Commuting on motorbikes all year round is an effective, yet uncomfortable way when living in big cities, such as London. Whilst winter riding may not be fun, it is at least possible in the UK as temperatures usually stay over 0 Celsius and snow is a short lived occasional rarity in most parts.
The number of riders drop visibly on the roads in the winter for a reason. Good quality, layered motorcycle jackets and trousers can keep you warm with ease, unfortunately can't say the same about the hands. Tried fighting the winter with different solutions, such as expensive winter gloves, heated grips and even handlebar muffs without much success.
Cold perception is personal, in my experience no matter how expensive or how well marketed and made winter motorcycle gloves are, when temperatures drop below 5 Celsius my hands just start freezing after about 20 minutes of riding.
There are three problems with heated grips:
In theory handlebar muffs should keep heat better, but in reality they just block some wind, which good quality winter gloves do anyway. Without heated grips there is no heat source to warm it up enough (that would heat the palm of your hands only anyway) and they also have a large opening to dissipate the little heat emitted.
Handlebar muffs can also become dangerous as they restrict movement reaching for brakes, clutch or pulling the hands out quickly in case of an emergency.
First thing came to mind during my first winter ride testing a new pair of Gerbing XRS 12 heated motorcycle gloves was that I wish I bought them sooner. It made my hours long journeys not just way more comfortable, but also possible near to zero Celsius temperatures. A year before I had to stop multiple times for breaks to thaw my fingers just to numb them again after another 20 minutes of riding.
The setup is quick, easy and straight forward: as the motorcycle battery is under the seat on most motorcycles just lift the seat up, connect the positive and negative poles and leave the connector wire slightly hanging out somewhere between the seat and tank. Attach the connection plug with its cap to the frame of the motorcycle when not in use to avoid getting in the way. Pull the wires through the sleeves of the motorcycle jacket (between layers if possible) and leave it in all winter. The gloves themselves have little pockets to tuck their connectors away if not needed.
Once all connected up and ready to ride the unit can be operated with a single button. That button is also used to select the desired heat strength (25%-50%-75%-100%) that are represented by different colors. Higher settings require unlocking first as they may not be necessary (personally I never needed more than over 75%).
Additional battery cables can be purchased individually around £15 for people with multiple motorcycles.
It can be a bit fiddly to hook it up and turn it on while sitting on the bike with full winter gear on as the control unit would stay inside the jacket. Because of it the temperature cannot be changed while riding, but not required. The wiring setup is modular and the connections slide apart for safety reasons. My only problem is the uncomfortable, hard design of the knuckle protectors inside the gloves. They are flat, pushing and rubbing against my knuckles, so I only use them in cold weather (below 10 Celsius).
A pair of heated motorcycles gloves can become a game changer during long winter rides for people struggling to keep their hands warm. Their price is around £150 in the UK. In comparison quality, non-heated winter motorcycle gloves (e.g. with Goretex) are likely to cost over a £100 that simply cannot match electrically heated ones.
It's worth noting that Gerbing also manufactures heated motorcycle clothing, even socks.
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