Gerbing's Heated Motorcycle Jacket Liner
April 4, 2009
There is a light dusting of snow on the ground. It is 8:00 a.m. on a beautiful twenty-eight degree Colorado day. A quick check confirms the sun has melted the snow from the roads, and it is safe to ride the Santa Sleigh Run today. It seems like a great day to try out my new Gerbing Heated Motorcycle Jacket Liner and Heated Gloves (see Gerbing’s Heated Gloves product review).
As a female who has logged thousand of miles on the back of my husband’s motorcycles, I have struggled to find ways to stay warm. I have worn trash bags under my clothing, down jackets that got wet in the rain, multiple layers of clothing that made it difficult to move or mount the motorcycle, and I was still cold.
Two years ago, I purchased a unisex heated vest and thought I had found the answer. With the aid of a fleece shirt, the heated vest, and a hooded sweatshirt under my leather jacket, I was warm. The extra bulk under my jacket was a little uncomfortable. Zipping my sleeves completely and snapping my neck snap were not options. The unisex styling did not fit my frame correctly, but under my jacket it didn’t seem to matter. I was warm and able to ride year round for the past two years.
Heated motorcycle clothing seems like essential equipment to me. It is lightweight, easy to pack, and ensures a more comfortable ride regardless of weather. My husband, who believes you zip your jacket and toughen up in cold weather, is now also the owner of a heated vest. It was thirty-two degrees as we left Banff, Canada this past August and he was happy to plug in his vest. Now, I am anxious to see how my new Gerbing Heated Motorcycle Jacket Liner compares.
Gerbing (www.gerbing.com) was started in 1976 by Gordon Gerbing near Seattle Washington. Heated clothing was the hobby that became his full-time passion in the 1980s. As more and more people learned of the benefits of heated clothing, Gerbing’s business continued to grow. In 1999 Harley-Davidson selected Gerbing to be the sole supplier of the Harley-Davidson label heated clothing. Gerbing’s goal is to maintain Gordon’s original vision of making a quality product at a fair price that genuinely improves the lives of their customers.
The Gerbing Heated Motorcycle Jacket Liner has a semi-custom fit. Chest and arm measurements, height, weight, and sex need to be provided to Gerbing to determine correct sizing. Already, I am excited. I know that my shape and my husband’s shape are not at all similar. This garment might actually fit me!
The jacket liner is a Teflon coated, wind-resistant, soft nylon shell. The form fitting patterns and sizing is made to fit snugly and easily under outer garments. Inside is compressible, water-repellent Thinsulate insulation. Heating pads are located on the chest, back, collar, and sleeves. Zippered glove plug pockets are placed on the sleeves and secure the glove plugs when not in use.
There are also inside and outside pockets in the liner. The outside slash pocket openings are approximately 6” (15cm) wide and the 7” (18cm) deep. The inside pocket openings are approximately 6” (15cm) wide and 8” (20cm) deep. There are also two left inside Velco strips to fasten connecting wires inside the liner out of the way.
This liner fits comfortably and is lightweight. The sleeves are long enough for my long arms, yet the chest fits snugly. Both the sleeves and bottom have 2.5” ribbing for improved fit and warmth. Generally, I need to compromise chest fit to achieve desired arm length.
Having satisfaction with the sleeve length and chest fit, the next check is jacket length. The liner fits just below my waist. There is no gap between my jeans and the jacket for cold air access. Sleeves, collar, and bottom ribbing are all securely hidden. My leather jacket sleeves zip, and the collar snap fastens without choking me. The jacket liner fits under my leather jacket perfectly and discretely.
Quality and Value
Gerbing’s unique heated clothing feature is their high-density heat pads sown into special fabric pads. Each pad is designed and engineered to produce a specific amount of heat. The design of the pads makes them extremely durable and almost unnoticeable in the liner. Pads are then strategically located throughout the garment to provide natural, balanced heat output. And, they do keep you warm. Just moments after plugging the jacket liner into a 12-volt power source or by starting your motorcycle, you feel the warmth on your neck, arms, and body.
Gerbing’s heated clothing line includes not only jacket liners, but also outer jackets, vests, gloves, pants, and socks. All their heated clothing forms an interconnected system in which every item connects to everything else with a single connection to your motorcycle battery. The long wire on the left side inside the jacket liner connects to the battery harness or temp-controller.
The temp-controller, purchased separately in either single or dual control models, connects to the battery harness and allows the user to control the garment heat output. Controllers have either a single or double knob to regulate the heat and also serve as an on/off switch. Leather clip cases are also available for your temp controller. Clip cases help protect your controller and include a belt clip on the back. Consider the temp-controller to be a good investment. It allows you to control the heat, and these garments put out the heat! With the temp-controller, you select how warm you want to be.
Connecting the battery harness to your motorcycle battery is not difficult. The harness can then be attached to your motorcycle frame or pulled up under your seat in a location convenient for access. Because power outputs can vary from motorcycle to motorcycle, Gerbing recommends checking your motorcycle owner’s manual or with your dealer regarding questions about your alternator peak power output. A Gerbing jacket liner requires about 77 watts. We have successfully used our heated gear on both a touring bike and a sport bike.
How you wear your heated clothing with other clothes can either enhance or detract from your overall comfort. Gerbing recommends wearing heated clothing under windproof clothing. Wind takes away the heat. They also recommend wearing only one layer under your heated clothing, such as a long-sleeved turtleneck under the jacket liner.
I decided to follow Gerbing’s advice and was very warm wearing just a turtleneck, my jacket liner, and my leather jacket. The jacket liner is so lightweight, I was doubtful I could be warm at twenty-eight degrees. My arms, chest, back, and neck felt equally warm, and there were no cold areas with the jacket liner. Amazing! I was warmer and more comfortable than with my other bulky clothing.
I also discovered I was warmer and more comfortable using the jacket liner than my heated vest. I wear a hooded sweatshirt with my heated vest to keep my arms warm. That creates extra bulk and prevents zipping my sleeves completely and fastening the neck snap on my leather jacket. Even with the sweatshirt, my arms aren’t warm; they just aren’t cold.
Another advantage to the jacket liner is the ability to wear it as a lightweight jacket when off the motorcycle. Gerbing states the jacket liner is not intended to be worn as an outer jacket. The fabric and stitching are not made to withstand the excessive wind you get on a motorcycle. It can be worn as an outer jacket though when walking around. Multi-functional clothing works for me with limited space on a motorcycle.
Some of you may be wondering how well the heating elements will wear over time. According to Gerbing, no matter how often you crumple or fold your heated clothing or how many years you own your heated clothing, they are confident their heating system will continue to function flawlessly. How confident you ask? Their answer is a lifetime warranty on the heating elements. To quote their warranty card: “when you purchase a Gerbing’s heated garment within the United States, the electrical components of the garment are warranted to be free from factory defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the garment.” Non-electrical components of their clothing are warranted for one year after purchase.
Care of your Gerbing jacket line is simple. Just hand wash in Woolite and let hang dry. No need to worry about voiding your lifetime warranty or breaking wires or connections. Gerbing believes their clothing is so durable that if a problem ever develops with the electrical features, they will fix it for free forever.
Hesitant to purchase clothing over the phone or online? Gerbing has that covered, too. You can return any product purchased from them for a full refund within 30 days of the purchase. Temp-controllers are warranted from factory defect for two years from the initial purchase.
The price of the Gerbing Heated Jacket Liner is $199. The Gerbing Heated Jacket Liner is worth the price. The custom garment is well constructed, durable, and will keep you warm. It permits year round riding here in Colorado, and functions as an outer jacket when walking. When you add in the product warranty it’s hard to go wrong.
In addition to the jacket liner, you will need a battery harness ($8) to connect the jacket liner to your motorcycle battery. Again, I recommend the Temp-Controller (Single control $69; Dual control $99) and the Control Cover ($10). Having the option to control the heat output of the jacket liner as opposed to an off/on switch is worth the money.
I can’t imagine riding without the Gerbing Heated Jacket Liner again. If I am not wearing it, I will be packing it. I am impressed with how lightweight and comfortable it is. As a tall, slender woman this is huge for me. I like clothes that fit, and I like that the jacket liner’s custom fit is no extra cost.
I also like to ride, and I want to be warm. Now I can have both. A number of friends are now owners of Gerbing heated clothing. While riding in cold weather, I allow them to feel the advantages. I take the hands of my frozen friends and slipped them inside my jacket. Heated gear really sells itself.
Product Review Comments
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6/24/2009 12:04 PM
After four years and 80,000 miles of wearing and dragging my heated liner around with me like a baby blanket, the left arm no longer heated. I was crushed. I called Gerbing's customer service line and told them my problem. What nice people! They gave me a return number and an address to return the liner to them for repair. In a little over a week and a half, the liner was returned...repaired. There was no indication when I examined the interior of the liner that anything had even changed. Remarkable. Even more remarkable, as is Gerbing's warranty policy, the work was done for FREE! How many businesses do you know that do that? Thank you Gerbing!
5/20/2008 7:07 AM
This is without a doubt the single best item I own for motorcycling. Love it! Love it! Love it! Wouldn't leave home without it. I've owned this liner for over three years and it operates and looks as good as it did when I got it. If you don't have one...you should. If you already own one...you understand.
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