Riding when you’re cold is no fun, but thanks to the miracle of flowing electrons and other marvels, just because the weather’s cold doesn’t mean you have to be. It all begins with good clothing of course; many riders swear by a layer (or two) of silk or synthetic base layers under as many more layers as will fit under your windproof/waterproof outer shell. But this isn’t a clothing Buyers Guide, it’s an Accessories one. Here are a bunch of the best items we came up with for keeping your temperature and spirits up when the mercury is low.
Aerostich Kanetsu Electric Warmbib
Aerostich, Gerbing and others make various electric vests, gloves, etc. Evans Brasfield tested this Warmbib on MO not long ago, though, and it’s an excellent, easy-packing way to warm yourself up on medium-chilly rides. Aerostich is based in Duluth, Minnesota, where they know a thing or two about cold.
Aerostich Kanetsu Electric Warmbid: $97
Pinlock-ready faceshields for many popular helmets: around $50
Pinlock inserts: $25-30
Fog City Pro Shield inserts: around $13
Defog It anti-fog wipes (3-pack) or 5-mil liquid kit: $14.99
Well, duhh. Keeping at least your hands warm when all else is cold is a great feeling for your hands, psyche and safety. Oxford is a popular brand, but a little Googling around on your bike’s forum will give you the full benefit of popular opinion as to what works best for your particular application.
Oxford Hot Grips: $80-100
Say what? You don’t have a brand new touring barge with a heated seat? Not to worry: Sargent’s DIY Heated Seat Kit lets you turn any motorcycle into a rolling electric blanket of the best kind – the kind that wafts heat to your core via the most direct route. Sargent recommends you take your bike’s seat to a professional upholsterer, but other than that it all seems like even a MOron could handle the install.
DIY Heat Kit: $179.95
Yes they’re still around, and they’re made for lots more motorcycles than you might suspect. Hippo Hands are thick vinyl on the outside with nice thick fleece lining, basically wrap-around handguards that form a nice little cocoon of still air for your hands.
Hippo Hands: around $80-100
No Fog Balaclava
Faceshield fogging is a big problem when it’s really chilly and you’d like to see where you’re going. FB friend Sarge Schmidt-rubin tells us this is just the item to remedy the situation, who also shares, “When I go 24-hour endurance ice racing in Canada, I like to tuck several chemical heat packs and a wool cap into my underwear, because a frozen dick is not just a real thing but a severely painful real thing … especially when it hits 10 below F.” This may verge on oversharing, but could be lifesaving information.
No-Fog Balaclava: around $40
Getting the most convenience out of your electric vest and other items requires a convenient place to plug them in, which is where Powerlet connectors come in: It offers all kinds of wiring connectors and outlets that let you wire your bike like the Space Shuttle. Beyond that, Powerlet’s based in Warren, Michigan, and offers a complete line of heated clothing, including jacket liners, glove liners, socks, etc.
Powerlet outlets: $40-150
Heated clothing: $100-450
Ready Heat Warming Vest
What the heck? Military-tested technology means the Ready-Heat Warming Vest warms to 100° F in 8-10 minutes, and its maker claims it’ll stay warm for up to eight hours. It packs really small, and if all that’s true it’s hard to think of a good reason not to carry one or two stuffed in a tankbag or someplace, if there’s any chance at all your ride might turn cold.
Ready-Heat vest: $12.95
No, it’s not a surfact-to-air missile, it’s the name of the weatherproof blankets this Italian company sells to fit all kinds of scooters and more than a few motorcycles too – also a hippo hands-style thing for scooters and lots of other stuff.
Thermacell Heat Packs
These are hand warmers for hunters, really, but wouldn’t be a bad thing in your breast pocket on a chilly night or whatever. They charge up in about four hours using the same charger as your cell phone, and are claimed to put out heat for up to six hours. You’ll also find rechargeable insoles and other things to fill you with warmth on Thermacell’s site.
Heat Pack: $79.95
With the right gear on the right motorcycle, it’s possible to get all complacent and keep riding when it’s so cold you should really be hibernating. A thing like this 5.5 x 1 x 0.75-inch unit from Aerostich provides all kinds of useful information, including a Black Ice alert!
5-Function Digital Meter: $37
Last but not least, never forget the restorative power to be gained by pouring warm liquids down inside oneself. Nine out of ten moms surveyed would really insist you fill a nice thermos with some hot chicken soup or hot cocoa if you insist on riding that thing today. No, you’ve had enough coffee already.
Stainless Thermos bottles: $15-40