Review by Troy Siahaan
[This Gerbing’s Cascade Heated Motorcycle Clothing Review was originally published in the April 2007 issue of Rider magazine]
Fortunately, for those of us on the west coast, riding doesn’t have to stop because of the cooler weather. I’m the type who loves it. I’d much rather put on more clothes than bake in the summer heat. On the other hand, I can’t function well if I’m cold in the saddle. Thanks to Gerbing’s Cascade Extreme heated motorcycle jacket and pants, I don’t have to be.
Our test jacket and pant combo came with the optional temperature controller that allows you to adjust the amount of heat for the jacket and pants separately. Wiring for the system is a breeze as all the hardware is included and all you need to do is loosen the battery bolts and attach the supplied battery terminal harness. Be sure to check that your bike’s charging system is up to the challenge as the jacket and pant combo draws 10 amps. After that it’s just a simple matter of matching the color-coded male wires to their female counterparts and you’re all set.
The Cascade jacket is a three-quarter upper that extends from the neck to just below the tail bone and zips to the lowers at the waist, ensuring the two pieces don’t separate in a fall, which would leave the midsection exposed. As you’d expect from a winter riding jacket, the Cascade is heavy. On the outside, it features a 330-denier Cordura shell and 1,000-denier ballistic fabric on the outer sleeves for protection during a spill. CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows also keeps those areas protected should you go down. Vents on the chest, underarm and sleeve provide added airflow should you get a little warm. And pockets—who doesn’t like pockets? The Cascade jacket has no less than seven of them! The inner full-sleeve liner is removable and has stretchable material at the wrists for a comfortable fit. The lowers also feature the same Cordura and ballistic material in the critical areas as the jacket, and padding in the upper hip and CE-approved armor in the knee area. I found that the lowers couldn’t be worn comfortably over my jeans though I was able to squeeze them over my khaki pants without too much complication.
When fully geared and powered up, the jacket and pants feel like they’re surrounding me in a cocoon of warmth. Riding in the day or night in varying weather conditions I never noticed outside air penetrating through the gear—very impressive. With the temperature controller at my command I could literally dial in the amount of heat to give my two halves just the amount I needed to ride through some unusually cold Southern California mornings. Unlike other systems, the Cascade liner distributes heat throughout the body—chest, back, arms and legs. With the optional gloves and socks (which we didn’t get) you could literally be toasty from neck to toe (Gerbing’s doesn’t make anything for the head).
Now, is it worth it? At $425 for the Cascade Extreme heated jacket and $299 for the Cascade Extreme heated pants, it’s definitely not chump change. If year-round riding isn’t your thing then I’d say to save your pennies for another snow shovel, but if you’re the type who doesn’t buy fuel stabilizer in the winter because you’re too busy riding, you owe it to yourself to give the Cascade a look.