Gerbing's has made heated clothing for nearly 30 years, and today the Washington State-based firm offers a dizzying array of heated products. These include jacket and pant liners, several glove designs, socks and a line of fully heated outerwear-jackets, pants and suits. The company's basic, $139 vest liner, which we've sampled, is designed to keep the body's "core" warm. It's an especially nice piece, with a soft and comfortable outer nylon shell, a form-fitting cut, Thinsulate insulation, evenly distributed warmth throughout, a micro-denier collar, and four pockets-two zippered ones on the lower exterior, another inside the left chest and a non-zippered one on the left breast. The wiring and controls seem well-made and are easy to use. Both men's and women's sizes are offered: 37 to 60 for men, 34 to 47 for women.
Tour Master Synergy
Tour Master's brand-new Synergy electric lineup includes two vests (one collared for $124.99, one not for $119.99), leather gloves ($139.99), pant liner ($139.99) and long-sleeve jacket liner ($179.99), a design gaining popularity as folks discover the benefits of warm arms-as opposed to only keeping one's trunk toasty with a vest. All pieces offer carbon-fiber heating elements that are safe in wet conditions, three temperature settings via an electronic thermostat, easy-to-use plug-in connectors and sizing from XS to 4XL. Tour Master claims the carbon elements' light weight and flexibility allow the various pieces to fit comfortably beneath riding gear. We plan to try some as soon as the temperature drops below 50 degrees here in Southern California.
Maker of the famed Aerostich suit, Andy Goldfine's RiderWearHouse offers five articles of electric clothing: two sleeved jacket liners (the $267 waterproof Windblocker and $237 TLtech fleece Windstopper) and three vests (the $227 Airvantage, $147 Tltech fleece Windblocker and the $167 Gore-Tex Windstopper). The Airvantage makes the highest-tech statement: Like a life vest, it allows the wearer to inflate internal chambers via a tube on the upper right chest. Getting cold? Just inflate the vest. Too warm? Simply bleed off some air. Neat. The technology comes from Gore of Gore-Tex fame. Zip-on sleeves are available for all three vests, making them truly convertible, weather-dependent designs. Neat again. Sizing runs from 38 to 54.
Therm-ic Basix Foot Warmers
These heated insoles are primarily a snow ski boot accessory, but because they can keep your lower digits toasty during a cold ride, they fit nicely here. Basically a plastic/rubber footbed with heating elements buried within, the $99.99 Therm-ic insoles replace those of your riding boots and attach via wires to a set of battery-powered modules containing a brace of AA alkaline (or rechargeable) batteries. Three heat settings are offered, the mildest giving 12 hours of warmth, the most powerful 2 hours.