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#639792 - 09/27/10 10:35 AM Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner
Mike Offline

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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 9404
Loc: Chicago area, IL, USA
I purchased a heated jacket liner from Gerbing's a short while ago, and have been anxiously awaiting the exit of warm weather here in Chicagoland. Perverse, I know, but a guy's gotta check out his gear. Right?


(Photos are from the Gerbing's website.)

Anyway, my prayers were answered yesterday when I awoke to morning temperatures in the upper forties and a spouse who was otherwise occupied for the entire day. I tossed on my trusty Aerostich Darien outfit (with the Gerbing's jacket liner underneath, of course), and hit the road, headed for Southwest Wisconsin. It really was a great day for a ride--clear skies, cool temps, and nice scenery. Mostly, I was heading up to spend a little time with my wife's family, who were getting together at "the farm" to watch a little football.

Now, in theory you could buy a Gerbing's liner and use an on/off switch ($14.95), but the liner puts out so much heat that you'd soon end up a pile of ashes. grin Instead, I got the portable temp controller, a $69.95 add-on to the $199.95 jacket liner:



As I motored through the hills of southwest Wisconsin and Northwest Illinois, I couldn't help but harken back to ride in similar weather over thirty years ago. I was taking my new RD400 from upstate New York to visit my wife in Boston, where she had preceded me by a few months in a move. I took off in jeans, a lightly insulated nylon jacket, and wearing no gloves. Thank God a farmer riding the Lake Champlain ferry took mercy on me and pulled a pair of old farm gloves out of his truck to give to me before we got to the new Hampshire side. It was a miserable ride, but I made it . . . though I was frozen through by the end.

My ride yesterday was sublime . . . I was soooo comfy, despite the cool temperatures.

I've had a handful of heated garments over the years, and none has functioned as well as the Gerbing's liner. It seems to be well constructed, cuts a pretty slim profile and fit easily under my Darien. It cranks out a lot of heat, and the controller makes it possible to instantly dial up as much (or as little) heat as you'd like.

If anything surprised me, it was how much heat the liner produces and how quickly it responded to adjustments of the controller. I have no doubts that the liner would function well at sub-freezing temperatures. Again, this was just my first ride with the liner (around 430 miles), but I was really impressed.

The tall collar is fully heated and, at least yesterday, did an admirable job of keeping my neck warm. I usually wear an Aerostich fleece triangle around my neck in cold weather, but this was nicer. Also, the liner has quality elastic cuffs, which seal your arms from drafts running up your sleeves. These things seem simple, but add up to a very effective design.

A little more about the product:

-First, the fit. I normally wear an XL-Long in jackets. The Large-Long from Gerbing's fits me perfectly. Their representative told me that the jacket liners run a little big, so I followed that advice. Ask, and don't make any assumptions, about sizing.

-The liner is $199.95, but you'll want a controller. I opted for the less expensive single controller, but if you're going to add other Gerbing's heated garments (they make heated pants liners, gloves, insoles, etc.), you might want to consider a dual controller, which allows you two set up two control circuits. You can swaddle yourself in electrically-heated luxury from neck to toe, if you're so inclined. I'm thinking I'm going to get some of their gloves next.

The liner comes with the wiring needed to hook it up directly to your battery, but I prefer to have the option of using one of my auxiliary outlets. On ZFE/CAN-BUS-equipped BMWs, you need to be aware of the amperage rating of your auxiliary outlet. The jacket liner draws 6.4 amps, and some of the mid-2000s BMWs limited the amperage at the auxiliary outlet to 5 amps. You can bypass the ZFE controller with a direct-wire kit, like those from Powerlet, or you could direct wire it yourself. I understand that some later models permit a draw up to 10 amps, so you could use the liner and heated gloves (2.2 amps), for example.

Bottom line? I've always known Gerbing's as the gold standard among heated gear, but had never taken the plunge. If yesterday's ride was any indication, I'll spend many a cozy day in my comfy, toasty Gerbing's liner. It's a quality piece of gear.
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Mike the Moderator
R1200ST

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#639933 - 09/27/10 05:24 PM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: Mike]
JayW Offline
Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 2487
Loc: Western NC
Nice review. I have had a Gerbings jacket liner for years and carry it if there is even only a slight chance that I'll wish I had it. Even in non-frigid temperatures, a little heat from the liner makes the trip all that much more pleasant. Mine still looks and acts like new, so I doubt the newer microwire technology is in my foreseaable future.

Thanks to some gifts from family, I now have a full setup including gloves, pants and even the socks. I have been known to ride when it is well below freezing, so I'll be trying the whole ensemble out this winter. All this is probably overkill in NC, but maybe not for when I venture north or to the rockies.

Jay

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#639964 - 09/27/10 06:52 PM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: JayW]
Thylacine Offline
Newer Member

Registered: 02/01/10
Posts: 39
Loc: Utah
I have to say that the Gerbing's liner has been the best bike-related purchase that I've ever made. Even without the pants and gloves, it makes cold-weather riding downright enjoyable.

I shot the photo below during a 100-mile, mid-winter ride last January, and was perfectly warm despite the 25- to 30-degree F temperatures.


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'09 BMW R1200RT, '81 Yamaha XS1100 Special

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#639972 - 09/27/10 07:08 PM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: Mike]
tallman Offline
Picture Perfect Humorist
Member

Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 17195
Loc: Tallahassee, Florida
1. Hook to battery, you'll be glad.
2. Get the gloves, you'll be gladder.
3. They work in subfreezing weather which will make you gladdest.

We run 2 sets of jackets and gloves.
clap
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Tim
Conch Town Krewe
2003 K 1200 GT Mearas Luhn



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#639997 - 09/27/10 08:00 PM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: tallman]
Lmar Offline
Member

Registered: 08/16/08
Posts: 1360
Loc: Prescott, Az / Cold Lake, Ab
I presently have a Widder electric vest. I have been considering upgrading to a Gerbing Heated jacket Liner. I tried one on at our local BMW dealer. I usually wear an XL, but the large, long jacket fit me perfectly.

Thanks for the info on the level of heat the liner puts out, I was considering the temp controller, now it seems a must.

Which gloves do you guys recommend; T5 or G3 and why?
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L-Mar

2009 R1200RT

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#640018 - 09/27/10 08:55 PM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: Lmar]
moshe_levy Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/06
Posts: 3642
Loc: NJ - God Help Me
Hey Mike-

On the new liner you have, can you describe connections - is it still a connector sewn into the liner itself, or has the design changed such that a line comes out of the liner?

In my heated gear tests for MCN last year, I loved the Gerbings liner the most, but hated the connections so much that it came in second place, behind Warm & Safe. The Gerbing's came loose on me a few times and annoyed me beyond belief. Besides that major flaw, the jacket was far and away my favorite.

Re gloves Gerbing's is tops, with EXO2 close behind if you like some additional knuckle and finger protection at a little added cost. Both are excellent. G3 is much less bulky than the old style, and warmer to boot.

The Gerbing's controller is crappy compared to more modern offerings (I love the EXO model, and also love the W&S remote heat-troller - comparing either to the Gerbing's ergonomically is like comparing your computer to an abacus).

For those interested in the lab data I collected, the too long and unedited raw tex of the article from MCN can be found here http://www.mklsportster.com/Articles/mcnheatedgearraw.pdf

-MKL
_________________________
http://www.mklsportster.com/
2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
2009 BMW R1200RT
1977 BMW R100S
1973 BMW R75/5
BMW-MOA, AMA, IBA

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#640034 - 09/27/10 09:54 PM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: Mike]
Kathy R Offline
PaperButt
Member

Registered: 09/29/01
Posts: 9154
Loc: Upstate N.Y
+1 Mike. I got mine last season.

I have the dual control, as my jacket and gloves are rarely set at the same level. I loved my first Gerbing set up, but this new gear is well worth the changeover. I do keep some of these handy if my legs or feet get cold. I don't think I'll bother to spend the money on the pant liners and socks. For how infrequently I need heat there, the Hot Hands do the trick for pennies.
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When life throws you a curve, lean into it

1997 XL1200C sold, 1994 FXSTS sold, 2002 R1150RT sold, 2005 SV650 sold, 2006 DL650 totaled, 2007 DL650




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#640116 - 09/28/10 08:47 AM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: moshe_levy]
Mike Offline

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Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 9404
Loc: Chicago area, IL, USA
Originally Posted By: moshe_levy
Hey Mike-

On the new liner you have, can you describe connections - is it still a connector sewn into the liner itself, or has the design changed such that a line comes out of the liner?

-MKL


Moshe--Nice article. Thanks for sharing the link to your file. The connection setup appears to be the same as what you described in your article. Gerbing's describes it as a Power Distribution Unit:



I don't have sufficient experience to disagree with your conclusions about the connection, but I didn't experience any problems. Maybe my setup--which is not necessarily finalized--put less tension on the cord. First, to set the stage for those who haven't seen Gerbing's products up close, they now use a coaxial connector system; the connectors looks somewhat like an RCA-type plug. I have placed an auxiliary BMW-type power outlet on the top left side of my ST's fairing. I connected the Gerbing's heat controller to a coaxial adapter that plugs into my auxiliary outlet and attached the controller to the left side of my tank using Velcro.

This means that there was essentially no tension on the connection while I was riding. However, I got off the bike three times to refuel, leaving the liner plugged in, and didn't have any problems. It seemed like a very secure connection, which causes me to ponder if you might not have had a connector that was either slightly out of spec or if Gerbing's may have refined the connection in some way since your review. Whatever the case--and admittedly this was just my experience over a few hours and a few hundred miles--the connections seemed very secure.

As far as the controller, I don't have any point of comparison. It seemed to work well and it was easy to set the heat output exactly where I wanted it. I saw that your review indicated that the W&S heat-troller had tactile detents as you rotated the controller through its range. It does seem like that would be a helpful feature, particularly if the controller was outside your line of sight, but the Gerbing's controller does have a feature that helps in this regard--a red LED that flashes at varying intervals, depending on the intensity of the heat setting (more heat = faster flashing).
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R1200ST

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#640123 - 09/28/10 09:14 AM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: Lmar]
Mike Offline

Administrator
Member

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 9404
Loc: Chicago area, IL, USA
Originally Posted By: Lmar

Thanks for the info on the level of heat the liner puts out, I was considering the temp controller, now it seems a must.


You'll have to get a controller. The temperatures were in the 45-50 degree range, and I was nowhere near the maximum heat setting on the controller. I have an old Darien liner, which I'll be selling soon, and, while it produced a nice, comfy level of heat, I found that an on/off switch was sufficient. That's not feasible with the Gerbing's liner--you might crank it up to it's max setting in very cold conditions, but you'd cook at higher ambient air temperatures.
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Mike the Moderator
R1200ST

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#640135 - 09/28/10 09:40 AM Re: Gerbing's Heated Jacket Liner [Re: Mike]
BluegrassPicker Offline
Member

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Rochester, MN
Another tip - I went back and forth on whether to get a dash mount or portable controller. I went with the dash mount, but if I was doing it again I would go with the portable controller.

On the dash mount - the connection on led light is flimsy at best and broke during install - it was also sealed and not repairable. This causesd me to have to buy another controller.

The portable controller is in more robust housing.

In spite of this I love the jacket and it works great in a variety of temps. I have the coiled lead which I like better than the straight lead.
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Tom

2002 R1150RT

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