated Bodywarmer is perfect for cold winter rides u2013 fitted with three heated panels (chest, back, and collar). It comes complete with a cable management system and supply cables which can be either be powered through the bikeu2019s battery or via an optional Li-ion battery pack (which can be easily stored in the body warmeru2019s dedicated pocket). It puts out plenty of heat thanks to its 40W output; yet its softshell fabric is light and reasonably breathable.
Rrtizan Heated Vest
This vest from Rrtizan is another Amazon category best-seller - it's thick and quilted so should be warm before the electric heating is even turned on. Also featuring three levels of heat via the main on/off switch (40u00b0C, 50u00b0C and 60u00b0C), its heat is produced by five panels across the lower torso and the upper back. It too is powered by any USB source, including power-banks and potentially a bikeu2019s socket and is waterproof, according to the manufacturer, with elasticated side panels for fit.
The pros and cons of heated clothing
Some bikers love heated clothing, some loathe it. Objectively, there are cases for and against heated garments that we will point out below.
Heated clothing saves you having to layer quite so heavily. On a quick weekend ride or perhaps the commute, not unravelling several layers upon leaving and arriving is great.
Heated clothing from specialist brands have excellent temperature controllers that allow you to adapt as the weather changes. This is of particular value on long rides.
Quality heated clothing really works in keeping you warm.
Because it works, heated clothing can make year-round riding much easier.
Heated gloves are very useful in alleviating Raynaud's syndrome.
Heated clothing is, by and large, thicker than its non-heated equivalents.
Running on batteries gets quite expensive (you can avoid this by only plugging your heated gear directly into the bike if you wish).
Can heated clothing be machine washed? Keis and Gerbing state to hand wash their garments.