Gerbing’s Microwire Heated Jacket Liner Review

[This Gerbing’s Microwire Heated Jacket Liner Review was originally published in the April 2010 issue of Rider magazine]

Progress! I love it. I got my first taste of heated motorcycling gear back in the early ’80s and have not been without it since. Granted, back then the copper wires took a while to warm up, but a heated vest was to be treasured. Now Gerbing’s Heated Clothing has come up with the latest version, conducting warmth through micro-sized fibers, which both heat up more quickly and make the garment more comfortable to wear.

Gerbing’s, which has been making heated clothing for 30 or more years, got a contract from the Department of Defense to do research on heated gear for use by Special Operations troops, as it gets downright cold up in those Afghan mountains in the winter. This Microwire is the result. I might add that when I was in Special Forces 45 years ago, sophisticated cold-weather gear consisted of a set of long johns. Gerbing’s worked out this system made of stainless steel fibers, about 0.025 inches in diameter, a quarter of the size of a human hair—I have a hard time envisioning that thinness. These Microwires are wrapped in a Teflon coating and then put in a “ribbon matrix” that allows Gerbing’s to use more wires where more heat is desired. And you don’t get that wirey feeling as in previous heated garments.

The Army does do some serious testing, with the clothing getting pummeled, pulled, stretched and seriously abused. This Microwire fiber passed. Which is why Gerbing’s gives a lifetime warranty on the heating elements.

The jacket liner is a Teflon-coated nylon shell with stretch panels at the waist and on the cuffs, and heating areas in the chest, on the back, down the sleeves and around the high collar. The main advantage of the liner over a vest is that it keeps your arms warm—and provides wiring for heated gloves, which Gerbing’s also sells.

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Closeup of Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner
Closeup of Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Our tech guy, Chris, wanted to see this garment, so I went over to his shop where we wired it into the battery of my bike; the harness includes a 15-amp fuse. The two-plug “power distribution unit” (for jacket and gloves) is inside the liner, and I plugged the Dual Temp-Controller thermostat into that. The Temp-Controller pouch has a little clip which could go on my belt or on the tankbag in front of me, and since the bag position was more accessible, I clipped it there. As I was about to leave I plugged the thermostat into the battery connection before starting the engine, and got distracted as Chris started talking about quantum mechanics as they relate to old Velocettes. Suddenly I was aware that my upper body was suffused in blessed warmth—those Microwires do heat up fast.

The liner draws 77 watts; along with gloves (27 watts), you can also get a pants liner (44 watts) and insoles for your boots (15 watts). Do check your bike’s charging system’s output.

I was wearing the liner over a cotton turtleneck, under a Tourmaster Rincon jacket, and once I had the thermostat dialed in I could not ask for more comfort. As I said, progress is good. Proper fit is essential to happiness, neither too snug nor too loose, so the liners come in sizes from 2XS to 4XL. Price is $199.95, with the Dual Temp-Controller another $99.95, and the T-C pouch, $10.95.

By the way, if you wish to parachute into the Hindu Kush on a moonless winter night with this liner on, Gerbing’s also offers a lithium battery pack.

For more information: Contact Gerbing’s Heated Clothing at (800) 646-5916 or www. gerbing.com

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