Best Heated Motorcycle Gear
Hello! I’m RyanF9 and this is the best heated gear.
No need to start complicated – Thermacell Pocket Warmer.
You’re probably familiar with the disposable version of this – my mom used to hand ‘em out like candy during family ski trips. They cost like a toonie.
So why, oh why, buy the fancy electronic warmer for 85 bucks?
For one – the lithium ion battery has a good 500 charges in it. So at 17 cents per use it’s actually cheaper.
For two – it’s more effective. The heat only comes out the red side, so you’re not losing half your energy to Mother Nature. And that, is how we prevent global warming.
For three – the heat is adjustable. Hold the button once for around body temperature, hold it twice for a bit more, and three times for a peak temp of 47 degrees celsius-ish. Obviously the number will fluctuate if you’re riding Toronto in August or Winnipeg in October – it’s not that well regulated.
But still world’s better than the old disposables. With them you would burn for 30 seconds, sweat like a pig for 20 minutes, and then freeze solid an hour later. Heating like that actually does more harm than good.
Stats! The unit charges with a USB to micro-USB… also known as that cable you have, like, 3 of in the back of your drawer. It takes 4 hours to fully charge and heats for 6 hours on low, 5 on medium and 4 on high… again depending on whether or not you live in Winnipeg.
The shell is shock and water-resistant TPU… I’d prefer to hear the word “proof.” Also the heating pad is medical-grade silicone… just in case you wanted to get this implanted.
Now, having a warmer in your pocket is one thing, but I’d get a vest liner if it’s really cold outside.
This is the Tourmaster Synergy 2.0 and it costs 275 bucks. You can get full jacket liners for more money, or proper heated jackets for even more. But I think this is great because you can keep whatever motorcycle jacket you already have over top. And since it keeps my core hot, my arms get plenty of warm blood flow anyway.
The thing about the Synergy is that it has a built-in thermometer. That means it stays at the temperature you set it. So when you ride out on a chilly morning, you don’t have to constantly keep turning the heat down as the day gets warmer. Also the thermometer acts as a failsafe – just in case you connect this thing to a 1000-volt battery and its 15A fuse fails to blow... the thermometer will shut the vest off at dangerous temperatures so you don’t cook yourself.
Speaking of which, it is actually safe to use this thing in the rain. Feels wrong for something lined with steel-fibre elements, but it’s true. In fact if you remove the wiring harness and temperature controller, the Synergy vest is machine washable.
Two things I like, and one I don’t.
First bit of good news is the collar, which is tall enough to cover your neck. Everyone knows there’s lots of blood flow in the neck, and every motorcyclist knows that area is prone to getting blasted with cold air.
Second benefit is heat delivery. Hook it up to the 12V in your motorcycle and boom, you’re warm. I was amazed by how instantly I felt the heat.
Just make sure you layer above the liner and not below. There’s only 100 grams of polyfill in here, so you’ll definitely want some kind of insulating jacket over top, but under the liner you want something thin and breathable – a quick-wicking athletic shirt will let you best feel the heat.
The one thing I don’t like is the controller. Why is this so big, 2017? Aren’t we past this?
Any electronic that comes with a thigh harness is too large. I do appreciate that it’s a double controller in case you want to add some Synergy gloves or something… but damn.
Speaking of gloves – avoid heated ones.
Because of the focus on warmth, they tend to do a pretty shit job of motorcycle safety. The only decent ones I’ve found come from Gerbing, and they’re so expensive.
The alternative is to buy heated liners to wear under your regular riding gloves. But then again, it’s a bit uncomfortable and seriously vague when it comes to the contact feel on your bike’s controls.
There has to be a better way.
And there is! Oxford makes some killer heated grips that allow me to keep my gloves and my tactile response. They come from Britain: a place where cold and wet rides are known simply as … rides.
The Heaterz Grips dole out the warmth in five levels, which is more than enough. In fact at 100% it’s almost painful to keep my hands on here. Of course the top of my fingers still get cold, so I normally wear a decent insulated glove anyway.
The grips themselves feel great. Where your hands rest, there’s a dense block tread for maximum vibration cancellation and durability. Then I get a grippier diamond pattern where I actively grip the throttle.
Best thing about the Oxford Heaterz is the battery saving mode… if you forget to turn them off, they’ll automatically go into standby when your motorcycle isn’t running. That way you won’t come back to a dead bike.
Speaking of which, these only draw 4 amps, so they won’t kill your bike via the fuse box either.
Installation takes about an hour… simple wiring from the battery and simple glue-on grips. The most laborious part will be cutting off the old ones. Also it takes a bit of creativity to find a place for this. Oxford makes fitments for ADV, sport, cruiser, touring, commuting, ATV and scooter… the difference is just the inside diameter and the length.
Aside from hands, the other extremity you’ll need to worry about is your feet.
I’ll do the song and dance one more time. Yes you can buy heated boots. Yes they’re overpriced because they’re heated. And no, they’re usually not as competent as regular motorcycle boots.
Better to use a heated insole with the footwear you already have. The best of which is the Thermacell ProFLEX. Stats are similar to that other Thermacell Heat Pad thing. Up to six hours on the lowest setting, four or less on high.
The difference I noticed is that these don’t feel as hot to the touch. They’re more about maintaining a constant positive temperature in your boots so your feet neither sweat nor freeze. Whatever. The most useful thing I can say is that they kept me comfortable.
On the bike, that is. The insoles are quite stiff for walking while the cushion-covered battery is extremely soft. So you can feel it’s outline on your heel with each step and that’s annoying.
But again, on the bike, it’s fine.
Thermacell brags about this carrying case, which is cheap and undoubtedly something I’ll never use, so that’s that. They should have spent more time talking about the battery case, which doubles as a dual-charging station, connected via this USB-micro-USB cable to a computer or this wall plug.
Four hours to charge two batteries… one for each foot.
You’ll want to wear thin athletic socks for best results, as was true with the vest we saw. Also sizing is imprecise so get your scissors ready.
If heated insoles are so interesting to you that you bother to check out the competition, you’ll notice that Thermacell makes a Heavy Duty version for 20 bucks more and an “original” model for 50 dollars less.
The Heavy Duty version can quick-charge in 2 hours, which I suspect isn’t great for the battery. And it’s also controlled via Bluetooth and a rather-finicky smartphone app.
Personally I prefer the simple remote. But if fiddling with your iPhone in -40 appeals to you, by all means, spend more on the Heavy Duty version.
And if you’re tempted to spend less on the original version, know that it doesn’t have removable batteries, so you’ll have to take the insoles out every time you want to charge them.
And that’s it for my favourite heated gear. Thanks for watching.