I’ve Got Gerbing And Am Not Afraid To Use It!Posted: January 22, 2010
I had occasion to try out hubby’s little gear purchase: a Gerbing heated vest. He hunted that puppy down online, after my little ‘incident’ in 18˚ F, which actually convinced me to quit being such a hardcore dweeb with a generous side of brain death and get some heated gloves. He really digs his Gerbing gear that I got him for Christmas (yeah, he’s the guinea pig in the family, he’s testing a set of Throttlemeisters on his Connie 14 for me right now ;P). Anyhoo, I ordered the gloves and figured, I might as well get the women’s vest, too while I’m there, since I’d probably appreciate it on longer rides. They didn’t have it in my size, so I checked one more place and they were out, too. Forget it. I’m just here for the gloves anyway. I ordered the glove liners and a temp controller. Next day, hubby went out and found a vest in my size and bought it for me behind my back. I’m still waiting on the gloves, since they are backordered and Gerbing was holding the controller, too. Hubby finally called them to tell them they need to go ahead and ship the controller out, so I could use my vest. The controller still hasn’t made it and I ran out of patience the first morning I saw the temp below 40˚F. I stole hubby’s extension cord, cranked up the bike and plugged that sucker in. I was prepared to get electrocuted since I wasn’t quite doing this by the book and I had no clue which of the three jacks on my vest I was supposed to use… One didn’t fit my plan, so I just picked a hole that would fit the male-to-female extension cord to the female power plug on the battery harness that I installed a few days prior. It’s DC, shouldn’t matter right? I squeezed my eyes shut and jammed that plug into the power harness. Did I mention I have a healthy respect for electricity? Ever since a few run-ins with electric fences as a kid, I am freaky when it comes to messing with the ‘live wire’. I didn’t get zapped, but I started feeling warm around the backside where my backpack pressed the vest against my shirt. Good, it’s working. Off to work I went. Without a temp controller or a way to switch it off I was getting a little toasty, so I sat bolt upright on my bike and let the wind hit my chest. Dang, this thing puts out some heat. My neck got a little chilly since I’m a moron and forgot to put on my neck warmer and forgot to turn the collar up on the vest, but who cares… it wouldn’t be heated anyway, or would it? I pulled into the parking lot at work 22 miles later, at 39˚F and rainy, all cozy and without frostbite on my fingers. Yeah, I think this’ll do nicely.
On the way home this morning, it was misting and foggy with the temp dipping into the low 30s. I sat upright; just as I did before, and went the Interstate all the way home, which adds four miles and higher speed to my commute. By the time I got home, my fingers felt slightly cool, but other than that I was feeling pretty comfy. It is true what they say: keep the core warm and the body takes care of itself and keeps the extremities from turning themselves into ice cubes. Finally I can feel my levers all the way to the house.
I wore the vest again in 42˚F on my way to get the bike serviced. This time I turned the collar up. I pretty much cooked my neck in seven miles. Talk about getting hot under the collar. Gerbing actually heats the collars on these puppies. Awesome! Note to self: wear the neck warmer under that to insulate from direct contact.
I can’t wait until my temp controller and the gloves come in. More testing is in order. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t drop below freezing again this year, now that I’m prepared for Mr. Frostie the Coldass Frostbite Fairy. And I love the fact that any of Gerbing’s components are self-sufficient, meaning you buy any of their articles (vests, jackets, gloves, glove liners, insoles, pant liners) and you’ll get everything you need to hook that puppy up to your bike’s battery and get rolling. Obviously, a temp controller is almost a must, or at least one of their budget alternatives: an inline on/off switch. That was something that was confusing to me when I first started looking into heated gear. What else would I need to make this junk work? With Gerbing there’s no stress. Yeah, they’re more expensive, but damn, that MicroWire technology is probably worth it. I’ve talked to a bunch of LD riders (mostly Beemer jockeys) and they all swear by this stuff. They all said that if I could afford it, get Gerbing. It was unanimous. Gerbing! All I heard. So, I put my trust in the people who must know a thing or two about crap weather riding.
I have no way to compare how it stacks up to other brands of heated clothing, in functionality, heat-output, power-management and consumption, weight, bulkiness, price-value, etc, but I’m liking what I have so far.