Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner


Reviews of Goldwing and motorcycle-related products and services
  • Sponsored Links
User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17047
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:21 pm



I have had Gerbing's heated gloves and insoles for some time now. Being that in cold weather, it was usually my hands and feet that would get cold, that would always be enough. Wearing my jacket with its windproof/waterproof insert and a warm shirt/sweater underneath, along with my pants with their windproof liner installed, that would always be enough to keep me warm.

That was, until I took a late-season ride into Canada. It was in the low-40's, and I was warm enough - until the sun went down. I found myself shivering - my core temperature was dropping, and I was feeling colder and colder. There's nothing more miserable than being cold - I'll take blazing heat over freezing cold any day.

I knew I could benefit from a heated jacket or vest, but my GL1100 just didn't have the surplus power available to power one.

Now however, I have a GL1500 with 90-amp Compufire alternator. That's more than enough power to run all the heated gear I could want or need. I decided a heated vest or jacket liner was in my best interest. I talked with Gary at Cyclemax, and he recommended the Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner - he said he and his wife had been using them for years.

Gerbing's Microwire Jacket Liner
Gerbing's Microwire Jacket Liner


Like the Gerbing's gloves that I have, the jacket liner utilizes Gerbing's patented "Microwire" heating elements. Developed for the military, these extremely fine and tough heating wires are unique in that when power is applied, they heat up almost instantly. And I mean instantly - the instant you turn on the heat, you are feeling warmth. I had worried about these thin heating elements breaking, but Gerbing's is so sure of this technology, that they offer a lifetime warranty on the heating elements. In addition to instant heat, the wires can be bundled to change the amount of heat being delivered - more heat to your chest and less to your neck, for instance.

The wind-resistant jacket liner has a layer of Thinsulate insulation, so it does provide some warmth on its own. It has standard (if somewhat small) pockets - two on the outside, one on the inside. If you really wanted to, you could wear it as a regular jacket off the bike, although it would look a bit strange. It has a collar that can be zipped up so that it completely covers your neck up to the base of your helmet. That collar is very soft, so that it doesn't irritate your neck as you turn your head.

Collar
Collar


Of course, the main reason you would buy this is because it heats up. And this it does very well - with heating panels on the chest, back, collar and sleeves. You want these heating panels pressed directly against you to transmit the maximum amount of heat to your body. For this reason, you wear either a T-shirt or a thin, long-sleeved shirt underneath, and size the liner so that it is tight against you when worn. This feels odd when you first put it on, as you expect most jackets to fit rather loose. If you size the liner so that it is loose and baggy, it will end up heating the air inside your main jacket, which then is sent overboard through your jacket - instead of being put into your body. So the normal way you would wear it is to have the heated liner tight against your thin shirt, with your regular protective bike jacket over top. I ended up buying a "Small/Tall" size liner, which seemed bizarre to me, but Gary at Cyclemax insisted this is what I would need - and he was right.

The jacket liner on its own draws 6.4 amps, or 77 watts of power. This is a lot of power, when you consider that a standard GL1100 has less than 90 watts spare electrical capacity at cruise speed. It doesn't leave you much left over for other heated gear, lights, or electrical accessories. On a GL1500, especially a GL1500 with a Compufire alternator, this is not an issue, and the GL1800 has enough capacity even with the base factory alternator to run the jacket liner, gloves and more for two people.

The jacket has a small zippered pouch on the bottom inside left of the jacket, which contains three wires, each with a coaxial connector on the end. Older versions of this jacket had a solid plastic module with the three connectors on it that they called a "PDU" (Power Distribution Unit) - this has been dispensed with in the newer version, in favor of the three wires. One of the wires is the input for the jacket. The second wire is an input for your gloves, and the third wire is an output for your pants (or insoles). The third wire is connected to the second (glove) wire, so powering the gloves also powers your pants (or insoles).

Wire Pouch
Wire Pouch


On the end of each sleeve is a zippered pouch, and inside the pouch is a wire to plug your gloves into. This is wonderful, as it means you no longer have to pull wires through your jacket every time you want to use your heated gloves. Like all Gerbing's products, the jacket liner also comes with a fused battery harness, which allows you to connect the jacket into the battery of your bike.

Glove Wire
Glove Wire


Of course, like the other Gerbing's heated products, you don't want to do this: plugging the jacket directly into the battery means it will be on full-strength at all times, and with the amount of heat it is capable of producing, it will roast you like a chicken. Instead, you will definitely want a to use a temperature controller. Gerbing's offers a portable unit that can be attached to your clothing, or velcroed to your bike, for $70:

Portable temperature controller
Portable temperature controller


In addition, they offer a unit that can be permanently installed in your bike, for $100:

Permanent temperature controller
Permanent temperature controller


Both of these have a small dial that adjusts the amount of heat getting to the jacket liner (or any other Gerbing's product you plug into them). They also offer dual controllers, so that you can have two different Gerbing's heated products, and control them separately. I would highly recommend that you consider the controller to go along with the heated gear.

On the other hand, I wanted dual controllers built into my bike, but did not want to spend the $130 they were charging - so having a background in electronics, I ended up building my own, for about a quarter of the cost. If you have a similar background, you could do the same.

Image

I mounted my two power outlets next to the gas filler on my GL1500 - these outlets are the only indication on my bike that I have a heated gear system in place. I purchased two of their coiled extension cords:

Coiled cord
Coiled cord


Coiled tightly, these are a foot long, but stretch to 4 feet if required - short enough that they don't get in the way, but more than long enough to keep me from damaging anything should I forget to unplug before I dismount (and I do this often!).

Now that I have the heated jacket liner, gloves and insoles, I have yet to find a temperature low enough that I am uncomfortably cold while riding. When riding in the upper 30's (around 3-4 C) I still have to modulate the jacket liner down to around 50% in order to not overheat myself. I suspect I would have to be riding in temperatures well below freezing to approach the limits of my heated gear. The jacket liner is comfortable and of high quality, and I'm quite pleased with it!



User avatar
NKYWinger
Posts: 344
Joined: Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:37 pm
Location: Covington, KY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100A Aspencade
2003 GL1800

Re: Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Postby NKYWinger » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:53 pm

Given the 1100's limited reserve, I seem to remember that you converted all lights (except headlight) to LED's. Do you remember how much extra capacity that gave you? I've already done the tail lights and will soon do the front/rear turs with bulbs from superbrightleds.com Was just wondering.... thanks!
--John--

FTCS(SS) USN Ret.
'83 GL1100 Aspy (SOLD)
'03 GL1800
'08 Lees-ure Lite
GWRRA 339547 KY - 'G'
DS# 1547

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17047
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:21 pm

NKYWinger wrote:Given the 1100's limited reserve, I seem to remember that you converted all lights (except headlight) to LED's. Do you remember how much extra capacity that gave you? I've already done the tail lights and will soon do the front/rear turs with bulbs from superbrightleds.com Was just wondering.... thanks!


I don't know that I ever did an exact measurement - but I know that with the LEDs in place, I had more than 70 watts and less than 110 watts extra capacity.

SmartBiker
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:42 pm
Location: chicago, illinois
Motorcycle: 1995 gl 1500 se

Re: Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Postby SmartBiker » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:33 am

where did you get the power outlets?

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17047
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:21 pm

SmartBiker wrote:where did you get the power outlets?


They came from Cyclemax, $15 apiece: http://cyclemax.com/gerbing_s

RV10Builder
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:30 am
Location: York, England, United Kingdom
Motorcycle: GL1800 2013

Re: Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Postby RV10Builder » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:40 am

Did you actually build a controller as well and if so how and where did you mount it?

I would be interested to know.

Martin

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 17047
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Gerbing's Microwire Heated Jacket Liner

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:27 pm

RV10Builder wrote:Did you actually build a controller as well and if so how and where did you mount it?

I would be interested to know.

Martin


I built a controller into my "Bike PC", here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=10172&start=75#p50777




Return to “Product Reviews”




Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests