Women’s Heated Dual-Source 12V Jacket Liner, #98338-15VW, Sizes XS–2XL, $275
Men’s Heated Waterproof Dual-Source 12V Riding Pant, #98327-15VM, Sizes S–3XL, $350
Women’s Heated Dual-Source 12V Gloves, #98339-15VW, Sizes S–XL, $230
Heated Jacket/Pant 12V Charger Kit, #98332-15VR, $99
Glove Battery Charger Kit, #98333-15VR, $99
Riding a motorcycle in early March might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but for those of us who live in the Northeast U.S., the winter of 2014–2015 turned out to be one of the coldest on record. I’d wisely ordered several pieces of Harley-Davidson Heated Dual-Source riding gear to arrive in time for the worst weather of the season.
Heated gear and I have a long, sometimes rocky history. My first set was acquired about 15 years ago, and what I remembered most was yards of external wiring, the complexity of matching up all the connections and the necessity to utilize an external dual controller for adequate temperature control. I wore that gear for only a single winter and didn’t try heated gear again for another 10 years. My second attempt had better results as technology had advanced, but there was still the issue of the complicated wiring and the need for an external controller. Plus, certain parts of my body were still cold no matter how high I turned up the temperature.
The new Harley-Davidson gear is named Dual-Source because it can be powered from either the bike’s 12V battery or self-contained 12V lithium rechargeable batteries. I chose the Women’s Heated Dual-Source 12V Jacket Liner, which fits snugly over a long-sleeved T-shirt and under my textile all-weather outer jacket as well as my leather jacket. The liner is a stretch fabric with a mesh lining, a stand-up collar, zipper front and a pocket on each side. A flap hides the cords and the connectors, both of which are color-coded. The flap also features a built-in three-level controller that allows you to set the jacket temperature to low, medium or high. On each lower sleeve is a small zippered compartment that contains cords that attach to the glove cords if you use the bike’s battery. And there’s a zippered compartment to stow the battery if you choose to use it as a power source. The liner contains five heat panels: one in each sleeve, two for the chest and one for the back. A men’s version of the liner is also available for $295, as is the Men’s Heated Waterproof Dual-Source 12V Riding Jacket ($450) if you prefer a heated jacket rather than the heated Jacket Liner.
Since Harley-Davidson does not offer women’s heated Dual-Source riding pants, I ordered the Men’s Heated Waterproof Dual-Source 12V Riding Pant in the smallest available size. The Riding Pant is designed much the same way as the Jacket Liner, with a hidden pocket for the battery, another pocket for the cords and color-coded connectors and a three-setting controller located at the upper left thigh; very each to reach if the temperature needs to be adjusted. The exterior is a waterproof nylon with reflective piping and contains zippered side pockets, body armor pocket at the knees, and heat-resistant shields on the lower inner legs and heating panels on each leg and at the back of the waist. The pants are “backward compatible” with older Harley-Davidson heated gloves and heated jackets if you purchase a separate thermostat.
I also ordered a pair of the Women’s Heated Dual-Source 12V Gloves that feature a three-level temperature controller and a zippered pocket to stow a battery on the back of each gauntlet.
The gloves, which are surprisingly light and flexible, are made of leather and textile with fleece lining and a waterproof, breathable liner. They are also extremely comfortable, with pre-curved fingers and gel-padded, anti-slip palm. A men’s version is available for $235.
None of the gear comes with batteries, so I ordered two of the Heated Jacket/Pant 12V Charger Kits. Each kit comes with a battery and an A/C charger. Although my contact at Harley-Davidson informed me that the Jacket Liner and Riding Pant can share a single battery, I decided to err on the side of caution and use one battery each for the liner and pants. The approximate times for the batteries to last is estimated at up to one hour at the highest setting, up to one and a half hours at the medium setting and up to three hours at the lowest setting.
I also ordered two of the Glove Battery Charger Kits. Estimated times for battery life are up to one hour at high, up to an hour and a half at medium, and two to three hours at low. I figured an extra set of batteries would be easy to change out at a gas stop, which I estimated to be about the time the first set would run out. Each glove battery kit comes with two batteries (one for each glove) and an A/C charger.
It was a frosty 19 degrees when I left my home early Saturday morning to ride 280 miles to the Amtrak train station in Lorton, Virginia. Both the pants and the liner shipped with wiring and an assortment of fuses, and after adding up all the amps that would be used, I made sure the proper fuse was inserted into the inline fuse holder. On that ride, I decided to use the batteries for all my gear, and much to my surprise, the medium setting for the jacket liner, pants and gloves was enough to keep me warm. At medium, the jacket liner battery lasted somewhere between three and three and a half hours, the pants lasted about four hours, and the gloves lasted two and a quarter hours. I changed glove batteries at a gas station and they were still going strong when I arrived at the train station.
On the way back from the train station the next week, I used the bike’s battery as the power source for all the heated gear, meaning I didn’t have to worry about batteries dying. The gear performed admirably, and when the temperature climbed into the 50s, I didn’t even need to turn on the heat. Although the men’s pants fit nicely at my waist and hips, the legs are baggy on me and I was afraid the wind would shoot up the bottom of my pants while riding, but the pants lining is elasticized at the bottom and snaps snugly, so no air could enter. The only issue I found is that the glove gauntlets are so tight I had trouble getting them to go over my jacket sleeves, yet they wouldn’t fit inside the sleeves. This was even more of a problem when the batteries were stuffed into each glove pocket. All in all, though, the Harley-Davidson Heated Dual-Source Gear is the best-performing heated apparel I’ve ever owned.