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Which heated motorcycle kit is best for me?

Heated clothing is a must for riding through winter. If you want to find out more about how it works and how to choose the right kit, read on.

Heated kit guide

HEATED kit is a simple concept that’s been around for longer then you might think. The premise is simple; tiny wires embedded into the layers of the garment heat up when a current is passed through them and they become warm.

But which heated kit should I go for? To figure that out, lets first look at the types of heated kit on offer and what the pros and cons of each are.

Battery powered heated kit

Externally powered heated clothing:

These are items that are powered by small battery packs that you carry within your pocket or a pouch within the garment. The battery will include a small control unit to adjust the temperature and advise of the amount of power that’s left.

Pros:

  • No wires attaching you to the bike that snag when you fill up
  • Low voltage (generally 7-Volts) great if your nervous about it going wrong – which it won’t!
  • No need to make changes if you need to use the kit on multiple bikes

Cons:

  • Low voltage means temperature is lower than bike-powered kit
  • Batteries will run out and take a few hours to recharge
  • Can be expensive – as you are buying the item, battery pack and controller
  • Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries only last for so long and then don’t hold a charge like they used to
  • Can be over powered by extremely cold weather

Best choice if…

If you’re riding short distances and getting on and off the bike regularly, battery powered kit is the way to go. Ideal for couriers and delivery riders but also great because you also have some heated kit to wear for winter walks and other outdoor activities.

Battery-hook-up

Bike-powered kit:

This draws its power from the bikes electrical system and will need wiring in. There will be a small control unit somewhere along the line to change the temperature of your clothing. Most include a fuse that you will have to match to the item of clothing you’re using.

Pros:

  • 12V output means the temperature is higher than battery powered kit
  • No batteries to change or re-charge
  • More effective for very cold rides
  • Can power multiple items from one line – gloves and jacket/jacket and trousers
  • Tends to be cheaper than battery powered kit as all you buy is the clothing and some wires

Cons:

  • It’s easy to forget the wires are attaching you to the bike
  • Takes a while to set up/swap between bikes
  • Can be a bit of a faff if you need to remove clothing at a fuel stop

Best choice if…

If you’re clocking up big miles in one go and only need to stop for fuel and comfort breaks, bike-powered kit will probably be better. It’s also good if you ride in the coldest weather as the 12v heated clothing can reach higher temperatures than battery powered kit.

See page the next page to choose the right type of clothing for you:

 

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