I'VE had this heated bodywarmer for I think five or six years and I would no more be without it than I would ride in a thong and sombrero.
It’s possible to connect to the bike but I run it off its own battery, which means it’s with me on any motorcycle and I don’t have to fuss about disconnecting myself when I get off.
It’s got a controller with four heat settings. On maximum it lasts a good two hours. Turn it down to medium and it still makes winter rides much more pleasant but lasts five hours or more – basically as long as I ever usually need.
With heated panels at the chest and kidney area, it’s not quite as warm as some vests, which have heated wiring throughout and need to connect to the bike battery, but it still makes a huge difference on my 60-mile commute.
I’ve already got heated grips on my SV650 and I don’t know whether the alternator is up to powering a vest as well, anyway.
It comes with a 4,000mAH, 11.1-volt battery, like the one I’ve got, for £209.98 in total, or a smaller 2,200mAH battery for £174.98.
Someone I know tried the smalller battery and complained it didn’t last long enough, so I’d recommend finding the extra £35 for the big one.
The battery goes in a pocket inside the bodywarmer. It’s about the size of a cigarette packet plus an extra inch in width, so a bit bulky under leathers but not unbearable.
The controller is an extra £29.99 and I’d recommend that too. Otherwise you’re stuck on maximum heat with minimum battery life.
Other options include a wired remote control that mounts on the handlebar for £59.99. That should save the inconvenience of having to stop and undo your jacket to change the setting. Personally I think I can live without it.
What impresses most about this heated bodywarmer is that its performance is undiminished after several winters of pretty heavy use. The battery seems to last just as long as it did when new.
The two sides of the controller case separated when it wasn’t very old. I taped it up with clear sellotape and it’s been like that ever since. The controller’s not waterproof, so you need to make sure your jacket is.
Recently I had a moment of alarm when the zipper came off both sides of the zip. I thought it might be the end of it but I got it back on and it seems to be okay.
There’s a small hole in the fabric on the back, which you may just be able to make out in the picture.
In terms of functionality, the bodywarmer’s as good as new. If it did go wrong after this much use, I’d replace it without complaint.
Keis also do a bodywarmer with a collar and one with both a collar and sleeves. Find the full range here.
Price: £239.97 including 4,000mAH battery, charger and controller