Cycle World Reviews Venture Heat Motorcycle Gear

In case you missed the article in Cycle World magazine, here’s what they had to say about our heated vest liner, pants liner, gloves and insoles:

(See the original article here)

CW Evaluation: Venture Heat Grand Touring Collection Electric Clothing

Get warmly wired, from head to toe.

Leaving Abilene, Texas, the thermometer hadn’t broken 40 degrees and the windchill from the 35-mph breeze put temps slightly below freezing. I was headed north from the COTA MotoGP race, directly into the wind, and had a long ride ahead of me that had to happen as I was flying east the next day. It would prove to be one of the toughest days I’ve had on a motorcycle and there’s only one reason I rolled into my driveway 12 hours later: Venture Heat’s electric clothing.

The Venture Heat Grand Touring Collection vest, pant-liners, insoles and gloves had arrived the day before I left Colorado and they stayed neatly packed all the way to Austin, taking up valuable room in my small luggage and mocking me for this wasted space as I rode to Texas in comfortable 70-degree temps. I had replaced the Alpinestars insoles in my boots with the Venture Heat wired insoles and felt stupid every time I thought about it.

Motorcycle Heated Clothing and Gloves

Motorcycle Heated Clothing and Gloves

But that all changed five days later as I woke up in Abilene to whistling wind and the type of conditions that make even a Prius look good. I slipped into the vest and pant-liners, which are both extremely soft, flexible and have the same bulk as a good workout suit. I plugged the insoles into the bottom of the pant-liners, hooked the liners to the vest, plugged into my FZ1 and headed into the wind. Fifteen minutes later I stopped.

My hands were frozen and almost useless. I clawed through my luggage and pulled out the Venture Heat Carbon Street gloves. I’ve never been a big fan of cold-weather gloves due to the added bulk, reduced feel and reduced crash protection, but the Carbon gloves go a long way toward alleviating those concerns, especially in terms of protection. They have 3M Thinsulate insulation and a waterproof membrane. By definition they have to be a bit more bulky than the Alpinestars GP Pros I was wearing, but I was at the end of my rope that morning and literally could not have continued. Call me wimpy, but you had to be there to feel the misery. In 12 hours I saw only one other motorcycle on the road and twice I saw 37 degrees on bank signs. It snowed on me and I rode past miles of plowed snow left from the night before. The headwind never abated.

The Venture Heat stuff is outstandingly comfortable. The bulky coils of yesteryear have been replaced with hair-thin microfibers for instant heat and all-day comfort, which the company has dubbed “Xtreme Comfort Tech.” You will feel the insole wire running up behind your heel and it could get uncomfortable to walk in, but my Yamaha didn’t require me to walk. The Grand Touring collection pant-liners and vest each have separate power buttons that reside on a flap that sticks out about three inches for access on your left hip. I wore the clothing under a one-piece nylon riding suit and could access the power buttons through a zippered opening. One long push turns the gear on high (red glow from the power button), and two more quick pushes change to medium (yellow) and low (green), with another long push for off. I ran jacket and pants on high and then medium when I donned my rain jacket to blunt the wind sneaking through my suit’s shoulder seams. The heat hits immediately and I challenge you not to giggle when it comes on.

Glove power buttons are on the gauntlets. Plugs connect to cords that run up your sleeves to the vest. Due to the small fairing on my FZ1, I ran the gloves on high for most of the trip, switching to medium only twice when my speeds came down in larger cities. The fit and feel of the leather and nylon gloves improved substantially during the ride as they broke in, and a nice touch is the fingertip fabric on index fingers to access your electronic touch-screens when needed. Venture Heat also offers a full-sleeve heated liner for your upper body and the conditions I faced may have warranted that option.

This is a glowing review because Venture Heat has created an outstanding product in its Grand Touring Collection. Comfort and looks are exceptional and the gloves are the best compromise I’ve tried for cold-weather riding. Reaching the control flaps isn’t as easy as accessing a power-cord switch or thermostat, but each article of clothing can be adjusted separately, with the exception of the insoles; these are on any time the pant-liners are on and it’s interesting that I never felt true heat under my foot, but my feet were never cold. Venture Heat has found a good insole heat setting, at least for the conditions I faced. A handlebar-mount wireless remote is available to manage heat level without fumbling for the power flaps.

This outfit plugs into the bike’s 12-volt system and provides limitless warmth (as long as your charging system can keep up with the total draw of 170 watts for all the pieces), as opposed to self-powered rechargeable clothing that would not have lasted during my 12-hour ride from COTA. The fused power cord attaches directly to the bike’s battery and everything interconnects quickly. My maiden test with the Grand Touring vest, pant liner, gloves and insoles came in dire conditions and this gear was up to the task.