Holy cow, how did I live without this thing?
The Gerbing jacket liner ($199.95) utilizes Gerbing’s patented Microwire technology to smoothly distribute warmth throughout the liner, with no hot spots, and no bulky electronic components. It feels like a cushy windbreaker — nowhere near as bulky as my Olympia jacket’s winter liner.
I’d looked at the TourMaster Synergy liner ($199.99) and the First Gear liner ($199.95), but both are slightly, well, lumpier than the Gerbing. All three brands would be satisfactory, I think, but when I tried on the Gerbing, it was love at first zip. (I couldn’t find Gerbing equipment at local shops; I purchased from Shango Rider’s booth at a motorcycle show. Dan Allen is the owner; he’s very knowledgeable and gave great service.)
Gerbing offers very flexible sizing options: for example, you can order a small jacket with long sleeves, a large jacket with regular-length sleeves. etc. (Because Shango Rider didn’t have the “perfect fit” in stock, Dan arranged free shipping from the factory to me. How cool is that? And the liner is indeed a perfect fit; Dan’s suggested size/sleeve combination was spot-on.)
On my SV650, the battery harness was easy to install: there are just four bolts to remove the seat for access to the battery. I removed the bolts connecting the battery cables and existing pigtail for the Battery Tender, added the contacts for the Gerbing harness, threaded the wires so the Battery Tender and Gerbing connectors were accessible from the outside, and reinstalled the battery bolts, seat, and small side panels. The hardest part was threading the cable ties through the frame to anchor the Gerbing connector — I spent some time blindly stabbing behind the frame spar until I finally found a way through. There’s a lot of stuff crammed in there, and it’s hard to find your way when you can’t see. 🙂
When I finished, the install was neat, and the Gerbing connector was easy to reach for plugging/unplugging. There’s even a little attached cap to protect the connector when it’s not in use.
It does take a little extra preparation to ride —What do I plug first? Oops, I can’t zip that just yet! — but it’s more than worth it. Without the bulkiness of the original padded liner and a sweatshirt, I can actually bend my elbows and turn my head easily (you just need a light shirt; I wear a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt under the liner).
With your core warmed, it seems that your body is more willing to send blood out to the extremities; I found that my hands didn’t get cold as soon on a ride, and they were never as cold as they had been on previous rides without the warm liner. If I can find some hand guards to block the wind, I think I could get by without buying Gerbing’s electric gloves. Only my thighs were icy; now I can see the appeal of chaps.
That’s what makes motorcycling (or any hobby) expensive — the accessories! But I have to say that the heated jacket liner is a wonderful investment in comfort and riding enjoyment. I’d describe it as an essential piece, not a luxury.
Now if Gerbing just made an air-conditioned jacket liner for summer in the South…