Fifteen years ago I was touring with a group of riders hoping to stretch the season and we were looking for one last hurrah before putting our bikes away for winter. After a few days of riding in the Deal’s Gap area, we woke up at the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort with a thick layer of frost on the bikes. My heart sank several inches knowing I would suffer for the first time while riding. I didn’t have a stitch of heated apparel. And at that time, I didn’t have a clue how valuable it could be.
Fast forward to present and we now have many choices of apparel and many different technologies to choose from. The three main ways of delivering heat in motorcycle and snowmobile apparel these days are via wires, panels and polymers. The ski, snowmobile, and motorcycle industries have been borrowing ideas from each other and upping the game for effective heating in cold temperatures for years. My naiveté back then isn’t unusual among newer riders, nor is it unusual amongst relocated riders new to a colder climate, and this is a golden opportunity to generate more PG&A sales for your dealership.
This season there are three items on my radar for winter riding, which I’ll list according to price. The first is Choko Design’s rechargeable heated insoles, which are water resistant and offer three temperature settings on their remote control. The MSRP of $94.95 makes them a no-brainer for my feet. The second item I’m looking at is Highway 21’s radiant heated glove. They have armored knuckles, genuine leather construction, 100g of Thinsulate insulation and operate on a lithium ion battery and controller with three settings. Those are a bit pricier with an MSRP of $209.95.
The heated jacket I am wanting to get my hands on is Mobile Warming’s Dual Power heated jacket. Made from flexible water-resistant and wind-proof Windshark® softshell material, the jacket has two power modes; either tie into your vehicle’s 12volt electrical system while riding, or use the portable, powerful Lithium-ion rechargeable battery to keep you warm off the bike. This jacket comes in both men’s and women’s versions and retails for $299.99.
There are so many great products on the market these days, and there’s never before been as many options for staying warm while enjoying powersports year round. Each style of warming and type or garment has their advantages and disadvantages, and the important thing to remember is that an insulated layer is necessary for optimal warmth. This can be an inner layer of a jacket, or an independent layer. Stocking a jacket meant for layering under protective apparel and training staff on how to sell it can lead to additional sales in the shoulder seasons.