Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Heated Jackets

     Heated jackets/liners are the greatest thing to come to motorcycle travelling since the saddlebag. Not only are they amazing at keeping you warm in the coldest riding conditions, but they also save space by replacing the many layers you would need to achieve a warmth even close to what heated jackets provide. Although expensive, they are almost a necessity on long rides, even when temperatures are as warm as 60 degrees.
     Choosing a heated jacket/liner is not an easy task. There are two kinds of heated jackets: those that run on your bike's battery, and those that have their own internal batteries. The following are heated jackets rated by overall value:

1. Heated Jacket Liners That Run on the Bike's Battery



     This is by far the best option. You never have to worry about running an internal battery dry, and they are extremely warm. They don't consume as much power from your bike as you would think. I was able to run my GPS, charge my phone, and keep my jacket liner at 100% power without draining the battery of my '73 CB750 with an aftermarket alternator. Additional equipment to increase the liner's functionality may increase the net cost, but it's well worth it.

Pros:

  • Very warm
  • Endless power when connected to bike
  • Consumes relatively little of your bike's battery

Cons:

  • Doesn't work when detached without additional equipment
  • You have to unplug it every time you get off your bike
  • Expensive external temperature controller recommended

2. Heated Jackets That Run on an Internal Battery



     Although heated jackets with an internal battery provide the ability to conveniently run off the bike in cold temperatures, they are not suitable for the needs of the motorcycle traveler. They do not get nearly as warm as those that run on your bike's battery, and the battery only lasts 2 hours at 100% power. They also can't charge while connected to the jacket, so you can either charge the battery or use it, but not both. It takes 3-4 hours to fully charge, so it takes twice as long to charge it than the time you can use it. It's great for watching football games on a snowy day, but not for long riding days with the wind continuously pounding your chest.

Pros:

  • Detatchable
  • Cheaper

Cons:

  • Not very warm
  • Battery does not last long enough for a long ride

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