If you live in a colder climate (as I do) and are wondering (as I was), “What could a California company possibly know about heated motorcycle gear?” you should know that “California Heat” is something of a misnomer. The family-owned and operated company is based in Maryland and presumably named after how you should feel riding in sunny California.
I don’t live in California, so as I geared up for my February trip from my home at 6,000 feet in Southern Utah to Las Vegas for the AIMExpo show, I was excited to try out California Heat’s 12V Jacket Liner ($230), Pant Liners ($190), and Gauntlet Gloves ($175), all covered by a lifetime warranty. [Note: Make sure to check the info for each product to see what’s included and what you must purchase separately for operation.]
The windproof and waterproof gloves are made of nylon and leather with a tricot lining and Thinsulate insulation. They feature heating elements on both sides of the hands from the wrist to the fingertips. There is a rubber squeegee on the left thumb, and the index fingers are touchscreen compatible, but given the thickness of the fingertip, it’s a little clumsy.
A great feature I haven’t seen on some other heated gloves is the 90-degree L-plug. California Heat could take it up a notch by adding an L-junction or plug on the cords that come out of the jacket liner as well, which would make it less cumbersome to slide the gloves over the cuffs of your riding jacket after the gloves are plugged into the liner.
Otherwise, as to the wind-resistant, water-repellant ripstop nylon jacket liner, I have no complaints. It has zipper pockets for the wires when not in use and other regular pockets, including two outer pockets and three inner pockets (I especially appreciated the zippered one). The pant liners are the same composition as the jacket, also with zippered pockets for the wires, and speaking of zippers, the pants have zippers halfway up the sides to make boot management easier.
When I left my house for Las Vegas, it was in the low 40s. I was on the interstate with an 80-mph speed limit, so I had the added wind chill factor, but I also had my windshield, and it was sunny, which helped. I run a little warmer anyway and am pretty used to colder temps, so when I started, I set both the jacket and pant dials on the Dual Dial Temp Controller ($100, sold separately) just barely above “off.” The website says the controller has “20 variable stages up to 135 degrees.” There are tactile soft “clicks” on the dials, and I counted more than 30 clicks, so I just used a visual reference. I was plenty comfortable at the lowest setting, but even on the ride back when temps were in the upper 30s, I didn’t need to turn it up much past a third of the dial.
With my job, I don’t have the luxury of only riding during my area’s warmer season, and with the California Heat gear, not only is my job easier but I now look forward to extending my riding season. If they could just bring some California heat to all the snow on the roads…
For more information, visit the California Heat website.
See all of Rider’s apparel reviews here.