After a chilly ride the other day, I thought about what I'm going to do to keep my fingers from freezing to death while out riding. Because at 50F + windchill it feels like 40F; it's COLD!
So what is the best option for staying warm while riding your motorcycle? Two Words: Heated Gear.
- In 2011, when I was first introduced to the world of Heated Jacket Liners. TOASTY!
You might be debating whether or not to go this route. If you've decided you're going to take the plunge, it's important to know what the best options are for us as women riders. Before I dive into some recommendations, let's review some basics.
How Should My Liners Be Worn?
When it comes to wearing heated gear, keep in mind that heated liners are meant to be worn Underneath. You need to block the wind so that you can actually feel the heat. These also do not offer any type of protection when it comes to abrasion resistance or impact protection. Also, it’s crucial that it fits CLOSE to your body, as fitted as your riding gear. How else are you going to feel all that delicious heat?
However, keep in mind that you must also wear a baselayer because the heating elements are hot so you need to wear a long sleeve shirt of some kind as a barrier between your skin and the gear. Not a heavy sweater or thick fleece jacket, but a breathable winter weight baselayer. Otherwise you will get burns as you turn up the intensity!
So the order of layers is:
- Thermal, winter weight baselayer
- Heated Jacket Liner or Pants
- Armored Riding Jacket or Pants
7Volt vs. 12Volt
As you start shopping, you will see these terms thrown around on various types of gear. It’s important to know the difference, especially when riding motorcycles. One will work very well for us, the other will not.
7Volt or 7V, refers to Battery Powered Heated Gear. That means there's a little battery in your pocket that allows you to adjust the heat while you're out and about. It lasts anywhere from 3-6 hours depending on how much heat you're using during any given time. I actually have a 7V vest that I bought just for working at the time (3 years ago) because the store I worked at was So cold inside. I tried using it just riding across San Francisco, but it didn't have enough heat no matter what jacket I wore over it. You cannot plug this into your motorcycle's battery to power the vest. And you only have heat squares that cover the upper chest and back. Another reason why this doesn't provide enough heat to your body while riding.
You will see a ton of 7V(olt) options on the market from many brands including Gyde (formerly Gerbing), VentureHeat and MobileWarming, but these 7V options do NOT provide enough heat to keep you warm at riding speeds. Maybe if you're riding a bicycle, but bump that speed up to 45-55-65-75mph and now that 7V vest can't keep up. And, you don't have heat down your sleeves, back, arms and neck like you do on a 12V jacket.
12Volt or 12V, refers to heated gear that you can plug directly into your bike's battery to provide continuous, intense heat. YES! Now you have more options to stay warm.
The reason I would recommend the women’s specific lines is because the fitment can be much better in the shoulders, sleeves, waist and bust. You also don’t have to size up to accommodate your chest/bust fit as you will with mens lines.
Now, let's go over what the options are for 12V gear and the various combinations you can put together to stay warm. I'm going to list the options on WarmnSafe.com's website. Remember that all the women's heated gear offered through FirstGear is a WarmnSafe product. When you buy any of the women's specific heated accessories, you will find both logos on the garments.
1/ Generation 4 Women’s Heated Jacket Liner. $199.99-$239.99
This version uses a new heated material that sounds less bulky and softer overall. I’m very tempted to upgrade to this one because I’m hoping it heats better than the wires do. The wires are large and you can definitely feel them in the Gen 3 Liner. It also has a newer collar and reflective piping on the back, which I’m not sure how you would see since you should be wearing this Underneath your riding jacket. These liners are NOT meant to be worn alone. The 90Watt generates more heat, and I believe it draws very similar power to the 65Watt.
- 65watt; XS-XL $199.99 This version is probably being discontinued as Large is no longer available. You do save $40, however.
- 90watt; XS-2XL; TALL SIZES available! $239.99. This is such a great option for those of you who need longer sleeves and torsos.
2/ Generation 3 Women’s Heated Jacket Liner $199.99, XS-2XL
I'm wearing this one in the picture above, and it's also the one that's sold through the brand FirstGear. No difference from the one sold on WarmnSafe's website, just comes with a FirstGear logo. If you're already considering spending $200 on a heated jacket, you may as well spend a few dollars more and get the Generation 4 model above. This one is still offered in 65W and 90W options, however Tall sizes are not available. Read my full review here.
3/ FirstGear Heated Pant Liners. There are two options for the pant liners as well!
- Gen4 Heated Pants Liner: XS-XL, $199.99; I’ve seen this one in person and it fits like a legging. Not as thin of course, but thin enough to wear under your riding pants. I was impressed by how well they fit. They seem true to fit. “Heated zones cover thigh and knee and upper butt“
- Generation Windblock Heated Pant Liners: XS-XL; $239.99 Looks like the Windblock version has a couple key differences:
- NEW WindBlock Pants Liner! Front Panel Made From Stretch Gelanots™ to Block the Wind.
- NEW Run the Pants and Socks together or on Separate Heat-trollers
- I can't tell any differences aesthetically, they look the same on the outside and the fit appears to be the same as well.
4/ Warmnsafe Women's Heated Gloves. $129.99, S-L
I’m pretty sure these gloves run loose. If you need XS, I would recommend the Heated Glove Liners instead. I personally prefer riding gloves that offer more protection such as palm sliders and hard knuckles, so for me, these don’t work. But if you’re searching for a toasty glove to ride in, you’ll probably love these.
5/ Firstgear Heated Glove Liners, Unisex XS-2XL; $79.95. These are the ones I want! These liners should be thin enough to wear under your gloves. If you have the jacket, then all you have to do is plug each glove into the cable on each wrist. Atomic Skin also offers liners, but you cannot plug them into another brand's heated jacket.
So there you have it, all the heated stuff, all the time. Stay warm, everyone.
Time to go ride!