Product Review: Gerbing Heated Pants and Jacket Liners - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    Chris
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    '06 ST1300
    Motorcycle
    '09 F800GS
    I purchased a Gerbing microwire jacket and pants liner, dual controller, and an accessory plug somewhat over a week ago, and have had a chance now to get a better feel for the products, and their effectiveness on the GS in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparative purposes, I have the standard height seat, standard windshield, no aftermarket wind deflectors, etc. I wear an Aerostitch Darien riding suit, and Gaerne Balanced Oiled riding boots. After 10 years of riding and daily commuting year round, I wish I had bought heated gear a long time ago! This is my first experience with heated gear, and I have no basis of comparison with other available products.

    Gerbing's directions suggest wearing a light layer of clothing under their heated gear, and based on the heat output I have experienced thus far, they are absolutely correct. I'm 6'3", 220 lbs, 34" inseam, and found that the Gerbings sized "L-XL-T" pants and "XL-L" jacket are a perfect fit. Gerbings also suggests not wearing jeans or denim under the heated gear, as this supposedly reduces the amount of perceived heat output. (I wear jeans, and have no complaints with heat output.) Gerbing recommends against wearing this gear without riding pants or jacket to protect it, as the fabric is not intended to withstand exposure to the wind. As with all Gerbing gear, each item comes with its own wiring harness, good installation directions, and a set of fuses appropriate to your intended use.

    In case it matters to you, the gear is made in China.

    Thanks to a generously long leg zipper, the pants are easy to get into wearing riding boots, and have a velcro closure at the ankle. The pants velcro easily, and have a small pocket which holds a connector wire in each leg for heated socks or insoles, and another connector at the waist for plugging into a heated jacket, the bike, a controller, or gloves.

    The jacket is similarly easy to get into, and has good windproof cuffs on it. Each forearm of the jacket has a pocket with a connector for heated gloves, and the left hand inner side of the jacket has a connection point for the pants, bike, and a controller. If you're planning to use heated gloves plugged into the jacket, it's a good idea to hang onto the wires as you don your riding jacket - at least under a Darien jacket, I've found it impossible to reach the wires afterwards.

    The dual controller is easy to use, with two color coded knobs. The more you turn the knobs clockwise, the warmer things get.

    Once everything was connected, G3 gloves, controller, pants, and jacket, I found that I had a rat's nest of wiring in my lap. In the long run, I plan to use some industrial velcro on the back of the controller so that I don't have to dig around in my lap for the controller while riding. Gerbings makes a permanent mount controller, but since I want to maintain flexibility between bikes (also have an ST1300), I opted against it.

    So, how's all this stuff work? AWESOME!! (Well, except for the G3 gloves, which are on their way to Gerbing for warranty repair/replacement halfway through their second winter.) The jacket and pants throw out a LOT of heat; even riding in the mid teens at highway speeds (75ish MPH), I'm totally toasty, and haven't even turned the controller much past 1/2.

    There is one thing that I have noticed - with the lack of wind protection for your hands in stock form, connecting the G3 gloves to the jacket and getting your hands warm enough without cooking yourself is not possible on the GS. The only way I have found that works is to run the jacket and pants off the Gerbing accessory port, and use the CANBUS outlet with an adapter plug to connect to the separate harness with on/off switch that came with the gloves. This leaves the gloves at full power, but works well.

    I'm no electrician, but I do know that the amount of juice this setup sucks down is substantial! Under 3000 RPM, I've noticed that the headlight "modulates" if I don't turn the jacket (in particular) down enough. There are lots of threads on the subject, so I'll leave it to those who are more knowledgeable; turn down the heat as you slow down, and you'll probably be fine.

    Installing the accessory plug to the right of the ignition key was very straightforward. You'll need:
    T-25 bit for the "fake tank" screws, 11/16" or 18MM drill bit, phillips screwdriver, and a couple zip ties.

    Here's what I did:
    1) remove the seat
    2) remove the 6 T-25 screws from the "fake tank" - the 4 you see, and 1 on either side below the handlebars. Note that the screws under the handlebars are a different length from the other 4, and that it is easiest to access them by turning the bars out of the way.
    3) Lift the fake tank carefully, as the wiring harness to the CANBUS accessory plug is attached. I did not disconnect this, as I was working outside in mid 30 degree temps with a good breeze, and my fingers weren't working too well anymore.
    4) Flip the fake tank over, and you'll see a circular mark for a second plug. I used a 1/2" drill bit to drill through the plastic, then walked the bit around a little until the Gerbing accessory plug fit snugly. This was all that I had available; the proper bit size to use for a quicker job is 11/16" or 18 MM. Snug down the plastic jam nut.
    5) The battery is now easily accessible. Making sure that you are using one of the 15 AMP fuses in the harness provided by Gerbing, disconnect the battery cables - negative terminal first, then the positive.
    6) Positive terminal first (they're marked) attach the ring terminals from the Gerbing harness to the battery, then connect the positive battery cable follwed by the negative.
    7) Plug the Gerbing battery harness into the Gerbing accessory socket harness, and connect the socket to it's harness as well. I found that the resulting wad of wiring fit nicely in the space just in front of the battery.
    8) Re-assemble the fake tank and drop the seat in place.
    9) Kick yourself for not getting heated gear a long time ago.
    10) Go riding, and enjoy being toasty warm!

    Chris
    Last edited by sail2xxs; 01-13-10 at 02:07 PM.

  2. Thanks Mike in Ohio, Kelsow, soph9 thanked for this post.
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  4. #2
    soph9's Avatar
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    Leslie
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    great report! We are still waiting for our gloves and I really hope we have better luck then yourself and many others who are having issues with them not working! Thanks for the review!

  5. #3
    Points: 4,825, Level: 47

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    '10 F650GS (Single)
    Thanks for the post. I have Gerbings from a couple years back. Not sure if they are "microwire" or not.

    They have been really good overall, especially the jacket. The pants liner I'm less than thrilled with. There is no wiring in the back side of the pants leg.. you end up with a warm front of the leg, but an icy back side of the leg.

    When I asked them about this they said they didn't expect people to get cold except in areas where the wind would directly hit them (bad thinking). They said I could send them back, and for a charge, they could add wiring to the backsides of the legs

    Just a word of caution: if you order pant liners from them, you should ask about this.

    Heated gloves: I went with Warm and Safe heated gloves after doing tons of online research into who was happy with what. I absolutely love them. They fit well, and plugged into the jacket, they get plenty warm enough.

    My dealer was nice enough to pre-run a gerbing plug from the battery out the side of the bike. This is pretty unobtrusive, but not completely hidden. Works well if you remember to plug in and unplug while standing next to the bike. Once you're on the bike it's more difficult.

    I don't know whether I would drill into any part of my fairing to install a Gerbing connector. I did this on my Gold Wing and it ultimately turned out just okay. The problem was that Gerbing did not offer a connector that could be easily fairing-mounted (maybe they do now). So I purchased an aftermarket connector with the same physical specs as the Gerbing, except it was threaded and came with a bolt so I could permanently mount the connector into the fairing. It looked good but the connector was just the tiniest bit larger than the gerbing and when I was plugged into them, my cables would often wiggle out on the freeway, which then necessitated messy velcro and/or electrical tape..

    Hope this all helps some one!
    Michael

  6. #4
    soph9's Avatar
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    Leslie
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    we are trying to figure out where to put our temp controller on our 650's...any suggestions? We are trying to do it now.... 1430 PST

  7. #5
    soph9's Avatar
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    Leslie
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    well we got one temp controller on the 650...don't have a pic yet but we put it underneath where my left leg would be while feet on the peg. There is a little black plastic piece flat enough for the controller. Does not interfere from what I can tell when I will be riding. The other controller was defective so one bike done the other needs a new temp controller unfortunately.

    We tucked all the wires under the fake tank and all we have is the connector hanging out by an inch. We bought a flexible coiled cord to plug to the main port. This cord allows for movement without having a long cord to get messed up with. So, tomorrow I will test out the jacket we got. We did not buy the gloves because they were too big the ones our dealer had in stock. We bought BMW Atlantis gloves and they are waterproof but not really warm. i am going to try and find silk liners and see how that works. if not, we will invest in smaller Gerbing gloves. In the meantime, tomorrow I will try some latex gloves I have from my hospital and see if this will help keep my hands warm with the grips on as well.

  8. #6
    soph9's Avatar
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    Love the controller and the Jacket Liner is awesome. We have been hit with freezing temps lately int he morning and all in all riding has been very comfy and toasty...it has been so cold I really have not had to adjust the temp all that much but keep it on medium and seems good for my entire commute.

    BTW...my new bike I got on Friday has over 600km on it all ready!

  9. #7
    Points: 1,180, Level: 19

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    I glued a 1 in x 2 in piece of velcro just behind the ign key, and the other part of the velcro onto the temp controller. Now we just stick the controller on when needed, and plugged in.

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