Sunday, August 30, 2009


I don't know what is with the weather this last week of August, it sure has been beautiful...for October!!!

I am not superstitious so I don't use a gremlin bell, I throw my hats on the bed, black cats cross my path and I open umbrellas indoors with no ill effects. But this last week has me wondering if I have truly jinxed myself...not.
Trobairitz and I were down at our favorite motorcycle gear shop inquiring about her mesh jacket she's had on order and I needed a clip for my saddlebags. Whilst there I asked Annette when she was getting her winter gear in and specifically heated vests. "Oh, I've got those in the back room" she says. "Want to see them?" and leads us to the back.
One of the guys we ride with was discussing his heated vest with us during lunch when we rode to the coast for chowdah earlier this month. He told us the pros and cons of the two major manufacturers of heated riding gear, Gerbing and Tour Master.

They are both nice liners and "seem" to be priced similarly, but the advantage that Tour Master had over Gerbing is the durable carbon fiber heating elements and that the controller comes with the Tour Master liner, an additional $69.95 with the Gerbing liner.

Back in the store room the vest was nice but I remembered last winter how cold my commute was as I don't have a full fairing nor a windshield. I tried a full jacket liner, heated sleeves and collar...mmmmmmmm. I surprised Annette when I said "I'll take it!". I suspect she doesn't sell too many heated liners on 90º August days. I tried it on, it fit, it was in stock, why not?

Last winter I layered and bundled up every morning and every evening for the commute to and from work. I would have three layers of clothing on before putting on my liner and jacket. With a buff over my head and polar fleece muff around my neck the Stay Puft marshmallow man was ready to ride. I remember how difficult it was to turn my head, let alone operate any controls safely. This liner was going to be the cat's meow.

By Monday the weather had changed and it was cool in the morning, not enough to warrant a brand new electric liner but cool enough to forgo the mesh jacket and wear my full textile jacket. That afternoon it was a warm ride home, it was getting to be that layering time of year. I'd put the airflow jacket in my saddle bags in the morning and then stuff my full textile jacket in the bags for the ride home. There's got to be a better way...a heated liner.

So remember that feeling as a kid with a brand new bike on Christmas morning and six feet of snow outside, but you rode it anyway? Well, I hooked up the heated liner slipped it on under my airflow jacket and rode to work with an electric heated liner in August.
It only required using the low setting and was just enough to break the morning chill, but we all know guys have to test stuff to it's maximum capabilities. The liner performed great and of course maxed out it was too hot at stops, but my mind drifted to 26º January days and I was warm. The liner carefully folded up into my saddlebags with room to spare and the ride home in my airflow jacket was great. No more layering.

And for the cooler weather this week, I'm sure my seasonally early purchase had nothing to do with it....right?



  1. Better have more layers than you ride to work regularly in the winter?
    Did u find a new bike for the missus?
    great post...thanks for sharing...BTW, my friend Lance in North Bender convinced me on getting a Triumph...Have you had any problems with yours re: maintenance, performance or it easy to get parts for it?..I realize this is a whole bunch of questions...but whatever you can answer would be good

  2. I ride year round, if it isn't snowing I'm riding. I have been caught in some icy situations where I've had to ride 10mph with both feet on the ground to stay upright. I've learned to watch the shady corners, stay on main roads when it gets too cold and just use common sense.
    Haven't found another bike yet, we've put the Ninja on consignment and when it sells we'll look for the right bike.
    Congrats on the Triumph, you won't regret it. Welcome to the other 100 year old motorcycle company. I ride it in the pouring rain and the freezing cold and never had a problem but once. Cut your gas tank vent hose at an angle.
    Parts are readily available on numerous Triumph sites, forums and ebay. Maintenance is simple as these bikes are bulletproof. Enjoy the looks and comments from riding a not so familiar, yet familiar bike. You'll know what I mean when guys come up and tell you they used to ride a 19 something Triumph Tiger, Bonneville or other.

  3. Out of curiosity, what did that vest cost you? It makes economic sense for me to ride as long as possible, especially considering that I go from Lebanon to Corvallis and back. A heated vest just might be a smart investment.

  4. Hi Pirate, I bought the full liner at Discount Motorcycle Parts in Eugene, they also have the vest in stock which is a little cheaper. Check out both liners on the Tour Master website:
    If you are going to ride year round watch that backroad, it can get pretty slick. I ride Hwy 34 more often in the winter as it has fewer corners and shady spots.

  5. I used a vest for a few years. It was nice to be less restricted. Then I won a liner as a door prize at a banquet. It's nice because my Roadcrafter sleeves let in a bit of cool air.

    So far I haven't wired Elvira for a vest. I survived last Winter. It's just my ego, but I want to see if I still have my hardcore roots intact.

    Staying warm when you ride is pretty smart. Being comfortable makes us more capable of concentrating on the important things. So I suppose I'm defying my own counsel. Oh, well.

  6. Last spring I bought a heated liner (Gerbing) for a chilly one-day blast from Vancouver, BC to Medford, OR. It definitely saved me from hypothermia on that ride and i use it quite often now.

    There are two benefits for me:
    1) on rides longer than 1hr the jackets keeps my core temperature stable
    2) the heated neck keeps my back relaxed. otherwise, after 2+ hrs in the chill things get pretty tight


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